Will May reach a Brexit deal and can she get it through parliament? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on October 20th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

This week’s PB / Polling Matters podcast is split into two parts:

In part one, Keiran Pedley is joined by Peter McLeod (Vice President at pollster GQR) to explore what the public think of “Chequers” and what they expect from any Brexit deal May brings back. It turns out that Chequers is more popular than you might think in the right context – but is that the context the Prime Minister’s eventual deal will ultimately be seen in? Keiran and Peter discuss.

In part two, I joined Keiran to discuss how May gets a deal through parliament, if indeed she reaches one. Keiran explains why he is much less positive than he once was and I talked about why pollsters will have a big role to play in how some MPs vote.


Climate apathy, not denial, is the biggest threat to our planet

Posted in Climate Majority, Climate Sock on October 5th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

This article was published in the Guardian – intro below and you can read the full text here.

Three years after world leaders signed the Paris climate agreement, we’re about to better understand what that deal means for how we live our lives. On Monday, a major report from the UN’s climate science panel will set out what it will take to limit global warming to 1.5C, the key Paris target.

There are reasons to think the world is, finally, getting to grips with climate change. Carbon emissions are still rising but more slowly than before, and in many countries they’re falling. The UK has slashed its emissions to 19th-century levels, and we’re not alone – plenty of other countries, including the US, are making progress as well. Crucially, that’s happened without many people noticing, suggesting the world might be able to deal with the problem without having to persuade the public to change their polluting lifestyles.

But this is wishful thinking. Continue reading…


Who are the centrists and who do they think they are? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on September 13th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

On the latest episode of the PB / Polling Matters podcast, Keiran and I discuss some recent polling by Opinium that looks at where Brits place themselves of the left-right political scale, who classes themselves as ‘centrist’ and what they think it means.


Would Remain win a second referendum and could Brexit lead to a united Ireland? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on September 6th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

On this week’s PB / Polling Matters podcast, Keiran and I look at a new report by NatCen suggesting that attitudes to Brexit are shifting and that Brits would vote Remain next time.

Meanwhile, Keiran takes us through some recent polling from Deltapoll on the question of a united Ireland following Brexit and asks whether unionism is too complacent about Northern Ireland’s future in the UK.


How does public opinion on Brexit look ahead of party conference season? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on August 30th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

Polling Matters returns for an extended episode exploring the latest goings-on in Washington DC and what a recent avalanche of Brexit related polling tells us about public opinion as we head into a crucial party conference season.

In part one, Keiran and I looked at Trump’s approval rating and what that says about his prospects for re-election and the GOP’s prospects in the upcoming midterms. We also looked at the potential Democratic candidates to face him in 2020, with a special focus on Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as they compete for the right to lead the Democrat’s progressive wing.

In part two, we examined a range of recent polls that present conflicting messages about the state of public opinion on Brexit. Keiran argued that polling on the outcome of a second referendum is useless at this stage, while I looked at whether support for a second vote is increasing.


What conspiracy theories do Brits believe? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on August 16th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

On this week’s Polling Matters Keiran and I take a different approach to the podcast and look at public opinion on conspiracy theories using some exclusive polling from Opinium.

How many Brits think the earth is flat? Is Elvis alive? Were the moon landings faked? Is Paul dead? Is Nessie real? And how about climate change and chemtrails?

Also on the show, we discuss how Corbyn’s latest troubles might impact the polls and what the public think about Boris Johnson’s recent comments on the Burka.


Are the public turning against Brexit and what do they really think of Communism? Polling Matters

Posted in Bad polling, Politics, Polling Matters on August 2nd, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

This week’s Polling Matters podcast is split into three parts.

In part one: Keiran and I discuss this week’s Sky Data poll and look at the evidence for whether the public really are turning against Brexit and what this might mean for the debate in Westminster.

In part two: we look at some exclusive Opinium polling on different political systems and ideologies. What do the public think about socialism and capitalism? Is communism really being rehabilitated? And what do the public really understand about the different ideological terms that are often bandied about in the press

In part three: I ask about who pays for polling and how much we should know / pollsters should be made to publish about who pays for their work (see my previous articles about this here).


Deal or no deal Brexit, support for the far right and the death penalty – Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on July 26th, 2018 by Leo – Be the first to comment

On this week’s Polling Matters podcast Keiran and I look at the levels of public support for a no-deal Brexit and how that may factor in to decisions in Westminster.

Also on the podcast, we look at polling on support for the far-right and other potential new parties by YouGov as well as public support for the death penalty in light of Sajid Javid’s decision not to seek assurances that suspected British Jihadis will not face execution when facing trial in the United States.


ComRes and We, The People back with another loaded poll

Posted in Bad polling on July 16th, 2018 by Leo – 1 Comment

ComRes and We, The People, a new secretly-funded right-wing lobby group, are back with another loaded poll – a few weeks after they got the Mail to cover their pro-Brexit poll.

This poll got the Mail’s front page today, with the claim most people think the police have lost control of the streets.

As with the pro-Brexit poll, the design of this survey is likely to have helped the We, The People get the answers they wanted. Here are a few of the problems with the poll:

  • An early question asks whether respondents have seen a police officer on their street in the last year – a ridiculously high bar (how much time do you actually spend looking at your street? A couple of minutes a day?). Not surprisingly, most people said no, preparing them to think policing is insufficient when they come to the next questions.
  • When the idea of political correctness is introduced, respondents are led to see it as something that limits the police’s effectiveness. Respondents are forced to choose between: “The police feel like they’re on my side with my priorities and interests at heart” and “The police increasingly feel as if they have their own politically correct agenda which does not match my interests”. This assumes political correctness is opposed to respondents’ interests: the choice is between being politically correct and acting in respondents’ interests. While it’s normal for these questions (known as polarities) to force respondents to choose between extreme positions, this question conflates two different debates (are the police politically correct? is that good or bad?) and in doing so leads respondents to think negatively about political correctness in policing.
  • In a series of statements, which respondents can agree or disagree with, six of the seven are phrased where agreement gives the answer that We, The People presumably wanted. This is bad polling practice. If you really want to measure public opinion you ask a question that presents both sides of an argument equally, then allow respondents to choose which they are closer to. Or if you really have to ask agree/disagree questions, the questions should be balanced overall so you’re not pushing a particular argument and you can compare skewed questions against each other.

In fairness, the poll is less bad than the previous one: the wording of each individual question is less skewed this time. But the order and overall balance of the questions still add up to a loaded poll.

A good guide of a fair poll is that you shouldn’t be able to guess the view of the organisation commissioning the poll from the questions. This clearly fails that.

It is also arguable the poll fails the Market Research Society’s Code of Conduct, which says (33d) “Members must take reasonable steps to ensure … that participants are not led towards a particular point of view”.

Amusingly, despite the leading questions, the poll still got some results that the Mail choose to ignore, including:

  • 48% agreed “The police need to act with political correctness as it encourages acceptance and decency in society”, with 32% disagreeing (strangely, this was missed off We, The People’s press release).
  • 59% agreed “Hate crime is a blight on our society and the police are right to try to tackle it” compared with 24% saying “The concept of hate crime is well intentioned but threatens Britain’s heritage of free speech and open expression”.


Emergency podcast: Bye bye Boris & what happens next? Polling Matters

Posted in Politics, Polling Matters on July 9th, 2018 by Leo – Comments Off on Emergency podcast: Bye bye Boris & what happens next? Polling Matters

On a special episode of the Polling Matters podcast, Keiran and I discuss a momentous 24 hours in Westminster that has seen both David Davis and Boris Johnson resign. We ask what happens next and look at what polling of Tory members by YouGov tells us about the future direction of the Conservative Party and who might come to lead it.