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UK Government manipulation of polling?


Clyde1998
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Incredible Twitter thread here about polling during the 2017 election:

The thread alleges a private company, YouGov, was threatened by the UK Government not to publish legally releasable information and forcing said company to manipulate future information to make the Government look better. The source was YouGov's Political Research Manager at the time of that election.

Some key polls that were supressed include Labour drawing level with the Tories on the day of the Manchester Bombings and a leaders' debate poll (I'm guessing after the 29 May Sky/Channel 4 debate) showing one in four Conservative voters thinking Corbyn performed best, with a huge Corbyn win among the general public. Additionally the methodology was adjusted in order to boost the Conservative share in the final polls. All of these things would have been are major psychological moments - showing Labour could win the election, Corbyn was actually popular vs May and Labour had continued momentum going into polling day.

It shows polls could be manipulated by governmental pressure in order to affect public opinion. Also makes me wonder how much influence the government has over major companies.

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I have always thought that opinion polls are designed to manipulate behaviour rather than to measure it it. They can do both of course, but the main reason for their existence is to manipulate.

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On 6/8/2022 at 11:43 AM, Clyde1998 said:

Incredible Twitter thread here about polling during the 2017 election:

The thread alleges a private company, YouGov, was threatened by the UK Government not to publish legally releasable information and forcing said company to manipulate future information to make the Government look better. The source was YouGov's Political Research Manager at the time of that election.

Some key polls that were supressed include Labour drawing level with the Tories on the day of the Manchester Bombings and a leaders' debate poll (I'm guessing after the 29 May Sky/Channel 4 debate) showing one in four Conservative voters thinking Corbyn performed best, with a huge Corbyn win among the general public. Additionally the methodology was adjusted in order to boost the Conservative share in the final polls. All of these things would have been are major psychological moments - showing Labour could win the election, Corbyn was actually popular vs May and Labour had continued momentum going into polling day.

It shows polls could be manipulated by governmental pressure in order to affect public opinion. Also makes me wonder how much influence the government has over major companies.

neither twitter thread seems to be there now.

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5 hours ago, phart said:

neither twitter thread seems to be there now.

Looks like the lawyers have been in touch.  Interestingly, Zahawi didn’t deny the call took place but attempted to portray it as a “ joke between old friends”

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7 hours ago, phart said:

neither twitter thread seems to be there now.

There's a news story here: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jun/08/yougov-sat-on-2017-poll-as-it-was-too-positive-on-labour-claims-ex-employee

2 hours ago, aaid said:

Looks like the lawyers have been in touch.  Interestingly, Zahawi didn’t deny the call took place but attempted to portray it as a “ joke between old friends”

Invariably that's what's happened. One of the posts in the thread included a comment from the Conservatives' strategist  Lynton Crosby that was something along the lines of "we'll put YouGov out of business if you're wrong, like we put Populus out of business" - at least in terms of political polling.

I believe there's likely more in it than a "joke between old friends".

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/8/2022 at 1:38 PM, Orraloon said:

I have always thought that opinion polls are designed to manipulate behaviour rather than to measure it it. They can do both of course, but the main reason for their existence is to manipulate.

Ditto

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