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Conventional pollsters show big Labour leads

January 30th, 2005

    The methodology divide deepens

Three new surveys this morning from conventional interview-based pollster show big leads for Labour and contrast sharply with the interviewer-free YouGov poll on Friday that had the party just 1% ahead.

ICM in the Sunday Telegraph, which uses telephone interviews, have the Labour margin down by 2% on last week’s survey by the same pollster in the Guardian. The shares are – CON 32(+1): LAB 37(-1): LD 21(nc). Interestingly both YouGov and ICM are recording the same trend.

The MORI poll in the Observer is the first to be published from the firm since November and the comparison is based on that survey. The figures – CON 32(+1): LAB 38(+3): LD 22%(-1). The pollsters uses conventional face-to-face interviews.

Communicate Research for the Independent on Sunday has, with comparisons on their last survey six weeks ago, LAB 40 (+1): CON 32 (-2) LD 20 (+1). This contrasts sharply with ICM which has seen a 4% drop in the Labour lead during the same period.

The Lib Dem share remains fairly constant at 20-22% with all the pollsters. CR’s lower figure is probably due to the fact that, uniquely, it does not prompt with the party options.

The huge gap between the conventional firms and the internet-based YouGov is underlined by two surveys on how people would vote in the Euro Constitution referendum – the formal question for which was announced during the week. ICM record 39%: YES 41% NO. Compare that with yesterday’s YouGov figure which has 24% YES: 45% NO.

There was a difference in the questions that were put. YouGov – where respondents read from a computer screen – had “If a referendum was held tomorrow, would you vote Yes or No in response to the question ‘Should the UK approve the treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union?’ The ICM telephone interviewers asked: “Should the United Kingdom approve the treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union?

The internet pollsters would argue that when you vote you do it in private at a time that you choose by reading a question and marking a ballot paper without the potentially distorting intervention of another human being.

The telephone pollsters argue strongly that internet survey samples are skewed because they are restricted to those who have access and are members of the pollster’s panel. Maybe this will be the biggest question to be resolved on May 5th.

Latest IG Index spread prices: LAB 355-362: CON 189-196: LDs 70-74

Latest Spreadfair prices: LAB 357-359: CON 189-195: LDs 71-73.4.

Mike Smithson






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