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Was the Independent “conned” on the Harman poll?

November 27th, 2006

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    YouGov’s actual figures were neutral for Harriet and bad for Brown

We’ve now got the full data from this morning’s poll by YouGov that was reported in the Indpendent – and my warning that “.. we need to see the full detail of how the survey was carried out before coming to firm conclusions” could not have been more right.

For the actual numbers do show that 15% of respondents said they were “much more” or a “little more” likely to vote Labour if Gordon Brown was leader and Harriet Harman was deputy.

    But here’s the rub. The Harman spinners conveniently ignored that an equal proportion, 15% – said they would be LESS LIKELY to vote Labour with these two in the job.

When the Brown-Benn option was put 12% said more likely and 12% less likely. All the other candidates reported negatives when paired with Brown. Hain was 9%-16%; Blears was 8-16%; Johnson 8%-17%; and Cruddas 6-14%.

So not one of the pairings involving Gordon Brown showed any extra potential support for Labour. The best that could be said was that Benn and Harman would have a neutral affect.

To each of the pairings 15 or 16% said the line-up would make no difference because they would vote Labour anyway and in each case 43% of respondents said that would not vote Labour anyway. The “we’ll vote Labour” anyway numbers look remarkably small.

The Independent which carried the story this morning should have asked a few more questions. The actual figures suggest that they might have been conned.

Mike Smithson






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