Pro-Brexit anti-Lords poll splashed by the Mail comes under fire for “loaded” questions

May 24th, 2018

Leo Barasi of the PB/Polling Matters podcast sets out his reasons

Leo Barasi, a regular with Keiran Pedley on the PB/Polling Matters Podcasts is no stranger to PBers and his is always worth listening to.

He’s posted on his “Noise of the Crowd” blog observations about the ComRes poll that featured in yesterday’s Daily Mail. He writes:

The fundamental problem is that the questions were nearly all one-sided agree/disagree questions, with each one loaded against the Lords and Remainers. A couple of examples:

It would be wrong for the House of Lords to try and thwart Brexit [“thwart”!]”

“It is wrong that the House of Lords has already voted against the government on Brexit 14 times”

“There are currently 780 members of the Lords compared to 650 MPs in the Commons. This is too many”

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 collection of the questions should be balanced so you’re not pushing a particular argument and you can compare the skewed questions against each other.

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.

The poll was done for a new pro-Brexit campaign called “We, the People”.

I have invited ComRes to respond.

Mike Smithson