Should we be worried about the polling scam??
Reproduced above is part of a page from the BNP website and sets out a scam aimed at both raising the party’s polling numbers and making money at the same time.
The site spells it out: “..Despite recently getting two MEPs elected our support in Yougov polls has recently dropped to 3%. One of the main reasons people donâ€™t vote for us is because they believe we are a wasted vote, and itâ€™s online polls such as Yougov that give them this impression! If EVERY BNP supporter joined Yougov, we could put our support on a par with the Lib Dems and possibly higher! On top of this we could actually raise money for the Party via Yougov as you actually get paid for participating in surveys…”
The piece goes on to suggest that if every member signed up “the party could potentially get Â£100,000â€™s per year via Yougov!!!”
Wow – it seems too good to be true and I’m sure it is.
Such ideas have been floated from time to time and clearly all online pollsters which use polling panels are vulnerable. There was talk of UKIP doing the same thing ahead of the 2004 Euro election. I’m emailed Peter Kellner and I’m sure he’ll tell us that measures are in place to identify and deal with such approaches.
As a starting pointing the BNP might have had a better chance of succeeding if they hadn’t first put it on a website that anybody could find within a few seconds on Google.
Some people will get through the pollster’s defences but it has a very large list and it’s possible to be on it for months without being asked to take part in a voting intention poll.
Should we be worried? No.
UPDATE – Response from YouGov
Peter Kellner has sent me an email saying amongst other things:-
“.YouGov actively recruits the majority of our panel using a variety of techniques, although self-signup and referrals from other members are also possible. We constantly monitor the profile of new panel members, and track differences in survey results, to ensure that our panel is representative, and to protect the quality and integrity of our data. Moreover, YouGov’s sampling methods ensure that new members who sign themselves up cannot have a statistically significant impact on any YouGov polling results.
As a further test, YouGov has examined the results of the survey conducted after BBC Question Time poll. The survey, of 1314 electors, included 156 who had joined our panel since May 2009. This covers the period when, it is claimed, BNP bloggers advised party members to join our panel. Of these 156, just one respondent said they would vote BNP in a general election. Any attempts to infiltrate YouGov’s panel with the aim of increasing the BNP’s reported support have plainly failed. We are not surprised: the number and characteristics of people joining the panel since May have been no different from normal.”