For the past few weeks it has felt as if balanced journalism has taken a break and that everything is propaganda.
I suppose it’s wise to be suspicious of everything until 6 May has passed, and in particular it’s a good idea to question any information published by the opinion pollsters You Gov. Here’s a five reasons why.
1. Loaded questions
Here’s an example of a You Gov question, posted on a Digital Spy forum two days ago. In the words of the author: ‘Notice anything missing?’
27 April 2010 – Still No Lib Dems?
Click image for full-size – original can be seen here
2. More loaded questions?
It’s difficult to tell how balanced You Gov’s questions are without going through them all, but from the evidence of this Twitpic image and the comments beneath, well – you can make your own mind up.
“Everything scares me about the Liberal Democrats” – 22 April 2010
Click on the image to view full size. Original posting can be seen here.
3. Fixed debate polls?
As Michael Crick explains in this blog post, You Gov ran their post-debate poll following the second televised debate at a rather curious time. Between 9.27pm and 9.31pm, to be precise. The debate finished a 9.30pm – meaning:
In Crick’s words:
This may explain why Yougov gave David Cameron a better rating than the other post-debate polls did last night. For Nick Clegg ended the debate with a very powerful closing speech, probably the best of the evening.
According to the BBC video system Clegg didn’t start speaking until 9:29:18 and finished at 9:30:47
So many of those polled by You Gov last night must have voted without seeing his final speech. [link to Crick's blog]
4. Stephan Shakespeare (the CIO)
You’d think that the most important aspect of any poll is that it is unbiased. And who’s You Gov’s CEO – the man ultimately responsible for making this so? Stephan Shakespeare, an ex-Conservative parliamentary candidate for Colchester and the owner of Conservative Home.
5. Nadhim Zahawi (the founder)
A follow on from the last one. Nadham Zahawi founded You Gov 10 years ago and was its CEO up until February this year when, of course, he stepped down to stand as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stratford.
It’s just the type of business arangement that I used to experience during my time in Madrid. Florentino Perez would be proud.
Still, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that any information published by You Gov was false is any way. They might send me a letter or something.
Image credit: secretlondon123