I posted these a couple of weeks before the election, but I see more and more of them cropping up in the comments, so I think it’s worth reposting it for newcomers.

1) The polls are ALL wrong, the real position is obviously X

Er… based on what? The reality is that opinion polling is pretty much the only way of measuring public opinion. We have some straws in the wind from mid-term elections, but they tend to be low turnout protest votes, don’t tend to predict general election results and are anyway quite a long time ago now. Equally a few people point to local government by-elections, but when compared to general election results these normally grossly overestimate Liberal Democrat support. If you think the polls are wrong just because they “feel” wrong to you, it probably says more about what you would like the result to be than anything about the polls.

2) I speak to lots of people and none of them will vote for X!

Actually, so do pollsters, and unless you regularly travel around the whole country and talk to an exceptionally representative demographic spread of people, they do it better than you do. We all have a tendency to be friends with people with similar beliefs and backgrounds, so it is no surprise that many people will have a social circle with largely homogenous political views. Even if you talk to a lot of strangers about politics, you yourself are probably exerting an interviewer effect in the way you ask.

3) How come I’ve never been invited to take part?

There are about 40 million adults in the UK. Each opinion poll involves about 1,000 people. If you are talking about political voting intention polls, then probably under 100 are conducted by phone each year. You can do the sums – if there are 40,000,000 adults in the UK and 100,000 are interviewed for a political opinion poll then on average you will be interviewed once every 400 years. It may be a long wait.

4) They only interview 1000 people, you’d need to interview millions of people to make it accurate!

George Gallup used to use a marvellous analogy when people raised this point: you don’t need to eat a whole bowl of soup to tell if it is too salty, providing it is sufficently stirred a single spoonful will suffice. The same applies to polls, providing an opinion poll accurately reflects the whole electorate (e.g, it has the right balance of male and female, the right age distribution, the right income distribution, people from the different regions of Britain in the correct proportions and so on) it will also accurately reflect their opinion.

In the 1930s in the USA the Literary Digest used to do mail-in polls that really did survey millions of people, literally millions. In 1936 they sent surveys to a quarter of the entire electorate and received 2 million replies. They confidently predicted that Alf Landon would win the imminent US Presidential election with 57% of the popular vote and 370 electoral votes. George Gallup meanwhile used quota sampling to interview just a few thousand people and predicted that Landon would lose miserably to Roosevelt. In reality, Roosevelt beat Landon in a landslide, winning 61% of the vote and 523 electoral votes. Gallup was right, the Digest was wrong.

As long as it is sufficent to dampen down sample error, it isn’t the number of people that were interviewed that matters, it is how representative of the population they are. The Literary Digest interviewed millions, but they were mainly affluent people so their poll wasn’t representative. Gallup interviewed only a few thousand, but his small poll was representative, so he got it right.

5) Polls give the answer the people paying for it want

The answers that most clients are interested in are the truth – polls are very expensive, if you just wanted someone to tell you what you wanted to hear there are far cheaper sources of sycophancy. The overwhelming majority of polling is private commercial polling, not stuff for newspapers, and here clients want the truth, warts and all. Polling companies do political polling for the publicity, there is comparatively little money in it. They want to show off their accuracy to impress big money clients, so it would be downright foolish for them to sacrifice their chances with the clients from whom they make the real money to satisfy the whims of clients who don’t really pay much (not to mention that most pollsters value their own professional integrity too much!)

6) Pollsters only ask the people who they know will give them the answer they want

Responses to polls on newspaper websites and forums sometimes contain bizarre statements to the effect that all the interviews must have been done in London, the Guardian’s newsroom, Conservative Central Office etc. They aren’t, polls are sampled so they have the correct proportion of people from each region of Britain. You don’t have to trust the pollsters on this – the full tables of the polls will normally have breakdowns by demographics including region, so you can see just how many people in Scotland, Wales, the South West, etc answered the poll. You can also see from the tables that the polls contain the right proportions of young people, old people and so on.

7) There is a 3% margin of error, so if the two parties are within 3% of each other they are statistically in a dead heat

No. If a poll shows one party on 46% and one party on 45% then it is impossible to be 95% confident (the confidence interval that the 3% margin of error is based upon) that the first party isn’t actually on 43%, but it is more likely than not that the party on 46% is ahead. The 3% margin of error doesn’t mean that any percentage with that plus or minus 3 point range is equally likely, 50% of the time the “real” figure will be within 1 point of the given figure.

8 ) Polls always get it wrong

In 1992 the pollsters did get it wrong, and most of them didn’t cover themselves in glory in 1997. However, lessons have been learnt and the companies themselves have changed. Most of the companies polling today did not even exist in 1992, and the methods they use are almost unrecognisable – in 1992 everyone used face-to-face polling and there was no political weighting or reallocation of don’t knows. Today polling is either done on the phone or using internet panels, and there are various different methods of political weighting, likelihood to vote filtering and re-allocation of don’t knows. In 2001 most of the pollsters performed well, and in 2005 they were all within a couple of points of the actual result, with NOP getting it bang on.

9) Polls never ask about don’t knows or won’t votes

Actually they always do. The newspapers publishing them may not report the figures, but they will always be available on the pollsters’ own website. Many companies (such as ICM and Populus) not only include don’t knows in their tables, but estimate how they would actually vote if there was an election tomorrow and include a proportion of them in their topline figures.


675 Responses to “REPOST: Too frequently asked questions”

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  1. In the end I reckoned it didn’t matter what anyone said last night, Camoron would be judged the winner.

    I think the public are just not listening to Brown anymore, and the further this campaign goes on the more Clegg gets exposed.

    so here’s to the next five years of the Tories and what will be the most unpopular government in history!

  2. When the polls are averged we get the following

    Cameron winner on 36%
    Clegg second on 32%
    Brown third on 26%

    That is a 10% gap between blue and red.

    If we compare with the first debate then Clegg is -21%
    If we compare with the first debate then Cameron is +10%
    If we compare with the first debate then Brown is +7%

  3. Hi All, only just catching up here so apologies if this has been posted before…

    The detailed results for the Angus Reid poll are available (I imagine the YouGov ones will be up today, it will be interesting to compare.)

    The basic “who won?” question split very much along party lines. So DC won in part because his party is leading in the polls. Hardly surprising – in a debate where no knockout blow occurred, you would imagine that the result would tally closely with voting intention.

    DC got a small additional boost beyond that, imho, because he topped most of the individual policy area questions and the “looking prime ministerial” q.

    So DC will be pleased that his performance in the debate has cemented him as the front runner. From a GOTV perspective, also a good result.

    However, because he didn’t win the debate with a scoreline than differed markedly from the party vote shares, it looks less likely that the debate will shift those shares. And indeed, digging into the breakdowns in the AR data bear this out. Only a small percentage of current LD voters, for example, said they were now more likely to vote conservative. (A large percentage said they were *less* likely to vote conservative.) And that small percentage is balanced by an equally small percentage of conservative voters more likely to vote LD.

    A similar pattern holds for other two-party breaks. In summary, there is no evidence in this data that the debate will cause a significant shift in voting intention amongst those who currently have a preference.

    AR say that in the sub-sample of undecideds, NC did better and that the undecideds broke for him rather than DC. While this may appear good for the LDs, two notes of caution: (i) the sub-sample will have a higher MOE and (ii) those still undecided at this late stage are much less likely to turn out on the day. So I would not expect this to deliver a significant boost to the LDs.

    Of course this is just one poll – hopefully we will have the YG data soon to cross check.

  4. Mark JCL

    That is the most encouraging post from you. You only now need to abandon an element of wishful thinking and you’re there!

    It would not worry me if the site only received contributions from the experts with the rest of us asking the questions.

    I think providing specific insight is also useful.

  5. Okay…well, you hit the high spots of disgruntled ignorance rather well. That said, the analysis was a bit too generous in constantly suggesting everyone wanted the truth. For private internal polling, typically unrealeased, is conducted for clients who basically need intelligence to adjust their strategies.

    However, private clients often pay for public polls with deliberately skewed questions in order to bias the outcome. I would say polls conducted for special interest advocacy groups on their pet issues, not so much on prospective elections, are particularly bad for deliberately skewed polling. However, polls ordered by candiates are not immune to this. In America, a poll might be ordered with a prefacing question vaguely implying some sort of scandal or radical policy position on behalf of the other candidate, which then obviously skews the outcome.

    The game is not totally honest.

  6. In terms of the honesty of polls, let me say categorically that every single polling company acted entirely independantly and came up with the result according ot their methodology. As far as evidence goes, there is not a single shred of it, which in ANY way suggests that a compant skewed the results.

    Cameron communicates better. It is as plain and simple as that.

  7. As a general observation, I think the media are dreadful. What interest, for example, is there in a group interview where Hague says, at length that Cameron “won”, Cable say Clegg etc etc. Why do they feel that is useful or interesting to voters and viewers?

    The same is true with the journalists – a complete lack of objectivity and a total waste of time.

    Much more useful would be to a have a panel of genuinely disapssionate and knowledgable commentators, discussing the many details that were not followed through in the debate.

    By the way I agree with Wolf: DD kept things moving but never pushed any of them to actually answer questions put by another – the repeated “yes or no?” from Clegg to Cameron, being a very obvious example.

    How much more interesting it would have been if he had interrupted at that point and asked Cameron to answer, before being allowed to move on. If C had said “It’s not that simple”. he could have pointed out that it is a question that Cameron has often put to Brown at pmq’s

  8. I don’t believe Labours poster launch going on now on SKY News.

    “Don’t forget to vote Labour Gran”

    Would that be Grannies in Rochdale by any chance.

    Priceless !!!!!!!!!!

  9. Oh dear – pollsters feeling a bit battered they have to justify themselves
    If you polled the marginals where the real battle is you might get a truer picture.

  10. Anthony

    Enough of the speculation, impartiality and poll analysis.

    The time has come for you, the nationally-renowned poll expert, to tell us what you think the 2010 General Election result will be.

  11. @Matthew

    Peter Kellner has already given his prediction – do you think Anthony will dare disagree with this boss? ;) ;)

  12. Sorry if this is the wrong place, but can I ask any LibDems on here if I got this right:

    1)Did Clegg confirm last night that bankers tax would be set at 10% on all profit?
    2)Did he also say all bankers bonuses would be capped at £2,500??

    Am I missing something or is that a comparable tax to the, say, 0.5% proposed by taxes such as the Robin Hood or Tobin taxes?

    Would very much appreciate an answer if anyone can help.

  13. Type in Leaders Debate on google, and see some fairly effective political advertising. Tories will be outspending the other parties 4 to 1 in a final blitz over next week.

  14. Viewing figures 8 million by the way for last night.

  15. @ Howard :o

  16. @Paul Croft
    Before the debate DD discussed what he was able and not able to do and what you are suggesting was not in keeping with the rules of the debate
    I think the public do understand when a question has not been answered and leaves the door open for the other paries to then speculate the answer on the doorstep

  17. Effectively the Literary Digest undertook the world’s first big voodoo poll…

  18. RE: ROGER @ 9.40am.

    If you’d been reading the blog there have been loads of polls from the marginals – have you been paying attention. On average they show the Tories doing around 1-2% better than nationally, although not in LD/Tory marginals.

    My Big Question – Antony, presumably by definintion an opinion poll can not detect a late shift in public opinion (like people think happened on the eve of 1992). If enough people think “I will vote Con” and then last minute think “no, too risky” or the other way round then it wouldn’t be shown. Could this account for some polling error in the past?

  19. Sue Marsh

    “1)Did Clegg confirm last night that bankers tax would be set at 10% on all profit?
    2)Did he also say all bankers bonuses would be capped at £2,500??”

    I have to admit I was drifting in and out of consciousness during the debate. The £2500 figure he said was for cash. I think the broad idea (not just LD) is that banker’s bonuses should be linked to shares or other methods of reward for long term bank performance to reduce short termism.

    I recall him saying 10% but I’m not sure what of.

  20. I know it’s a cheap shot, but check out Clegg making his speech in front of the Labour osters, very funny (Sky)

  21. Patience Matthew…

  22. Teehee, posters still up!!! LMAO

  23. Eoin

    Cameron communicates better

    He is articulate. Compared with the 5min that the majority of people get in their lives with say, a top consultant or barrister, being courted by him for four and a half hours is certainly a novelty. Most people say he puts in too many extra words though.

  24. @Billy,

    Most people I know struggle with economics. 3% tax cut for banks means nothing to people. cutting tax cuts for families earning over £50,000 means nothing to people. I think voters hear 50K and think… hmmm ‘that sounds like loadsa dosh- why should they get tax credits’. Anyone in a relationship with children of course will know that £50K combined is only £25K spearately… thats two low grade teachers. With mortgages, creche fees, food inflation and petrol inflation and a family holiday- there is not much left after that.

    But when Cameron says lets give contracts to small businesses, i can hear my partner’s father purring. When he says lets cut the jobs tax, the nationwise agreement is palpable. If Brown rebuffs that with ‘that is six thousand millions, he wants to contract the economy by the UK population’s eyes spin in their head. We can all do convolution, but it gets you nowhere. I remember teaching Russian history to a borading school full of intelligent children as an A-Level topic. About four weeks into term one of the youngsters asked me, ‘sir- where is Russia?’. Cameron gets this- Brown does not. Mind you, his poster this morning is the best Labour poster of this campaign by a million miles.

  25. @Sue Marsh
    I am not a Lib Dem, but their policy is to tax banks an additional 10% on their profits. This is different to the Robin Hood/Tobin tax which is proposed on every deal/transaction.
    On bonuses it is a cash limit on bonuses, meaning anything above that has to be given in shares which you can’t sell for 5 years. In practice this would be avoided by just raising salaries (banks are already doing this).

  26. @Anthony

    If you chide readers for not understanding the reality why don’t you get things like your swingometer right. It gives you nonsense results on national swing. Using your own target seat data (For which I must thank you) and individually calculated results by seat provides a completely different result than the one you show nationally.

    The constant references to a hung parliament are a complete crock.

  27. Paul Croft – But that happened to Clegg and I thought it was outrageous.

    Firstly, Dimbleby DIDN’T give Clegg the same airtime as the others in my view, several times hubby and I shouted at the screen “What about Clegg”

    Then twice he basically accused Clegg of not answering the actual question on getting people off benefits. I didn’t feel it was his place, certainly if he didn’t make Cameron answer Clegg’s questions later on.

    I thought the background was awful – It was distracting and it kept changing colour which stopped you from listening to what they were saying and made them look orange.

    Finally Dimbleby KEPT repeating the questions, but notice that he repeated them more when they were relevant to the particular respondent, ie, the one about not listening to people’s fears on immigration he repeated AT Brown, the one about people on benefits he kept repeating before he asked Clegg to answer etc.

    This is why I loathe Dimbleby as a presenter. He is much clever than, say, Boulton at being biased subliminally.

  28. I don’t really agree with much of this. The polls are always 100% accurate because they reflect how people responded to the question put. but that doesn’t always help much when we are trying to work out who will get the most seats in Parliament. Very often the polls don’t have that much work to do – Blair’s wins were more or less predictable given the weak opposition even without the polls.

    The way the question is put makes a big difference:

    “Who woud you like to be PM?”

    will get a very different response to

    “How do you intend to vote at the next election”

    because in the second question respondents are more likely to consider their tactical voting than for the first question (but then again they may not – its hard to guarantee). Tactical voting can really scew the results because the FPTP system amplifies relatively small differences in voting patterns – Tories on 35% hung Parliament, Tories on 40% – Tory majority.

    Finally polls tend to reflect the requirements of the media organisation that paid for them:-

    Tories win as long expected: dull

    LibDems carry balance of power with 1/7th of seats despiute getting 1/3rd of vote: exciting

    Most polls more than 2 days out from an election have always tended to go for the hung Parliament option – it’s always easy to promote when no party is likely to get more than 40% of the votes cast. Pollsters can always give a more accurate prediction based on marginal seats changing hands in the last two days and then claim they were right!

    Finally, I would point out that whilst pollsters like to claim they have learned some lessons from the 90’s the public always have plnety of new lessons to teach them. I suspect we will get a lot of Labour apathy this time round. Labour voters don’t like to get out of their seats for a no-hope party especially when the weather is chilly and wet and the leader has just been rather foolish. I think many will stay at home and the Labour vote could collapse. I notice that the Guardian has been suggesting just that and a new Labour poster shows their concerns about low Labour turn-out.

  29. @AW
    Repost
    I think the article could be usefully put inyour FAQ and then we could just point to it every time we get a ‘the lads down at the Dog and Duck’ post..

  30. Thanks for a very insightful and authoritative discussion of polling and a great website. I look at it every day, sometimes several times. Really well done.

  31. Eoin

    I’m thinking that people may well be overcome by the fluency, but when when the deal is done there will be little come back, and they will be left to fend for themselves

  32. Andy S – Thanks (sorry and Colin Greene) I had a cold-hand-of-fear moment about this as I was going to bed. I’m amazed the others didn’t answer these policies.
    Am I wrong or would they be disastrous to the banking sector in the UK?
    I’m not trying to be partisan here, it’s just something i missed and feel I must have wrong or the other parties would be attacking it.
    10% on all bank profits sounds totally unworkable to me, anyone know more about this?

  33. For people that are interested I have done a rought analysis of Pollsters performance from 1970. I have not named any polling company since that is not the intention. the 600 or so polls this time round give blue a 7% lead over red. As we enter the final stage of the campaign, readers will observe that it has been tightening.

    1970: (BBC)Most opinion polls prior to the election had predicted a comfortable Labour victory and had put Labour up to 12.4% ahead of the Conservatives. However on election day, a late swing gave the Conservatives a 3.4% lead.

    1974: (BBC) Voters confounded final opinion polls which had predicted a comfortable lead for Labour of between 10 and 20 seats.

    1979: From the start of the campaign the Conservatives looked the likely winners, running ten points ahead in the polls. (they eventually won by c.7%

    1983: The polls were bang on

    1987: The polls forecast 26% for yellow they actually got 22%. they under-forecast Labour by c.2% They predicted the Tory share bang on.

    1992: Polls got it wrong. Blues outscored the polls by c.5%. Reds under scored polls by c.5%

    1997: Polls overstated Labour’s lead by c.6%

    2001: polls again overstated Labour’s lead by c.6.5%

    2005: Polls were within their margin of error, allbeit sightly underscoring blue and slightly over stating red.

    I predict their perfomance this year will be out by 2-3% (within MoE).

  34. Historically, I think the first debate will be seen as a big one-off. Clegg was a new face, was not expected to do well and no-one thought he was a threat to the other two parties (he also got the position on the left which meant he didn’t have to wave his arms about!).

    Labour and Tory voters did not realise that by saying he had won they might hurt the fortunes of their own party. I’m a Lib Dem, and I didn’t know who had won the first debate at the end of it, to be honest. Of course I knew (as someone who pays attention to these things) that the result was vital so if asked I would have voted for Clegg!

    If I was totally honest I thought Clegg was as poor as the others in debate 2 and Cameron may have shaded debate 3. If I was polled i would have said Clegg won all three, because I think he is the only one who will do something about the political system, and therefore he needs every vote he can get. Other party activists on thsi site may perhaps ask themselves whether their reaction is based on similar considerations!

    I thought Clegg gave the right answer to the hole in the finances question, but he did not articulate it well. All 3 parties are scared to death of what the electorate will do if they tell the truth, so the only way that the necessary steps will be taken is if all 3 take responsibility for the decisions so that no-one can gain from the public discontent. It really is a bit like the second world war, where political differences were set aside for a defined purpose. Unfortunately it is unlikely to happen.

    Anyway, the conclusion is that from now on the “performance” in debates will follow the polls at the time, with only a % or two either side – as it has in debates 2 and 3. thsi is what happens in the US, with the debates firming up support rather than changing the game (as the first debate certainly did).

    From a partisan Lib Dem point of view part of me now wants a Tory victory by less than 10 seats!

  35. Andrew McCaig – I interesting stuff.

    We put the first debate as a draw between Clegg and Brown, thought Cameron was dismal

    We gave the second one to Cameron and Brown and thought Clegg was lacklustre.

    We gave last night to Clegg and Cameron (shhhhhhhhhhh) didn’t think Brown did very well.

    Just goes to show what we know eh?

  36. Ryan – it’s the changes that are interesting. So the phrasing of the question itself becomes immaterial. Last week 35/33/25, this week 36/30/29. The intersting bit is the shift in intention.

    Are you referring to data when you say “Most polls more than 2 days out from an election have always tended to go for the hung Parliament option”?

    The data always leads to correction after the event. The interesting aspect this time is that pollsters Angus Reid and YouGov have different methods that produce different results.

    Whichever produces the more accurate polling data next week in the last couple of days of the campaign can look forward to more commercial commissions. Whichever loses can look forward to changeing their methods next time.

    Personally I think “Don’t forget to vote” would work better for Labour than “don’t forget to vote Labour”, simply because high turn-out is going to produce a tighter result.

    Not sure about the weather effects, but the forecast is for cool & showery.

  37. Sue:

    Yes, agreed. I never watch question time [hate the squabbly format anyway] because I just don’t like his voice or manner. That aside I thought the first debate was by far the best presented and chaired anyway.

    The post-debate tv is truly dreadful: I keep imagining a football match being similarly discussed with opposing loyalists saying why their team were best. At least with football, although “winning” is a factual concept that doesn’t happen – what you get is a proper analysis of what actually happened.

    In these post-debates there was none of that: why should you be asking fellow-posters on this forum what Lib Dem policy is? Surely anything that was unclear or equivocal should have been picked up and discussed properly, on the night, on tv? Otherwise what are they there for?

    Disgusted/County Durham.

  38. The Polls Get It Wrong

    Grossly unfair – in my view (I am not a pollster). for a variety of reasons discussed well on this site,
    In 1992, the polls said it was close – it was.
    In 1997, they said Labour would win easily – they did..
    You think that a pollster’s margin of error is large? – try an engineer’s. The difference is that the engineer sells the margin to the client as a safety margin – the pollster can only admit to it.

  39. Anthiony on point 9 you lost me., You have never posted the don’t knows, just like every other non pollster media, newspapers, radio, TV, blogs, and on and on are only interested in the main three parties points so they can say who won and who lost.

    It’s not good enough to say it’s not right that Don’t Know’s are not mentioned when 99% of the media don’t mention them, and it’s certainly not good enough to just say ‘go to the pollster site where they are listed.

    Why not just just put links to the pollsters webpages on this site in that case, if that’s we’re we are supposed to go to get the full information,

  40. The big problem with the polls this year is that since the first debate, the polls have been all over the place on the LibDem percentage – from 34% to 23%, depending on the poll. The average may be right, but it suggests there are some difficulties in measuring LibDem support, which don’t seem to apply to Tories & Labour, whose percentages are much more consistent.

  41. @Billy Bob,

    Brown has another bite of the cherry tonight. He is on Paxman at c.8.30pm i think.

  42. Sue,

    I am pretty sure I heard all three of them propose a tax on bank profits or something similar. 10% on profits to pay for any future bail out is pretty much what the IMF is proposing isn’t it? If I could operate my personal finances like a business and only pay 10% on “profits” I would be delighted!

    Clegg’s proposal to ban bonuses for managers in banks sounded a bit dubious though! Very populist. I thought he made a good case for the 10,000 threshold though, in the context of getting people off benefits. It is good old fashioned socialist redistribution though!

  43. whats peter kellners latest take on things ?

  44. @ Eoin – “Brown has another bite of the cherry tonight. He is on Paxman at c.8.30pm i think.”

    Or another chance to bomb, depending on how you look at it.

  45. Eoin

    Did you hear NC being asked on R4 Pm: How many noughts in a billion? It was the end of a long hot day and quite a funny interview (Duffygate day)?

    Did wonder if we would get tears – GB was definately red eyed at the start of last nights debate.

    Will watch Paxman, thanks.

  46. Welshman,

    Pollsters change their predicitions more often than my mum redecorates her front room, and that is some feat let me tell you.

  47. Are we not also missing something important about last night’s polls and the polls in general?

    They seem to show that those certain to vote for a certain party are rising, and when these people are polled there is barely any deviance from what they intend to do.

    On average it’s about Con 80%, Lab 70% and LD 60% of their certain voters that are certain to vote. So the weighting, based on recent polls, is about Con 38, Lab 28, LD 25.

    However, the polls seem to suggest that those likely to vote but are not 100% certain of which way – which is a crucial group for this election – are far less likely to vote Con, and more likely to vote LD. If that’s the case, there would be a significant drop in Con vote, almost entirely at LD’s expense.

    What we desperately need is a poll of people likely or certain to vote, but are not yet certain of which party, but do know which party they wont vote for.

  48. Viewing figures 8 million.

    Down on the first one but higher than the second.

    But how many actually stuck it out for the full debate.

    I suggest that figure is much much smaller.

    In fact easily less than half that number.

    But I would like to see some actual evidence to prove my assertion other than the anecdotal evidence I have personally heard today.

    Either way it is only a small proportion of the entire electorate watched and more detailed polling shows only a very few are actually motivated to change their vote, so much for winning or losing the debate.

  49. @Eoin,

    “In terms of the honesty of polls, let me say categorically that every single polling company acted entirely independantly and came up with the result according ot their methodology. As far as evidence goes, there is not a single shred of it, which in ANY way suggests that a compant skewed the results.

    Cameron communicates better. It is as plain and simple as that.”

    You are speaking a lot of sense, Eoin – as usual. DC was the best last night, and I say that as someone who clearly admitted that NC was by far the best in debate 1, and debate 2 was a draw between all 3 leaders. However, I really don’t know what to expect in tonight’s polls. The BBC and ITV news have barely mentioned that DC won the debate – a fact that I think might hurt the Tories a bit (but not probably reduce their vote).

    If I were to predict tonight polls, I’d say:-

    Cons – 35%
    Labour – 27%
    Lib Dems – 29%

  50. I am afraid all the clutching at Straws by our left wing friends on here needs to stop.Reality needs to set in.Gordon Brown is finished ! He is holed beneath the water line.He is third in most of the polls and he was a distant third last night.The harder he tries the worst he performs and the more lies he spouts.Clegg MAY BE seriously damaged also with his “ammnesty” or whatever he wants to call it for illegal immigrants and his waving arms about this and denying is undoubted love for the EURO. He is a good performer NC and his tax policy is excellent and a real vote winner,but just like Ken Clarke for the tories,people in this country are Eurosceptic and Immigration is a HUGE issue,this stops them achieving real power. I do not know what the polls will say,but i think Cameron may well get his majority and his poisened chalice.Clegg will live to fight another day and Labour may now find themselves the third party

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