A senior Conservative MP has leaked his party’s private polling to a journalist. ITV‘s Paul Brand reports that the internal polling shows Labour 12 points ahead, leading to “blue panic”:
Public polling might put Labour only 2 points ahead of Tories, but one senior Conservative MP told me this week that internal polling shows a 12 point gap. Blue panic.
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) November 19, 2017
The huge 12-point difference is much higher than the gap shown by public polls. Recent public polls place Labour around 2 points ahead. But not long ago, many of these polling companies got the general election result wildly wrong:
Final Con leads by pollster:
Ipsos Mori: awaiting.
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) June 7, 2017
In the end, the Conservatives won the election by around 2 points. Nearly every polling company was out by more than the standard margin of error of 3%. Prolific pollsters BMG, ICM, and ComRes were notably way off.
Why were the pollsters so far off?
During the 2017 election, the huge variety in polling results was because of the difference in methodology. Polling companies such as ICM and ComRes failed to anticipate voter turnout, particularly among the young. This suppressed the Labour vote because young people are way more likely to support the party.
Conservative source denies
While Brand says his 12-point figure comes from a “very senior” Conservative MP, another Conservative source has since denied it. The source insists that the party’s private polling is “in-line” with the public polls.
British Polling Council rules
But there may be a way in which the polling result can be confirmed. The British Polling Council has rules for if poll results are leaked (rule 2.6):
The research organisation must place other relevant data on its web site within 2 working days of the original release of the results into the public domain in order to place such information into their proper context.
So if the 12-point figure is entirely accurate, the research organisation should publish relevant tables by 21 November. There are two problems, though. First, the company may not be a member of the British Polling Council. During the 2017 general election, Crosby Textor carried out private polling for the Conservatives. The company, co-created by long-term Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby, is not a member of the council. Second, it would be difficult to prove the polling company had broken the rules, or even that the poll actually exists. Earlier this year, Labour’s Lord George Foulkes called the industry “self-regulated” with power that is “without responsibility or supervision”.
If accurate, the leaked private polling is brilliant news for people who want an end to the Conservative government. Still, the stakes are too high for Labour supporters to take anything for granted. Whenever the next general election happens, it will have to be all systems go.
– Fight back with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?