An unverified source in a Labour Party social media group has stated that an insider to a major polling organisation has been told to manipulate polling information.
The post is copied below verbatim. I stress that this is unverified, but it certainly raises questions about practices within polling organisations;
” Just had an interesting conversation online with my friend who works for…erm…a leading polling organisation that is mentioned on here a lot. She’s talked to me about her frustration with her work before, but this time she was much more clear and unambiguous about what she was saying, and she said I could describe our conversation online as long as I didn’t mention either her name or the name of the organisation.
She is responsible for selecting samples from the polls they conduct – essentially stripping out a number of people’s responses in order to remove imbalances in the demographic mix of the poll and make a sample that is representative of the whole population.
Or at least that’s what she used to do. She expressed her extreme frustration with the way her job has changed in the past couple of years. She still has to make samples that give the right demographic mix, but now she is asked to make much more complex selections – often using other data known to the organisation about the *individuals*, mostly from their answers to *previous polls*, to give results which are “both demonstrably representative and tend toward a desired result”.
I asked what she meant by a desired result. She replied that it’s basically “the result that the management would like to see, which in practice is the result that the money wants.”
So I asked what that usually means politically, and she said that it usually means she’s skewing the result politically to the right. “So you find yourself skewing the results against what would be favourable to the Labour Party?” I asked. “Yes,” she replied, “certainly if by the Labour Party you mean Jeremy Corbyn.”
She ended our discussion saying “I actually used to believe that we were here to accurately measure public opinion. Now there can be no doubt that our role is to gently but inexorably push public opinion in the direction the money wants it to go.”
If true this is indeed alarming (but perhaps not entirely surprising) because polls have the ability to not only affect public opinion but potentially create self-fulfilling prophecies.
Below – Screenshot of original social media post