Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The most useless YouGov poll ever?

There are some polls that are guaranteed to produce inaccurate results no matter how well-conducted they are.  For example, there's an established phenomenon whereby if you ask respondents how many sexual partners they've had, men will on average overstate the true number, and women will understate it.  People will also claim to have given far more money to charity in the last month or year than they actually have.

There's a similar problem with today's YouGov poll that seeks to test public attitudes to David Cameron's alleged debauchery during his highly privileged university education.  62% of respondents agreed with the proposition that the incident was "years ago" and thus "couldn't matter less".  I guarantee you there are people among that 62% who think less of Cameron as a result of the pig story, but who nevertheless gave the answer they felt reflected best on themselves.

You may have seen the famous Yes Minister scene that demonstrates how it's possible for pollsters to get almost any answer they want.  The question sequence that would have produced damning results for Cameron goes something like this...

1) Do you agree that sexual acts involving animals should be regarded as criminal offences?

2) At present, sexual acts involving live animals are criminalised, but those involving dead animals are not.  Do you believe this is a loophole that should be closed?

3) Do you believe that people should be held responsible for their actions as adults, even if they took place twenty or thirty years ago?

4) If it is true that the current Prime Minister performed a sexual act on a dead pig as a student, do you believe this is a matter of legitimate public interest?


  1. Let's forget about this one now. Stop being so pigheaded.

  2. It's a poke in a pig situation indeed ....

  3. Yeh, what does it matter that a millionaire is made worthy of leading a political party and even a country, what the hell, let bygones be bygones eh.

    Except that these rich boys' clubs do bloody well matter, because they keep the establishment in charge, they absolutely ensure that the CLASS system is fully maintained with the ongoing divide and rule mentality.

    They are a disgrace and an embarrassment. How the bloody hell do these peolple get to such positions of power, making decisions about peoples lives and livelihoods both in ukok and abroad, it is just sick, and very very wrong!

    It's the 21st century, but really, it feels as though we are going backwards to the 18th and 19th centuries where the poor and non land owning ( ie stealing) folk, did not even have a vote. What next, most likely modern style workhouses, without the house bit!