Saturday, March 10, 2018

Leonard left red-faced as Labour propaganda site admits SNP is still ahead in internal polling

The new Scottish Labour and anti-independence propaganda site The Red Robin has until now been best known for the inexplicable decision of CommonSpace (an ostensibly pro-independence news outlet) to actively promote it as if it was practically a sister site.  But tonight it's gaining new attention by breathlessly claiming an exclusive about "Labour internal polling" that supposedly shows the party has "dramatically closed the gap on the SNP".

Yeah, up to a point, Lord Copper.  The polling was conducted by Moonlight Research, and if the name doesn't sound familiar to you, there's a good reason for that. I cannot recall them ever having conducted a political poll before - or at least not one that's seen the light of day.  The Red Robin are correct in stating that Moonlight are members of the British Polling Council [see below for an update on that point], so it would be wrong to dismiss them out of hand as some sort of Mickey Mouse outfit.  But with no track-record whatsoever, it's impossible to know how likely their figures are to be even vaguely close to the truth.  And because they have never conducted a published Scottish political poll before, there are no baseline figures to measure percentage changes from, which means The Red Robin's repeated claims that Labour have gained ground in the poll are quite simply wrong.  Because of house effects and methodological differences, you simply can't look at two polls conducted by different firms and measure percentage changes from one to the other.  It just doesn't work that way.  You can only measure from previous polls conducted by the same firm - and in this case there aren't any.  For all we know, Moonlight may have a Labour-friendly methodology that would have produced very similar results at any time during the last few months.

As a general rule, "internal polling" is always less satisfactory than public polls commissioned by media organisations, because we only get to see internal figures if they're favourable for the party that commissioned them.  So, for example, in a series of eight internal polls you might only see the one that happened to be most favourable for Labour, which could well give you a completely distorted impression of the significance of an outlier result.  But at least with internal polling that is properly published, it's brought into the open, and we eventually get to see the datasets, allowing us to judge how much credibility to give the figures.  This particular case falls well short of that standard, because it looks as if Labour have no intention of publishing the poll, but have just conveniently decided to leak partial figures to a friendly website.  We don't even have a clue whether the figures are being accurately reported, let alone whether the sample size was sufficient, or a hundred other questions we'd need to know the answer to.

For what it's worth, these are the purported figures for Westminster voting intention: SNP 34%, Labour 30%, Conservatives 24%.  Take those with a bucketload of salt.

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UPDATE: As you may have seen, Nick Moon of Moonlight Research has told Wings Over Scotland that his firm is not in fact a member of the British Polling Council, and is not even eligible for membership as it only has one client (presumably the Labour party).  He implies that the confusion has an innocent cause, because as an individual he has a senior role in the BPC.  I don't think that's good enough, because the organisation's website specifically lists Moon as the "company representative" of Moonlight Research on the BPC.  That gives a grossly misleading impression, to put it generously - any reasonable person would feel entitled to conclude that Moonlight are full BPC members and are bound by BPC rules.

26 comments:

  1. Was the info collected in the entrance lobby of Caird hall this weekend?

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  2. The numbers seem a tad high for Labour for being collected at Caird Hall this weekend ;)

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  3. The two Tory parties will maintain their vote and Labour will continue to struggle until
    they propose acceptable policies to the Scottish people. They need to stop talking about rail and bus nationalisation and just say we are doing it. Labour need to remember what Atlee did in the face of right wing opposition... Labour know the Scottish Nat sis are Tories so they must say it cleary.

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    1. State of this.

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    2. Hi Idiot did you take a Time out from the Bake off Kitchen? Your Party has got itself into a wee mess eh wee Ruthie? Just keep doing your Day job.

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    3. Given the amount of time the troll spends on here, Paul, I suspect that this is its day job...

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    4. Padraig Wilson, go home to Athenry and bake some soda bread.

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    5. State of this.

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  4. May I ask, is this poll a ‘reliable one’ (is it representative of the population) or is it one that has been cherry-picked by Scottish Labour?

    I’m confused.

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    1. You do certainly seem to be confused. There is no such beast as 'Scottish Labour'.

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    2. Union 2.0: The answers to your questions, such as they exist, are contained in the blogpost. However, here is a quick summary.

      Question 1. 'Is this poll a reliable one?'

      Answer: Who knows? No information is available.

      Question 2. 'Is it one that has been cherry-picked by Scottish Labour?'

      Answer: Yes.

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    3. I’m going to ignore it then. Unless the SNP and Cons bring out similar ones. We don’t know how it’s been weighted or what the sample size is.

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  5. Just get on with the next referendum nat sis. I just loved your utter suicidal despair September 2014. And the celebration in George Square afterwards will never be forgotten.

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    1. You've bviously run out of ideas. Living off scraps of memory from 4 years ago. Oh! And remind us again, what happened in GE 2015 when SLAB was wiped out as a viable entity.

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    2. The poll has the odour a poll taken on party members only,like we get from the Tories the other Tories the ones in Blue not the Red Tories the ones at conference this past week.Just means I laugh longer at them and if there were one chance of that being a public poll SNP better start to work on bringing the next referendum a real one run by Scots with integrity.

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    3. What a naked brass neck Nat si you are. The Tartan Tiries have stuck with the Thatcher privatisation programme. And how mhch has the Tory Stagecoach bhoy given to you lot of impersonators. You are a laugh.

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    4. State of this.

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  6. The Jock Nat Si Moaning Committee (JNMC) must be in recess.

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    Replies
    1. State of this.

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    2. The duty Nat si watchkeeper on the ball.

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    3. State of this.

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  7. Does anybody know when the next set of ‘proper’ Scottish polls come out? It’s been a while.

    James, why are you not publishing Scottish Sub-samples from UK wide polls anymore?

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  8. GWC2 have you still got your Glasgow Corporation bus driver uniform that doesn't fit you......Mr Allcroft....

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    Replies
    1. Nah you had to hand it in or it wis docked fae yer wages.

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    2. State of this.

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  9. I have to say I enjoy the ravings of your pet troll. You show an excellent sense of humour in not banning him/her.

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