There's a deceitful post - there's no other word for it, really - on Professor John Robertson's blog tonight, and it's resulted in a number of copycat tweets from people who really ought to know better by now. Professor Robertson is claiming that "the polls" are showing Labour's lead has been slashed in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election over the last week, but in fact so far there haven't been any polls in Rutherglen & Hamilton West - not only in the last week, but not at all. Nor have there been any Scotland-wide polls over the last week from which an extrapolation can be made. It's plainly ludicrous to suggest the polls are showing a certain trend when no polls from the relevant period actually exist.
What Robertson is referring to as "two polls" are in fact not polls, but predictions made by websites. One comes from the newly resurrected UK Polling Report and the other from Electoral Calculus. Robertson does not present any evidence that either website's prediction has suggested a drop in the Labour lead in the constituency over the last week, and indeed he does not even claim that they have. Instead, he makes an apples-and-oranges comparison between what the Electoral Calculus prediction was showing a week ago and what the UK Polling Report prediction is showing now, and pretends that it can be taken of indicative of the SNP closing the gap, even though each prediction is based on a completely different methodology, and even though the data being inputed into each prediction can't have changed over the last week for the obvious reason that there's been no new polling data from the last week to input. (In fact there's a graph on UK Polling Report suggesting their prediction has been stable for many weeks.)
Oh, and the predictions aren't even for the by-election, but instead for the Rutherglen constituency in the general election. Apart from all that, though, a characteristically bang-on accurate contribution from the Prof.
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