||[Apr. 16th, 2010|12:24 pm]
According to 4 different polls last night quoted on the BBC this morning, support for the various leaders after the debate ranged as follows:|
I think I'm right in saying the Pollsters also usually cite a margin of error of +/-3% making the maximum spread for Clegg 27%, Cameron 18% and Brown 25%.
So given such wild discrepancies remind me again why we pay any attention to these figures?
2010-04-16 11:36 am (UTC)
The specific figures are pretty meaningless, particularly because most of last night's "polls" were actually web surveys, using a self-selected sample (anyone could vote just by turning up on the websites). There were two that used properly balanced samples (YouGov and Populus) - not sure if those are among the ones the BBC quoted. Margin of error really only applies to those two, because only those two are trying to represent some larger total (the electorate) - the others are only representing the people who actually voted, so the issue doesn't arise.
What I think *is* significant is the relative position of each of the leaders in each poll. All the ones I've seen which asked about the debate as a whole have the order as Clegg-Brown-Cameron, and in most of them the Clegg-Brown margin is substantial. There was one question on the ITV site which asked specifically about the economy, and on that one Brown was ahead of Clegg, which means the final debate (which will focus on the economy) should be particularly interesting - although of course most Lib Dems will admit that Vince Cable is stronger on that topic than Nick Clegg is.
One was definitely YouGov, one was The Sun, one SKy News, and can't track down which the other was.
Bear in mind I don't trust the polls anyway. Like most of the population I feel these figures just 'look' arbitrary. (I know the math and the theory, but I have a gut suspicion of them and I suspect the average voter also has doubts.)
Well, Clegg's complete range is above the ranges for both Cameron and Brown. But I certainly agree that differentiating between the two of them would be asking for trouble.