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A mediocre PMQ performance and the Ashcroft poll make it a tricky day for EdM

November 21st, 2012

My Tweet on PMQs gives my verdict – Cameron was much better and in greater control today while for Ed Miliband it was a PMQs to forget. Why he chose the NHS, something that is hardly a current issue, for a his round of questions really looked odd. It didn’t work.

Also today we’ve had another of the Michael Ashcroft mega-phone polls with a sample of 8,103. The finding that getting attention is 40% feel more favourable to Labour than to Ed Miliband and just 9% feel more favourable to Ed Miliband than to Labour.

It’s almost the exact reverse of the Tories where, still, Cameron is seen more favourably than his party.

    What’s hugely irritating and misleading about the poll is that the vast majority of the findings are netted off. So the numbers are presented as though 100% of the sample had a view.

    This exaggerates the findings and is not standard practice for non-voting questions.

The result is that the numbers on, say, best PM, are not a true representation of the views of those interviewed. You need to know what proportion didn’t respond or said don’t know. That’s all part of the picture.

This approach makes it very difficult to compare the findings with those of other pollsters on the same broad issue.

I don’t know whether this is Populus or Michael Ashcroft but it devalues the output of a survey that must have cost tens of thousands of pounds to carry out.

Mike Smithson

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