BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Michael Crick
« Previous | Main | Next »

It's all in the timing: Cameron's poll 'win'

Michael Crick | 17:45 UK time, Friday, 23 April 2010

Yougov say their internet poll on the debate last night was conducted between 9.27pm and 9.31pm.

This may explain why Yougov gave David Cameron a better rating than the other post-debate polls did last night. For Nick Clegg ended the debate with a very powerful closing speech, probably the best of the evening.

According to the BBC video system Clegg didn't start speaking until 9:29:18 and finished at 9:30:47‬‪.

So many of those polled by Yougov last night must have voted without seeing his final speech.


  • Comment number 1.

    Just like MPs do, then. How many times have we seen an almost-empty Commons debating a Bill, yet when it comes to a vote, hundreds appear from the woodwork and vote without having heard any of the speeches.

  • Comment number 2.

    It was indeed an "Obama-esque" closing speech from Clegg, it showed up the other two.

  • Comment number 3.

    The anti-tory bias on this blog is both predictable and boring from a former Labour Party member.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thatis odd, why would any poling company poll when somethings not finished. Someones times must be out.
    Mind you of course many people would have been happy to give their opinions at the start and it'd still be the same result.

    Isn't it about time that all the news outlets but especially the BBC push home the point (that hasn't really been mentioned much since the first debate) that the polls mean nothing because in many places the Lib Dems could quadruple their votes in some areas and still be third. A swing of 15% is nothing if that is a swing of 15% of very little.
    The same thing goes with Labour and the Conservatives. Cut out all the foregone seats (yes some might hcnage but most won't) and just show us the effect if the polls are applied in the 100 marginals. That's all that matters!

  • Comment number 5.

    Clegg's powerful closing speech was what cliched it for him in my view. No wonder the Yovgov poll was out of step with the others.

    As to Michael's posting being anti-Tory, he's simply quoting facts not offering opinion and the facts speak for themselves - most of those polled by Yougov voted before Clegg had made his closing speech. Whether it was deliberate or a cock-up, Yougov biassed their poll against Clegg,

  • Comment number 6.

    Did people manage to watch the whole thing. I gave up after 60 tortured minutes, and I thought that was good going!

  • Comment number 7.

    The timing of this poll had a MASSIVE impact. If it had been run after Clegg's speech, which was strong, then a mere 2% swing would have had himself and Cameron neck and neck.

    This resulted in the "Cameron Wins" headlines read by millions.

    This election is going to be so tight, that things like this can make a huge difference. Surely you run a poll AFTER the debate, not during.

  • Comment number 8.

    How exactly does pointing out a fact about the timing of a YouGov poll constitute "anti-Tory bias"?

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks for pointing this out and thank goodness for the BBC. Watching the Leader's Debate was my first exposure to Sky and I was shocked. There seemed to be an insidious bias in favour of David Cameron throughout. Namely:
    * the moderator's unique direct question to Nick Clegg about allegations in the Telegraph.
    * cutting to audience members yawning as Brown was speaking
    * keeping the camera on David Cameron during his closing speech, but cutting repeatedly during Nick Clegg's closing remarks.
    * continued repetition of the result of the first post debate poll (a David Cameron win) by the Sky reporter long after other polls showed it being a tie or even a small Nick Clegg victory.

    Perhaps belatedly I've woken up to the danger to our democracy of Rupert Murdock's significant press ownership in the UK and am increasing worried about the terms of any deal the Conservatives have struck with Rupert Murdock and what that might mean for the BBC.

  • Comment number 10.

    I agree with 'Nick'

    News Corp's 'Sun' newspaper (which I buy every day) is at the moment little more than a Tory election pamphlet (e.g. Friday's headline 'The Cam back kid - Dave celebrates debate win' or Thursday's 'Clegg on his face').

    Given this level of bias, and the investment News Corp has made in a Tory win, how can we expect News Corp's 'Sky' to be neutral?

  • Comment number 11.

    10. At 07:48am on 24 Apr 2010, ltfcunited wrote:

    Given this level of bias, and the investment News Corp has made in a Tory win, how can we expect News Corp's 'Sky' to be neutral?

    Could not agree more. Which is why I do not 'buy' (in all senses of the word) such output.

    And hence do get concerned when there seems to be a sense that balance must be restored by activities from other quarters with whose funding I have no choice.

    Like blog mods turning out to be party PPCs, or channel editors having to take down their BBC-bannered twitter feeds after rather partisan commentary.

    I expect higher standards, not multiple ones.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is this story not getting more airtime on the BBC?

    It will at least mean that YouGov's polls are completely wrong for Thursday night, and by more than their published margin of error.

    Also some further disturbing news about YouGov which means I'm not going to be putting any trust in their numbers this election:



    "Just done a YouGov, Mostly about Clegg & LD
    Here was one of the question

    “Nick Cleggs says the other parties are to blame for the MP scandals,
    he has taken money from a criminal on the run, many of his MPs have
    been found guilty of breaking the rules and his own party issued
    guidance on how to fiddle the expenses system?”

    I’d say that was fairly direct!

    There were some 17 other questions re the LD

    by sealo0 April 18th, 2010 at 10:33 am"

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    I also agree with 'Nick' - I noticed the odd direction too.

    Also did you notice how the camera did a 'zoom-in' only on Cameron's longer camera-gazing speeches, but was static for the other two?

  • Comment number 15.

    I took part in a phone poll by another broadcaster. Annoyingly they rang during the final speeches, so I didn't get to hear what the leaders were saying. So their poll is also innaccurate!

  • Comment number 16.

    I am forced to wonder whether they ran the poll for exactly that time, or whether they chose to use that time period after the fact...

  • Comment number 17.

    On the YouGov site it says "YouGov questioned 1,110 viewers of the TV debate among the party leaders immediately after tonight's debate."

    So where does the "between 9.27pm and 9.31pm" come from?

  • Comment number 18.

    Ian - it's on the press release they put out on the night

  • Comment number 19.

    Poor experimental design then? How much are these guys paid for their incompetence? Lets add them to the list of MPs, bankers, media...

  • Comment number 20.

    9. At 06:49am on 24 Apr 2010, Nick

    Can I suggest you vote with your wallet and your pen? Stop purchasing the products, send them a letter of complaint and vote for the party you consider would be best not only for you, but for this country. There is more to how much tax you pay or don't pay. A certain candidate has seemingly agreed to chop up the BBC, for example so you have to vote for the 'big picture' if you want to hold on to our precious Aunty!

    I've lived in the States. Most people have no idea how lucky we are to have the BBC. I won't have Murdoch products in my house. I have a vote, he does not. He needs to get over himself.

  • Comment number 21.

    Thank you Michael for bringing this to our attention. I must admit that I was sceptical about you until now but I now feel more strongly that I can trust you as an objective political commentator. It's a shame that the same could not be said about many of your journalistic and broadcasting colleagues.

  • Comment number 22.

    "The anti-tory bias on this blog is both predictable and boring from a former Labour Party member."

    Right, because it's media bias that's going to cost Cameron his predicted landslide rather than his insipid performance as a debater and as a leader.

  • Comment number 23.

    i love how David Inskip's typo that Cleggs speech 'cliched' it for him.

  • Comment number 24.

    anti Tory bias on these sites? What? Because we all watch Newsnight and we have been 'turned'.....we need to bring the capitalist hyenas and their lackeys to heel....I blame Jeremy...

  • Comment number 25.

    Can you please state the exact source for the timings you give, as, quite frankly, I don't believe you and YouGov state on the poll results document that polling took place after the debate.

    So did you just make this up???

  • Comment number 26.

    My opinion of YouGov has gone down since they "lost" my account sign-in along with £40 worth of accrued poll credits !


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.