A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

YouGov's sample is dodgy

Interesting poll in the Sunday Times:

http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/labmember.pdf

Taking off my Blears partisan hat for a minute and taking a strategic view of the interests of the moderate wing of the Party in total, Alan Johnson moving into the predicted winner position is welcome news as he's the candidate closest to the one I'm supporting ideologically.

The 3 most moderate candidates - Johnson, Blears and Benn - have 57% support amongst members between them, and the 3 that have talked most left - Harman, Cruddas and Hain - 42%.

And only 18% of members would have voted for McDonnell if he'd got on the ballot.

I'm mildly bemused by the poll finding movement towards AJ as in both MP and CLP nominations he underperformed relative to expectations, and in canvassing I've done he's been losing support to Hazel.

I'd also like to see the figures for undecideds - all the canvassing experience I've heard is that the vast majority of members remain undecided.

Before everyone reads too much into the poll, I'd challenge the accuracy of their sample in the TU section. My hunch is that it is biased towards activists - who are likely to be more leftwing - because they are more likely to be internet users and to have signed up to the YouGov panel. Their sample would also be intrinsically biased towards white collar trade union members who have internet access at work and may not be politically representative of their blue collar colleagues.

My evidence for this - they say:

"YouGov questioned 1,676 people able to vote in Labour's leadership election. These comprised 1,097 members of the Labour Party and 833 members of trade unions who pay the political levy. 254 respondents belonged to both groups, and will be able to vote in both sections."

They've got about the right number of affiliated trade union members in their Party membership sample - 23% - I've checked a couple of CLPs and this is about bang on, but that implies that there are only about 40,000 Party members nationally who are also TU levy payers. This equals about 1% of the total number of TU levy payers in the country - 4.4m - maybe 2% of those in Labour-affiliated unions - yet YouGov's sample has an absurd 30.5% of its trade unionists also being Party members! If only this was the case - Labour would have 800,000 members, and 640,000 of them would be trade union members , if it was.

According to the 2005 British Election Study, only 45.7 % of current trade union members voted Labour in the 2005 General Election, 22.1 % Liberal Democrat and 19 % Conservative - so why would the union section of the electoral college produce results to the left of Labour Party Members and MPs?

7 Comments:

Blogger Owen said...

This is one of the most atrocious examples of bad spinning and sour grapes I have ever seen.

Firstly, having realised that his chosen candidate faces nothing less than total and utter humiliation in this contest, Luke is now trying to worm his way out. How's that for loyalty! Poor old Hazel.

Benn may objectively be one of the "moderate" candidates - but that's not the point in this contest, is it? Loads of leftwingers are backing Benn - certainly far more than, say, Hain! Indeed, comrades such as Duncan have previously indicated that they're likely to vote for Benn. The candidates seen as Blairite in the popular imagination are Blears (particularly) and Johnson - their combined vote is 33%.

Because this is a personality contest over a non-job, people are treating this as a personality contest. That's why, for example, 11% of McDonnell supporters are voting for Johnson - and even 7% of them are voting for Blears!

McDonnell's support has doubled among party members in just a month - from 9% to 18% - and that's after just a brief flurry of publicity. Among trade unionists, it's increased from 10% to 26% since March. In an actual contest, we can have expected it to rise even further.

Luke has previously relished quoting YouGov surveys - but now it hasn't gone his way, he's resorted to questioning its accuracy. Accordingly he comes up with a load of assertions with no factual accuracy. Why are activists - who he alleges are more likely to be more leftwing - more likely to be internet users who signed up to the YouGov poll? Why are unionised white collar workers more leftwing than unionised blue collar workers? Of course Luke has no evidence for these assertions - he's just making assumptions and passing them off as a fact.

Quoting a British Election Study from 2005 - which has only 19% voting for the Tories - doesn't help him. Was that also a survey of affiliated levy-paying trade union members? Does it include the "don't knows"? Who are the other 13%? Does it give any indication about how leftwing those trade unionists voting for Labour are?

As I said in the previous post, this poll reveals that both party members and trade unionists are way to the left of New Labour. 68% of party members and 75% of levy-paying trade unionists want Britain to publicly distance itself from Bush's policies in the Middle East; 66% of party members and 71% of trade unionists want a 50% rate of taxation for those earning £100,000 or more a year; 58%/67% want a drastic rethink/slowdown of Blairite reforms in public services; 58%/66% want the railways renationalised even if this means increasing taxes; and 48%/57% want British troops withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible, regardless of the circumstances; about half are opposed to new nuclear power stations; only 37/38% support renewal of Trident.

This is atrocious news for the right - and great news for the left.

12:03 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Blogger grimupnorth said...

You got here first Owen.....yes, it's great news and let's take it forward.With more recruitment initiatives and more lefts in the Party, which is where we have to be going now, we'll turn things round.And, most interestingly, McDonnellite policies are now supported by a majority of the Party. Which Gordon probably knew.........

12:38 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Blogger el Tom said...

"I'm mildly bemused by the poll finding movement towards AJ as in both MP and CLP nominations he underperformed relative to expectations, and in canvassing I've done he's been losing support to Hazel."

He's trying not to talk right.

1:08 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Blogger ian said...

I have to agree with Owen and Grim. The poll is very revealing and confirms my experience locally during the john4leader campaign. As a side note I havent found anyone in the LP prepared to support Blears.

Ian

1:59 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poll is divided into ABC1 / C2DE

Mixed differences - while C2DE are more likely to back trade union power and support troop withdrawal from Iraq, they're less hostile to Trident and more supportive of Hodge's ideas on housing, for example.

5:12 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Anonymous angus said...

"According to the 2005 British Election Study, only 45.7 % of current trade union members voted Labour in the 2005 General Election, 22.1 % Liberal Democrat and 19 % Conservative - so why would the union section of the electoral college produce results to the left of Labour Party Members and MPs?"

Surely because Tory trade unionists don't tend to pay the Labour political levy.

In 1994 Blair's support was lowest in the TU section of the electoral college, albeit not by a huge amount.

6:31 pm, June 03, 2007

 
Anonymous Hazel said...

"Taking off my Blears partisan hat for a minute and taking a strategic view of the interests of the moderate wing of the Party in total, Alan Johnson moving into the predicted winner position is welcome news as he's the candidate closest to the one I'm supporting ideologically."

Judas!

6:35 pm, June 03, 2007

 

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