Wednesday, 5 May 2010

That poll

Questions for Belfast Telegraph re poll results presented prior to 6th May 2010 General Election

What are the Belfast Telegraph Editorial Guidelines in relation to reporting on opinion polls?

When was the poll commissioned if it was commissioned?

What was the tendering/selection process?

Are Inform members of the British Polling Council or a similar professional body?

What are the qualifications of those from Inform who designed and carried out the poll in relation to opinion polling?

What was the editorial process for agreeing the questions to be used?

What was the editorial process to agree the profile of respondents?

Was the polling carried out on a face-to-face basis or by telephone?

In relation to the use of the information collected to provide “a snapshot of voting intentions” what is the sample size used per constituency to predict the results of the poll?

What is the expected margin of error due to sample size and the margin of error due to the length of time between the date the poll was carried out to the release of the results?

What qualifications do the directors of Inform have to make editorial comment on the results of the poll?

What was the editorial decision making process in using information from the poll?

Was the Belfast Telegraph provided with all of the information arising from the poll and then made an editorial decision on what to publish or was the information selectively provided by Inform?

Which political parties received a full breakdown of all the polling data, including that not used by the Belfast Telegraph, before its publication by the paper?

The UK Polling Report is a highly respected website that analysis political opinion polls. It is run by Anthony Wells from You Gov. In its comments of the Inform poll it states the results are “nigh on useless for predicting a winner in all but safe seats”. Would the Belfast Telegraph outline what benefit a “useless” poll is to the democratic process when published 2 days before a general election?