Friday, October 31, 2008

Polling Council condemns anti-hunting poll

The British Polling council has investigated a poll conducted by anti-hunting organisations and found that they broke the rules designed to ensure that opinion polls are honestly and transparently conducted.

The poll was conducted by IPSOS - MORI for the League Against Cruel Sports and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

This poll was been the subject of an investigation by the British Polling Council which found that MORI broke the ‘Objects and Rules’ of the Council, which exist to ensure that polling is fair and open.

The partial results were published on 17 February 2008. British Polling Council rules state that full details of published research must be published on the research company’s website within 48 hours of details being released. Details of the poll were in fact only released on the MORI website on 29 February, 12 days after the publication of the press release.

When MORI were contacted by the Countryside Alliance. Only then was it revealed that the poll question included an explicit comparison between ‘fox hunting’, 'badger baiting' and ‘dog fighting’. As Baroness Hale said in her judgment in the Hunting Act case in the House of Lords: “It [hunting] cannot be compared with bear-baiting or cock-fighting.”

No member of the public reading, or viewing, the resulting media coverage could be expected to know that the research involved comparing hunting to indefensible activities like dog fighting.

This is not an isolated incident. MORI have used this question, or a very similar one, on several occasions and the question asked has never been included in the press releases issued by the commissioning organisations.


Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter how you phrase the question, the overwhelming majority of people in this country are opposed to hunting. End of story, get used to it.

Chris Whiteside said...

And that makes it OK to put out misleading polling data and break the rules laid down by the polling council to try to make such exercises fair and honest?

For most of my political lifetime, opinion polls showed that the overwhelming majority of people in this country supported the restoration of the death penalty.

Did you ever quote those polls at those who didn't want to bring back hanging, say "End of story, get used to it" ?

And would you have seriously expected that to be the end of the discussion?