YouGov and Murdoch Boost Cameron Again 21

Last night’s YouGov poll gave Cameron a full five percentage points more than the average of the four other respected polling organisations who effectively asked the same question at the same time.

The YouGove polls are simply a part of the Murdoch/Mail propaganda blitz to push Cameron into No 10.

In my last thread I posted the email I sent last night to Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGove, asking whether yet again YouGove had fixed their poll by opening their online polling for a very brief window immediately after Cameron had finished summing up and before the others had summed up.

Shakespeare has replied that he does not know and he has nothing to do with the polling operation (which he recently defended in an article on Conservative Home).

Personally I find it rather difficult to believe that former Conservative parliamentary candidate and Jefrrey Archer campaign manager Stephan Shakespeare was not paying the closest attention as last night’s debate figures were produced by YouGov for Murdoch, his firm’s biggest paymaster.

I also find it even more difficult to believe that he could not get the answer to my question in moments if he genuinely did not know the answer.

It is also worth noting that the threatening letter from YouGov’s libel lawyer Olswang

Download file

attempts no denial that this really was a YouGov poll:


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21 thoughts on “YouGov and Murdoch Boost Cameron Again

  • Rumpole

    “In my last thread I posted the email I sent last night to Stephan Shakespeare, CEO of YouGove, asking whether yet again YouGove had fixed their poll by opening their online polling for a very brief window immediately after Cameron had finished summing up and before the others had summed up.

    Shakespeare has replied that he does not know and he has nothing to do with the polling operation”

    What were his actual words?

    I find it strange that he would not know whether his poll had been conducted with a view to getting the most accurate result. Surely an organisation whose business it is to sell accurate data would assume his organisation was conducting the polling properly?

    His claim “not to know” is just downright bizarre, so bizarre indeed that I would have serious reservations as to the veracity of such a response.

  • Craig


    Exact words:

    “I don’t actually have anything to do with polling operations, nor have I for many years: it’s not my job.”

  • Heather

    Meet “you ain’t seen me, roight!” solicitor, Dan Tench:

    Dan seems to be a bit of a media babe too and is on the panel of experts for

    Is The Times still owned by the Murdoch media empire, which is currently, actively and rather abusively campaigning for Cameron’s Tory party?

  • Dani

    Times still owned by Murdoch Heather…not only that we are about to have the honour of paying online for his lies…

  • Rumpole

    “I don’t actually have anything to do with polling operations, nor have I for many years: it’s not my job.”

    Still doesn’t make any sense. This CEO has been asked if his employees are doing their job properly and he claims not to know. It’s not his job.

    Bizarre, Totally bizarre.

  • Alix

    I took the poll and they were being very careful not to open it until on the dot of ten. Doesn’t tell you how long it was open for, of course. I got an error page when I clicked the last link and I’m not sure whether my answers got through, but there’s no way of telling whether that was the survey or my computer.

    Why doesn’t Shakespeare simply pass your question along to someone who could help you? Given that they admitted their foul-up last time, it’s not unreasonable for people to be double-checking this time. I suspect irritation rather than conspiracy is the explanation, but if so he’s very silly to let it get the better of him. Someone in the media will think to ask sooner or later.

  • Paul


    Would you consider toning down some of the language used particularly in posts relating to YouGov?

    I would very much like to send links to some friends and acquaintances who are waking up to the ubiquitous bias against smaller parties and other inequities of our ‘democratic’ system. However, I know some of them would be immediately put off by the colourful language you have used in some of these posts – so I have not done so.

    There is also the issue that some of them (and probably many other people) read, or would read, your blog at work – where such content may be inappropriate – or even filtered and logged, as might happen in the case of some of the images (re the file names) in some recent posts.

    One of the remarkable things about your blog is that you often hit things right on the nail irrespective of what the mainstream view is, or who the truth looks bad for. Your best posts seem to be the ones that just serve up bald truths, and you leave the reader to decide how it tastes, just as you did in ‘Murder in Samarkand’. Or, alternatively, where you display the outrage and anger you might expect from any moral person when confronted with the injustices and crimes you have seem.

    You just don’t need to add strong language into the mix to get your point over.

    Best wishes.

  • Abe Rene

    Well, perhaps we should make up a polling company of our own called “Compassionate Polls Inc”. Here is a first sample questionnaire.

    1. Do you want bloodthirsty Tories in Power?

    (a) Yes, I am Dracula

    (b) No, I oppose blood sports

    (c) It doesn’t matter, I am a fat cat banker whoever wins

    2. Do you want a Stalinist New Labour State?

    (a) Yes, I am an unemployed KGB bureaucrat with no-one left to distress

    (b) No, I am for liberty, that’s why my party is claled ‘liberal’.

    (c) It doesn’t matter since I am a fat cat banker who knows how to bribe any politician

    3. What do you do with illegal immigrants.

    (a) I believe in Values like sending the right signal. So kick them out.

    (b) I never thought I would say this, but I agree with Nulab, kick them out even if we can’t find them.

    (c) They are humans who won’t disappear. So regularise their position as Mr Clegg suggests.

    Add your own sample questions by all means…

  • Vronsky

    “Does anybody know if YouGov are certified as working to the ISO 9001: 2008”

    I worked on this crap for years. As our then Quality Director said, you can be ISO9001 certified manufacturing concrete lifejackets – you need only show a well-documented process and demonstrate that you have some mechanism for the handling of complaints. Our democracy looks like a concrete lifejacket, now that I think about it.

  • Vronsky

    …and just a quick note to Paul. Tell your friends to get their fucking fingers out of their arses.

  • Martin


    You don’t mention here that Nadhim Zahawi, the former CEO of YouGov, is now a Tory candidate. Not that I’m implying anything improper on Mr Zahawi’s part just an interesting overlap that YouGov seems to be pro-Murdoch who in turn seems to be pro-Tory.

  • Paul

    Vronsky is right about ISO-9001; it’s meaningless nonsense. Essentially, you can find out what would be best practise or due diligence in your field and document that you do exactly the opposite. As long as you then fail to do anything right (in the way documented) you’re certification stands. Useless.

    Thanks for your insightful second comment; I’ll be sure to suggest it.

    But seriously though, if anyone has a potential audience for their ideas that would otherwise be put-off by part of the way it’s presented, a part that is not strictly relevant, then why put them off? Would you say that you know no-one who would find the language used offensive that you think might otherwise be interested in the point being made? It’s not even necessarily that (some) people will find it offensive; it’s that I suspect they will be put off because it is irrelevant. I know some people who would, at least.

    Also, swearing and derogatory phrases (along with threats, and bad spelling, punctuation and ALL CAPS) are noted by a lot of readers as a sort of quick mental filter to spot troll posts and the like. I suspect, having similar content in the original article – swearing and derogatory phrases, I mean, not the rest – may lead some readers to do the same to that too.

    There’s a difference I think between using terms like (say) ‘racist’, ‘corrupt’, ‘evil’, ‘criminal’ to describe people since these may well objectively true (or at least true in the view of many readers, given the associated facts); versus using terms like c*** and w**k*r (or ‘sleazy’ and ‘fat’) which are either entirely, or mostly, intended to be derogatory. When Craig says someone is ‘corrupt’ I know he will follow on by explaining in what way (and more likely than not, I’ll agree with him). But when he says they are ‘sleazy’ (or implies they are a c*** or w**k*r in file names) that tells me nothing (and gets in the way). I’m not advocating censorship; just remarking that the style of the presentation will affect who the audience is (irrespective of the facts given).

    It’s true, of course, that Craig keeps a very open position on comment posting on the blog and as such doesn’t remove posts except on very rare occasions. But many people do perceive a difference between the original blogger’s or author’s content and follow up posts.

    Also, I’m someone who worked for a small company that got swallowed by a larger one. It’s possible that some time in the near future they will implement content filtering or logging. (A practise I deeply object too, think should be illegal, and will complain vocally about if implemented.) However, if they do, I will probably have to stop reading Craig’s blog in my lunch break. I’m pretty certain that image files with c*** in the file name would put me at the top of any ‘watch this employee’ list. Perhaps this doesn’t affect you though, Vronsky.

    I wonder how many other readers (who’s employers don’t ban personal internet use that doesn’t interfere with their work) also have internet access logged? Do they even know it’s happening?

  • Red

    Such lawsuits are a form of harassment. However, I would say that it may not be worth the costs of fighting it in court unless you are prepared to take it all the way.

    I would expect them to follow through with this.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    My real point in law was that they just might have a go at Craig to teach him a lesson with their money to keep his friggin human rights shut. My point really realted to truth and fair comment as defences,if they ever decided to have a go…see some of the recent cases below…


    Where the relevant data on the extent of the benefits of chiropractic was heavily and legitimately in contest, an alleged defamatory statement that the British Chiropractic Association had no evidence for its claim that its members could treat particular ailments was not a fact but amounted to an opinion that there was no worthwhile evidence to support that claim, and the maker of the statement would be entitled to rely on the defence of fair comment at trial.


    [2010] EWCA Civ 350

    CA (Civ Div) (Lord Judge LCJ, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury MR, Sedley LJ) 1/4/2010

    References: LTL 1/4/2010 : Times, April 23, 2010

    Document No.: Case Law – AC0124357


    An email sent by a British Airways’ security officer to members of the airline’s management concerning the arrest of a member of the airline’s cabin crew on suspicion of theft was not motivated by malice but by the honest belief that the crew member had illegitimately taken alcohol from an aircraft in contravention of airline policy. Accordingly, the crew member’s claim for damages was dismissed.


    [2010] EWHC 491 (QB)

    QBD (Eady J) 11/3/2010

    References: LTL 17/3/2010

    Document No.: Case Law – AC0124070


    The court awarded damages for defamation to a Russian businessman and politician who had been accused, in a television programme broadcast by a state-owned Russian television company, of involvement in the murder of the former Russian security agent, Alexander Litvinenko.


    [2010] EWHC 476 (QB)

    QBD (Eady J) 10/3/2010

    References: LTL 12/3/2010

    Document No.: Case Law – AC0124034


    Where a book review praised or criticised an author’s writing, such an assessment could be judged by readers of the book to be fair comment, but where the review made assertions about matters such as the way in which a writer dealt with interview material, the position was very different as the readers would not be able to determine whether the reviewer had got her facts wrong in her review. In an action for libel against a newspaper which had published a review criticising an author’s interviewing technique, the defence of fair comment had to be struck out as having no prospect of success.


    [2009] EWHC 2863 (Admin)

    QBD (Sir Charles Gray) 12/11/2009

    References: LTL 16/11/2009

    Document No.: Case Law – AC0122740

  • ColinW

    I am on the YouGov polling panel (as a LibDem) & can confirm that polling opened during Nick Clegg’s finish during the second debate.additionally, on each of the three occasions I was polled during the leaders’ debates, the site froze on me after I had completed the poll, expressing my preference for Nick Clegg. This happened to other libDems who were polled too.

    Tonight (May 4) the website has several posts from Tory supporters boasting about being invited to participate in a YouGov voting intention poll. Quite a coincidence, as YouGov claim to have a very large panel of pollsters. Needless to say, I have not been invited to participate.

  • ColinW

    And tonight’s YouGov poll shows a 4% drop for the LibDems – or does it? YouGov appears to have given us two sets of figures drawn from the same poll: the 35/30/24 headline split, and the 34/28/28 split, along with the regional breakdown, published on Politics Home. It looks like sleight of hand to me. The sample was more than 11,000, the fieldwork was done on Monday, and the raw figures put the LibDems on 28%. Somewhere along the line the figures appear to have been altered, giving the impression of a collapse in Lib Dem support and a sudden (and for some, alarming) rise in Labour support. As it was published in the “Sun”, this should surprise us not.

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