This blog has over the years expended some energy on explaining that YouGov is anything but a disinterested seeker after evidence of public opinion, but rather a tool for creating a false impression of public opinion and pushing it in a direction. Needless to say, various legal threats I have received from YouGov and its directors have come to nothing.
Now take this YouGov question in their latest poll:
Would you approve or disapprove of the RAF taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?
There is no need to mention the RAF in this question – it is not their decision and the impression is subtly conveyed that the RAF want to do it. The question is carefully designed to tap in to the public’s well-documented inclination to support the armed forces in any conflict situation.
If you asked:
Do you approve of the government’s proposals for taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria?
you would get a very different answer. Which of course is why the charlatans at YouGov asked the first question.
Nevertheless, there are two very interesting facts. Even on this biased question opinion is swinging very fast against airstrikes. Secondly, yet again there is a very real divergence of opinion between England and Scotland.
Since I joined the SNP, the comments section has been riddled with people claiming that the SNP is in fact no less neo-con than the other established parties. Today’s debate on Syria, in addition to the recent debate on Trident, make plain that is absolute nonsense.