I asked how I had been selected. Purely on the basis of my telephone number, I was told.

I commented that the call had been one of very few now received on my landline, that my children never use, or answer.

I asked if all calls were to landlines. I was told they were. That is how they could determine they were reaching the right geographic area.

I asked if they realised that this also meant that their polling was very heavily biased towards those who are older, and so inherently more conservative. They are the people who have landlines now.

I got no response. But if this is normal, and I do not know that, no wonder polling is so unreliable. This poll was pre-selected to deliver a Tory bias.

Err, yes, that’s why no one ever does take raw polls seriously. The art is in adjusting the responses given for the known demographics of the sample as op[posed to the population. The reason being that people use polling to find out what is happening….

38 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. It’s impossible to accurately compensate for all known and unknown biases in the sample. But if there is a change in the result from one poll to the next that is significant.
    Raw number useless, change on number useful.

  2. He could just as easily complain about bias the other way in YouGov’s polling; it all being conducted online, where, as we know, the elderly believe that “here be monsters”.

    One would call the man Pooteresque, but Weedon Grosmith’s creation was ultimately sympathetic: a description that could never apply to ‘The Prof’.

  3. As the season of goodwill approaches, I’ve a suggestion to put out there.

    We on this site, or some of us, agree that an actual physical Christmas card be sent in our name to Richard Murphy at his unimpressive end terrace in Ely.

    The note inside to say thanks for all the priceless entertainment and hilarity he has given to us on this site as a result of the prodigous output of execrable asinine merde on his blog in the last year, not to forget the contribution of the comments by the brown-nosed sycophants who follow him.

    I suspect it may be lonely chez Murphy at Yuletide and our unexpected card could bring a little cheer to a sad unfulfilled life.

    Dissenters could be listed as not consenting to the card – I suspect Ecks and Van Patten may fall into this category.

  4. It’s interesting that he’s undergone a sudden lurch to Labour after so publicly throwing his dubious support behind the LibDems / Greens / SNP for some time. Has his desperate begging for funding suffered multiple rejections, and he’s hoping someone from team Corbyn will throw him a bone ?(His ability to forget the history of his own behaviour is something to behold isn’t it !).

    All he and the dwindling group of sycophants seem to have left is a forlorn hope that all the polls are wrong, and that the people will suddenly realise their mistake of ignoring the Great Diktator,

  5. Seems they are preparing the defense if the Tories win and Labour take a pounding.

    “Biased polls led Labour supporters to believe they couldn’t win so they didn’t bother to turn out to vote”

    Of course had the polls shown Labour with a lead, that could just as easily be

    “biased polls led labour supporters to believe they were going to win so they became complacent and didn’t turn out to vote”

    But never

    “voters saw through batshit crazy policies and couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labour”

  6. I assume this can be filed under “things that never actually happened”. Having run out of real friends and even imaginary friends, he’s down to being asked for his opinion by imaginary strangers.

  7. I’d have thought there is more of a grievance about overstating a party’s popularity in a poll rather than understating it.

    Won’t overstating it contribute to complacency in the voter base?

    Understating it would motivate & mobilise, no?

  8. I suppose it is not strange that he thinks everyone is as intelligent as he is… Just because he has no understanding of statistics, he assumes that professional pollsters are equally clueless. It is inconceivable to him that people would make allowances for biased data simply because he cannot imagine how you might set about doing so. And he held a paid post at a university!

  9. Had it not occurred to him that they might specifically been looking for the older demographic in order to make up the right generational mix in their polling sample? And calling landlines in target areas random might be a decent way to do that?

  10. ‘… their polling was very heavily biased towards those who are older, and so inherently more conservative. They are the people who have landlines now.‘


    Everyone who has Internet connexion has a landline, that is how connexion to the Internet is made.

    This means they have a telephone number and most usually a telephone connected, typically these days VoIP.

    Older people may be more conservative, in fact the Working Class is very conservative, but that does not mean they support the Conservative Party. A lot of older people… quite a lot in fact, vote Labour, always have done as did their parents, grand parents.

  11. People voting the same as their parents and grandparents are often just voting tribally. I imagine that all my ancestors voted Labour (when they had the vote) up until 1945. After that, they saw what a disaster Labour was, and never voted that way again. I suspect that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote Tory, so wasted their votes on no-hopers.

    As for me, I’ve been in Trade Unions, so even if I didn’t know how shite Labour in power is, I’d still never vote for them.

  12. Worzel: It’s interesting that he’s undergone a sudden lurch to Labour after so publicly throwing his dubious support behind the LibDems / Greens / SNP for some time.

    Consistency has ever been Capt. Potato’s weak suit. All this means is that he’s forgotten whom he hates when in truth he hates everybody, just not all at the same time and with the same intensity.

  13. This overstating of the Conservative vote in polls explains why their actual vote in elections is usually higher than the polls said.

    I think that’s right, isn’t it?

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    Amazing. It doesn’t enter his head that some smart person in the industry has thought about this problem and its left to some fat accountant living in Ely to point out the problem, especially when you consider that this problem was identified after Major confounded the polls in ’92. Of course then the problem was that those who were at home and being sampled were identified as being the Jeremy Kyle class, for want of a better phrase.

  15. Why would he think that true person calling him who is likely a zero hours minimum wage person following a script could answer that question anyway.
    I assume he thinks Labour are stuffed and that means Corbyn and McDonnell could be out so he’s starting to suck up in the hope that someone new will give him some money.

  16. @BniC, agreed, Ritchie is sucking up to Labour in the hope a new post election leadership will give him a job/peerage.

    In other news, a defining silence from the Fair Tax Mark and Ritchie that their poster child SSE are moving their UK operations to a non-UK holding company for fear of Labour!

  17. Think he’ll be surprised, I can see Corbyn stepping down claiming he’s too old for another 5 years, but can’t see momentum letting go of the hold they have and the Blairists retaking the party.
    A bad result will be blamed on Brexit, tactical voting etc. rather than the manifesto

  18. 1948 US Presidential – famous photo of Truman holding up a newspaper with a massive “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline. The explanation being that exit polling was done by phone and they didn’t compensate for telephone owners (in 1948) being wealthier than average. The polling companies didn’t make that mistake again (they make new and better ones 🙂 ).

  19. @BraveFart November 25, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Nice idea, but one must forget to put a stamp on envelope

    @Sam Jones

    Even better is SSE moved to the tax avoiders/evaders HQ – Switzerland

  20. John B – I’m in my late 40s, a number of my friends of similar age have broadband and mobile phones. Without having a house phone.
    Rather redundant these days. Must admit 90 percent of the time I’m using the home phone just for messages – if I call someone its on the mobile.

    Sure, the house may have a telephone wire. Is there any point buying a phone to connect to it?

    My parents still use a home phone. My brother doesn’t use one – he skypes his friends overseas and uses mobile to call anyone local. But he’s not being asked his opinion on voting.

  21. No landline phone here, internet is by mobile broadband, PAYG phone mainly for incoming calls (I prefer email), djc (65)

  22. John B – not everyone who has Internet connection has a landline.

    My broadband service is delivered by optical fibre and, as far as I’m aware, goes nowhere near BT’s copper network. It helps that I live in a block of flats where they “wired” up every flat in advance, leaving a tail to be connected when required.

    VOIP phones may not have geographic numbers and, even if they do, they need not be local. I have a VOIP number with the Cambridge code (01223) even though I live in London.

  23. Spud avoids commenting on SSE by saying he is no longer a director at FTM. if so shouldn’t he be I sitting they update their website as he is still listed as a board member.

    Besides isn’t he still an adviser? Aren’t FTM paying spud to advise on international FTM accreditation. Would he give a thumbs up to companies relocating ownership to tax havens? He must have a view.

    Or is his view to look the other way if he gets paid a fee?

  24. @Worzel, @The Meissen Bison November 25, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    It’s little wonder Ritchie is confused about who to support now/next

    The Left eating themselves Pt 1

    Boris Johnson launches BluLab manifesto – more NHS, more Greenfreakery, more tax and spend

    Sam Gyimah’s car-crash interview with Eddie Mair
    This phone-in with [Conservative who defected to] Liberal Democrat candidate Sam Gyimah started off badly… and just got worse and worse as he failed to be able to stay how much their flagship childcare policy would cost.

    Sam Gyimah: BBC/C4 favourite for “I left Conservatives” – is it cos ee is black?

  25. The Left eating themselves Pt 2

    SNP First Minister Sturgeon under fire over private firms doing routine operations in hospitals

    Google not Left and Woke enough: LGBTQ+ YouTubers Are Suing YouTube for Discrimination

    “You don’t want equal treatment, you want special treatment”

  26. No doubt he’s upset that they didn’t know who he was and weren’t ringing for his insightful analysis and opinion, and especially annoyed that he couldn’t charge them.
    You can imagine it ‘don’t you know who I am? people pay me for expressing my opinion, why should I tell you for free?’

  27. Endorsement on the Fair Tax Mark website:

    ‘ The Fair Tax mark accreditation has certainly helped us raise our standards and provided the credible third part accreditation we were looking for. We hope others will join us and, through it, rebuild public trust on the tax companies pay.”

    Martin McEwen, Head of Group Tax, SSE plc’


    Says it all really.

  28. How many people answer their phone when some random unknown CLI number appears? If it’s someone I want/need to speak to, they’ll leave a message.

  29. Chris Miller: How many people answer their phone when some random unknown CLI number appears?

    I do by pressing the ‘hands free’ button which is susceptible to a second quick jab if needs be.

    If it’s someone I want/need to speak to, they’ll leave a message.

    I’ve disabled the voicemail option because I don’t want people to leave a message. They can try again if they want/need to.

    It seems as though we each develop our own coping mechanism.

  30. Murphy has got another letter published in the FT, him and a load of left wing economists backing labour..those with FT accounts should get on it

  31. He’s gone all fingers in ears on the anti-antisemitism issue this morning. Playing ad hominem with the Chief Rabbi, ignoring serious concerns from Labour or former Labour figures.

    He’s not bothered about that issue at all

  32. Andrew C – then insist the organisation remove him from website. Is he still officially a director on government sites?

  33. @John B – “

    Everyone who has Internet connexion has a landline, that is how connexion to the Internet is made

    I don’t and most of the guys I know don’t. What would be the point? We have mobile phones. Sure, there is a number attached to the broadband account which “could” be connected to an IP phone, but that would cost me more money each month to no real purpose, since the only people that call are pollsters and telemarketers apparently.

    I never get that on the mobile because there is no public directory of phone numbers as there are with landlines and I don’t give my phone number out to all and sundry.

    Plus the mobile is a pre-pay “registered” under a fake name and a throwaway e-mail address because fuck them.

  34. @TMB

    Calls from unknown numbers:

    I ignore or pick-up, but don’t speak, Repeated calls- I google number

    Voicemail: Off, got sick of known callers saying “blah, call me back” – call back and “Blah, doesn’t matter”

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