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Sunday, May 08, 2011


  Last week I ran polls on how likely people would be to vote for parties they had seen for years, regularly, on TV compared to how likely they would be to vote for somebody they had only heard from in 1 election leaflet. I have excluded one result from somebody who said they would be 100% certain to vote for any party in both circumstances which I can't take seriously.

How likely would you be to vote for a party whose leader and other representatives you had repeatedly seen on TV for years and generally agreed with?

                   Average 67%
How likely you would vote for a party whose representatives you had almost never seen on TV, or favourably reported but liked the election leaflet?

                   Average 26%
A differential of 26/67 ie 39%

I thought this was actually a surprisingly low differential, bearing in mind my experience as the 9% Growth Party and also the fact that if you look at the average election leaflet it consists of a few photos of the candidate often meeting an activist posing as a young person/pensioner etc and about 5 minor electoral bribes - more pension money/police/post offices/insulation amounting to about 0.3% of the budget. I don't believe such posters are designed to convince opponents so much as shore up lukewarm supporters.

   To test this I looked at the previous poll where the 9 of the first 10 points had come from my 9% Growth leaflet and had an approval average of 68% approval. On the other hand 11-20, 24,25 come from the BBC list which is drawn from policies of the 5 approved parties and has an average approval of 40%.. A differential of 28%

    Admitted that we are comparing my policies 4 years ago with those offered now but the old parties haven't changed much so it is a fair comparison. I should also point out that my leaflet wasn't on expensive shiny paper and fell short of going out to anybody. Lets assume that had I had both I would have got 3,000 votes rather than 80, which is pretty optimistic, that would still have been 1% of votes from 28% leaflet approval which suggests the real influence of leaflets, compared to regular media coverage is 1/28th i.e. 4%

   I have previously calculated the extent to which  various parties get under or over reported by the BBC, which the BBC itself has calculated, provides the overwhelming majority of "news" received by 82% of Scotland's population. Basically the Greens get 40 times more coverage, per vote received than UKIP and visibly almost all of the former is supportive and of the latter is critical.

   Taking the geometric average of 39% & 4% is 12.5% (ie 4% multiplied by 3.12 & 39% divided by the same. I think I have been conservative in my assumptions and am confident that parties getting little or no chance to speak in the MSM should expect to have their natural vote cut to 12.5% of what it should be and those getting vast amounts of positive coverage equally see their vote artificially inflated 8 times.

  In which case the Greens would have got not 285,616 votes at the general election but 35,702 if the BBC and those who take their lead from it did not show an overwhelming, and illegal, party bias.

  And UKIP would have got not 919,546 votes but 7,356,368 which is just behind the real labour and Conservative votes but probably ahead of what either would have got if over 7 million of them had gone to another party if the BBC and those who take their lead from it did not show an overwhelming, and illegal, party bias.

   OK all this is seat of the pants estimating and perhaps a professional (and reputable) opinion polling organisation would come up with something slightly different. But I am confident this is in the right ballpark. I would be interested in seeing some other estimate, perhaps from the BBC, to compare but until we have one this is what we have.

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One thing you might have missed is people going for an unknown because they want to protest against the known piggies.
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