Government ministers threatened to demand boss’s resignation if company went ahead with polls showing Corbyn’s 2017 surge
Polling firm YouGov withheld and skewed information during the 2017 general election campaign because it was ‘too positive’ for Labour, according to one of the company’s former key employees.
Chris Curtis, now head of political polling at Opinium, has published a long Twitter thread in which he details how the firm:
- banned staff from publishing polling showing Corbyn won a televised political debate with Theresa May because it was ‘too positive about Labour’
- presented polling showing Labour’s now-famous (despite the attempts of the Labour right and their media allies to rewrite history) ‘Corbyn surge’ as coming from a ‘new experimental methodology’ so that it could be dismissed, even though their standard polling showed similar results
- caved in to threats from Tory minister and YouGov co-founder Nadhim Zahawi to remove the company’s chief executive – and shut down the company, costing the rest of the staff their jobs – if it published polling that was good for Labour and it turned out to be wrong
- changed its methodology to favour the Tories after ‘pressure from high-ups’
Going on Chris Curtis further iluminates us to the backroom deals of UK Polling
A quote of Tory election campaign manager Linton Crosby saying he was going to put YouGov out of business
Despite the Establishment’s frantic attempts to keep the surge hidden, Corbyn came within a few thousand votes of beating the Tories in 2017. Many believe that without Establishment disinformation (and sabotage by right-wing Labour staffers) Labour would have won that election five years ago today – and would have won despite it had the campaign lasted just a week or two longer.
A few lessons I have learned from the campaign:
1) Trust the data
2) Ignore political commentators when they don’t trust the data
3) The electorate is volatile now, bigger shifts are to be expected
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