The British Polling Council should also be strengthenedby David Lipsey / April 25, 2018 / Leave a comment
How would our politics be without opinion polls? Well, pretty certainly pretty different. I go back with polls a long time (having been polls adviser to the Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan) and can remember both the struggle to establish them as accurate data and then the pluses and pitfalls of their existence.
The struggle first: the left of the Labour Party did not like opinion polls because they tended to show their shibboleths—nationalisation, nuclear disarmament—were not popular. The right liked them because they showed that moderate policies were what the people wanted. Many National Executive Committee meetings were taken up by futile debates on the subject. But successive leaders of the party wanted polls, and commissioned them.