Thursday, April 02, 2009

Damn Lies and Statistics: 97% of Public Don't Trust Journalists


Courtesy of Mister GuF's "read elsewhere" sidebar we learn (a) only 3% trust journalists and (b) that journalist Fraser Nelson claims 72% want public spending cuts. These two things we've learned should be closely linked. The latter poll, conducted by PoliticsHome, is by "deliberative polling" where the pollsters or the client (The Spectator) advance presumably perfectly balanced arguments on the subject ahead of the choice. The questions themselves are leading. The deliberation is leading. And 18% of the respondents think - even after all the leading - that any overspending is marginal, "a little". 54% would be a more reasonable headline. I've not seen the actual polling results. But Fraser's write round seems to conflate the level and cost of any fiscal stimulus with the level and cost of public services.

The public are 97% right not to trust journalists.

Here's the clincher. Revealing that the panel were opt ins consulted by email, and that the actual results were weighted to reflect what is called "party identification". Although that concept is supposed to be fixed, tribal, gut feeling it is actually a moving feast and even in the best of times is pretty seriously anti-government:

PoliticsHome interviewed 1406 UK adults by email between 25–26 March. Results are weighted by party identification to reflect the UK at large
.

3 comments:

Mellor Road Mincer said...

And I wonder what percentage of people trust bloggers?

Chris Paul said...

Who really cares about that MRM?! Even Dale only has at best about 30,000 even remotely loyal readers. Loyal meaning visiting at least once in at least two months. And what's more his conclusions are often very untrustworthy indeed. Not least in his own self aggrandising coverage of his stats.

Bloggers as a whole are not particularly trustworthy or trusted IMO. Amusing perhaps, energetic perhaps, alternative in most cases, and sometimes not only reliable but also scooptastically revelatory. But the Bar Council didnae ask that question as it goes.

In this case we, LOL, your most trusted bloggers, have drawn attention to two statistics. Trust in journalists which being from the Bar Council must be legal and above board (?!) and a rather spurious one claiming a case for cuts in public services from at best unpersuasive polling. Demonstrably leading and falatious. You make your own mind up fella.

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