Saturday, December 1, 2007

"Huhne snapping at Clegg's heels according to Sky Poll"

That was the title of a posting (screenshot above - still on Google Blog search in truncated form) made an hour ago and now mysteriously AWOL from his site, in which Iain Dale started:

The Liberal Democrat leadership contest is still wide open, according to a YouGov poll commissioned exclusively for Sky News.The poll of 678 Lib Dem members finds Nick Clegg ahead with 56% of the vote among all those naming a candidate.

Enticing. Liberal Democrat Voice adds:

The key figures doing the rounds on the internet* are:

Nick Clegg: 56%
Chris Huhne: 44%
% members voted so far: 48%

* Therefore either true, or not. Take your pick.

But Political Betting adds that 52% surveyed hadn't voted yet, and it follows that there were a significant number of "don't knows" which are not included in the percentages quoted above. When added to the fact that the poll will have a margin of error of, say, +/- 5 points, this suggest that the contest is wide open:

A YouGov poll of 678 Lib Dem party members that will be released later this evening by Sky News has Nick Clegg beating Chris Huhne by 44% in the membership ballot. But the race could still be close because 52% of those questioned have not voted yet.

The pollster built up a good reputation for party membership polls when in 2001 and 2005 it got the Tory contest correct to within 1%. The firm did not do as well this June with their Labour deputy leadership surveys where it had Alan Johnson ahead. That was, however, a complicated election because of the transferable vote system amongst six candidates.

The information has been provided by Sky to Iain Dale and other journalists on an embargoed basis and he has the story all ready to release at the appointed hour (2200)

However, following some advice by a contributor on the last thread, it is possible through Google Blogs search to find the key elements of the survey.

    I was not given the information from Sky and I do not feel constrained by the embargo.

Throughout the day the Clegg price has tightened on Betfair and one can only assume that news has seeped out to some punters.

When something as price sensitive as this comes out then the information should be available to everybody - not just the chosen few.

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