Fake News: Leave.EU publishes junk poll calling Stoke by-election for UKIP

Polling experts warn journalists not to report results


This morning, seedy Brexit sideshow Leave.EU has published a new ‘poll’, which shows UKIP leader Paul Nuttall winning the Stoke central by-election with 39 per cent of the vote.

However, they have published no methodology beyond claiming an implausibly large sample size. The research director of YouGov has advised scepticism pointing out that a phone poll of 4,000 people in a constituency election is ‘getting on for impossible’.

Another leading psephologist, Will Jennings, has dismissed the poll, warning journalists that to report its findings with further corroboration would be ‘as bad as fake news’.

Back in June, Leave.EU published an poll predicting the results of the EU referendum which, although it included no convincing methodology, accurately predicted a 52-48 result. Some have suggested that this lends credence to the ‘data’ published today.

That fails to recognise that given the tight margin predicted in the referendum, and the fact that there were only two possible options, there was a high probability of guessing the correct outcome.

Given that Leave.EU founder Arron Banks — also UKIP’s largest donor — openly admits that their MO was getting media attention through sensationalist content, we should assume that their ‘polling predictions’ are no more than stabs in the dark.

This is further evidence that Banks and his cronies are deliberately creating fake news in an attempt to influence the electorate.

We should call them out for what they are — liars.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

See: Dear Stoke-on-Trent: Here’s what Paul Nuttall really stands for

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.