Azara Blog: Radio 4 poll hijacked by special interest group

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Date published: 2007/01/01

The BBC says:

The Countryside Alliance has admitted conducting a drive to get people to vote for a repeal of the laws banning hunting with dogs, in a Radio 4 poll.

The Hunting Act took 52.8% of the votes to top a Today poll of the act people would most like to see reversed.

The alliance said it used its website to encourage pro-hunt activists to back an end to the ban in England and Wales.

The programme's panel had considered excluding hunting because of evidence of a campaign to affect the outcome.
...
The vote for the Hunting Act was well ahead of the second-placed European Communities Act of 1972, which took Britain into the Common Market, which gained 29.7% of the votes cast by telephone and online.

Other acts voted for included the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which requires police permission for protests in Parliament Square and attracted 6.2% of the vote, and the Human Rights Act, which got 6.1%.

There were also votes for the Dangerous Dogs Act and the Act of Settlement.

Gee whiz, an unscientific poll (i.e. one without a random sample) turns out to be, surprise, unscientific. All the (often goofy) polls which the media love to run are equally nonsensical. They don't want to do proper polls because that costs money, so instead they practically invite a special interest group to hijack the proceedings. And here, even if some group had not stuffed the ballot box, any poll run by Radio 4 would almost by definition be invalid since the only people who listen to Radio 4 are the chattering classes, which does not provide a random sample of British citizens.

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