'I want answers': Jeremy Corbyn will speak to YouGov about Labour polling claims

12 June 2022, 14:55 | Updated: 12 June 2022, 15:02

Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to get in touch with YouGov over polling claims - despite them having been retracted
Jeremy Corbyn said he wants to get in touch with YouGov over polling claims - despite them having been retracted. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Jeremy Corbyn will contact YouGov over claims about its polling in the 2017 general election - despite the person who made them retracting the allegations.

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A former political research manager at the pollster retracted his comments last week that initially called into question whether YouGov had been fair about a piece of research on Labour five years ago.

Chris Curtis said he accepted the pollster's decision to pull a survey that was positive about Labour was made because the methodology was flawed, not because it was too positive to Mr Corbyn, as he originally claimed.

YouGov vehemently denied the original claims, saying the survey referred to by Mr Curtis - carried out after a debate in Cambridge - was dismissed because the sample included too many Labour voters from the 2015 election.

Mr Curtis then retracted his claims, saying he was "happy to clarify the position and apologise to YouGov for any confusion caused".

Despite the retraction, then-Labour leader Mr Corbyn told LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday: "Clearly, a lot of forces [were] working against us in the 2017 general election.

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"Remember, we started on 24% and ended up on almost 41% [of votes] at the end of the campaign and this clearly alarmed a lot of our opponents and they did everything they could to attack me and my colleagues."

Mr Corbyn said: "I will be in touch with YouGov to ask for an explanation about what they were doing because it seems to me that if they were suppressing information that indicates the level of support that we had, then they were trying to influence the election result.

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"Surely the whole code of conduct for polling companies ought to be that they're independent, they're objective and they operate to a code of conduct where they do tell you the news, whether it's good, bad or indifferent.

"I want answers from them because that general election was a seminal one in the sense that we were offering a redistribution of power and wealth, the powerful and the wealthy in this country didn't want it and we were under relentless attack because of that.

"But I'm proud of the manifesto we put forward and absolutely proud of the campaign that we fought."

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Mr Corbyn now sits as an independent after Labour suspended him for his reaction into a report about how he handled anti-Semitism in the party during his tenure as leader.

Previously, YouGov said "no serious polling company" would have put out the survey referred to by Mr Curtis before his retraction.

"There was a poll run by Chris following the debate in Cambridge on 31 May 2017. When reviewed by others in the YouGov political team, it was clear that the sample of people who watched the debate significantly over-represented Labour voters from the previous election," a spokeperson said.

"We take our responsibilities as a research organisation seriously and we could not have published a poll from a skewed sample that favoured any party. No serious polling organisation would have published this.

"The idea that YouGov would suppress a poll that was 'too positive about Labour' is plainly wrong - as evidenced by the fact that in the 2017 election YouGov published an MRP model showing Labour doing significantly better compared to most other polling organisations."

LBC has contacted YouGov over Mr Corbyn's claims.