Pollster: Why 'Majority Back Suspending Parliament For Brexit' Claim Is All Wrong

13 August 2019, 09:08 | Updated: 13 August 2019, 09:43

The Daily Telegraph front page proclaims that the majority of people now back Boris Johnson proroguing parliament to deliver Brexit - but this expert explains why the poll got it all wrong.

The ComRes survey claimed that 54% of British adults think that Parliament should be suspended to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit.

But Peter Kellner, a pollster who used to run YouGov, says it is "bad polling and bad journalism".

- What is proroguing parliament? LBC explains

Does the public really back shutting down parliament, as the Daily Telegraph claims?
Does the public really back shutting down parliament, as the Daily Telegraph claims? Picture: Daily Telegraph / PA

He said: "ComRes is a good polling company and the Telegraph is a good paper, but together they have produced something that does not justify the Telegraph's use of it.

"The figure that the Telegraph reported today came after three questions which I think re highly dubious."

These were:
- Agree/disagree that parliament is out of touch with the British public?
- Agree/disagree most MPs want to ignore the wishes of voters on Brexit?
- Agree/disagree the Queen should remain above politics?

It was after that that they asked about proroguing parliament.

Peter Kellner was critical of the poll
Peter Kellner was critical of the poll. Picture: PA

Mr Kellner explained: "By the time you get to that point, people are in an anti-parliament, anti-political elite mode.

"Any pollster should know that the sequence of questions you ask, the order you put them in and the impact that earlier questions have on later answers can be decisive.

"A couple of weeks ago, when YouGov asked essentially the same question but without the build-up, they got exactly the opposite response."

Tom Swarbrick also pointed out that the survey results removed people who answered 'don't know', so the actual percentage supporting suspending parliament was only 44%.