What political pollsters really do: live blog of a polling phone call from ICM

Back in 2008 I live blogged being rung up be a phone polling company, partly out of habit (something’s happening! write about it on the internet!*) but also to provide a counter-example to those who say ‘but I don’t know ANYONE who has ever been polled‘.** The post has generated a fair amount of interest since and it reflects the way polls are still done. So here it is again, with a couple of typos corrected but the basic brevity of live blogging retained.

Unusual first question: asking whether I’d vote “at a polling station” or not vote at all. Person bit flummoxed when I said I’d vote by post next time – neither not voting nor a polling station.

Usual political questions – how vote next time, last time etc.

Certainty to vote questions. Then on to today’s big topic.

Budget questions: is Labour only bothered about the rich, impact of budget.***

Now doing lots of betting questions.

Back now to politics. Afghanistan, Iraq.

Questions about military: wearing uniforms in public, special day to celebrate them.

National citizenship day – good idea or bad idea?

Various questions about wearing religious clothing in schools.

Back to budget questions and political questions.

Large battery of questions about how Tories and Labour compare on budget and economic issues.

Interviewer seems a bit shocked when I disagree with a question that amounted to ‘are politicians always awful?’!

Lots of details about Easter and going on holiday.

Asked whether I have a wind turbine. Wondering how many people will say yes to that!

Surprising questions about loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

Ah! Looks like these questions are about Sainsbury’s thinking of moving into the business.

Now a batch of magazine part-works questions.

Phew, just about done now.

As ever, market research organisation struggles to classify my occupation.****

* In my defence, eating breakfast rarely triggers my “something is happening” filter.
** Yes, you can hear the capital letters.
*** The phone call took place on the evening of the then-Labour government’s 2008 Budget.
**** I was working for the Liberal Democrats. Better to have an unclassifiable than an unspeakable profession I always thought.

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