Members, Voters and Antisemitism Polls

Over at Evolve Politics, an article published on 29th March 2018 has the headline:

YouGov polls show anti-Semitism in Labour has actually REDUCED DRAMATICALLY since Jeremy Corbyn became leader

The current political consternation is focused on the Labour membership.

This Evolve Politics article instead looks at agreement with selected statements by party voting intention (i.e. who intends to vote for which party), rather than party members.

However, members and voters are different.

Despite this clear distinction, the headline suggests the article is talking about “anti-Semitism in Labour” — within the party — rather than among Labour voters.

Trends in Antisemitism

The YouGov polls asked, on a scale of agreement, whether respondents agreed with seven statements about Jews (such as ‘Jewish people consider themselves to be better than other British people’, asked in 2017). The Evolve Politics article wrongly says respondents were offered five such statements.

These surveys were conducted on behalf of Campaign against Antisemitism, with two sets undertaken in December 2014 — January 2015 and August 2017. The former survey had a sample of 3,411 GB adults, and the latter surveyed 1,614 GB adults.

Generally, agreement with this battery of statements has fallen across British society, in the short period of study.

This graph comes from the Campaign Against Antisemitism Barometer report 2017.

Whilst the Evolve Politics article does say the statements are “near identical”, precise wording changes are not noted:

In 2015, 22% of Labour voters agreed with the statement that ‘Jews chase money more than other people’, whilst in 2017 the number of Labour voters agreeing with the statement had declined to 14%.

In 2017, the wording of this statement had changed to ‘British Jewish people chase money more than other British people’.

Asking uncomfortable questions

Two days prior, Evolve Politics published another article lambasting the “under fire” YouGov (referred to as “Tory owned”) for asking a “shocking survey question”, which the author queried whether “this was even an acceptable question to ask”.

Without YouGov asking uncomfortable questions, it would have been impossible for Evolve Politics to draw their inferences.

This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store