General UK Media

Update on methodology used in Yachad poll of British Jews

A guest post by Jonathan Hoffman

Recently I expressed concerns about the methodology of the Yachad poll.

My concern was that the 72 ‘seeds’ in the ‘snowball’ category of the sample were mainly recruited by the advisory group of the survey, six of whom (out of ten) are Yachad signatories with three of the rest being left-leaning. The further concern was that this would bias the 496 respondents recruited by the ‘seeds’.

To test these concerns, the lead author of the Report (Stephen Miller, Emeritus Professor of Social Research at City University), has kindly supplied an analysis of the results by the ‘snowball’ half of the sample and the rest of the sample separately. The results are set out below together with Professor Miller’s comments.  For a few responses the ‘snowball’ half is indeed more critical of Israel (eg for the statement ‘The Israeli government is constantly creating obstacles to avoid engaging in peace negotiations’) but overall – as Professor Miller says – there is no evidence of any systematic difference between the two sub-samples with respect to doveishness.  However the principle still remains: a poll needs to be seen to be independent and having a sponsor recruit around half the respondents (directly and indirectly) does not exactly encourage that perception.


13 replies »

  1. But we still don’t know quite a lot about this survey which is potentially significant: If there was no difference between the Yachad and non Yachad selected respondents, why haven’t they been trumpeting that in response to Jonathan’s blog responses and mine?

    We need to know how the online respondents were selected.

    We need again to focus on the loading of the questions.

    We need to see how the questions polled which contributed to Table B3 were answered by the Yachad generated people and how answered by the other groups (not just designated “hawkish/doveish” itself a loaded binary opposition which brushes over the apparently complexity of the composition of the sample).

    We also need to get copies of the actual physical survey, and the covering instructions/guidance.

    We need to get copies of the invitation letter/email given to each type of person selected, whether as seed, DJN or online.

    We need to ask what method they used to approach potential Haredi respondents.

    We need to get numbers of the numbers accepting and refusing each approach to complete the survey.

    We particularly need to know whether recipients were told that the survey was paid for and sponsored by Yachad.

    • Did you also demand all of the above information in relation to the JC poll, or are you just targeting Yachad because you don’t like them and fancy undermining them before you have the facts?

      • The JC Poll base was constructed by Survation, not a group of Yachad signatories, paid for by the agenda driven funded advocacy group Yachad. The IJPR would have been the first to criticise the new poll base had there been anything at fault with it. However, there is some conflict of interest, as yet not fully made public, between IJPR and this Yachad group, in that Steve Miller is involved in both groups. I’m interested in why you keep suggesting that I might be targeting Yachad and fancy undermining them before I have the facts. This sort of attribution of bad faith without evidence of it comes from you, Hannah Weisfeld and Sarah McNicoll– all people who have written attacks on my critique of the poll. Did you all spontaneously decide to take this line?
        Or was that the “digital marketing” line? Are you engaged and/or paid to write comments and blog posts?

          • There’s no need to ask the questions I’m asking of the Yachad poll of the JC poll, because it is a simple poll in relation to one single question. I trust Survation’s construction of the poll and indeed any part the JC might have played in it, because they don’t have a particular agenda. Indeed, their editorial slant is contrary to the results of their polls. So I haven’t because the issues re the Yachad poll don’t apply. Now, please answer the questions i’ve asked you about why you have been repeatedly suggesting I’m asking these questions because you think I don’t like the results (I have never questioned any poll on the basis of not liking its results– an absurdity for anyone who is serious about social science, and please say if you are engaged and/or paid to write comments and blog posts, including on this subject.

            • If you don’t trust those who conducted this poll do I take it that you’ve filed a formal ethics complaint with City University? If its academics engaged in deliebrately shoddy research because they were being paid to do so by an outside advocacy group, that’s a pretty outrageous breach of professional ethics, so I take it you would have complained.

              If you’re not happy to answer I can always ask the City University press office myself.

              • Your avoidance of the questions about whether you are engaged and/or paid to write comments on this subjects indicates to me that you are an engaged, and likely paid mouthpiece putting out the line you’re required to take. Having repeatedly put forward statements that I critique the poll because I don’t like the results, you avoid taking responsibility for the statements by explaining on what basis you make them. You need rather more skill and finesse than you display here in trying to steer the discussion of this poll. Others can form their own view of your actions and motivations.

                • “Your avoidance of the questions about whether you are engaged and/or paid to write comments on this subjects indicates to me that you are an engaged, and likely paid mouthpiece putting out the line you’re required to take.”

                  If I repeatedly asked you, ‘Are you a convicted paedophile?’ your refusal to answer would be entirely reasonable and no basis for me to conclude that the truth is ‘yes’.

                  You have no grounds whatsoever to suspect that I am being paid to disagree with you rather than disagreeing with you in my leisure time.

                  The fact that you are persisting with this pathetic smear is a ‘dead cat strategy’ designed to divert the discussion from the ludicrous holes in your argument.

                  Good day to you.

  2. The Yachad poll does not fall within the remit of the British Polling Council.

    Because Ipsos Mori had no responsibility for the design of the survey or of the analysis, and all weighting of the data was according to the instructions of City University and Yachad.