Sunday, December 04, 2016

Who do you trust?

I am grateful to Stephen Bush of the New Statesman for pointing out an interesting result in the Veracity index prepared by IPSOS-MORI based on a poll of which professions people do and don't trust to tell the truth.

It is not good news for politicians in general who come out even worse than bankers, estate agents or journalists.

Local councillors are the one group of politicians to whom that result does not apply - councillors are trusted to tell the truth by 43% of people, a disappointing result but far better than that recorded by any other group of politicians.

Government Ministers are trusted to tell the truth by only 20% of respondents: "politicians generally"  by only 15%.

It is interesting and surprising that ministers do so much better than politicians in general, though both do pretty badly.

But I'll tell you something I don't believe, and in refusing to believe it I am being entirely consistent:

I don't believe that as many as 49% of people trust pollsters.

If anyone still thinks you can trust the output of opinion polls, at least without a bigger margin of error than the published one, after the events of the last two years, that is a true triumph of hope over experience!

Granted, polls are better than nothing, or than relying on your gut instinct, or what the last two or three people you spoke to at the pub or even on the doorstep said. Sometimes they are the only evidence we have. But I think a wise person takes their output with a degree of healthy scepticism at the moment!

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