MST rejects Daily Mail criticism of YouGov poll

The Media Standards Trust rejects the criticisms of The Daily Mail regarding the YouGov poll on press regulation (sample size 3,620).

The Daily Mail (p8) today writes that in the YouGov poll commissioned by the Media Standards Trust last week and published yesterday, doubts have been raised about the question which shows that 79% of the public are in favour of using ‘an independent body established by law’ to regulate the press (including 81% of Daily Mail readers).

We assume that the Mail, a national newspaper that often publishes polls itself, is well-experienced in the process of commissioning opinion polling, and that they are therefore fully aware that all questions are agreed beforehand with the polling company (indeed, on this particular question the MST was careful to ensure that YouGov were happy with the wording), and that all publication of data is also agreed beforehand.

Indeed, all polling companies abide by the rules of the British Polling Council (available here), which ensure the integrity of the polling industry, and the reliability of their results and the publication of figures. The Daily Mail is free to consider the different results produced by different polls, but all have been produced and presented in equal accordance with the British polling industry’s high standards.

In this particular question, the public were given a choice as to whether ‘There should be an independent body, established by law, which deals with complaints and decides what sanctions there should be if journalists break agreed codes of conduct to regulate the press’, or that ‘Newspapers should establish their own body which deals with complaints and decides what sanctions there should be if journalists break agreed codes of conduct’ . 79% chose an ‘independent body, established by law’. See summary here, and the full dataset is available via YouGov here.

We are confident that all questions in our poll have been produced and presented in accordance with BPC rules, and are therefore happy to continue to publish them on out site, just as they are fully available to the public via YouGov. The MST has also been careful to self-publish the results to all questions in our poll – something that certain newspapers have neglected to do with their Leveson polling in recent weeks.
We are also happy to note that the Daily Mail doesn’t take issue with any of the other results in our poll, including that:

  • 83% of Daily Mail readers believe that ‘National newspapers should be obliged to join a new system by law’
  • 91% of Daily Mail readers believe there is a risk (57% ‘a strong risk’) that, if the press continues to regulate themselves, we will see a repeat of illegal and unethical practices
  • 84% of Daily Mail readers agree that ‘After the phone-hacking scandal it is no longer acceptable for newspaper owners and editors to control the system for dealing with complaints about press behaviour.