Polling company Survation has released its own statement on The Sun’s story about its survey. Scroll down to read part of it.
A Sun campaign stirring up fear and hatred of British Muslims has twisted survey results to cause alarm. A headline warned of “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ sympathy for jihadis”, accompanied by a photo of the killer ‘Jihadi John’ with a knife
“Nearly one in five British Muslims has some sympathy with those who have fled the UK to fight for IS in Syria,” the newspaper claimed. “The number among young Muslims aged 18-34 is even higher at one in four.” But this is misleading.
Having sympathy for individuals who may be lured into extremism is not the same as sympathising with their cause. More seriously, the Sun lumped together those willing to die to oppose Daesh/ISIL with its sympathisers.
Okay, here’s the relevant part of the Survation statement:
The wording of the question on “sympathy with young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria” was not chosen by The Sun newspaper but was chosen by Survation in order to be completely comparable with previous work we have done, both among Muslims and non-Muslims and therefore enable meaningful and proper comparisons to be drawn.
However, there is a distinction between the work we do and how clients chose to present this work. Survation do not support or endorse the way in which this poll’s findings have been interpreted. Neither the headline nor the body text of articles published were discussed with or approved by Survation prior to publication. For reference, our own coverage and analysis can be found here.
Furthermore, Survation categorically objects to the use of any of our findings by any group, as has happened elsewhere on social networks, to incite racial or religious tensions.
Our view remains that the most meaningful way to interpret the results of this polling is in the proper context alongside a comparable sample of non-muslims, as we did in March of this year using identical methodology and the same question wording.
This comparison shows that “sympathy with” (distinct from “support for”) those travelling to fight in Syria (among any group) exists as a limited, minority view among both muslims and non-muslims, particularly among young people of both groups.
Such comparative polling was reported in March in a balanced way by Sky News “Poll: Majority Have No Sympathy With Extremists” and was largely uncontroversial at the time, despite the fact that that poll found higher levels of sympathy.
This latest poll in fact shows a fall in sympathy with fighters travelling to Syria among Muslims since March, something which we would consider the most pertinent new finding of that particular question.
All of this just goes to make one point – a point very pertinent to the Oldham by-election and Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity, as well as this: You can’t trust everything you read about polls!
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