The return of Return: The #EUref polling firm that tells you what to think

160621 whistleblower

Congratulations to The Canary for uncovering details of a polling company that seems to be trying to tell people how to vote, rather than simply recording public opinion.

Return has ‘form’ when it comes to asking leading – or indeed, misleading – questions, and it seems the firm has put its experience into play in the service of certain elements in the Conservative Party who desire Brexit:

Return Marketing is a London-based marketing and research agency with extensive links to the Conservative party. In May, The Canary published a whistleblower’s allegations that the company used telephone polling to ask ‘misleading’ questions of thousands of voters in key marginal seats during the 2015 general election campaign. The company, said the whistleblower, was covertly funded by the Conservative party to carry out that work.

Return Marketing is currently conducting polling on the EU referendum, which is due to go to the vote on 23 June – less than 48 hours’ time.

The Canary has seen a script used by the company’s calling agents, and it raises serious questions about the integrity of that polling. After gathering demographic data from voters and asking about their voting intentions, the researchers ask the question: “The EU costs Britain £350 million per week, how important is the cost of the EU?”:

We all know there is one serious problem with that question, right? It claims as fact the assertion that the UK spends £350 million a week on the EU (in fact, taking rebates and the economic benefit of migrant workers into account, we make £120 million a week).

This lie, in the middle of what people are being asked to believe is a legitimate poll, crosses the line between legitimate polling and influencing public opinion in order to push people towards a predetermined point of view – push polling.

If voters are undecided, the script goes on to emphasise the cost of the EU.

Market research, including asking about voting intentions and message testing, is a perfectly legitimate activity during political campaigns. But push polling – polling designed to influence voters while masquerading as political research – is a different story.

What is still unclear is exactly who is funding the polling.

Well. We know that Return Marketing has strong links to the Conservative Party, and we know that these questions push people very strongly towards saying they’ll vote ‘Leave’, so…

Would you like to make an educated guess?

Source: BREAKING: Whistleblowers come forward with explosive allegations about the EU Referendum | The Canary

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8 Thoughts to “The return of Return: The #EUref polling firm that tells you what to think”

  1. I watched the report by Channel four, having had the details handed to them from ‘The [email protected] No doubt this organisation are up to no good in trying to subvert and undermine democracy, masquerading as a legitimate surveying organisation when in actuality it appears this is a political group from the right, desiring exit from the EU for either political or economic motives. Im grateful for the integrity of journalism like the Canary and channel Four,and hope that whatever the outcome,further investigations are made by the electoral commission or police if necessary, is made. This is simply deliberate attempts to mislead people and plant false propaganda as facts. Wholly undemocratic.

  2. I wouldn’t tell them anything! Why would anyone tell a complete stranger what they intend to vote? My answer to them would be, to simply end the call, what I vote has nothing to do with them!
    As I know you through this Excellent website, I don’t mind telling you that I intend to vote Remain!
    Though I am a jinx when it comes to voting, because whatever I vote the opposite happens! Every single time!

    1. Mike Sivier

      Let’s hope tomorrow will break that tradition for you.

    2. NMac

      Usually happens to me too “Joanna”. Lets hope that tomorrow our luck changes. A small majority for remain will suffice and then the nasty Tory Party can continue their civil war without dragging the rest of us into it.

  3. John

    I realise that this post may not be the most appropriate to ask this, but I’ve just read a comment from someone (NOT on here), that states that apparently most Tory MPs have signed a letter stating that they want Cameron and Co to stay on even if we Leave? I know about the vote of no confidence letters from MPs, but didn’t know about this one? Mike?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Yes, I’ve heard that too.

  4. David Woods

    Given their long term history, is their any reason to believe politicians will pay any attention to the vote if it doesn’t give the answer they want!
    Our voices are ignored as they ignore the laws of this land!

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