Guardian deletes fake news re Momentum poll. Reality is very different

On Tuesday, Momentum published the results of a poll of its members’ opinions on Brexit and Labour’s priorities. That evening, the Guardian published a headline about those results that was entirely false:

gdn fake.jpg

The paper later withdrew the false headline and amended the article to one more accurate – without noting the change – but the original could still be seen in the page address:

gdn fake 2

But the emphasis in the headline was still based on a cherry-picked figure and ignored one which had equal support from the Momentum members who responded – and far greater significance than merely voting down a Tory deal that will inevitably be dire.

Ninety-two percent

92% of respondents also said that all Labour MPs should prioritise forcing a general election – above everything else, including a so-called people’s vote and including overturning Brexit.

Momentum’s poll showing 92% say a general election takes priority over every other option

Far from showing strong support for a fresh EU referendum, the poll showed that Momentum members fully recognise the far greater importance of a change of government – exactly the priority of Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligent handling of the Brexit issue.

Labour ‘rebels’

This will send – or should – cold shivers down the spine of any Labour rebels considering supporting Theresa May’s eventual excuse for a Brexit deal in order to undermine the party’s leadership.

Even a pro-EU base like members of Momentum sees through any attempt to cast such a rebellion as the right thing to do or a matter of principle – only 325 out of some forty thousand Momentum members responded to say MPs’ opinion was relevant enough for them to be allowed a ‘free vote’ rather than following the whip.

There’s more where that came from…

But there was even further endorsement for Corbyn’s and Labour’s approach to the Brexit issue and the political insight that underpins it.

Turnout in the poll was low – around 16% of Momentum’s members – even though voting was electronic and needed only a couple of minutes to complete. Of those who did vote, barely over half – 53% – favoured committing to a new referendum now.

53% of the 16% who voted. The idea of committing to a new referendum could only generate support – from Momentum members, surely one of the UK’s most pro-EU constituencies – of just over half of respondents, while around 84% did not even participate.

If the level of support for a commitment to a new EU vote among the low number of Momentum members who turned out was only just over half, then in traditional Labour voters in ‘heartland’ constituencies, many of whom voted to leave the EU, support for the idea would be far lower.

The same would also apply among potential swing voters. In last year’s general election, Labour far exceeded the expectations of pundits in its ability to attract leave-supporters it had lost to the Tories and UKIP in 2015 back into the fold.

The hardcore, mostly-centrist ‘stop Brexit’ faction claims that a Labour commitment to a new referendum would result in a surge of support for Labour. But Momentum’s results show there isn’t even a surge of support for it among Momentum members.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The Momentum poll was not scientific. Geography and demography were not factored in, for example. Nonetheless centrists – and a few in Momentum – have been trying to cast the results as supporting their claim that Labour should commit to a new EU referendum. The Guardian’s fake news headline was barely more blatant.

But the results actually suggest the opposite – and represent a ringing, continued endorsement of the approach taken by the Labour leadership.

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  1. Your article is infused with a groundless assumption that Momentum members are representative of Labour voters in general. The correlation between Momentum members’ and Labour voters’ opinions is probably not high.

    1. Nonsense, Brendan. It specifically mentions that the results would not be reflected among the wider voting public. But there you go.

      1. Didn’t this publication do the same with the recent wreath laying articles?
        The common media practice of delete and repeat.

      2. No, it didn’t. Those articles are still there. The media reported wrongly

  2. As a member of Momentum I was sent the email with details of the poll but ever time I tried to sign in or as a last resort change my password my email address was rejected . That is despite me being emailed at the same address with the poll I am still trying to get them to acknowledge that I am a paid up member with my membership number and direct debit information. Lets hope others did not have the same experience which could account for the low participation.

    1. Same thing happened to me, and I’ve heard it from a few others too. Given how difficult it is to get a reply from Momentum, you’d have to be a real Brexit obsessive to get beyond that barrier and vote.

    1. A useful link, which puts the argument in context.

      The response rate is disappointing – but it does confirm well-established findings of previous research that the membership (and, to a lesser extent, Labour voters) as overwhelmingly against Brexit.

      The tactics of second vote notion produces – as might be expected – a variety of views, whilst a general election is strongly desired by a majority (again – hardly surprising).. But, again, it’s clear that a majority have come to support the idea of a second vote.

      The ‘Lexit’ idea doesn’t produce a flicker, it would seem.

      Basically that gels with perceptions gleaned from talking with a range of Labour supporters.

      No surprises.

      1. Well, I’ve found different. Maybe we live in different parts of the country? Because most people I know, whatever their party, realise we can’t hold another referendum, it would be a leap too far. And all the money in the world being thrown at remain, won’t change a thing. The referendum will not be run again and I’m sick of expats and passengers of the gravy train along with foreigners trying to usurp democracy.

  3. Could hardly miss the low number of 6570 respondents on the first line of the email.
    Seemed to me that the reason for that low turnout might be more significant than the results – if only I knew what it was.

  4. Whether one can flatter Jeremy Corbyn for an “intelligent handling of the Brexit issue” depends on whether one is a socialist or not.

    From a capitalist, left-liberal perspective his stance may be tolerable. But from a socialist perspective it has been dire. The failure to make the ability to carry out a socialist economic policy the number one red line has been abysmal.

    He should be defending the freedom of future Labour governments over public ownership, public monopoly, rejection of private enterprise orientated “markets” and freedom over state support to industry. Yet these things do not even feature among the famed Labour “tests”. Instead he indulges in centrist condemnation of “no deal” which appears the only way to secure these crucial freedoms.


    1. The increased ease of capital and corporate flight aren’t the only issues your piece failed to address – perhaps you did in another essay?
      Social media is critical to the left unless we fire just about every BBC employee and tax or legislate the rest of the MSM out of existence – replacing Tory hegemony with censorship.

      Google, Twitter, Facebook and the rest, being mostly US owned, will do everything they can to oppose a nationalising socialist government, as will a US administration that’s shown itself willing to sanction into destitution any nation that rejects its holy writ.
      Corporations, particularly those in the US, now have the power to dictate terms to most governments – and they can move their tax base anywhere they please.

      EU membership is a block to nationalisation but far from the only one -‘The Market’ can now bring more force to bear on dissidents than any empire in history.

      Do you recognise any of the above as potential problems for a nationalising socialist government, whether in or out of the EU?
      Do you think the UK electorate will vote twice for a party they see as responsible for “NOT AVAILABLE IN YOUR COUNTRY” when they try to log in to FB, Twitter etc.?

      AI/robotics is about to change everything. Being a member of the EU will give us at least a chance to shift the agenda and persuade them that the US, when it’s the last bastion of neoliberalism, will be the real threat to everyone but the 1%.

      But I’m not a professor – you do what you think best 🙂

  5. Thank you for highlighting this. If Momentum insist on acting independently from the party they should at least take responsibility for any fall out and correct media lies by issuing a statement.

  6. The Momentum poll was only relevant to remainers who won’t accept the referendum result and a general election since. Like all these post referendum polls and surveys, the only people with an overriding interest are those who wish to change the countries collective mind and run it again until they get the result they want.
    Labour members and voters should be rejoicing in the high probability that house prices will fall substantially. This is the one and only chance to change the single most damaging policy for British governments, something none of them will dare do anything about. If house prices were to drop by up to 30% we could build for our children’s future.

  7. The low polling might be due to technical issues. I didn’t receive any advisory email of the poll; it was someone whose petition I’d previously signed that alerted me to it the day before it closed. And when I attempted to register, the confirmatory email never arrived in my inbox. Fortunately the admin team were able to manually register me on the site. So this might explain the low response.

  8. “remainers who won’t accept the referendum result”

    Errr…. you mean the one which demonstrated that only just over a third of the electorate supported Brexit?

    … and which showed the majority of Labour supporters against it?

    “Labour members and voters should be rejoicing in the high probability that house prices will fall substantially.”

    Trouble is, it doesn’t address the underlying mechanisms that forced up prices. Nor does it address the parallel impoverishment that will go hand-in-hand with any fall.

    1. “… and which showed the majority of Labour supporters against it”
      It did no such thing. There was no question on the vote asking which party you supported.

      1. …but there have been a number of polls that corroborate the figures you are attempting to dispute with your meaningless statement of the obvious.

      2. If we were talking about anything other than a poll promoting remain, you would have the normal skepticism of polls other than exit polls. The market research organisation YouGov is mostly quoted by remainers, with no sense of irony given it pays people for marketing surveys and those people are quite happy to give total strangers all their personal information… It isn’t representative of anyone other than survey hobbyists, and is beloved of media seeking to influence and propagandise.

      3. There are a variety of other polls giving similar and related results, including the one being discussed here. (try Google). If you take a look at the geographical breakdown of responses (the link I provided above) you can see that the data directly contradicts your ‘anecdotal evidence’.

  9. lundiel. “If house prices were to drop by up to 30% we could build for our children’s future.”
    The building will have to be done by somebody other than existing builders – with prices 30% lower how do they make a profit except on much larger, more expensive houses?
    I agree that cheaper housing is a good thing but it’ll be necessary to stop it being a boom time for buy-to-letters who have the financing to snap them all up, thus maintaining their rents.

  10. We need a general election not a people’s vote. You can’t do anything if your not in power! There are large areas of Labour supporters that voted for Brexit and we could lose their votes if we go down this self indulgent people’s vote. People are dying due to this corrupt government, let’s have some perspective on the wider issues facing this country that weren’t the result of 23rd June 2016 but go back to the Con/Lib pact that has done so much damage since 2010.

  11. Skwawkbox indulges in fake news of its own here. This wasn’t an opinion poll, scientific or otherwise. It was a democratic ballot on what Momentum’s policy should be. Only 17% oppose a people’s vote. 81% want it as an option. 53% want to commit to it now. Only 28% support the ‘on the table’ fudge that’s current Labour Party policy.

  12. This is starting to sound like a debate about how many angels you can get onto the end of a pin.

    A new vote will have three possible outcomes:

    1. A narrow win to stay in the EU similar to the 48% – 52% margin of the 2016 referendum.
    2. A significant win to stay in the EU; something which will give the result some weight along be lines of a two thirds majority.
    3. Another majority, no matter how slim, to leave.

    Outcome 1 will not put the issue to bed. It will demonstrate the country is still split on the issue with one side continuing to campaign for its view to prevail.

    Outcome 2 would be preferable in terms of giving a more decisive result. With he caveat that the turn out will also have a significant bearing on how such a result is perceived and accepted.

    Outcome 3 means all the eggs have been put in one basket and smashed. Like Humpty Dumpty nothing, no amount of wailing and knashing of teeth, is going to fix that.

    Assuming outcome 1or 2 the next hurdle is getting that result enacted in Parliament, which traditionalists of all shades of party and none insist is the ONLY legitimate decision making body and route for the whole country (UK).

    And whether I or anyone else like it or not is a total irrelevance. The fact remains that no matter how much certain members of the Governing Party (the Conservative and Unionist Party) complain and pontificate in the media there exists no evidence whatsoever that any of them will rebel.

    Even on the off chance that there is a small Tory rebellion to support the UK changing its mind there exists another significant factor to consider.

    Whilst it is stating the bleedin’ obvious that Tories do not want a Labour Government it is reasonable to state that there will be sections of the Tory Party who accept the fact that they are occasionally going to lose the odd election and have no problem with that provided there is the kind of policy continuity they are happy with which the country got under New Labour.

    There is not a single Tory in Parliament or the country amongst their voter support base who want a Labour Government pursuing the policies which the LP are currently committed to.

    It is also obvious to a blind man on a galloping horse that there are Members of Parliament within the Parliament Labour Party who are of the same mnd. It’s not difficult to identify who they are. The point is they are also adamant they do not want a General Election which might well return a Labour Government pursuing non neo liberal policies.

    In he absence of their preferred option of a ‘Centerist’ non Tory Party of neo liberal continuity they are likely to maintain the existence of the present Government over the risk of a GE and a Corbyn led Labour Government even if there are Tory rebels who would vote down the Government.

    Remember, the legislation and Henry VIII powers to leave the EU is already passed. And therein lies the problem. No matter how big a “People’s Vote” is (which people?) there exists no evidence that the current make up Parliament will be changing course this side of a General Election.

    That’s the reality. It will interesting to see which way certain groups jump on the choice of staying in the EU or the CU/SM via a GE, which offers the only realistic option for a living the present course – which for them risks a For the Government – or avoiding that possibility by keeping he present Government in power and risking the present course which will see us crash out of the EU.

  13. You have outlined some of the conundrums that are faced by the Labour Party at the moment, given that all the evidence shows its membership to be strongly in favour of ‘Remain’.

    There is another dimension. What about the notion of a General Election coming to fruition – and Labour winning a convincing majority?

    Land of milk and honey? Probably not – the then Labour Government will pick up the pieces of a declining economy and a framework of fractured international trading relationships that will put it at the mercy of the big brother of the US (forget the Brexiteer nonsense about this being preferable to the warts of the EU).

    The Tories will – predictably – wash their hands of the mess they have created, pretending that the outcome under them would have, indeed, been milk and honey. (Remember how Miliband ended up apologising for the mess of the free market?) As we know, the proportion of the population buying this propaganda line will be significant.

    I pose no simple solution. Just adding to the pretty unattractive prospects that we face, and to which a general election won’t necessarily provide an easy answer.

  14. Dave Hansell, there will be other options that are not available now – but discussion of the subject would only lead to demands from zealots to rule them out so don’t even ask.

    A relative of mine was being nagged by her (fleetingly) sullen and fractious 14-year-old daughter to go with friends on a typical Ibiza party holiday – not one arranged by the school.
    Thwarted by parental intransigence her parting shot before she flounced out was, “Well as soon as I’m 16 I’m going whatever you say.”
    Mum said, “When you’re 16 I won’t stop you.”
    Hard stare from suspicious daughter “So I can go when I’m 16?”
    “Yes, 16 is old enough.” Exit mollified daughter.
    “No point having the same argument for the next two years.” Mum chortled, “Time enough when she’s 16 to tell her she’s still not going.”

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