HACAN calls for Heathrow Airport to come clean on its Populus polls after the polling company’s methods are exposed

Press Release

13/8/14 for immediate use

HACAN, the campaign group opposed to expansion at Heathrow, has called on Heathrow Airport to come clean about its surveys carried out by its favourite pollster Populus following the revelations this week about the methods Populus used in a recent survey on fracking (1).  The  fracking poll published on Monday, carried out for UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), was described by a polling expert as ‘one of the most misleading poll findings I’ve ever seen’ (2).  And today it has been revealed that the UKOOG findings have been flatly contradicted by a Government survey found which only 25% of people supported fracking compared to the Populus poll which claimed 57% support (3).

Heathrow has relied on Populus polls, conducted over the phone, to back its claims there is growing support for a third runway at the airport. Heathrow claimed, on the basis of a Populus poll, that there was more support now for a 3rd runway than when it was proposed by the last Labour Government.  The poll claimed to show 48% were in favour of a third runway while 34% opposed (3), results which were flatly contradicted by referenda and surveys carried out by Hillingdon, Richmond and Hounslow local authorities which found around 72% of residents opposed a 3rd runway (4).

In December last year Heathrow claimed “people in West London are more likely to vote for their MP if they support Heathrow expansion than if they oppose a third runway according to new research from independent polling company Populus” (5)  in contradiction to what MPs day they are hearing on the doorstep and reading in their mail.

Experts are claiming that Populus are asking questions in a way that is guaranteed to get the answers their paymasters want.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Heathrow need to come clean about these Populus surveys.  It looks as if their favourite pollster has been discredited.   Heathrow should now to publish not just the questions Populus are asking people but also the ‘spiel’ leading up to the questions.  Unless they can convince us all that they are not leading people to their chosen answer, their results can only be regarded as fiction rather than fact…..to be filed alongside this entertaining incident from Yes Minister http://youtu.be/G0ZZJXw4MTA .”


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). See HACAN  blog for more details:  http://hacan.org.uk/blog/?p=316

(2).  http://www.noiseofthecrowd.com/this-fracking-poll-finding-is-one-of-the-least-convincing-ive-ever-seen/

(3). http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4174476.ece …

(4). http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Heathrow-Borough-Poll-March-2014.pdf

(5). http://www.richmond.gov.uk/100000_say_no_to_heathrow_expansion

(6). http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/One-quarter-of-West-London-more-likely-to-vote-for-their-MP-if-they-back-Heathrow-expansion-77e.aspx .

For further information:  John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650