Heathrow’s Populus Poll: not all what it seems

Heathrow Airport today released the results of a poll asking people if they were more or less likely to support candidates in the local elections who back Heathrow expansion. http://mediacentre.heathrowairport.com/Press-releases/One-quarter-of-local-residents-more-likely-to-vote-for-local-councillor-if-they-back-Heathrow-expa-8a4.aspx .  It found that only 42% of people expressed an opinion on the issue:  of those, 25% of people said they were more likely to vote for their local councillor if they support expansion and 17% more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes expansion.

On the wider issue of support for a 3rd runway, people in the boroughs around Heathrow remain split, with just under a half supporting it and just over a third opposed.

The fact that a third of people stubbornly refuse to back expansion will worry politicians.  It adds up to a lot of people: over half a million on total. (Each borough contains about 250,000 people.  The 7 boroughs Populus surveyed contain about 1,750,000 people in total.  A third of that is 525,000).

The results are similar to the previous polls carried out by Populus.  But remain out-of-kilter with other polls.  Last year referenda and polls carried out in three West London boroughs found that 72% of people were opposed to a third runway at Heathrow.  That is also the message MPs get on the door step.  Questions need to be asked about what information is given to people by Populus before they are asked their views.

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