How important is polling and TV news reporting in an election campaign?

Image: Houses of parliament; picture UK Parliament

Reporting the election – Chiswick Media Club, Wednesday 19 June

The polls have led the coverage of the election campaign so far – the 20% gap between Labour and the Conservatives has framed the whole debate.  Everything that is said and done by the leading figures in the campaign is scrutinized and assessed against that backdrop.

The Lib Dems appear to have the most popular policies so far: awarding blue flag status to rivers and reducing sewage discharge scored 87% approval, and free school meals for all primary school pupils in England received 74% support in a You Gov poll.

Voters are split on the Labour and Conservative pledges not to raise the three main taxes. They like Labour’s policy of charging VAT on private school fees (61% support), and creating a publicly owned renewable energy provider (74% support), but they don’t like the Conservatives’ plans to bring back National Service (52% against to 39% in favour). The least popular policy appears to be Labour’s policy of lowering the voting age to 16.

Images: Carolyn Quinn; Joe Twynan; Katy Searle

The role of pollsters is critical during an election, as is that of journalists in ascertaining fact from rhetoric.Our event on Wednesday 19 June features one of the country’s top pollsters – Joe Twynan, who after heading up YouGov’s Political and Social Research department went on to set up his own company Deltapoll with others.

BBC Political correspondent and presenter Carolyn Quinn talks to Joe and Katy Searle, who was the head of the BBC’s Westminster newsroom during three election campaigns, two referendums and the Covid crisis.

Come and hear what goes on behind the scenes and ask them about some of the tricky issues involved in election coverage.

Book tickets: Reporting the election – Chiswick Calendar Media Club