Last week the Independent published an article stating that a poll had found a “majority” of respondents were in favour of a new lockdown to curb Covid-19 cases.
This was not true. In fact, fewer than 40%—a clear minority—said they wanted new restrictions to be implemented. The poll consisted of a survey of “nearly 700” of the Independent’s own readers, and was run by the publication itself.
As we have written recently, a poll is only useful if you have some confidence that the people you are surveying are broadly representative of the people you’re interested in. There is no indication in the article that the Independent took any steps to ensure they had included a representative sample of readers in their survey.
Full Fact has contacted the Independent to confirm the details of the poll, and will update this article if and when we receive a response.
After being initially contacted by us about the inaccuracy, the Independent corrected their article to make it clear that the results did not indicate a majority of people want a new lockdown, changing their headline to: “More than a third of people want government to enforce another lockdown to stem Covid cases, poll finds.”
This headline may still be misleading. It suggests the 700 people surveyed by the Independent are representative of “people” more widely when we don’t know if they are even representative of Independent readers.
The Independent’s correction note states: “This article was amended on 8 November 2021. It previously stated that a majority of people wanted the government to enforce another lockdown, and this was inaccurate.
“While the single biggest group of those polled did want to see another lockdown, they were only 39 per cent of respondents.
“The total proportion of those who did not want another lockdown was more than 60 per cent, and therefore constituted a majority against another lockdown. We are happy to set the record straight.”