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Fight Between Porsche and Ken Livingstone continues

26.2.2008 / London-Cairo-Stuttgart /

London's Mayor Ken Livingstone claimed at today’s press conference that Transport for London has published the full details of their Ipsos-Mori poll on the congestion charge. If this statement is true then why have Ipsos-Mori repeatedly and explicitly refused to release the full results of the poll. This is why the British Polling Council has been investigating the matter – said to be the first time the British Polling Council have had to undertake such a course of action.

The only document that is publicly available that shows any results from the poll can be found here: However, the tables provided at the back of the document are only summary tables. Despite the fact that the TfL document makes claims about the views of women on the congestion charge (see p.16) and the views of the drivers of certain types of cars (p.16), the tables at the back of the document do not break down the results in this way. This refusal to publish the results in full puts Porsche in the impossible position of not being able to analyse them and is the basis of those complaints made to the British Polling Council.

According to the rules of the British Polling Council, “Organisations conducting privately commissioned surveys have the right to maintain the confidentiality of survey findings. However, in the event the results of a privately commissioned poll are made public by the organisation [its employees or agents] that commissioned the survey, such results will be deemed to have entered the public domain and procedures outlined above will be followed in respect of those findings.

The client and survey organisation may keep other findings (that have not been published) confidential except where such findings are relevant to the topics covered in questions that have entered the public domain or where the question order is relevant to the published results.

The research organisation must place other relevant data on its web site within two working days of the original release of the results into the public domain in order to place such information into their proper context. If other findings cast doubt on those that have been published then the agency must also release those findings.” The rules of the British Polling Council are available here:

In other words, once details of opinion polls are discussed in public, the full details must be released generally within two days. This has not happened, which is why Andy Goss, the Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, has written to the Mayor asking him to release the full tables.

A story on the respected Political Betting website ( has a report on this today. According to author Mike Smithson, “It will be recalled that the mayor’s own congestion charge poll has become something of an issue. A week last Friday we reported on the decision of the British Polling Council to launch a formal inquiry into the refusal of Ipsos-MORI to make available the detailed data of a survey they had carried out on the issue.

That is being withheld in apparent breach of the BPC’s transparency rules because the client, TfL, won’t let it be published. In contrast ICM’s full polling data was made available the day after the firm’s client, Porsche, had released some of the findings.”

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