Here is something else about polls:
After reading The Hitch's blog for the first time last night (it's very funny), I went on to catch up with the original Peter Hitchens (of the Mail on Sunday).
Following a very extensive and interesting post in which replies to a number of readers' comments, I saw this further comment from a reader, which stood out:
"During the late 80s/early 90s I used to be one of the poor drudges calling innocent people at home on behalf of Mori. There was one Greenpeace did on peoples' view of Trident submarines (topical now, no?) where the questions were deliberately phrased to make the respondent feel guilty if they didn't take the anti-Trident line it was appalling the double bind they put people in, and of course they got the result they wanted. And if there was a political poll, the Tory Voters were always the ones who said they didn't want to reveal who they voted for which made me feel quite sick, because I was a Tory voter in those days and the fact that every foul mouthed Rock Journalist, 'Artist', British Filmmaker etc at the time were using vicious, obscene and hate filled exaggeration to denounce the Conservatives all the time was evidence of their Evil, not Conservative me. No point being a Hidden Conservative, being Hidden is what Communists do.
So yes, polls represent nothing, but will always be held in biblical reverence by the Highbrow media, as much as the Tabloids so the rest of us can all laugh at Paxman, Humphries, Wark etc as they try to convince us how serious and clever they all are."
"Once back here I got to thinking - 'how do I get out of this?' Perhaps the really haunting spectre is that I would have to turn my back on the lake, and the prospect of the sword." Alan Clark, Diaries - 19th May 1999