Election '97: Pollsters' key poll challenge

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The Independent Online
Polling companies are being challenged to put their money where their mouths are with donations to charity tied to how close they are to the election result. John Timpson, head of the Timpson key-cutting and shoe repair chain, is writing to bosses of the leading pollsters asking them to match his offer of pounds 100 per percentage point difference between their final polls and the result.

The company has been running a "key poll" among customers at its 325 shops across Britain, asking them to choose coloured key caps matching the party they intend to vote for. Yesterday, for the third week running, the poll gave Labour a 5-point lead, against the average 18-point lead in conventional opinion polls. Mr Timpson is donating 1p per "key vote" cast to Centrepoint, the youth homeless charity.

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