Letter: BBC's choice of statistics

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The Independent Online
Sir: The reason for the BBC's decision to minimise its reporting of opinion polls (17 November) appears to be that they were inaccurate by a few percentage points in the 1992 general election. Yet the BBC news regularly reports, sometimes as its lead story, the unemployment figures, the monthly balance of payments, the Treasury's economic forecasts, crime 'statistics' and hospital waiting list numbers, all of which are markedly less accurate than opinion polls. Earlier this week it even led with the Department for Education's hopelessly misleading truancy figures.

Why pick on the polls? Am I being unduly cynical in noting that the BBC is more fastidious about statistics that occasionally embarrass the Government than statistics that the Government itself issues?

Yours faithfully,


Department of Government

University of Essex


19 November