Porsche polls Londoners on congestion charge, pretty much calls mayor a liar

Well, this Porsche-London fight certainly isn't going to end any time soon. Earlier today, London mayor Ken Livingstone told Porsche to butt out of local politics, but the German automaker isn't displaying any such intention. In fact, Porsche released a statement yesterday (available after the jump) that calls on Livingstone to make public the full tables of a poll showing that the public supports the increased congestion charge or else retract a mayoral statement that announced the support. Porsche, you see, says it's done its own polling and found 74 percent of Londoners think that the new £25 congestion charge is too high and various other majorities that are negative on the increase. You can read the letter Porsche wrote to the Mayor here and check out the company's statement after the jump.

The next step happened today, when the mayor said at a press conference that the full details have indeed been published. Porsche - surprise - disagrees and I'll let you read their detailed reasons why in a second press release pasted after the jump if you're into the minutiae here. The general gist remains: Porsche is calling the mayor's facts into question. Again. There will be more to this sory, I am sure.

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Porsche publishes full tables of new congestion charge polling - and requests Mayor Ken Livingstone does the same

Porsche Cars Great Britain has just published the full tables of its new poll on congestion charging by ICM and has written to Ken Livingstone requesting that he does the same for his December poll conducted by Ipsos-Mori or withdraws his original release. The Porsche poll showed the following:

* By 74-23 per cent, Londoners believe the increase in the congestion charge to £25 is too high
* By 62-30 per cent, Londoners believe the charge is being brought in because the Mayor is most interested in securing extra revenue rather than cutting congestion and helping the environment
* By 81-11 per cent, Londoners believe the new charge will be bad for business in London

The British Polling Council, of which ICM and Ipsos-Mori are members, makes it clear that organisations must make public the full details of all polling once the poll has been referred to in public.

In his letter, Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, said, "I am requesting that you finally release the full tables of the Ipsos-Mori poll you announced in a news release on 18 December 2007. According to your release, the poll showed that the public supported your proposed plans. However, I understand that despite repeated requests to your pollsters over the last two months, the full tables have yet to be made public. I have enclosed a copy of the British Polling Council's rules, which are also available on their website (www.britishpollingcouncil.org)."

He added. "If you are unwilling, for whatever reason, to authorise Ipsos-Mori to make these tables public, Porsche Cars requests that you remove the 18 December news release from your website and that you make no further references to the polling in your public comments."


Porsche Statement on the Mayor's Claims on his Congestion Charge Polling

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: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/congestion_charge_co2_emissions_annex_b.pdf. 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: http://www.britishpollingcouncil.org/objects.html

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 (www.politicalbetting.com) 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."

[Source: Porsche]

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