Thursday, June 1, 2017

Blaming the audience

An average of 3.51m (17.8%) watched last night's election debate on BBC1, according to overnight ratings. The audience had George Eaton, Political Editor of The Spectator, Carrie Symonds (former Special Adviser to Culture Secretary), the Daily Mail and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson frothing.

Boris said "It was seven people speaking to probably the most left-wing studio audience the BBC has ever brought together."

Westmonster, the UKIP blog, got their retaliation in first, predicting that the audience would be biased to the left back on May 11.

The audience was selected for political balance with the help of polling company Comres. Founder Andrew Hawkins told the BBC "If you have a panel of people - one from the governing party (Conservatives) - one from what's regarded as a right wing party (UKIP) and five from broadly left-wing parties, and you give those speakers equal airtime, it means you're giving five slots of airtime to the left-wing parties for every two slots to the not so left-wing parties.

"Therefore it's inevitable that the cheering is going to be skewed in one direction.

"What I can say is that the recruitment for this was more complex and more rigorously executed than any I've ever witnessed."  The audience response was "a reflection of the fact that the Conservatives were on the back foot because Theresa May didn't turn up - and therefore it's a bit of an easy target".

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