BBC Scotland accused of trying to influence the election

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By G.A.Ponsonby

BBC Scotland bosses are facing claims that they have overstepped the terms of their charter after they published results of a poll that purported to show that the Labour party had adopted the most popular policy in their election manifesto.

During an election period the BBC is not allowed to commission voting intention polls.  However this poll was commissioned from pollsters ICM last week and included 25 questions the broadcaster had compiled for the 1004 respondents.

The poll caused anger after it emerged that the BBC had compiled the questions before the SNP and Greens had even published their manifestos.  BBC reports were confusing with some claiming that the questions had been compiled after referencing party manifestos, however later reports claimed that all parties had been asked to submit their top five policies prior to the list being compiled.

There was also concern that some of the questions appeared heavily qualified and may in fact have influenced the responses.

A question on nuclear power listed only wind and wave as a possible alternative instead of the more  inclusive term ‘renewable energy’.  The BBC also listed the council tax replacement LIT in a question despite no party offering it in the next term.

The poll has been covered extensively on all BBC Scotland TV and radio news programmes.

BBC Scotland have faced allegations of bias in their general political coverage, and the last Holyrood election saw an apology issued to Alex Salmond after the BBC fabricated the results of another poll in a live TV debate featuring the SNP leader.

Recent opinion polls that placed the SNP ahead of Labour have been downplayed by the Corporation’s chief political editor Brian Taylor.  Mr Taylor’s online blog was closed for comments within hours yesterday after BBC Scotland published this poll.

Newsnet Scotland understands that complaints have been made against BBC Scotland as a result of the poll.