The Daily Express has been censured by the Independent Press Standards Organisation for publishing a “significantly distorted” article claiming UKIP was ahead of Labour in an opinion poll.
Robert Bray complained that the online piece of 24 November 2014, headlined “UKIP is now more popular than Labour”, was in breach of Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code (accuracy).
The article quoted a Yougov survey and claimed it showed that 38 per cent “of those surveyed” intended to vote Conservative, 28 per cent UKIP and 25 per cent Labour.
The article did not make clear that while the survey was of 2,314 adults, it only quoted the result for those who read The Sun.
The overall survey actually put Labour in first place with 34 per cent versus UKIP in third with 15 per cent.
IPSO said: "The online article was a significantly distorted account of the results of the poll. It suggested that, overall, Labour was less popular than UKIP, when in fact the poll had showed the opposite. The findings of the poll had been perfectly clear, and the newspaper did not provide a satisfactory explanation for the approach it had taken. This amounted to a serious breach of the requirements of Clause 1 (i) of the Code, and the complaint was upheld.
"The Committee did not accept the newspaper’s contention that a reference to “more general voter surveys had Labour just ahead or tied with the Tories with UKIP in third place” had been sufficient to convey the true position to readers. The reference to “surveys” (in the plural), as well as to a variety of results said to arise from those surveys, gave the impression that this referred to the results of alternative polls, rather than the overall result of the poll reported."
IPSO ordered the Daily Express to publish its adverse adjudication and stipulated that it must appear on the paper’s homepage for at least 48 hours (with a link highlighted underneath the lead story).
The misleading article remains online, with a link to the IPSO adjudication.