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The Nonsense Mystique of Focus Groups – “The Unfinished Revolution: How New Labour Changed British Politics Forever” – Philip Gould

January 9th, 2012 · No Comments · Campaigning, Electoralism, Politics, UK Labour, United Kingdom

With the exception of ‘spin-doctors’, no campaigning phrase has been imbued with a greater air of nonsensical mystique than ‘focus groups’. Why focus groups should have gained this elevated position I cannot tell. Old-fashioned qualitative research, another name for the same thing, has not taken off in people’s imaginations in the same way, nor has quantitative opinion polling, which is now incredibly sophisticated and potentially much more influential. Focus groups are important to me. The mystique surrounding them is ridiculous: they are simply eight people in a room talking. Their importance in modern politics is that they enable politicians to hear directly the voters’ voices.

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