Currently running on the Daily Mail website - a poll asking the question "do you still support the students after these riots?" Never mind the phrasing of the question, which a cynical observer might even consider loaded; at time of writing respondents have voted overwhelmingly "yes", by 63 to 37 per cent of the vote.
Possibly this merely proves that the Mail's online audience genuinely supports the students' right to protest, regardless of how they are asked or the negativity with which those demonstrations have been portrayed through much of the mainstream media. If so, I take my hat off to those readers - the right to legitimate political dissent is one I am pleased to see attract such support.
And indeed the poll does seem to have enjoyed a wider audience even than is normal for the second most popular English-language paper on the web. Comedian/activist Mark Thomas was not alone in suggesting this morning on Twitter that he had voted in the poll or implying that his 31k followers might like to do the same. The vote in favour of the protests reflects, to this extent, not only the views of Daily Mail readers who happened upon it in the course of browsing the site but the views of a wider online audience.
That does not to my mind make the result less useful or valid, or mean it can be dismissed as a "polljack". It would be fun to think that 63 per cent of Daily Mail readers support the students; it is more interesting to realise that 63 per cent of this wider online audience does. With a handful of honourable exceptions the news agenda after Wednesday's demonstration has not been favourable to the students or their cause, and currently sitting on the Mail's site is the important news that even in the face of strongly negative mainstream reporting there is substantial support for that cause.
(Disclosure: the Daily Mail's parent company, Associated Newspapers, was until recently my employer.)