On April 17 the UK House of Lords Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media released a report on polling in the United Kingdom. The Committee took action in response to what it perceived as polling errors in two UK general elections and in the Brexit referendum.
While you can read the full report here, we asked Adam Philllps, who has chaired the ESOMAR Professional Standards and the Legal and Government Affairs Committees, to give us his assessment of what the report means.
By Robert Heeg
Easy targets for the media, the laughing stock of comedians; after several widely errors, trust in election polls seems to be at an all-time low. Not entirely fair, argues Jon Puleston, who demonstrates that the pollsters often get it right. That doesn’t let them off the hook though.
Excellent Exit Polls – very revealing pre-election polls
By Richard Hilmer
In the run-up to the German election there was a vivid debate about how reliable polls would be. The background of this discussion, of course, was the impression the German public had that the polls in the British Brexit decision and the American presidential election had been altogether incorrect and misled the public. The main reproach was that polls underestimated populistic in the British and US population.
By Carlo Stokx
Never in Dutch Parliamentary history have the General Elections in the Netherlands drawn as much international attention as the one that took place last week.
by Kathy Frankovic, former director of surveys at CBS News and a member of ESOMAR’s Professional Standards Committee
Election polling is the most visible part of market, opinion and social research. It carries the heavy burden for getting things right, but its previous successes have also brought high and perhaps unearned expectations for its accuracy. This year, and the U.S. presidential election in particular, provides a good example of what happens when people forget the limitations of polls, that sampling and non-response may matter, and that ascribing too much precision to polling estimates in times of change can make pundits and journalists look as silly as the pollsters they berate.