By Finn Raben, David Smith and Ijaz Gilani
Political opinion polling has recently come in for some very heavy criticism, in different countries around the world; and yet this criticism continues to often be one-dimensional, and based on over-inflated expectations, without any appreciation of the myriad complexities that make up the influencers on people’s opinions and attitudes in this modern era of communication.
Can we expect the US 2016 polls to be any good?
The American polling community is no stranger to controversy during hard-fought election campaigns, pollsters often have serious arguments about appropriate methods (such as whether random-digit dialing or using voter registration lists are better for primary elections, and what is the proper percentage of mobile phone numbers in a sample). Politicians certainly argue with pollsters when they are not happy with poll results, often citing the shopworn phrase “The only poll that counts is the one on election day.”
Zenel Batagelj of Valicon looks at the 2011 Slovenian general election, which saw an unprecedented level of tactical voting and a very surprising result. How can research organisations identify the indicators and ensure that their pre-election polls can more accurately gauge public opinion when it comes to strategic voting.