By Finn Raben
Over the weekend the New York Times and Observer newspapers reported that data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica, a company that had been employed with considerable success by Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential campaign, had illegally harvested 50 million Facebook profiles in order to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. The Observer reports that data was collected via a digital app on the Facebook platform where hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take a personality test and agreed to have their data collected for academic use. However, the app also collected the information of the test-takers’ Facebook friends.
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.
Fleeing wars, famine or simply looking for a better life, the misplaced masses of the world have dominated headlines this year. The dramatic exodus causes tensions, dominates debates and can even influences elections. What do opinion polls and social research say about this global problem?
From the coasts of the Mediterranean to the townships of South Africa, from the Channel Tunnel to the US-Mexican border; immigrants and refugees are a growing and seemingly unstoppable concern. We investigated the various regions where border tensions are dividing popular opinion, and asked if this leads to increased social and opinion research, and if so, how it informs the difficult discussion on this topic.