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The spotlight is on pollsters in the UK, following the performance of the polls at the 2015 General Election. Are we alone in facing this challenge, or is it a global issue? Does the experience in other countries point to what we should be doing in the UK?
Ipsos has many of the leading polling experts from around the world, and we brought them together in London to provide unique combined insight. Our panel members from the US, Canada, Italy and Sweden talked us through the role and challenges of polling in their countries and what we need to do to get it right. They also updated us on the political landscape of their countries, with outlines of the major elections they have recently had, and in the case of the US, the on-going race to the White House.
4The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public Sadly not everywhere looks like this … Average candidate error in US Presidential Elections (INDIV CAND SHARE) 1936 6% 1.5% 2012
5The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public There’s a global Ipsos has carried out election conversation going on about polling polling in c30 countries since 2007
6The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public And pollsters all around the world are How do we achieve a representative sample? How do we predict turnout accurately? having to face up to hard questions How do we make best use of the increasing range of methodologies open to us? How do we ensure our polls are reported well and understood among the media, politicians and the public?How do we avoid other biases, such as social desirability?
7The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public ... although our answers Size/diversity of population Turnout levels/compulsory voting Stable party system or new insurgents? Generational declines in party loyalty Societal/cultural context Media expectations vs budgets and levels of polling transparency? Survey researchers or moving towards big data modelling? National polls vs local/state-level polling? Traditional face-to-face methods vs new or mixed modes? And in any one country likely to be good and bad examples of each! may be very different!
9The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public British Polling Council Selection of samples (their main explanation) Representativeness of sample (key among explanations) Correction for likelihood of voting (less important) Late swing (some signs, but not that important) Herding (unproven) Inquiry Interim findings
10The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public Our final poll – all parties less than 2% points away How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow? from actual – except Labour, overestimated 36% 35% 11% 5% 8% 5% Ipsos MORI final poll GB final result Conservative lead = +1 Conservative lead = +6.5 CONSERVATIVE LABOUR UKIP GREEN LIB DEM OTHER 37.7% 31.2% 12.9% 3.8% 8.1% 6.4%
11The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public ‘Shy Tories’ not our problem – instead too How would you vote if there were a General Election tomorrow? many Labour voters and not enough non-voters Conservatives Labour Non voters 11.3m 12.5m 9.3m 12.2m 20.5m 15.4m Actual Implied from final poll
The Death of Polling Version
1 Public 12 Ipsos MORI’s view: We need to take a two-pronged approach – tackle the problem of more politically engaged taking part and also making sure we can detect differential shift in turnout over-claim between parties
14The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public We need to improve representation of No easy answers to this (especially bearing in mind budget and time Constraints) politically disengaged/non-voters in our samples Already introduced newspaper weighting (for example to reduce proportion of broadsheet readers). In four months from September to December 2015 this: • Reduced the proportion of claimed likely voters by an average of 3 percentage points a month • Primarily at the expense of the Labour share (down on average by 3 points, Conservatives up by 1.75 points) But will continue other experiments (for example changes in quotas, and so on)
15The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public Random samples after election though do not appear to be hugely more representative than our quota ones Election result Final telephone polls (average) Final Ipsos MORI poll British Social Attitudes British Election Study1 Ipsos MORI post- GE past vote (June-July) Voting intentions2 Difference from result Voting intentions Difference from result Report of vote Difference from result Report of vote Difference from result Report of vote Difference from result % % % % % % Con. 37.7 34.5 -3.2 36 -1.7 39.7 +2.0 40.6 +2.9 37.9 +0.2 Labour 31.2 34.3 +3.1 35 +3.8 33.6 +2.4 32.7 +1.5 32.5 +1.3 Other parties 31.2 31.2 0.0 29 -2.2 26.7 -4.5 26.7 -4.5 29.6 -1.6
19The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public Or using twitter analytics to get live, real-time reactions to the big events: 239,000 tweets in the 2nd debate Twitter ‘worm’ – real time analysis of reaction to second leader debate (2,500+ per minute)
20The Death of Polling? Version
1 Public And using new digital techniques to get closer to voters 7426 posts across 340 forum topics c.2000 members from across the UK Over 7500 survey responses
Immigration most pressing issue and
Voter support for Sweden Democrats 5 8 13 20 20 40 6 7 9 12 14 17 0 20 40 June-2010 June-2014 Aug-2014 Jan-2015 Jun-2015 Jan-2016 Immigration/integration most pressing issue Voter support for the Sweden Democrats
Immigration most pressing issue and
google searches for “refugee” in Swedish 8 13 20 20 40 0 20 40 60 80 100 June-2014 Aug-2014 Jan-2015 June 2015 Jan-2016 Number of people say immigration/integration issues are most pressing issue The number of searches on the word ”Refugee” on Google in Swedish during the same time period
17.2 23.9 0 20 Average
voter support Telephone based methods Average voter support Web based methods Voter support Sweden Democrats based on method of measurement Feb 2016