November 01, 2011
Long-term trend towards rise of government and public sector research
Increased emphasis on evidence-based policymaking
Greater demand for user-focused services
Greater need for efficiency savings
Polling measures perceptions rather than truth.
Perceptions are also outcomes in their own right.
Fear often has little relationship to risk
Polls important, but need to be used appropriately.
Four main poll types:
Peacetime polls (where we are now)
Polls don’t predict what would happen; ask about a hypothetical election, answers are hypothetical too.
Regular Ipsos MORI opinion polls
Campaign polls (during the campaign itself)
Measures what the public thinks it is going to do, but not a perfect predictor.
Final poll (eve of election poll — includes adjustments not applied to other polls; not “pure” polling
Further turnout adjustments:
Exit poll (Who you voted for instead of how you’ll vote)
What makes a good poll?
Question wording is crucial.
Having a good sample is crucial
Reading and reporting the polls
Good questions to ask:
Watch the share, not the lead.
Things to watch:
Curious and spurious: the Sweet FA Prediction Model
Weird correlation between the colours of the FA winner and the government taking power that year.