PA Week -- Gideon Skinner, Ipsos MORI
November 01, 2011
Long-term trend towards rise of government and public sector research
Increased emphasis on evidence-based policymaking
- policy options
- evaluating results
Greater demand for user-focused services
- scoping needs
- customer experience
- tracking satisfaction
- segmenting customers
Greater need for efficiency savings
- understanding “what works”
- Public service reform/more for less
- Co-production and behaviour change
- Rising demands for accountability and transparency
- Works across all areas of public policy
- Only 0.16% of work is political polling for the media.
- Public opinion poll: views of a representative sample of a defined population.
Polling measures perceptions rather than truth.
Polls important, but need to be used appropriately.
- How they’re reported is also very important.
- Only 2/3 of people can easily reduce 20% to 1/5 (I.e., percent to a fraction)
Four main poll types:
Peacetime polls (where we are now)
- Snapshot indicator of how the public thinks it should vote at a given moment.
Polls don’t predict what would happen; ask about a hypothetical election, answers are hypothetical too.
- Better seen as a barometer — doesn’t predict the weather, measure something that is useful to know in predicting the weather.
Regular Ipsos MORI opinion polls
- Monthly political monitor
- ICM, Yougov, GfK NOP, Populus, Comres, et al.
Campaign polls (during the campaign itself)
Final poll (eve of election poll — includes adjustments not applied to other polls; not “pure” polling
Exit poll (Who you voted for instead of how you’ll vote)
- Sit outside election booths and ask people.
- Careful selection of polling stations
- One person watches people leaving with a counter, send the other to select someone every n (10?) people.
- Selected people are given a ballot, are asked to mark it. Results taken back and interpreted.
- Tends to be polling stations since last time; look at “swing,” or amount of change. Attempt to extrapolate to entire constituency and see whether enough swing to unseat incumbent.
- Add up the sum of all swing to see how much change in system.
What makes a good poll?
Question wording is crucial.
- Be relevant to respondent
- Be easily understood
- Unambiguous in meaning
- Mean the same to client, researcher and all respondents
- Relate to the survey objectives
- Not be overly influenced by the context of the question
Having a good sample is crucial
- Purely ‘random’ sampling no longer used — too difficult, expensive.
- Well-conducted quota sampling produces weighted samples with a variance similar to random samples of the same size
- Most people don’t have strong views on a lot of things; you want their voice represented as well.
Reading and reporting the polls
Curious and spurious: the Sweet FA Prediction Model
© 2018 Ændrew Rininsland, except where otherwise noted.