The House of Lords Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media has today published its call for evidence and is inviting submissions to be received by 1 September.
The Committee has set out a range of questions for witnesses to consider. It divides the questions into five themes:
- Polling methods and accuracy – including whether polls are becoming more or less accurate, why the accuracy of polls differs in different countries and the impact of polls on politicians, voters and pollsters during elections.
- Influence of polls – including the impact of political opinion polls on voters, politicians and political parties during election campaigns and the extent to which the publication of voting intention polls affect voters’ decisions.
- Media coverage of polling – do the media report opinion polls appropriately? Would it be useful to have an established standard or a code of conduct to cover the reporting of opinion polls? What transparency do we have regarding the commissioning and shaping of polling data?
- Regulation – whether the polling industry’s system of self-regulation is fit for purpose, if restrictions are needed on when polls can be published during an election period, or whether private polling by financial institutions should be more transparent.
- Digital and social media – what impact has the rise of social and digital media had on the way people interact with opinion polls and their accuracy? Can social media and other data successfully predict election results?
Commenting Lord Lipsey, Chairman of the Committee, said:
“We are seeing more opinion polls than ever in recent elections but their greater frequency has not been matched by greater accuracy. In the last seven general elections pollsters have got the result wrong three times.
“We want to get to the bottom of what is going on with polls. We will consider the impact of polls on voters and politicians and their influence on our politics and how we are governed. We will also consider media coverage of polls and polls carried out for interest groups.
“Our inquiry can only be as good as the evidence we receive. I would invite anyone with an interest or knowledge of opinion polls to get their views to u