The politics of polling Contents

Appendix 4: Call for evidence

The House of Lords Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media was appointed on 29 June 2017. The remit of the Committee is “to consider the effects of political polling and digital media on politics”.

The Committee membership is Baroness Couttie, Baroness Fall, Baroness Ford, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Lord Hayward, Lord Howarth of Newport, Baroness Janke, Baroness Jay of Paddington, Lord Lipsey (Chairman), Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve, Lord Rennard and Lord Smith of Hindhead.

The Committee will explore the following key issues and would welcome your views on the following questions. Please note that questions are not listed here in any order of importance.

The final report and recommendations of the Committee will focus on polling in the United Kingdom. However, the Committee is interested in receiving evidence setting out international comparisons where appropriate and relevant.

This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee. The deadline is 1 September 2017.

Polling methods and accuracy

1.What are the most significant challenges for conducting political opinion polling and achieving accurate results? What measures could be taken which might improve the accuracy of political opinion polling?

2.How does the accuracy of political opinion polling compare to other forms of opinion surveys, such as polling on behalf of advocacy groups or official surveys?

3.What new methods have had the most impact on political opinion polling? Can technological innovation help to improve the accuracy of polling? What is your assessment of polls that produce constituency level estimates of voting intention?

4.Does the public have confidence in the accuracy of political opinion polls? How, if at all, has public confidence in the accuracy of opinion polls changed?

5.Can polls be influenced by those who commission them and, if so, in what ways? What controls are there on the output of results, for example to prevent ‘cherry picking’ of results?

Influence of polls

6.What impact do political opinion polls have on voters, politicians and political parties during election campaigns? To what extent does the publication of voting intention polls affect voters’ decisions, for example, in terms of turnout or party choice? What are the implications for election campaigns if polls are inaccurate?


7.How does the conduct and accuracy of political opinion polling in the UK compare internationally? Are there lessons to be learnt for polling in the UK from other political contexts?


8.Is the polling industry’s current model of self-regulation fit for purpose? Is there a case for changing the way political opinion polling is regulated? What regulatory changes, if any, would you recommend and what challenges are there to greater regulation?

9.Are there lessons to be learned for the regulation of UK political polling from other countries and political contexts? For example, should the publication of political opinion polls be restricted in the run-up to elections and referendums?

10.Should there be more transparency of the use of private polling by financial institutions? Does such polling require further regulation?

Media coverage of polling

11.Does the media report on opinion polls appropriately? What steps could be taken to improve how the media reports the results of political opinion polls? For example, should standards be set in relation to the reporting of political opinion polls, or should a code of conduct be introduced?

12.Has increased media demand for political opinion polls, or the speed of their reporting, had an impact on accuracy?

Digital and social media

13.What impact is the increased use of digital media channels having on the way in which the public engages with political opinion polling? How is political opinion polling shared across social media platforms and what impact does social media have on the accuracy and reliability of political opinion polling?

14.Can social media and other new forms of data successfully predict election outcomes? What are the challenges associated with using new forms of data to predict elections?

© Parliamentary copyright 2018