Opinion Poll Ban Survey of MPs

 Survey of MPs on polling methodologies and publishing polls during election campaigns

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Date Published
13 Nov 2013

Further Description

3 in 10 MPs SUPPORT ELECTION OPINION POLL BAN

A new ComRes survey of 159 MPs published today reveals that 30% of MPs overall, including 35% of Labour MPs and one in four Tories (25%), would support a ban on the publication of opinion polls in the run-up to General Elections.  The survey comes in the wake of the Indian Election Commission banning exit polls in the five states holding elections this month, plus a ban on any opinion polls in the final 48 hours of campaigning.

The ComRes survey also reveals which voting intention opinion poll methodology MPs trust and do not trust.  The results are striking in that they show MPs trust most the methodology which pollsters themselves have almost entirely abandoned - face to face interviewing.

Commenting on the survey Andrew Hawkins, ComRes Chairman, said: “The internet has had two profound effects on political polling.  Firstly it has made it quicker and cheaper, but it is too soon to tell yet whether it is as accurate as the telephone polling.  Secondly the internet, and especially the advance of social and other online media, renders entirely nugatory any attempt to ban the publication of opinion polls in the run-up to elections.”

“Of the polls conducted during the 2010 election campaign, just four were face-to-face, 33 were by telephone and 51 online – and the final telephone polls had a better accuracy record than the online ones.  Interestingly though, as Nate Silver points out (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/which-polls-fared-best-and-worst-in-the-2012-presidential-race/?_r=0), the average error in the 2012 Presidential Race was smaller among online pollsters than it was for telephone.  The 2015 UK General Election will doubtless help decide which methodology is likely to dominate in the longer term.”

FULL DATA:

Q1: Would you support or oppose a ban on the publication of opinion polls for a defined period prior to General Elections? 

 

All

Con

Lab

LD

Support

30

25

35

32

Oppose

45

49

39

38

Don’t know

25

26

26

30

 Q2: The main ways pollsters ask people their political views are by using face-to-face, telephone or internet-based interviews. To what extent do you personally trust each of these methods to deliver accurate political polls?

FACE TO FACE

All

Con

Lab

LD

Trust

94

94

93

95

Do not trust

4

5

4

0

 

 

 

 

 

INTERNET

 

 

 

 

Trust

60

64

56

49

Do not trust

37

35

41

47

 

 

 

 

 

TELEPHONE

 

 

 

 

Trust

81

77

81

85

Do not trust

17

20

16

11

 

Methodology:  ComRes interviewed a representative sample of 159 MPs online and using self-completion questionnaire in April-May 2013.  Data were weighted to reflect the House of Commons in terms of party and constituency region.  ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules

 

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