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The IMPRESS PODCAST | EPISODE #6 - Sorting Fact from Fiction: Polling and the 2019 General Election with IPSOS Mori CEO Ben Page

Following on from the recent publication of joint IMPRESS-Market Research Society guidance for journalists on using polls and surveys when reporting, in this latest episode of the IMPRESS podcast our COO Ed Procter speaks to IPSOS Mori CEO Ben Page about the accuracy of polling in the 2019 general election.

Ben discusses the legacy of the 2015 election for the polling industry and shares how pollsters have adapted to ensure their results are as accurate as possible,  as well as just how well journalists did when it came to reporting poll and survey findings this time around.

 

ABOUT BEN PAGE

Ben Page is Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI. He joined MORI in 1987 after graduating from Oxford University in 1986, and was one of the leaders of its first management buyout in 2000. A frequent writer and speaker on trends, leadership and performance management, he has directed thousands of surveys examining consumer trends and citizen behaviour.

Ben is a Visiting Professor at Kings College London, and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He serves on advisory groups at the Kings Fund, and the Social Market Foundation (SMF), and is a Trustee at the Centre for London and at the Centre for Ageing Better, as well as a patron of Create Streets. He recently served as a commissioner on the Resolution Foundation's Intergenerational Commission. He is a Council member of the CBI for London. Ben was named one of GQ’s 100 Most Connected Men of 2015.

HIGHLIGHTS

If you look at the evidence, in 2019 all of the pollsters were pretty accurate... back in 2017 the errors were larger and were mostly caused by understating the Labour share of the vote."

The MRS-IMPRESS guidance is important because journalists are under pressure; their budgets are under pressure, newsrooms are under pressure and I think trying to remind journalists in the profession of some basic rules and laws of statistics, which don't change no matter how wonderful you say your methods are and all of that is really important in the sense of just avoiding embarassing headlines." 

The naughtiest thing [that journalists are guilty of] is repercentaging polls. Ignoring 'don't knows' and then repercentaging polls to try and show and support your point of view; adjusting poll data to support your point of view is pretty naughty." 

 

Read MRS-IMPRESS guidance on Using Polls and Surveys in your Journalism

Listen to more IMPRESS podcasts