Taking the Electoral Pulse: Three Approaches to the Methodology of Election Polling

National Centre for Research Methods/British Polling Council Joint Seminar

Venue: The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH

Date: 20 January 2010

Chair:  Lord Lipsey (Straight Statistics)

With a general election looming, this seminar will examine the methodology of three approaches to ascertaining the distribution of political preferences across the country. These are telephone polling, internet polling and exit polls. In each case the seminar will focus on the opportunities and challenges associated with the method and outline some of the controversies surrounding its use.  It will enable participants to become acquainted with how each approach is implemented in the UK and develop an informed judgement about the likely methodological rigour of each approach during the course of the 2010 general election campaign. The event is being organised by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and the British Polling Council.


10.30-11.00 Introduction
Introduction to the Day: John Curtice

11.00-12.30 Telephone Polls
Introduction: Opportunities and Pitfalls: Martin Boon (ICM)
Is it Safe to Past Vote Weight?: John Curtice (Strathclyde)
Telephone surveys and election polling: Ipsos MORI's experience: Simon Atkinson (MORI)

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.30 Exit Polling
Introduction: The Whys and Wherefores: Nick Moon (NOP)
Exit-poll analysis and prediction: Stephen Fisher (Oxford)

14.30-15.00 Tea break

15.00-16.30 Internet Polling
Introduction: An Impressive record? Peter Kellner (YouGov)

How far and why it works - British Election Study: Paul Whiteley (Essex/BPIX)
Internet polling: a more hesitant approach: Andrew Cooper (Populus)