Head or Heart: The conflicts of political polling

Alexander Wheatley

Predicting the future

In the world of market research there are few parties who come in for more scrutiny than the political pollsters. With so much emotion riding on a clear outcome it is understandable that people pay attention.

A large portion of market research essentially revolves around making a prediction and this is no more apparent than in political research. Given that prediction science plays such a huge part in the world of market research, it is unsurprising that as a research upon research department we have added our name to the list of those who have researched and written papers on the topic of how to make good predictions. Ultimately it has been this question which has led us to the more specific question of how to predict an election.

I can say now that I cannot directly promise an answer to this question; but I can promise guidance to an answer. Through illustrations of the when, how and what of the methods we have explored to best armour yourself to make such predictions.

The vulnerability of polls