FEATURE7 May 2024

At the ballot box: Polling and democracy in 2024

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Almost half the world’s population have the opportunity to vote in 2024. How is the polling industry keeping an eye on voting trends? Liam Kay-McClean reports.

colourful graphic of multiple hands putting their votes into a ballet box

From Brussels, to London, to Washington DC, to New Delhi, Kyiv, Islamabad, Jakarta and Taipei, 2024 is shaping up to be a huge year for democracy. Almost half of the world’s population are living in countries with elections this year, and around four billion people will be eligible to take part.

For the polling industry, the cataclysms of the poorly predicted results of the 2015 UK general election, 2016 US presidential election and Brexit referendum forced the industry to re-examine, recalibrate and reconvene for future elections. In 2015, the Market Research Society and the British Polling Council launched an inquiry into the UK general election polling deficiencies. The report, which was released the following year, suggested a failure to reach enough Conservative voters was to blame.

Since then, the polling industry has taken steps to address its overcounting of some sections of the population. However, the challenges for this year include not only those historical issues of voter representation, but also ...