NEWS9 June 2021

Code of conduct published for Australian political polling

Asia Pacific Election 2019 News

AUSTRALIA – The Australian Polling Council’s (APC’s) code of conduct for public opinion polling has come into effect following polling failures at the 2019 Australian election.

Australia election_crop

The code of conduct sets new transparency and disclosure standards for public opinion polling that is released to the media or which has the potential to influence public policy.

Among the policies included in the code is a requirement for polling firms to release 19 methodological items alongside polls to ensure the public and journalists have faith in the findings.

This includes publishing sample size, method of collections, results weighing and selection of participants, and also including the exact wording of any questions and details of the format in which the questions were asked.

An APC ‘quality mark’ has also been released to allow journalists and publishers to identify polling that is conducted professionally and meets the code of conduct’s standards.

The Australian Data and Insights Association (ADIA) has welcomed the new code, having run a recent inquiry into the performance of opinion polling at the 2019 Australian election.

In 2019, pre-election polls incorrectly called the outcome of the federal elections, and the ADIA inquiry sought to determine how the industry could improve its performance.

The inquiry found that unrepresentative polling samples were one of the main reasons why polls failed to correctly predict Scott Morrison’s victory in 2019.

The APC was formed in 2020 to advance the quality and understanding of polling in Australia.

George Zdanowicz, president of the ADIA, said: “Election and political polling are consequential and influential and play an essential role in the democratic process.

“ADIA is delighted to see the APC’s commitment to delivering greater transparency and disclosure regarding how published polls are conducted and we remain willing to further support the council’s objectives going forward.”