NEWS10 December 2015

New analysis questions effects of internet vs phone polling

Government UK

UK — Analysis from John Curtice of NatCen Social Research has questioned whether the apparent narrowing of the European referendum race could be due to an imbalance of internet and telephone polling results.

Curtice, a senior research fellow at NatCen and professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, points out in his analysis on the What UK Thinks website that although only a few telephone polls of referendum voting intentions have been conducted, their findings have been more favourable to the ‘Remain (in the EU)’ side than those conducted online. This is based on results from NatCen’s Poll of Polls, which calculates the average share of the vote for ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ in the six most recent polls of voting intentions in the EU referendum.

“If there are systematic differences in the results of polls conducted by different companies (and/or polls undertaken using different methods) the figure that it reports at any one point in time may well depend on which particular polls are included in the calculation – that indeed is why which polls are included is displayed as you move along the Poll of Polls timeline,” said Curtice.

“Because no telephone poll has been conducted since the middle of October, all the more recent figures for the Poll of Polls are based entirely on polls conducted via the internet- and perhaps it is this that more or less accounts for the apparent narrowing of the race.”