Category Archives: Press Releases

Principal Changes in the Conduct and Reporting of Polls in the 2019 General Election

This document briefly summarises the main differences between the way in which member companies are conducting their polls in the latter stages of the 2019 election and the way they did so in 2017. Details of the changes that companies made in 2017 are available at How Have The Polls Changed Since 2015?. For further details and analysis of the methodology of the polls see BPC Inquiry Report.

John Curtice


The company only published one Britain-wide poll in 2017; otherwise it conducted private polls for the Labour Party.

That one published poll was a mixed-mode online and telephone poll. The company’s polls in this campaign are likely to be conducted exclusively using an online methodology.

As in 2017 data are weighted in accordance with the known levels of electoral registration among key demographic groups. However, in contrast to 2017 the data are no longer weighted by reported probability of voting or whether or not the respondent voted at the last election.

Respondents are being invited to state a vote intention from only among the parties standing in their constituency.


This is the first general election to be covered by the company. Details of its methodology can be found at Deltapoll Methodology.


Data are no longer weighted according to a pre-determined level of turnout by demographic group

A 0-10 turnout scale is now used to weight the data rather than a 1-10 scale.

The voting preference of those who say they do not know how they would vote or who refuse to say how they would do so are no longer imputed on the basis of their past vote.

Data are weighted by 2016 EU referendum vote as well as 2017 general election vote.

Respondents are being invited to state a vote intention from only among the parties standing in their constituency.

Ipsos MORI

Data are no longer being weighted to match the ratios of turnout by age and tenure as recorded by the 2015 British Election Study.

Child in household is no longer used as a weight as it was in 2017, while ethnicity has been added as a weight.

Respondents who say they will vote for the Brexit Party, Liberal Democrats, Greens or Plaid Cymru are invited to state for which party they would vote if their preferred party is not standing in their constituency – and are allocated to that party if their preferred party is not standing locally.


Weighting of the data by probability of voting is based on the respondent’s stated likelihood of voting, their age, and whether they voted in 2017, modelled using data collected by the company after the 2017 election (rather than 2015).

Weighting of the data by past vote takes into account of estimates of differential recall error by party and, in particular, a higher tendency for those who vote Labour in 2017 to fail to report that they have done so.

In similar vein to what was done in respect of those saying they were voting UKIP or Green in 2017, respondents are invited to state for which party they would vote if their preferred party is not standing in their constituency – and are allocated to that party if their preferred party is not standing locally.


Respondents are being invited to state a vote intention from only among the parties standing in their constituency.


The company has so far only conducted one poll of vote intentions, at the very beginning of the campaign.


Respondents are invited to state for which party they would vote if their preferred party is not standing in their constituency – and are allocated to that party if their preferred party is not standing locally.

Savanta ComRes

Data are no longer being weighted by the voter turnout model that was used in 2017

Future polls will invite respondents to choose from among the parties standing in their constituency.


Polls are now only being conducted by phone, using the same approach as in 2017.

Data are weighted, inter alia, by 2019 European Parliament election vote.

As in 2017, respondents are being invited to state a vote intention from only among the named candidates standing in their constituency.


There has been a slight reduction in the downweight that is applied to those who did not vote at the last election.

Respondents are being invited to state a vote intention from only among the candidates standing in their constituency.

The Performance of the Polls in the 2019 European Election

All polling of elections is subject to many potential sources of error. The historical record at general elections indicates that there is a one in ten chance that an individual poll will over or underestimate a party’s support by more than four points.

These European Elections presented particular challenges. Not only did pollsters have to face the challenge of an election in which turnout was likely to be low (and in the event stood at 36.7%), but also of estimating the level of support for two new parties, one of which went on to come top of the poll.

The table below compares the estimates of BPC members’ polls whose fieldwork ended no earlier than three days before polling with that of the actual result — though in two instances fieldwork commenced more than a week before polling day.

It reveals that on average the polls overestimated support for Labour and underestimated that for the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. However, two polls produced estimates for Labour and the Liberal Democrats that were within a point of the eventual outcome, while one was spot on in its estimate for the Greens.

There was also a less marked tendency to overestimate support for the Conservatives and the Brexit Party, and in both these instances one poll was spot on in its (integer) estimate of party support.

The detailed council by council election results showed that turnout increased more in Remain-voting areas than in Leave-voting ones, suggesting that those who voted Remain were more likely to have voted than did those who voted Leave. Meanwhile, polling conducted by Opinium on polling day suggests that those who switched from voting Labour in 2017 to either the Liberal Democrats or the Greens were more likely than most voters to have made up their minds about how to vote in the last week of the campaign. These patterns may help to explain at least some of the average error in the polls on this occasion.

Opinium121715387234Online2005May 17-20
YouGov713193712346Online3864May 19-21
Panelbase122515307335Online2033May 14-21
Kantar132415278454Online2316May 14-21
Ipsos MORI915203510336Telephone1527May 20-22
BMG Research121817358245Online1601May 20-22
Survation142412327436Online2029May 22

Note: Table is based on the outcome in Great Britain. The polls conducted by Opinium and Survation were conducted across the UK as a whole, but the figures for those polls quoted here are for respondents in Great Britain only.

Polling Rules and UK Financial Markets

On 28th September, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee, wrote to Professor Sir John Curtice, President of the British Polling Council. The letter focuses on the use of private polling data, particularly during the recent referendum campaigns, and follows on from media coverage during the summer. Further details, including a link to Mrs Morgan’s letter, can be found on the Treasury Committee’s web page: Change polling rules to protect integrity of UK financial markets.

Following a consultation with its membership, the British Polling Council has responded to Mrs Morgan. The contents are set out in this letter to the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP (pdf).

British Polling Council Introduces New Rule on Uncertainty Attached to Polls

The British Polling Council announces today that it has introduced a new requirement on its members when reporting estimates of vote intention. This requirement is an obligation to publish a statement of the level of uncertainty that has historically been associated with polls of voting intention.

The statement reads as follows:

‘All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. On the basis of the historical record of the polls at recent general elections, there is a 9 in 10 chance that the true value of a party’s support lies within 4 points of the estimates provided by this poll, and a 2 in 3 chance that they lie within 2 points.’

The statement has been developed following an analysis of the performance of the final polls at every general election since 2001. That analysis revealed that 90% of the estimates of a party’s share of the vote in the final polls were within four points of the eventual true result, while two-thirds were within two points.

Hitherto, it has often been noted that, according to statistical theory, there is a 95% chance that in a poll of a thousand people the true value of a party’s share of the vote lies within three points of the poll’s estimate. However, this statement refers solely to the error that may be occasioned by the chance variation to which all sample surveys are subject. It does not take into account any of the other many possible sources of uncertainty in a poll. The new BPC statement attempts to reflect all of the sources of uncertainty that practical experience suggests is associated with polling in Britain.

The statement is intended to discourage the media and others from reporting small changes in a party’s support – or variation between pollsters – as firm evidence of a significant change in its popularity.

The new BPC rule has been introduced in response to recommendation 11 of the Inquiry into the 2015 British general election polls that was chaired by Prof. Patrick Sturgis. This recommendation read that:

‘BPC members should provide confidence (or credible) intervals for each separately listed party in their headline share of the vote’.

The introduction of this requirement means the BPC has now responded to all of the recommendations that were made to it by Prof. Sturgis and his colleagues.

Notes to Editors

  1. The British Polling Council (BPC) is an association of polling organisations that publish polls. The objectives of the Council are to ensure standards of disclosure that provide consumers of survey results that enter the public domain with an adequate basis for judging the reliability and validity of the results. Through full disclosure the Council aims to encourage the highest professional standards in public opinion polling and to advance the understanding, among politicians, the media and general public, of how polls are conducted and how to interpret poll results.
  2. For further details of the Council see
  3. The report of the Inquiry into the Performance of the Polls in the 2015 Election is available at the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) pdf

British Polling Council Welcomes Lords Committee Report on Polling

The British Polling Council welcomes the publication today (Tuesday) of the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media. The Council is grateful to the Committee for its careful consideration of the role that opinion polls play in our democracy and of the challenges that currently face the conduct and reporting of polls.

The Council particularly welcomes the Committee’s conclusion that is ‘not convinced of the case for introducing a ban on the undertaking and publication of voting intention polls in the run-up to elections’ together with the Committee’s rejection of the statutory regulation of polls. In so doing, however, the Council acknowledges that this means the polling industry itself has a responsibility to promote best practice in the conduct and reporting of polls, and it is grateful to the committee for the various specific recommendations that it makes for the future work of the Council.

Most immediately, the Council is happy to accept that it should both revise its guidance to journalists on the reporting of polls and should work with other relevant organisations to develop a suitable programme of training for journalists on this subject. It is also happy to affirm its intention to continue its current practice of undertaking a post-mortem on the conduct of the polls after each election or major referendum and reporting its findings; following a public seminar held in February a report on the 2017 election is currently in preparation.

More broadly, the Committee’s recommendations envisage that the Council should adopt a wider remit and fulfill a larger role. At present, the Council is run on a purely voluntary basis with limited resources. The Council will now consider how best to resource its activities in light of the Committees report.

Professor Sir John Curtice, President of the British Polling Council, said, ‘Today’s report is a welcome contribution to a considered, informed discussion of the conduct and reporting of opinion polls in Britain. The Council welcomes the fact that the Committee recognised the weight of evidence put before it that a ban on the publication of polls would neither be desirable nor effective. At the same time, the Council accepts that the polling industry has a duty to promote high standards in the conduct and reporting of polls and will now consider how it, in collaboration with other bodies, can enhance the considerable efforts that it already makes to achieve that objective.’

For further details or to interview Prof. Curtice contact Simon Atkinson (07791 680770; or Aalia Khan (07824 597435;


  1. The British Polling Council (BPC) is an association of polling organisations that publish polls. The objectives of the Council are to ensure standards of disclosure that provide consumers of survey results that enter the public domain with an adequate basis for judging the reliability and validity of the results. Through full disclosure the Council aims to encourage the highest professional standards in public opinion polling and to advance the understanding, among politicians, the media and general public, of how polls are conducted and how to interpret poll results.
  2. For further details of the Council see
  3. Details of the House of Lords Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media are to be found at Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media.

The Polls in the 2017 Election: A BPC Conference

The British Polling Council is pleased to host a special conference on 20th February 2018 to review and debate the performance of the opinion polls at the 2017 General Election.

The conference will be held at the Royal Statistical Society. Tickets are free of charge but registration is essential via Eventbrite.


Chair: Sharon Witherspoon, Academy of Social Sciences

2-2.30 Introduction & The Challenges Facing The Polls in 2017: John Curtice (BPC)

2.30-3.15 How We Performed 1: Presentations by ComRes (Jansev Jamal), Survation (Damian Lyons-Lowe) and YouGov (Anthony Wells)

3.15 Break

3.30 A New Approach? The Use of Mixed Level Regression and Post-Stratification in the 2017 Election: Ben Lauderdale (LSE)

4.00 How We Performed 2: Presentations by Kantar (Luke Taylor) & Ipsos MORI (Gideon Skinner)

4.30 An Independent Reaction and Q&A: Steve Fisher (Oxford)

Britsh Polling Council Announces Findings in Respect of Complaints about Audience Recruitment

The British Polling Council (BPC) has received two complaints, one from the Conservative Party and one from an individual member of that party, concerning the recruitment of the audience for the BBC programme, BBC Election Debate Live with Mishal Hussein, which was broadcast on 31 May 2017. The audience for this programme was recruited by ComRes for the BBC with a view to ensuring that it was ‘representative’.

Both complainants had sought further information from ComRes about how they had recruited the audience. In doing so the Conservative Party in particular cited section 2 of the BPC’s rules on disclosure. In pursuance of BPC’s aim of ensuring transparency in the conduct of opinion polls, these rules specify details that BPC members should routinely make available in respect of published polls. The complainants argued that these rules applied to an audience recruitment exercise such as that conducted by ComRes, and that thus ComRes were duty bound to supply the information they sought.

It has never previously been suggested that audience recruitment exercises do fall within BPC’s remit and that thus its rules on disclosure should apply to them. However, in view of the submissions it has received, the officers of the BPC have carefully considered whether audience recruitment exercises do fall within the Council’s remit as specified in its current Objects and Rules. They have determined that they do not. This is because such exercises do not generate published quantitative data (as defined in those Objects and Rules) that summarise the collective views of a representative sample of voters (or other sub-group), and it is to such data that the Council’s Rules on Disclosure are intended to apply.

We are grateful to the two complaints for bringing this issue to the Council’s attention and we hope that this statement helps clarify matters for those considering any complaint to the Council in future about a member’s alleged failure to follow its rules on transparency.

House of Lords Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media: BPC Statement

The British Polling Council welcomes the interest of the House of Lords in the work on the polling industry through the creation of an ad hoc committee on political polling and digital media.

The Council has been working continuously in recent years both to promote transparency in the way that polls are conducted and to foster enhancement of the methods used. Most recently it has required its members to undertake and publish an internal inquiry into the methods used in 2017 election, at which many but not all polls overestimated the Conservative lead over Labour, and is committed to holding in the autumn a seminar at which these reports will be presented and discussed. The Council will be seeking to make the fruits of this and its earlier work, including the inquiry conducted by Prof. Patrick Sturgis into the performance of the polls in the 2015 election, available to the committee.

However, any inquiry into the role of polls in politics clearly needs to consider wider questions than the methodology of the polls, including the relationship between polling companies and the (typically media) organisations that commission polls, how the media report and use polls, and the role of the private polling that may be commissioned by political parties. We trust that the committee will also pay due attention to these wider questions about the role that opinion polls play in our politics today.

General Election: 8 June 2017

After the problems of 2015, and the need to deal with the issues raised by the subsequent Sturgis enquiry, the pollsters were inevitably going to be under considerable scrutiny in the 2017 election.

The polls proved very good at predicting the Conservative vote, with an average of the final polls being only 0.2% higher than the actual result. (The actual result shares are based on all seats except Kensington).

They did, however, prove much less good at predicting the Labour vote, with the pollsters’ average being 5.2% below Labour’s actual share. This is only the second election since 1987 when the pollsters have underestimated the Labour share.

The average poll figure for the Liberal Democrats was very close, being only 0.3% different from the result.

While the final polls were not ideal, the BPC does not feel there is a need for another formal inquiry; the detailed findings of the Sturgis review are available here and provide a reference point for understanding the issues and challenges. Instead all BPC members who produced final polls will produce a “lessons learned” report, and these will be presented at a conference before the end of this year.

  CON LAB LD UKIP Green Other Method Sample Size Fieldwork
Opinium 43 36 8 5 2 6 Online 3002 June 4
Survation 41 40 8 2 2 6 Telephone 2798 June 6-7
Ipsos MORI 44 36 7 4 2 6 Telephone 1291 June 6-7
ICM 46 34 7 5 2 6 Online 1532 June 6-7
ComRes 44 34 9 5 2 5 Online 2051 June 5-7
YouGov 42 35 10 5 2 6 Online 2130 June 5-7
Panelbase 44 36 7 5 2 6 Online 3018 June 2-7
Kantar Public 43 38 7 4 2 6 Online 2159 June 1-7
BMG 46 33 8 5 3 6 Telephone / online 1199 June 6-7
Average 43.7 35.8 7.9 4.4 2.1 5.9      
Result 43.5 41 7.6 1.9 1.6 4.4      
Difference 0.2 -5.2 0.3 2.5 0.5 1.5      

How Have The Polls Changed Since 2015?

The performance of the polls in the 2015 general election left something to be desired. On average the final polls (that is, those whose fieldwork concluded no more than two days before polling day) put the Conservatives and Labour equal on 34%, when, in practice, the Conservatives proved to be on 38% and Labour on 31%. Indeed, throughout the election campaign the polls mostly suggested that the two largest parties were more or less neck and neck. Although the polls largely anticipated the performance of all of the other parties, including the SNP in Scotland, reasonably well, their misestimate of the performance of the two largest parties unsurprisingly gave rise to the widespread perception that the polls ‘had got it wrong’.

In the wake of this error, the British Polling Council and the Market Research Council appointed an Independent Inquiry under the Chairmanship of Prof. Patrick Sturgis to investigate why the inaccuracy arose and to make recommendations about how polls should be conducted and published in future. The Inquiry made the following recommendations about the future conduct of polls in its final report:

We recommend that BPC members should:

  1. include questions during the short campaign to determine whether respondents have already voted by post. Where respondents have already voted by post they should not be asked the likelihood to vote question.
  2. review existing methods for determining turnout probabilities. Too much reliance is currently placed on self-report questions which require respondents to rate how likely they are to vote, with no clear rationale for allocating a turnout probability to the answer choices.
  3. review current allocation methods for respondents who say they don’t know, or refuse to disclose which party they intend to vote for. Existing procedures are ad hoc and lack a coherent theoretical rationale. Model- based imputation procedures merit consideration as an alternative to current approaches.

The report also recommended that:

  1. Pollsters should take measures to obtain more representative samples within the weighting cells they employ.


  1. Pollsters should investigate new quota and weighting variables which are correlated with propensity to be observed in the poll sample and vote intention.

In responding to the report the British Polling Council, inter alia, agreed the following motion:

The Council recognises the widespread public interest in how polls are conducted, and in ensuring that they are as accurate as possible. It also recognises the need to promote public understanding and informed discussion of how polls are conducted, especially at the time of a UK general election.

The Council thus resolves to commission for publication and launch in autumn 2019, a report that describes the methods being used by its members in their polls of UK election voting intentions and how these methods have changed since 2015. This report will be launched at a seminar at which individual member companies will present details of their current methodology.

This motion was, of course, written in the expectation that, given the terms of the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, the next general election would be held in May 2020. The decision of the Prime Minister, endorsed by the House of Commons, that a snap election should be held on 8 June 2017 has meant that the BPC has been unable to implement its motion by holding an event and publishing a report as it originally intended.

Even so, many people are inevitably still asking whether the polls have learnt from what happened in 2015 and thus can be relied upon to provide a more accurate estimate of Conservative and Labour support in the 2017 election. This report, published on the occasion of a seminar being held by the BPC in collaboration with the National Centre for Research Methods on how polls are being conducted in the 2015 election, is intended to help the reader answer that question for themselves. It provides for each BPC member that has so far been regularly conducting polls during the election campaign a summary of the principal changes they have made since 2015 to the way in which they conduct polls of voting intention.

It will be apparent from the reports that each company has responded to the lessons of the 2015 election in its own particular way, and that no two companies are conducting their polls in exactly the same way. However, two general themes emerge from the individual reports.

First, most companies have implemented one or more changes designed to improve their estimates of which voters are likely to make it to the polls and which not. In some instances, this has consisted of making greater effort to ensure that more potential non-voters are interviewed in the first place. A lot more effort is certainly being made to weight the interviews that are obtained so that known key patterns and differences in turnout and political engagement are reflected in the data upon which vote intentions are estimated. In many cases this endeavour has been facilitated by using the findings of the high-quality face to face random probability survey conducted after the 2015 election on behalf of the British Election Study, a step that was encouraged by the Sturgis Report.

Second, in some instances changes have also been made with a view to ensuring that the political balance amongst those who will make it to the polls is estimated accurately. Greater use is being made by some companies of weighting the data by how people voted in the 2015 election, while the opportunity is also being taken to ensure that the data are also reflective of how people voted in the EU referendum in 2016. At the same time, one of the lessons of that referendum, that sometimes people’s educational background matters to how they vote, means that some companies are now also weighting their data by that characteristic too.

The BPC is not responsible for how opinion polls are conducted; that is the responsibility of each of its members individually. The BPC’s role is to promote transparency about how polls are conducted so that journalists, commentators and the general public can make their own informed decisions about whether to believe the polls or not. We hope that they find it useful in forming their own judgement as to whether the polls have learnt the lessons of the 2015 election.

John Curtice
President, British Polling Council


ComRes has continued to strive to improve our methodology and accuracy since the 2015 general election. We conducted an internal review following the election and indeed paused the publication of Voting Intention polls for a period in order to enable us to review our approach properly.

Immediately after the 2015 election we introduced a new model of turnout in order to map voting intention more accurately. The Voter Turnout Model was developed through a multiple regression analysis of ward level demographic and turnout data. Although General Election results do not provide a count of who exactly turns out to vote, this analysis allows us to develop a robust estimate of that phenomenon.

Through a series of experiments testing the relationships between different demographics and turnout, ComRes consistently found that the two most important drivers of turnout are age and social grade. Using regression analysis, we developed a weighting matrix which predicts turnout in different demographic groups more reliably than self-claimed likelihood to vote and the resulting factor weights are now used in weighting our data. The value of the model rests on the fact that the variation in turnout by demographic group is relatively consistent from one General Election to the next.

We have subsequently revisited the polls we conducted during the 2015 election campaign to measure the impact of applying this model. If we had used this method in 2015 and made no other adjustments to our methodology, our final poll would have had a 5 point Conservative lead over Labour. This pattern is repeated in each poll for which a comparative analysis has been conducted.

We are confident that this is the most important change we can and need to make to our methodology for estimating vote intention. Although we, along with the rest of the industry, overstated Labour and underestimated Conservative support in 2015, we got the other party vote shares almost spot-on. Detailed investigations, including of the relative merits of our polls conducted by phone and those conducted online (we did both in 2015), lead us to conclude that estimating the pattern of turnout correctly rather than sampling is the critical factor required to improve the accuracy of our polls. At this election, all of our polls are being conducted online.

ICM Unlimited

ICM’s polls are being conducted in 2017 in a number of different ways from how they were conducted in 2015. All polling is now conducted via an online panel, whereas in 2015 it was conducted via telephone using random digit dialling. At the same time a variety of other changes to the way in which the sample is obtained and the resultant data are weighted and adjusted have been made. These are as follows:

  1. Sample Size. All polls now typically contain at least 2,000 respondents rather than 1,000.
  2. Quotas. In 2015 quotas (i.e. targets for who should be interviewed) were set for a range of demographic factors such as age, gender, and social grade. Now they also include for which party people say they voted at the last general election.
  3. Turnout. In 2015 respondents were asked how likely they were to vote on a scale from 1 to 10. In estimating vote shares for each party each respondent was weighted according to their answer to this question. Thus, for example, respondents who said they are 5/10 likely to vote were given a weight of 0.5. In addition, those who said they did not vote at the previous general election were further downweighted by a half. In 2017, the data are weighted so that the anticipated level of turnout for those in different age groups and social grades matches the reported level of turnout for each combination of age and social grade in 2015 as measured by a variety of sources.
  4. Weighting by Interest in Politics. In 2017 the interview data are being weighted so that the distribution of reported interest in politics matched that obtained by the face to face random probability survey conducted on behalf of the British Election Study after the 2015 general election. No such weighting was applied in 2015.
  5. Weighting by Past Vote. In 2015 the interview data were weighted to a target for each party that was 80% based on the actual result of the last election and 20% to the distribution of past vote (prior to weighting) in the last 20 polls conducted by ICM. The latter part of this formula was intended to reflect the fact that some respondents may have misreported how they voted at the last election. In 2017, however, the data are weighted so that the distribution of reported vote at the last election fully matches the actual result.
  6. Imputing Vote Intentions of those who do not indicate how they will vote. In 2015 those who failed to state a vote intention but indicated for which party they voted in 2010 were assumed to be most likely to vote for the same party again and were added to that party’s tally at a value of 0.5. In 2017 the same procedure is being applied again, except that those who said they voted Conservative or Labour at the last election are being added at a value of 0.75. In addition, the result of this adjustment is now also applied to those who not only fail to state a vote intention for the current election but also do not state how they voted at the last election, except that this group is estimated to be 20% more likely to vote Conservative and 20% less likely to vote Labour.

Ipsos MORI

Over the past two years Ipsos MORI has carefully reviewed its approach on the analysis and reporting of its opinion polls. In the 2015 General Election we believe we sampled too many engaged, higher educated voters, which helps to explain our over-estimate of the Labour vote share by 3.8 percentage points. We did not under-represent the total proportion of Conservative voters, but rather did not interview enough non-voters. Compared with our results in previous elections, we also found a disproportionate number of Labour-leaning voters saying they would vote, some of whom we believe instead chose to abstain.

In light of this we have made three methodological changes since that election: 1) weighting by newspaper readership, 2) setting quotas and weights for educational attainment, and 3) making changes to our turnout filter. We outline these modifications below.

In 2015, after the General Election, we began weighting our samples by newspaper readership, which went some way towards offsetting our initial sample bias towards those who are more politically engaged. (In particular, these weights bring down the proportion of broadsheet readers and increase the proportion of tabloid readers.) We believe this change would have made us more accurate in the 2015 General Election; however, it did not completely overcome the issue of disproportionally interviewing too many graduates and not enough individuals without qualifications.

To compensate, in 2016 we added educational attainment to both our interview quotas and weighting scheme. Adding these elements to our polling approach we believe has made our sample more representative, and indirectly accounts for level of political engagement as both educational attainment and newspaper readership are strongly correlated with interest in and knowledge of politics.

After the 2015 General Election we also introduced a new turnout filter to our published monthly Political Monitor polls, to help mitigate the issue of interviewing individuals who say they will vote but in fact do not show up to the polling station – something which was more of a challenge for us in 2015 than in previous elections. Previously, we have relied simply upon (i) excluding unregistered voters and (ii) using a 1-to-10 likelihood of voting question, taking those responding ’10’ (absolutely certain to vote) as voters and everybody else as non-voters.

Our new turnout filter includes the use of an additional question measuring general election voting frequency (Which of the following best describes how often you vote in General elections? I never vote/I rarely vote/I sometimes vote/I usually vote/I always vote/It depends/Don’t Know). Respondents are now excluded from the headline figure if (a) they say they are not registered to vote in the election or don’t know; or (b) they rate their likelihood of voting at below 9, or don’t know; or (c) they say they “never”, “rarely” or “sometimes” vote in general elections, or don’t know. This filter would also have made us more accurate in the 2015 General Election.

Kantar Public UK

Note Kantar Public polls were previously published under the name TNS UK. We have made the following changes to our polling methods since the 2015 election.

Likelihood of Voting

  • We have developed a new LTV (likelihood to vote) model. The likelihood that each respondent will vote in the General Election is estimated based on respondents’ stated intention to vote, their age and whether they voted in the last general election. This likelihood is used to weight the contribution that each respondent makes to the tally of estimated vote intentions for each party. The model was developed using data from respondents who participated in TNS polls immediately prior to the 2015 general election and immediately afterwards. In addition, a further small adjustment has been made to correct for over-claiming to have voted, based on analysis of the face to face random probability survey conducted after the 2015 election for the British Election Study.


  • We have modified the way in which we weight our data by age to ensure that the right proportion of the weighted data is aged 70+.
  • Education is now included in our weighting targets to ensure that we do not have too many respondents with a degree.
  • To ensure that our sample is not too politically engaged the data are now also weighted so that the overall proportion who are expected to vote (estimated via our LTV model) matches our estimate of the likely turnout. This estimated turnout is based on the relationship between the likely turnout in our 2015 data and the actual turnout in the 2015 general election.


  • In the short campaign, we are now asking whether or not people have voted by post, and if they have already voted we do not ask the likelihood to vote question.

Treatment of “Don’t know” and “Refused” at the voting intention question

  • We now ask a ‘squeeze’ (or follow-up) question of those who plan not to vote /don’t know how they will vote / refuse to say who they will vote for. This question asks respondents which party they prefer, and those naming a party in response to this question are added to the relevant tally.

    In all of the polls we have published so far those that do not provide a response to the initial question on voting intention or to the squeeze question are excluded from our final voting intention figures. However, we think it is unlikely that such voters will distribute their support in the same way as those who do declare a vote intention, and we therefore plan to develop an imputation approach to use in our final polls.


The polls conducted by Opinium at this election differ from those undertaken at the time of the 2015 election as follows:

  1. Our estimates of party support are now based on those who say they are 10/10 certain to vote when they are asked to indicate how likely they are to vote on a scale from 0 to 10. In 2015 likelihood of voting was ascertained by asking respondents whether they definitely/probably would/would not vote and our estimates of party support were based on those who said they would definitely vote. The new procedure is somewhat more restrictive in terms of the proportion of sample who is regarded as likely to vote.

  2. We have changed the weighting that is applied to ensure that our sample is politically representative.

    Prior to our 18 April 2017 poll, our results weighted by EU referendum vote and party propensity as well as by standard demographic characteristics.

    Our party propensity model was based on asking respondents their likelihood of ever voting for each party on a 1-10 scale and then assigning them to a group (e.g. “Conservative – lean left” or “Labour – loyalist”). Targets for the proportion of the sample that should belong to each group were based on a rolling average that incorporated (i) the proportions found in each group in polling that was conducted immediately after the most recent general election (including, the EU referendum) after the data had been weighted to the actual result, and (ii) the proportions found in each group in subsequent polls when only demographic weighting had been applied.

    Party propensity was therefore designed to include a measure of weighting by past general election vote but with the weight that this carried in the generation of the propensity group targets diminishing the further we were removed from the last election.

    However, it had become increasingly clear that this procedure was no longer sufficient on its own. For example, in our poll dated 11 April 2017 it had the effect of ensuring that the poll contained equal proportions of respondents who said they voted Labour and Conservative in 2015, with both groups comprising 28% of the sample. We have therefore implemented a stricter 2015 past vote weight that ensures that the proportion who say they voted for each party in 2015 matches the actual outcome of that election. However, our weighting does not attempt to bring the proportion of respondents who say that they voted in line with the actual turnout last time around. Our data are still also weighted by EU referendum vote.

  3. In calculating the distribution of vote intention we are now also downweighting by a half those who say they will vote for a party but also say that they disapprove of that party’s leader.

ORB International

ORB International did not publish polls of voting intention during the 2015 general election, but is doing so during the 2017 election. An outline of our methodology in 2017 is given below:


Our polls are being conducted via an online panel of potential respondents. This uses a stratified sampling technique to obtain a population that best represents the entire population being studied. For any particular poll, the email addresses of panel members are selected at random using interlocking quotas of age, gender, social grade and region. The size of each quota category takes into account the predicted response rate.


The interview data are weighted to be demographically representative on the following variables according to targets taken from the National Readership Survey:

  • Gender
  • Socioeconomic grade
  • Tenure
  • Work Status
  • Cars in household
  • Foreign holidays
  • Geographic region

In addition, weights for age and education level are applied so that the size of each age/education group reflects the proportion those who actually voted in 2015 who belonged to that group. The targets for these weights are derived from the race to face random probability survey that was conducted after the 2015 election on behalf of the British Election Study.

Finally, in calculating vote intention a weight for the likelihood that a respondent will vote is applied according to their answers to the following question.

And once again thinking to the next general election on June 8th, on a scale of 0-10 where 0 is certain not to vote and 10 is certain to vote, how likely is it that you would go out and vote?

Thus, for example, a respondent who gives an answer of 5 counts as 0.5 in calculating the tally of vote intentions.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  
Certain not to vote                 Certain to vote Don’t know

Reported Voting Intention

Our reported voting intention takes the weighted data and includes all those who name a party to provide a final indication of voting intention.


We are weighting our polls not only by how people voted in the 2015 general election but also by how people voted in the EU referendum in 2016. Otherwise, to date, we have not made any radical change to the online polling methodology used in 2015. However, for our final polls, we are considering using data from the face to face random probability survey conducted after the last election for the British Election Study in order to estimate likelihood of voting.


Survation are conducting polls both by phone (for Good Morning Britain) and online (for the Mail on Sunday).

Our phone polls are being conducted using the same approach as that used in the final poll that we conducted before the 2015 election which put the Conservatives on 37% and Labour on 31%, but which was not published in advance of the election count. Data that links phone numbers to lifestyle information about the households in question is used to generate a stratified random sample of respondents.

Our internet polls are also being conducted using the same methodology as in 2015.


We have made the following changes to our methodology since the 2015 general election.


YouGov conducted an in-house review of our election polls (available online here:). This came to similar conclusions to the BPC/MRS inquiry – that the 2015 polling error was primary down to sampling issues. Specifically, we felt that the sample was skewed towards people who were too interested in politics, particularly among young people.

Our changes since then have been primarily aimed at addressing this issue through improvements to the composition of our panel of potential respondents and changes to quotas and weights.

Panel Recruitment

Since 2015 we have focused our efforts at recruiting people into our panel of potential respondents more specifically upon those who belong to groups that were under-represented in our samples during the 2015 election, particularly those with a low level of interest in politics, younger panellists with low educational qualifications, and those who did not vote at the previous general election.

Sample quotas and weighting targets

We have changed upper age band that we use both in determining who should be asked to participate in a poll (quota) and in subsequently weighting the data we obtain so that it includes only those aged 65 and over rather than those aged 60 and over. This has increased the proportion of those aged 65 plus who are represented in our samples and corrects an over-representation of those aged between 60 and 64.

We have dropped our previous quotas and weights by newspaper readership which, with falling print readership, we found was no longer effective for enough of the sample.

We have added quotas and weights by highest educational qualification, calculated separately for each age group, in order to correct an over-representation of graduates, particularly among younger respondents.

We have replaced political weighting and quotas by party identification with recalled past vote, calculated separately for each region. This has given us greater control over the number of people in the sample who did not vote in 2015, while weighting separately for each region has improved the political representativeness of our samples in Scotland and London.

We have now also set quotas and weight our data by the amount of attention the respondent pays to politics. The targets for these quotas and weights are based upon the face to face random probability survey conducted after the last election on behalf of the British Election Study.

Since 2016 we have also weighted by reported EU referendum vote, collected from our panel members shortly after the referendum.

Likelihood to vote

Finally, we have changed our likelihood to vote model. Respondents are still asked to say on a scale from zero to ten how likely they are to vote in the general election, and the contribution they make to the estimate of vote intentions reflects their answer to this question. Thus, for example, respondents who say they are 5/10 likely to vote are given a weight of 0.5. However, this contribution is now reduced by a half if the respondent says they did not vote at the 2015 general election.