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Trying to Get it Right, 2

 

As I’ve had cause to mention previously, working with YouGov on the Welsh Political Barometer polls, and other projects, has been a consistently positive experience. A major reason for that has been YouGov’s consistent determination to try to get things right, and their openness to suggestions about ways in which the accuracy of their polling might be improved.

Over the five years they’ve been running Wales-specific polls, YouGov have established a strong record for accuracy. But the never-ending forces of social and political change always threaten the accuracy of established methods. Elections provide an opportunity to re-calibrate the polls’ techniques against the hard data of actual votes cast.

As I discussed previously, YouGov had the best record of any GB-wide pollster in predicting the European election result from its final poll. The performance of the final Welsh poll was also generally good, even though fieldwork was conducted 8-10 days before voting. But one can always look to improve. YouGov have sought to use the European election to re-assess their polling methods in Wales. Here, Laurence Janta-Lipinski of YouGov explains further.

“As with all good polling organisations, we at YouGov are constantly looking to update our methods when we believe changes need to be made. Having evaluated our performance in Wales for the European Elections, it became evident that minor adjustments were needed to continue our hard-won record for accuracy. To evaluate any changes, a survey of our Welsh panel was undertaken and original analysis conducted amongst over 4,000 Welsh respondents. Our initial analysis, and subsequent analysis of a smaller, more targeted sample, resulted in us making two minor changes to our sampling targets. The two changes are as follows:

  • Reducing the Party Identity figures for Labour and Liberal Democrats and assigning these predominantly to others and those with no Party Identity.
  • Updating newspaper readership figures to take into account changes since their original formation in 2010.

The result of these changes is that we will tend to see somewhat lower vote shares (both in Westminster and Assembly) for Labour and the Liberal Democrats in YouGov polls in Wales, while the Conservatives and UKIP are likely to benefit.”

 

We can illustrate these changes with figures from the ‘test’ poll that YouGov ran:

Westminster Vote Intention

New Weightings

Old Weightings

Labour

39

42

Conservative

24

23

LibDem

5

6

Plaid

12

12

UKIP

15

13

Others

6

5

 

NAW Constit. Vote Intention

New Weightings

Old Weightings

Labour

36

38

Conservative

22

21

LibDem

5

6

Plaid

19

20

UKIP

12

10

Others

4

4

 

NAW List. Vote Intention

New Weightings

Old Weightings

Labour

32

34

Conservative

20

23

LibDem

5

5

Plaid

17

18

UKIP

17

15

Others

3

3

 

YouGov’s up-dated stratification and weighting scheme will be applied to the next Welsh Political Barometer poll. But in the meantime, YouGov’s test poll included a few questions that I’m sure will be of interest to you all, on ratings of the main party leaders in Wales. Results for these questions will be released on the blog later this week. They will be worth waiting for…

Comments

  • J.Jones

    “They will be worth waiting for…”

    Roger aiming to be the Lionel Messi of polling cliff hangers.

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