YouGov Supports Establishing Australian Polling Council

Kim HoPR Manager
September 19, 2019, 7:35 AM GMT+0

YouGov is committed to improving transparency in Australian polling. In the 2019 federal election there was a clear discrepancy between the results of all published polling and the results of the election itself. This was an industry-wide failure and we believe that the Australian public deserves assurance that the polling companies have learnt from this outcome.

For this reason, we are taking a number of important steps.

Published polls by Galaxy, which YouGov acquired in December 2017, used a mix-sample methodology and weighting schemes different from YouGov polls in the UK, US etc.

In consultation with our clients, we intend to transition to the standard YouGov methodology for national and statewide polling. This means fully online sampling and using additional variables for weighting such as education and more sophisticated regional segments. Additionally, we will adopt the synthetic sampling procedures we use globally so that our samples are as representative as possible before analysis. YouGov has substantial demographic information collected on our panel participants which we can use to ensure representativeness in data collection and to assist with analysis.

This YouGov methodology has proven very effective in the United States as referenced here,

Further, we believe that Australian polling works best when there are a diverse range of voices and methodologies. YouGov is a founding member of the British Polling Council and believes in its values of transparency and methodological rigour. Unfortunately, there is currently no industry organization that represents the active polling industry in Australia.

To this end, we are reaching out to other active pollsters in Australia with the objective of forming an Australian Polling Council. We believe such an organization can establish appropriate standards for the industry. Several other companies have agreed in principle to establish this council and an announcement will be made in due course. We have also consulted several appropriately qualified academics to assist the industry in meeting community expectations.

We believe that standards of transparency need to be agreed and be forward-focused. Our clients need to be informed of the new standards and how they will be implemented in advance. The standards need to give the Australian public confidence in polling while maintaining the viability of commercial polling so that the industry remains vibrant and diverse.

Finally, the AMSRO organization, which represents some of the broader market research industry has established a retrospective inquiry into the polling at the 2019 election. They have requested that we provide raw data from our past polling to them as part of this inquiry.

YouGov is supportive of a common goal of greater transparency and ongoing public confidence. While we are moving to a new methodology, we are prepared to provide a written submission about the methodology and weighting variables used in our polling in the 2019 federal election to assist AMSRO in their endeavours.

However, since the polling conducted under our brand YouGov Galaxy during the federal election was commissioned by paid clients it is not appropriate to provide raw data from these polls retrospectively to third parties.

Almost all active Australian polling companies, including YouGov, are not members of AMSRO. It is our strong view that the real impetus for improved standards of polling in Australia needs to come from a mutual, future-focused agreement between active public polling companies in this country and the formation of an Australian Polling Council.