Too few polls seem to reach the "silent minority"by Peter Kellner / May 19, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
One clear winner emerged from the May elections. Curiously, the media managed to ignore the victory. In stark contrast to the aftermath of last year’s general election, when everyone attacked the performance of the opinion polls, I can find no journalist or politician this time praising the pollsters for getting London, Scotland and Wales right.
This does not mean that they achieved perfection. But, if the polls were judged like films or TV shows, they would deserve four stars out of five.
They all predicted Sadiq Khan’s comfortable victory in London. Four out of five polling companies were within one point of his final vote share of 57 per cent.
They all predicted that the Scottish National Party would slip back from its vote in last year’s general election, but still come out well ahead of its rivals. Three of the five polls showed the Conservatives overtaking Labour to become the official opposition at Holyrood.
YouGov, the only company to poll regularly in Wales, rightly predicted a slight fall in Labour’s vote, and Ukip’s breakthrough in the Welsh Assembly.
Now to the remaining doubts. The polls, especially those conducted online, still tend to understa…