Audio: Can we trust the polls?

What pollsters get wrong—and right

November 28, 2019
Photo: Claire Doherty/SIPA USA/PA Images
Photo: Claire Doherty/SIPA USA/PA Images

The rhythm of every modern election is set by opinion polls, but from David Cameron’s unexpected majority in 2015, to Jeremy Corbyn’s splendid defeat in 2017 by way of the Brexit vote, they stand charged with repeatedly getting it wrong.

But is this fair? And can the faults be fixed?

Editor Tom Clark, who has written up a lot of polling, brings together experts including the former YouGov president, Peter Kellner, and Jane Green of the British Election Study. They discussed the faults, flaws—and strengths—of polling, and why professional pollsters themselves are often the ones most sceptical of their results.