Lords report draws mixed reaction from pollsters

Pollsters have begun to react to the Lords Polling Committee's report. The tone is – on balance – positive(ish), however some important concerns have been voiced too.
The BPC was supportive, although it noted that “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.” That echoes one of the concerns raised by this briefing yesterday.
Martin Boon of Deltapoll, in a detailed and eloquent blog post, wrote: “in a climate of such uncertainty, and associated justifiable cynicism toward the political polling industry, it would be churlish to deny the existence of one or more methodological problems” but called Committee Chair Lord Lipsey’s Times Red Box article “far more confrontational and threatening in tone” and described some of the more prescriptive recommendations as “a threat to the aforementioned methodological plurality and innovation in opinion research.”
Jane Green of the BES was positive, tweeting “First impressions are very good, especially guidance and training for journalists, a greater role for the BPC and more transparency”.
Keiran Pedley of GfK tweeted “Have not read Lords report on polling yet. Will comment on this week’s podcast when I do. As an industry we have to be open minded about regulation until such time as we can *prove* success. That said, beware unintended consequences of stifling innovation & entrenching bad ideas.”
But another pollster told NCP “There will be concerns amongst some of the more innovative pollsters around how, exactly, the guidelines for what constitutes a ‘good poll’ will be devised. The research industry, both pure market research and political polling, has a terrible track record for innovation, so placing the responsibility in the hands of the legacy players could cause issues for new entrants who could revolutionise and improve polling beyond measure”.
There will very likely be further reaction to the report over the coming days (it’s a fairly long document).
Looking slightly further ahead, David Cowling kindly provided us with PA candidature tallies for each party in the local elections:
CON 4,398
LAB 4,362
LD 3,315
GRN 2,158
UKIP 635
IND+OTH 1,133
Essentially, the Conservatives and Labour have full slates, Lib Dems about three-quarters, Greens about half, but UKIP has put up just 14 per cent of the candidates it could have. Unfortunately we don’t have a more detailed breakdown of independents and minor parties, though we hope to at some point.
If you fancy a read, Roger Scully at Cardiff has blogged about his new book “The End of British Party Politics?”. I haven’t read it yet, but it won’t be long before I do…
Tonight I’ll be joining Keiran Pedley and Adam Drummond for Polling Matters, but if you want to hear a relevant podcast right away, John Curtice joined the latest Brexit Breakdown, and very interesting it was too.

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