PRCA launches enquiry into why political polling is now so wide of the mark

The PRCA has launched an enquiry into political polling and predictions to assess why these industries got the result wrong after recent election results in the US and the UK.

The election results in the UK and US have eluded pollsters (pic credits: Cameron: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock, Trump: Allocca/Starpix/REX/Shutterstock, Farage: Isabel Infantes/REX/Shutterstock)
The election results in the UK and US have eluded pollsters (pic credits: Cameron: James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock, Trump: Allocca/Starpix/REX/Shutterstock, Farage: Isabel Infantes/REX/Shutterstock)
The enquiry, which will be led by Connect Communications co-owner Andy Sawford, will address trust and confidence in political predictions following the May 2015 General Election, the UK referendum result in June, and the US Presidential Election result earlier this month.

The PR and comms industry, PRCA members, the polling industry and those who work politics will all be invited to give their views to the enquiry.

In addition to publishing a range of views as to what went wrong during recent election results, the enquiry include evidence sessions, roundtables and expert briefings, as well as a half-day conference next year. 

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said the purpose of the review was to find out how pollsters got it wrong and to prevent it from happening again.

He added: "Brexit and the election results both provide a strong impetus – and countless opportunities – for the public affairs and lobbying industry. With this being said, it is equally important to pro-actively address a perceived problem among those who work in politics: so many called both results wrong."

Sawford said the enquiry would ask "tough questions and face difficult truths" to get to the bottom of why the experts got it wrong and learn from these mistakes.

He added: "We will invite views and perspectives from both those who are willing to hold their hands up and say they got it wrong, and those more marginal voices who went against the grain and called it correctly. We will explore the reasons behind the gap between what most experts thought would happen and what actually happened." 

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