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YouGov polls and Guardian readers

September 25th, 2008


    Why are they always the first to respond?

The “quickie” YouGov poll for this morning’s Sun has raised an interesting question from the previous thread from Nick Palmer MP. He wonders “whether YouGov is confident that the subgroup of their panel who reply to surveys within 24 hours are representative? No idea what sort of bias it might introduce, but worth a thought.”

I agree and maybe someone from the firm might respond.

What I do know is that the firm has looked at this and a couple of months ago the firm’s Peter Kellner told me that Guardian readers were invariably the first to complete their online surveys. Quite why this should be so is not quite clear but the fact that it happens poll after poll suggests that there is something about their make-up.

Whatever it should make no difference to the polling outcome. YouGov weight their samples by newspaper readership and if there too many Guardian-reading participants, as is usually the case, then their views get scaled back. Thus in today’s poll the value of each Guardian/Independent reader’s opinion was reduced to about 60% while the Sun/Star respondees had their views scaled up to about 150%.

Sounds odd – but that’s polling.

Mike Smithson






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