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Internet Political Surveys

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									Internet Political Surveys: History & State of Play in the UK
Joe Twyman Special Projects Director YouGov

In the Beginning
Face-to-Face Research • The foundation on which market research was built • The ‘Rolls-Royce’ of the industry Mistakes made over 1992 General Election • Conservatives poll 8% more of the vote than Labour

What Went Wrong?
Two problem areas identified:

Response rates Inaccuracy of responses

The Internet – a Brave New World
22nd April 1993

World Wide Web Multimedia Graphical User Interfaces

The Internet – a Brave New World
Internet penetration was growing • January 1997 10% penetration • January 2007 63% penetration Relatively low level of investment required Barriers to entry crumble

Source: Ipsos-MORI Technology Tracker

False Starts - 1996
BBC ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ Justin Fashanu

False Starts - 1999
BBC ‘Greatest Star of Stage or Screen’ Amitabh Bachchan

What Had Gone Wrong?
Difficulty in getting respondents to take part

Passive Sampling • Free for all • Quantity not quality
Active Sampling • Targeted approach • Restrictions on those allowed to take part

The UK Internet Population
More men than women • 53% to 47% More young than old • 63% under 45 More ‘middle class’ • 66% ABC1

Source: Ipsos-MORI Technology Tracker

The UK Internet Population
6% over the age of 65 • Equivalent to over 1,500,000 people 15% are DEs • Equivalent to over 4,000,000 people

How do you find these people?
How do you convince them to take part?

Source: Ipsos-MORI Technology Tracker

Finding the Right People
Recruitment via internet marketing • Time consuming • Costly Recruitment through traditional offline recruiters • Hugely expensive • Very inefficient • No guarantee of quality

Strategic partnerships important

Internet Political Surveys
June 2001 British General Election
September 2001 Conservative Leadership Election May 2002 London Local Election April 2003 Scottish Parliament Election June 2004 European Election

May 2005 General Election
October 2005 Conservative Leadership Election May 2007 Scottish Parliament Election

Internet Research
Internet research is big business • Accounts for 7.9% of total European market research business • Estimated to have been worth £383,000,000 in 2006 • Increasing from 6.4% and £297,000,000 in 2005 • Average UK connection speeds rising from 1.6mbs at December 2005 to 3.8mbs by December 2006 Misunderstanding, scepticism and even hostility still remain
Source: Inside Research (Feb 2007) / Ofcom

Scepticism Remains
‘We're using the internet as a way in which we can reduce the costs of data collection for our clients while also improving the quality of what we do for them and the quality of the delivery of data through the internet.’ David Lowden Chief Executive Officer – TNS 5th March 2007 ‘It is still way too early for public opinion polling to go online. Internet polling is like the Far West, with no rules, no sheriff and no reference points.’ Leendert de Voogd Managing Director - TNS Opinion 27th May 2007
Source: TNS Website / International Herald Tribune

Future Direction
Supply is boosted by removal of barriers to entry and low running costs Cost savings passed to clients who boost demand Data no longer a ‘fine malt whisky’

Changing Nature of Research

Lancashire Hotpot Causing

Changing Nature of Research

Lancashire Hotpot Causing Constipation Hotspot

Things Can Still Go Wrong . . .
Downing Street E-Petitions Website

‘An own-goal thought up by a prat’

Things Can Still Go Wrong . . .
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy.

1,811,289 ‘respondents’
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to replace the national anthem with ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister.

Things Can Still Go Wrong . . .

MySpace ‘will give America its first presidential primary winner’
More than 55,000,000 American users of voting age

As for the Long Term Future?

Move to consulting and panel providers as technology becomes commonplace The internet everywhere including mobile phones

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