Understanding Society May 2016: The death of polling?

This issue of Understanding Society focuses on two closely connected topics that are core to what we do at Ipsos MORI: the government's push to open up and improve the policy making process, and the very real challenges around the legitimacy of our democratic system.

Welcome to this international edition of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute’s Understanding Society. ‘The Death of Polling?’ may be a deliberately dramatic title to mark one year on from the UK General Election, but it’s fair to say it has not only changed the British political landscape, but has also shaken the polling industry. But are we alone in facing these challenges?  In this edition, we examine the state of polling across the world, giving an international perspective from some of the 30 countries and five continents in which Ipsos carries out political research. We are also delighted to have an interview with Professor Samuel Wang, founder of the Princeton Election Consortium website, who discusses why we need both political forecasters and pollsters, the popularity of data journalism and why polling is not dead, but very much alive and evolving beyond the ‘horse race’ commentary.  And so looking beyond the simple ‘horse race’ numbers, we review how our wider data on public opinion helps explain how we ended up with that surprising final result in May 2015. Our expert contributors include Ann Treneman, journalist and author of All in this together: My five years as a political stalker, who takes us on the campaign trail, and Dr Rob Ford, one of the most prominent thinkers in this election, who dissects the rise of the insurgent parties.  We also take a look at the significance of social media in this election and how John Major and Ed Miliband got more mentions on Twitter than Kim Kardashian and One Direction.

And finally, we examine the momentous political shifts in Scotland following the Independence Referendum and May 2015, and what this means for the future of the political landscape. 

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