On December 1st the Advisory Board of Schibsted/Inizio met in order to discuss the panels’ quality, parameters and methodology issues.
Following the recent presidential election in the US we also had a very interesting discussion related to opinion polling, democracy and the anti-establishment opinion.
It is debated if, and to what degree, polls influence and affect democratic processes. Polls may mobilize resistance among the side that looks like it will lose. Polls may also create an urge to join the side that seems to be winning. But it can also be true that polls may not influence voting at all. But we all know that polls, and the media interpretation of polls, are being strongly questioned. One conclusion is that in practice, it doesn´t seem feasible to ban polls prior to the elections. Instead well conducted and well-presented polls can help to explain this complex phenomenon that is influenced by many different factors. What is clear is that we, opinion pollsters, need to be even more transparent on how we work and be much better at sharing conclusions and helping the media to explain results and leaving less room for misinterpretations.
We also discussed the anti-establishment opinion that has many names: the populist international, the alt right, the xenophobes. The name seems less relevant in this case. What we refer to is the groups that support Brexit, Trump, Le Pen, Breitbart and in Sweden, the Swedish democrats. It is widely thought that the segments of the population that sympathize with these ‘movement’ tend to regard opinion polls as part of the very establishment that they oppose. That makes polling tricky and even more complex. Activism has also gone digital and with this, concepts like Internet activism or slacktivism have become more familiar and help us to understand this digital behavior, and the aim behind it.
The Advisory Board agreed on the importance of the quality controls in place including the fraud detection mechanisms. Not least, we will continue to work close to the academic society and share our findings in order to secure that we are truly mirroring the Swedish population.
Schibsted/Inizio Advisory Board is composed of:
– Gunilla Broadbent, ESOMAR President Foundation, the Global Market, Social and Opinion Research Foundation
– Stephanie Eckman, Ph.D. Survey Methodology at JPSM (Joint Program in Survey Methodology) at the University of Maryland, USA
– Geert Loosveldt, professor of sociology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
– Olof Petersson, PhD political science, former professor, University of Uppsala
Read more about how we work with quality in surveys, here