The current situation of opinion polling round the world

Date of publication: June 15, 1986

Author: Norman L. Webb


A somewhat general survey of the condition of opinion polling round the world is reported. In Western Europe and the English speaking countries in particular they are firmly embedded, recognised and understood by politicians and journalists, together with a few restrictions imposed from outside that would appear trivial by world standards. Elsewhere the development of the profession is related strongly to the nature of the regime and to the prosperity of the country. Good professional work is able to be carried out in most countries in the world, but transport, communications, statistical sources and the society itself lead to different forms of implementation of the basic principles. There is growing an acceptance of the usefulness and informativeness of opinion poll surveys in most countries, whether open societies or authoritarian regimes. The profession is strengthened by the existence of a code of ethics, but in some countries it is threatened by competition from outside. Finally there is growing evidence of the value of opinion polls as a challenge to the proper conduct of electoral procedures, and as an indication of their fairness.

Norman L. Webb


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