Transformations in public opinion research

Date of publication: June 15, 2015

Abstract:

Opinion polls in many western democracies have become so entrenched that their publication is an underlying part of political coverage. In recent years, research methodologies in places like the United States have had to transform to cope with declining response rates and saturation coverage – with changes likely to be even more visible in the 2016 presidential election. But political and social polling elsewhere face different issues, and bring about societal transformations. Research in a less-polled environment can provide new insights. ESOMAR, its members, along with other international organisations, have been instrumental in assisting the transformations caused by the spread of opinion polling across the globe. ESOMAR’s efforts include (with WAPOR) the rewriting of its Guide for Opinion Polls and Published Surveys, as well as member examinations of the issues surrounding opinion polls in countries like the Republic of Georgia (where many believed the 2012 pre-elections mis-predicted the outcome, causing doubts about all forms of research) and the development of an international module for training journalists.

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