The boss of respected public opinion canvasser YouGov says telephone polling is “dead” and could be responsible for the UK population’s vote to leave the European Union.
In comments reported in The Evening Standard, Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive of YouGov, says: “Phone polls may actually have been responsible for the Leave win.”
He adds: “The Prime Minister and Remain campaign based their responses on those phone polls, which were wrong.”
However, it wasn’t just the phone polls that seem to have got it wrong — online pollsters got it wrong too.
According to the Guardian, which plotted all telephone and online opinion poll results on a graph, only two companies predicted that the Brexiters would win.
TNS and Opinium found that 52 per cent wanted to leave the EU, while 48 per cent wanted to stay — which is exactly what happened in the end.
Now the big international story for pollsters is the US presidential election, where opinion polls have been swinging one way and then the other.
Initially they showed a slight majority for Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, and now they are showing a slight lead for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate.
While opinion polls are generally treated with scepticism, data analytics is playing an increasingly important role in politics, especially in the US.