Hopes that the Australian polling industry might again have something to offer soon have been been raised by YouGov’s announcement on Thursday that it is overhauling its polling methodology, and pursuing the establishment of a local industry body along the lines of the British Polling Council.
On the first point, the pollster says it will “transition to the standard YouGov methodology for national and statewide polling”. This means an end to the mix of online and automated phone polling associated with Galaxy Research, the established local outfit that has been conducting Newspoll since 2015, and which YouGov bought out at the end of 2017. In line with its modus operandi internationally, YouGov will move entirely to online polling, enabling it to adopt a more detailed scheme of demographic weightings that will encompass variables “such as education and more sophisticated regional segments”.
We may already have received a taste of this with the recent YouGov Galaxy poll from Queensland, which was conducted entirely online and supplemented the traditional weighting model of “age interlocked with gender and region” with variables for education and voting at the previous election. This looks much like the pollster’s approach with its British polling, but with education taking the place of a “social grade” variable that holds those with managerial or supervisory jobs distinct from the rest of the workforce.
The notion of an Australian Polling Council offers the exciting prospect of industry standards that will require the publication of sample weightings and full demographic and regional breakdowns from each poll, such as can be seen in this recent YouGov poll of voting intention in Britain. The YouGov announcement says that “several other companies have agreed in principle to establish this council and an announcement will be made in due course”.
Also of note recently:
• The first batch of submissions to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into the recent federal election has been published. This does not include the Labor submission, but The Guardian reports it calls for the committee to investigate the impact on election campaigning of social media platforms, its specific concern being with the widespread circulation of claims through Facebook that it had “secret plans to introduce a death tax”.
• The Australian reports the Nationals federal council has endorsed a proposal floated a fortnight ago to all but purge the Senate of minor parties by breaking each state into six provinces that would each return a single Senator at a normal half-Seante election.
• The challenges to the election results in the Melbourne seats of Chisholm and Kooyong have been referred for trial in the Federal Court, which will likely take about three months to reach a determination.