A promised initiative to restore confidence in opinion polling has came to fruition with the establishment of the Australian Polling Council, a joint endeavour of YouGov, Essential Research and uComms. Following the example of the British Polling Council and the National Council for Published Polls in the United States, the body promises to “ensure standards of disclosure”, “encourage the highest professional standards in public opinion polling” and “inform media and the public about best practice in the conduct and reporting of polls”.
The most important of these points relates to disclosure, particularly of how demographic weightings were used to turn raw figures into a published result. The British Polling Council requires that its members publish “computer tables showing the exact questions asked in the order they were asked, all response codes and the weighted and unweighted bases for all demographics and other data that has been published”. We’ll see if its Australian counterpart to sees things the same way when it releases its requirements for disclosures, which is promised “before July 2020”.
• The West Australian has had two further local polls on coronavirus from Painted Dog Research, one from last week and one from this week ($). The McGowan government announced its decision to reopen schools next week in between the two polls, which had the support of 22.7% in the earlier poll and 49% this week, with opposition down from 43.3% to 27%, and the undecided down from 34% to 24%. The earlier poll found remarkably strong results for the McGowan government’s handling of the crisis, with 90.0% agreeing it had been doing a good job (including 54.2% strongly agreeing) and only 2.9% disagreeing (1.2% strongly), with 7.1% neither agreeing or disagreeing. No field work dates provided, but the latest poll has a sample of 831.
• The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Institute conducted a 1200-sample survey on coronavirus from April 6 to 11, and while the published release isn’t giving too much away, we told that “about 60% of Australians report being moderately to very satisfied with government economic policies to support jobs and keep people at work”, and that “more than 80% expect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to last for more than 6 months“.
• The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage political science blog examines local government elections held in France on March 15, two days before the country went into lockdown: turnout fell from 63% to 45%, but the result was not radically different from the last such elections in 2016. Traditional conservative and socialist parties holding up well and the greens making gains, Emmanuel Macron’s presidential vehicle La République En Marche failing to achieve much cross-over success, and Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National losing ground compared with a strong result in 2014.