Christmas Comes Early
For the last five years, I have been delighted to work with colleagues at ITV Cymru-Wales and YouGov on the Welsh Political Barometer. This has been the only regular opinion polling conducted in Wales, and it has proven an invaluable resource for informing us about political opinions in Wales. While BBC Wales have also done some very valuable polling (working with ICM), only the Welsh Political Barometer has polled sufficiently regularly to allow us to track changes over time. The barometer polls have also been quite innovative. For instance, in 2016 we conducted the first-ever ‘on the day’ poll for a devolved election – and got very close to the actual result for all the main parties.
Nonetheless, it is valuable to have different companies conducting polling. I have long found working with YouGov to be an absolute joy. But it is no criticism of them to say that I still think it is good to have different companies trying out alternative questions, ways of conducting polling and so on. I was, therefore, delighted to be approached in the autumn by Sky Data to discuss the possibility of them conducting some polling in Wales.
As regular readers of this blog will be aware, YouGov’s polling draws upon a large panel – numbering several hundred thousand people across Britain – from whom YouGov then attempt to develop samples that are representative of the relevant population. (That population can be adults across Britain; it may be adults within Wales, as for our Welsh polls; or it may be other sub-groups – such as members of a particular political party). Sky’s several million subscribers constitute a similar polling panel – albeit one of even greater size. There is no innate reason why representative samples for polling cannot be constructed from among these subscribers.
The fruits of my discussions with Sky should be apparent in the next few days, with the results of their first-ever Welsh poll. We have asked a range of questions – covering obvious things like voting intentions for the parties and Brexit, but also public attitudes to party leaders, attitudes to devolution, and various other matters. I think you will find the results interesting.
Postcript: Prior to the release of the first results of the poll, some people have asked me about Sky Data’s methods. You can find a brief overview explanation on their website at: https://news.sky.com/info/sky-data