2016 has been a year when we have seen polls fail at every turn. After decades of relying on pollsters, they have finally been proved to be wrong, and we have seen for ourselves how little they matter. I have some vested interest here, as I am a long-term member of the UK’s largest polling group, You Gov. Despite my scrupulously honest answers to their frequent polls, they got it wrong. Every time.
They were not alone. Every poll got the ‘Leave’ vote wrong, in the EU referendum. Just to add insult to injury, the polls everywhere also failed to predict the result of the US election, as they all decided that Trump would lose. This has continued in Europe, where they missed the results in the Italian and Austrian referenda by a mile. So, can they be trusted anymore? Obviously not.
Since the mania for polling arrived here from America in the early 1960s, their predictions have been hit and miss at best. Despite some convincing results with ‘exit polls’ at General Elections, their strike rate has been something like 50%. That equates to tossing a coin, and does not justify the huge amounts of money spent engaging these numerous polling companies to foretell events.
This year has seen their high watermark in failure. They can no longer claim to have that finger on the pulse of the electorate, anywhere. In fact, we can no longer rely on them to even tell us what a nation’s favourite biscuit happens to be. So, time for them to shut up shop, and disappear. Thanks all the same, polling companies, but we might just as well feel some seaweed, or examine the entrails of a dead goat.
Your USP has gone, and you should go with it.