Why did the pollsters get it so wrong?
Until the day of the election, all the pollsters were predicting a hung parliament.
Labour and the Conservatives were tied on 34%
The Scots Nats would win some seats in Scotland.
UKIP's share of the vote was falling.
The Lib Dems were hurting but they would still be a force in the next parliament.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Only in the exit polls on the day of the election, did the researchers get a true picture.
The Conservatives won a comfortable majority.
The Scots Nats devastated Labour in Scotland, winning 56 out of 59 seats.
UKIP's share of the vote increased particularly in the working class North.
The Lib Dems were trashed everywhere, probably bringing about the demise of their party as a political force for the next 20 years.
How did they all get it so wrong?
Having worked in advertising for over 20 years and suffered the 'opinions' of 'research' for most of that time, it's not surprising. Here's three reasons why;
People tell you what they think you want to hear.
The way you frame the question creates the answer.
The pollsters themselves are not politically neutral. they are looking for a way to interpret the research that appeals to their clients. The political parties and the newspapers.
This is why 99.9% of all new product launches are total failures, despite reams of research.
People don't tell the truth. And they lie more often and more believably to pollsters than anybody else.
When you add this to faulty methodology;
Interviewing people by phone. They use home phone numbers. How many of us now use our home phones? It tends to skew the interviewees to the older and the less affluent.
Interviewing people online. It tends to skew the results towards the younger, newer voter.
The combination of faulty methodology and people not telling the truth led to the failure of the pollsters.
Did it influence the election?
Definitely. Encouraging the Conservative voter to get out to counteract a supposed Labour resurgence that didn't actually exist.
So far none of these 'experts' have admitted their mistakes. They don't when a product launch goes wrong either. Then they blame the advertising.
But, somehow, they still manage to have a job.
There are lies, damn lies and research. Just look at the statistics.