National Guidelines for Political Polls
Political Polling Guidelines
12 February 2013
National Guidelines for Conducting and Reporting Political Polls
The Association of Market Research Organisations (AMRO) and Market Research Society NZ (MRSNZ) have released draft guidelines for the conducting and reporting of political polls. The guidelines are proposed to be binding on AMRO and MRS members and are designed to ensure consistent high quality polling and poll reporting.
“Polling is so important in the new media environment and poll results have potential to severely impact on voter beliefs and preferences in the weeks leading up to an election.” said Rob Bree, Executive Director of AMRO.
The draft guidelines were formulated by a research industry group comprising representatives of six of New Zealand’s leading polling companies as well as AMRO and MRSNZ. The six companies (and their clients) are Colmar Brunton (One News), Baseline Research (3 News), DigiPoll (NZ Herald), Ipsos (Fairfax) and political polling companies UMR and Curia.
The genesis for the guidelines was the Polling Forum held at Parliament in 2012 at which the 80 or so industry, media, academic and political participants affirmed that there was a need for greater consistency of polling in NZ and that incorrect analysis and reporting of polls in the media was as trouble-some as badly conducted polls.
“The growth of online forums, blog polls and other forms of online polling and reporting greatly increases the number and coverage of polls. Not all of these polls abide by internationally recognised standards. Non-representative samples and misleading results can be very confusing for the media, the political community and the wider public” said Rob Bree, Executive Director of AMRO.
The guidelines themselves, which have been developed with a wide range of inputs and informed by international ESOMAR guidelines, can be viewed at www.mrsnz.org.nz.
Key points from the guidelines relate to:
• Best practice for the researcher conducting the poll.
• Best practice for the researcher in reporting results.
• Best practice for the media in publishing and commenting on results.
They provide guidance on matters such as sampling; collection methods; weighting and timing as well as analysis of undecided voter responses. “We would like all interested parties to view them and offer feedback until the end of March 2013” said Patricio Pagani, President of the MRSNZ, “we would like to finalise them during mid 2013 and will be inviting media, academics, researchers and political parties to forums in Auckland and Wellington to discuss the draft guidelines before they are finalised.