Britain’s “Best” Pollster?

Democracy Institute is not a British Polling Council member.

Anthony B. Masters

--

The US President made claims about the views of the “best pollster in Britain”. This refers to Democracy Institute. This think-tank is not a partner company of the Market Research Society.

This article looks at polling by Democracy Institute, and its claims of accuracy.

Express to the President

The Sunday Express published an article by Patrick Basham. Democracy Institute provided US Presidential vote intention polls on behalf of the paper. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, asserted on Fox & Friends:

Interestingly, Patrick Basham — who is the most accurate pollster, is British — wrote in a British paper this morning: that this clearly was a stolen election.

Quoting Gingrich, the US President referred to Mr Basham as the “best pollster in Britain”.

Democracy Institute is a think-tank residing in Washington. There are no records of Democracy Institute running a UK General Election poll. It is not a member of the Market Research Society, nor part of the British Polling Council. Democracy Institute does not appear in FiveThirtyEight’s ratings.

Democracy Institute produced at least two polls on the 2016 EU referendum. The former was on 23rd — 26th April, and the latter was on 19th — 22nd June 2016. The polling mode was random-digit dialling phone calls with interactive voice responses. The latter poll estimated a three point lead for Leave. For these polls, there are no published data tables.

The organisation published vote intention figures for the last two US Presidential elections. There is no polling method on their website. The August 2020 article on the Express website stated:

Interactive voice response is here again. (Image: Sunday Express)

The poll assumes a particular composition of voters by party identity.

The Sunday Express article

--

--

Anthony B. Masters

This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.