Is it healthy that one firm should be so dominant?
The last voting intention survey from a firm other than YouGov was from ComRes and completed its fieldwork on June 27th – nearly two and a half weeks ago.
There have been thirteen national YouGov polls since then – all but one of for News International which has an exclusivity arrangement with the firm for national papers.
The Daily Telegraph has not had a regular pollster since February – when the News International exclusivity agreement came into force. Until then the paper had a long record of being a big backer of polling and it was the national paper that first commissioned YouGov nearly eight years ago.
There has not been a published national voting poll from Populus since the general election. This is the pollster for the Times which, like the Telegraph, has been a big backer of political polling. It is owned by News International.
We all know that the national press is going through a tough time and circulations for all papers are down. They have all been hit by the recession which has affected advertising revenue.
Thankfully the Guardian continues with its relationship with ICM while the Sunday Telegraph has funded two post election voting intention polls from the firm.
Ipsos-MORI has done one survey for Reuters while the Indy and Indy on Sunday polling series with ComRes continues.
So we are reaching a situation where there are six or seven YouGov polls for every one non-YouGov poll.
Online surveys from pre-selected panels are much quicker to organise and much less expensive than standard telephone polls – unfortunately they didn’t do anything like as well at the general election.
Five of the top six places in the 2010 polling accuracy table were occupied by phone pollsters. Five of the bottom six place went to online firms. YouGov came eighth overall and was behind two online firms.