However the British decide to vote on 28 February, people will be very interested to see how near the mark the Opinion Poll companies will be with their final surveys -- like the political parties they hope to gain some public confidence.
CU Sign computer centre
SV & CU computer being operated and print out (3)
CU Newspaper headlines on poll results (3)
SV Researcher in street
CU Researcher with householder
SV Pan EXT. Gallup offices
CU Questionnaires Zoom out to ladies tabulating replies (2)
CU Computer cards being processed
CU Researcher with print-out
CU Newspaper head-line "London set for Tory landslide."
O.R.C. Poll spokesman.
SCU Gallup Poll head with reporter
RESEARCHER: "Leaving on one side your own hopes, which party will in fact win the selection do you thing?"
HOUSEHOLDER: "I think the Conservatives will win."
RESEARCHER: "Do you think it will be a close fight or a near thing?"
HOUSEHOLDER: "No, I think it will be close."
SPOKESMAN: "We really did two things that the other polls did not do: one was we went on doing our fieldwork later on and we picked up whnt in fact turned out to be a fairly distinct left swing. And secondly we adjusted for "differential turn-out" which means that we realised that Labour supporters were more likely to stay at home than the Conservatives."
MR. WEDD: "I should like to make two requirements: the first is that we're paying more attention to two particular parts of the questionnaire, the other is that we are polling more frequently and specifically. We are poiling much closer to the date of election day.
REPORTER: "Finally, do you think that this is a fluid situation at the moment, are people undecided to a considerable extent, as yet?"
MR WEDD: "The majority, something like 80 per cent, I think are decided. But the election day has always been won or lost on the remaining 20 per cent, and there we think there is a certain amount of movement. In particular, we have noticed big changes, not so much in the preference figures by which party they would support, but big changes in fluctuations in the importance of the issues. Certain issues have declined away to nothing, and some have climbed, in particular - the prices issue."
Initials SC/1923 SC/2049
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Background: However the British decide to vote on 28 February, people will be very interested to see how near the mark the Opinion Poll companies will be with their final surveys -- like the political parties they hope to gain some public confidence.
The one company that did get the correct figures for the 1970 election was the Opinion Research Centre, whose spokesman explained how their eve-of-election poll was on target.
Norman Wedd, the Managing Director of the George Gallup company spoke to Visnews reporter John Sutton about improvements they have made to this year's sampling methods.
SYNOPSIS: The public opinion poll now plays almost as big a part in British elections as the candidates themselves. Using the most modern computers and research methods, the opinion poll companies, sponsored by newspapers and television stations, have been producing fresh figures almost every day during the election campaign.
The polls are headline news, showing which party -- and party leaders -- is leading in popularity at the time of the survey. To produce their findings, the researchers have to interview several hundred, or even a thousand, members of the public, who sometimes are a bit hesitant.
In the 1970 General Election, all but one of the opinion polls indicated a Labour victory in their final surveys. The Conservatives won. This year, the researchers want to get it right, and have been examining ways of improving their survey methods. One thing they insist on is that the surveys do not predict -- they just show the mood of the electorate at the time the pools are taken.
The head of one company tells what improvements he has made, but first, the man whose survey got the right result in 1970, explains how it happened.