Millions of Britons go to the polls on June 18 in what is being tipped as one of the closest general elections for many years.
Millions of Britons go to the polls on June 18 in what is being tipped as one of the closest general elections for many years. Latest public opinion polls give the ruling Labour arty a lead of about two percent over the Opposition Conservatives. If they're right Labour should be returned with a majority of about 60 seats.
The computer age has brought the Public Opinion polls into their own. Mr. Wilson kept the nation waiting months before finally announcing that the General Elections would be held on July 18. Observers said he was waiting for the mood of the country to be in his favour...and the only way he could gauge this was through the Opinion Polls which kept a constant finger on the political pulse of the country.
One of the leading opinion organisations is Gallup which took its name from George H. Gallup, an American who was one of the first men to see the value of market research.
There are a number of Gallup organisations throughout the world. They have no connection with the original American firm, but George Gallup allowed his name to be used.
Most national daily newspapers in Britain have contracts with opinion poll companies. The Daily and Sunday Telegraph have exclusive use of Gallup for which they pay several thousand pounds sterling.
Most polls operate the same way. Gallup has about a thousand people scattered throughout Britain. In the case of the election they are sent a bundle of questions each week. The interviewers go out into the street and speak with about 20 people. The completed forms are returned to Gallup Headquarters in London and sorted into constituencies, regions and countries.
The results are punched onto cards and fed into the computer. Strict security surrounds the final results. Everything is done by numbers..and only the heads of Gallup know which number fits the question.
Gallup says that there has been little change since their first poll for the elections about a month ago. They'll hold two more polls...results of the last to be made public on polling day.
June 18 will be the acid test for the polling firms. The five major pollsters will release their final findings on that day and they'll be reported in the national press. Their reputations could stand or fall on their predictions. A spokesman for Gallup said that the chances of a wrong result in any poll....whether its straight forward market research of politics....are statistically about 20 to one.....but he emphasised that even then the results wouldn't be too far out.