I receive a monthly email from YouGov – to quote “YouGov has been acclaimed as the country's most accurate opinion pollster.” This email is very flatteringly entitled YouGov Opinion Formers survey. Well that is flattering – I am an opinion former! I have been receiving these for years and have filled them in most months. Now that I have more time to do this and think about it, it suddenly occurred to me – they are paid, and well paid, to do this. I am giving my services for free. Why?
I have just seen some market research commissioned by a public agency which was done entirely online – that means that they canvassed the opinion of 2,000 people who had access, ability, interest and time to deal with an online survey – and public policy will be driven by this – not taking into account the millions who are not online, have not the ability, the time or the desire to take part.
I don’t deny the value of market research although the questions asked and the way they are framed are often carelessly done. But in this case YouGov’s customers (who are commercial as well as political) will manage without this opinion former – it didn’t help that the email was addressed to “Dear Alec...”