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Another election, another exit poll!
At the UK general election on 12 December the exit poll, which is commissioned jointly by broadcasters BBC, ITV and Sky, will again use the methods that were introduced in 2001 by Professor David Firth (in joint work with Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde).
The new methods have led to renewed trust in exit polls, which since 2001 have been remarkably accurate in predicting House of Commons seat totals — a prediction made at 10pm on election day, immediately after polling stations close their doors.
David Firth says:
It's great to see the approach that I suggested and developed in 2001–2005 being used still in 2019. Its success is due mainly to purposeful statistical thinking in both the design and the analysis of the exit poll; and partly of course also to luck! But it could not succeed without, in addition, the work of a brilliant team of academics on the election day itself.
The election-day team analysing the 2019 exit poll will again be led by Sir John Curtice. The team's statistical expert has since 2010 been Professor Jouni Kuha (LSE) — a good friend of David Firth's since the 1990s. David says of this: "Perhaps the most remarkable thing, for me personally, is that Jouni can still manage to run the same R code that I threw together in haste before the 2005 election!"
For more information on the exit-poll method and its track record, see the Exit Poll Explainer page at warwick.ac.uk/exitpolling.