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Polling permeates political life, in this country and abroad. Leaders are ordained and overturned on the say so of a forecast. And when such divination later proves inaccurate, there’s hell to pay.

And yet few people know exactly how polling works, how to read its tea leaves. Even journalists. Especially journalists.

In this series, INQ examines recent failures of political polling, why they occurred, and how they can be avoided in the future.


The great polling failure: why the ‘unloseable election’ was always lost

Every major pollster in the country backed the wrong horse at the election. Why did they all get it so wrong, and how do we know if we can trust them again?


Have pollsters created an ‘alternate universe’? 

The power of polling has been used to shape political narratives and bring down prime ministers — but what does it mean now that we know the foundations are more flimsy than anyone thought?