Wrong-Footed Again: The Polls
Having been spectacularly wrong about the 2015 general election—when they had predicted that Labour and the Conservatives were too close to call in terms of vote share, only for the latter to end up 7% ahead—the opinion pollsters knew they were on trial in 2017. Since the 2015 debacle, they had enjoyed some success with predictions for Corbyn’s leadership election in 2015 and 2016, Sadiq Khan’s victory in the London mayoralty race, and in the devolved elections in Wales and Scotland. Their performance in the 2016 referendum, however, was more mixed. In the last month of the campaign, marginally more polls predicted a Leave outcome than Remain, although most of the final polls predicted a win for Remain.