The research companies’ role in securing a democracy
Unfortunately, it needs to be constantly reminded that good surveys give a good picture of the citizen’s opinion. It’s just like anything else that the bad examples define an entire industry. Failures in the form of unscientific investigations lead to a distrust of the scientifically based, as de Novus does. This is a negative spiral where Novus is now one of those who work most strongly against the trend. It is not only important in Sweden and around elections. Companies and organizations must be able to rely on reliable facts and knowledge in order not to lose money and be forced to lay off staff because they miss the customer. It is absolutely central there.
But my meetings in connection with Gallup International’s annual meeting where I was also elected to their board and the election in Turkey reminded me of another dimension that is easy to forget in the stable democracy of Sweden.
Namely, that opinion polls by independent serious research companies are often a measure to ensure that there is no election fraud. If the polls deviate significantly from the election results, something worrying has happened. Unfortunately, many research companies in the world have cut costs so hard that you can’t always say that’s the case anymore. I don’t know how things are in Turkey now, I don’t know the survey market there well enough to be able to comment on the difference in survey results and election results at the moment. But it is yet another reminder of the importance of reliable independent research.
Today, Novus is the only company in Sweden that promotes the importance of reliability and is completely independent in its ownership from political or opinion-forming interests, unfortunately I have to say.
But that’s one of the reasons why I was elected to the board of Gallup International, because this kind of drive is absolutely critical to the future of the polling industry globally. Without independent, serious research companies, the world leaves the knowledge society and democracy becomes one of the victims.