Wrong Again

The Pollsters' Brexit Fail

Odds on display at a betting shop in London on Thursday before the Brexit referendum results were clear.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The credibility of polling agencies like YouGov are in question after they wrongly predicted the result of Britain’s Brexit vote.

  • Facts


    • About 52 percent of Britain voted to leave the E.U., while 48 percent voted to stay.
    • Pollster YouGov had predicted the opposite result.
    • It was the third time in recent years that they failed to accurately predict an important election.
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The moment of truth has arrived in the United Kingdom, and not just for Prime Minister David Cameron.

As results of the historic vote trickled in during the early hours of Friday, he wasn’t the only one forced to admit to having got it wrong. The country’s pollsters also had to eat crow.

After two spectacular errors on important issues in recent history, including last year’s general elections, they were keen to do better.

“We have learned from our mistakes,” said Stephen Shakespeare, head of the renowned opinion-research institute YouGov, only a few days ago in London.

But on Friday it became clear that polling firms had failed to correctly predict how the Brexit vote would go.

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