After a momentous election, I am delighted that the Ipsos MORI Exit poll has again proved to be highly accurate, predicting 368 Conservative seats at 10pm on the night of the election: in the end they achieved 365. Our pre-election polling for the Evening Standard was accurate to within 1% of each Parties’ share of the vote, making us one of the most accurate pollsters in the campaign. Given that even perfect polls have a margin of error of circa 4%, this is an achievement our teams can be proud of and a vindication of high-quality sampling and polling. During the campaign we tracked the Labour party’s failure to make significant gains, the decline of the Liberal Democrats (commiserations to Jo Swinson on losing her seat), and the issues that mattered. One unremarked feature of the campaign was that, for the first time, climate change was one of the top issues for voters. In the end the Greens got 850,000 votes, but only one MP, due to the vagaries of our electoral system.
Now Britain returns to real life. Brexit needs to be done (and involves negotiating hundreds of trade deals by December 2020), and the NHS, which rose in prominence in the campaign, remains challenged – waiting time data released the day after the election shows just how challenged. With a mandate to govern, and the Labour party effectively out of action and internally focused for months if not years, now is Boris Johnson’s time.
The Ipsos MORI Almanac examines the country he will now lead for the next five years – with all its vagaries, concerns, and most importantly ideas about itself. As we go into a much-needed Christmas respite, it’s worth remembering that Britain remains proud of many of our institutions. Globally our reputation has suffered much less than we think it has. Britain is both fatter and happier, and less divided than it imagines – and the 2019 Almanac covers all this and much more.
Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2020.
Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI