Polling Firm YouGov is Having a Surprisingly Bad Year

You’d think the biggest election year in history would be good news for pollsters. In the case of YouGov, you’d be wrong.

Photo of people voting in a polling booth
Photo by Edmond Dantès via Pexels

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You’d think the biggest election year in history would be good news for pollsters. 

In the case of YouGov, you’d be wrong. The UK-based polling company announced on Thursday that it’s lowering its profit guidance for the year. The announcement dismayed investors; the company’s share price fell nearly 45% following the news.

Alright, Guv’nor

This year has seen more elections held around the world than any other in recorded history (we can’t speak to Paleolithic democratic processes). Although YouGov is based in the UK, it operates in a wide range of regions, including the Americas, the Middle East, India, and Asia Pacific. It polls on a variety of subjects like entertainment (how often do Brits go to the theater?) and consumer issues (how much money should you spend on a wedding gift?), but polling voting intention is a pretty bread-and-butter part of its operations.

So why is YouGov performing worse than expected just when the world is going to the polls? The company said this year has not quite panned out the way it hoped:

  • YouGov said it had assumed the second half of 2024 would be a major revenue boon, but it’s now feeling a little less optimistic. 
  • This year, YouGov was supposed to be looking to America for growth — it announced last year it would focus on the US. We regret to remind our readers that a US presidential election is taking place this November, and it seems YouGov hasn’t yet got enough of a foothold in the US to maintain its previous optimism.

Who Cares What Everyone Thinks? US pollsters are also gearing up for November, and they’re trying to shake off the specters of the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections — both years in which US pollsters were more off-the-mark than usual. US pollsters held a conference last month to try to agree on how best to poll voters this year, and specifically how to make sure they reach enough Republican voters, ABC reported.