YouGov, formerly known as PollingPoint in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, is an international internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

-based market research firm
Market research
Market research is any organized effort to gather information about markets or customers. It is a very important component of business strategy...

 launched in the UK in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare
Stephan Shakespeare
Stephan Shakespeare is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the high-profile British Internet-based market research and opinion polls company YouGov...

, now Chief Executive Officer
Chief executive officer
A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

, and Nadhim Zahawi
Nadhim Zahawi
Nadhim Zahawi is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010, after the retirement of previous MP John Maples....

. In 2005 the company opened an office in the Middle East, YouGovSiraj, and in 2007 it further expanded by acquiring market research firms in the USA (YouGov Polimetrix), Germany (YouGov Psychonomics) and Scandinavia (YouGov Zapera), which are now part of the YouGov Group. YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council
British Polling Council
The British Polling Council is an association of market research companies whose opinion polls are regularly published or broadcast in media in the United Kingdom...


YouGov's Chairman since April 2007 is Roger Parry
Roger Parry
Roger Parry is a media entrepreneur based in the UK. He is Chairman of a number of media groups quoted on the London Stock Exchange including Mobile Streams plc and YouGov plc.. He is Chairman of the Trustees of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre . And a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University....

, replacing political commentator Peter Kellner
Peter Kellner
Peter Jon Kellner is a journalist, political commentator and President of the YouGov opinion polling organisation in the United Kingdom. He is known for his appearances on TV, especially at election times...

 who now serves as President of the company. When YouGov floated for £18million in April 2005, Kellner owned 6% of the company.

YouGov's former CEO Nadhim Zahawi
Nadhim Zahawi
Nadhim Zahawi is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon since 2010, after the retirement of previous MP John Maples....

 resigned from the board to stand in the 2010 General Election and is now a Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 MP for Stratford Upon Avon. The current CEO, Stephan Shakespeare, stood in the 1997 general election as the Conservative candidate for Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...



YouGov's methodology is to obtain responses from an invited group of Internet users, and then to weight these responses in line with demographic information. It draws these demographically-representative samples from a panel of about 350,000 people in the UK.

As YouGov's online methods use no field-force, its costs are lower than some face-to-face or telephone methods. In the UK, YouGov media clients include The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

, The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

, The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

and Sky News
British Sky Broadcasting
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc is a satellite broadcasting, broadband and telephony services company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, with operations in the United Kingdom and the Ireland....


Panel members, volunteer members of the public, are credited with 50 points for each survey they complete which typically take around 20 minutes to complete (up to 100 points for more time consuming ones). They are sent a cheque worth £50 when 5000 points are accrued. Also, surveys are offered to individual participants infrequently (typically two to four per month, meaning it can take several years to accumulate the £50 minimum earnings required for a payout, although some 'in demand' demographic groups are likely to receive survey invites more often). In addition there is a monthly prize survey, the completion of which enters the member into a prize draw, users can also spend some or all of their points as an individual entry into this prize draw.


YouGov has contended that its opinion polls in recent UK elections, e.g. the 2001 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

, have been consistently more accurate than traditional opinion pollsters who repeatedly over-estimated the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...


This pattern was repeated during the 2005 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

 campaign, when most traditional polls reported Labour's support in the range from 38 to 41%, compared with the 36% it achieved on polling day. In contrast, YouGov's nine polls during the final three weeks of the campaign all showed Labour on 36 or 37%, although NOP
GfK NOP is a leading market research agency based in London, providing business insight through quantitative and qualitative research.- History :...

 (published in The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

) gave the most accurate forecast in their final poll in 2005.

Critics argue that, as not all of the public have access to the Internet, its samples cannot accurately reflect the views of the population as a whole. YouGov counters that they have a representative panel and they are able to weight their polls/surveys appropriately to reflect the national audience that they are aiming to poll.

It is a function of their internet panel approach that YouGov isn't able to pick up turnout factors to the same degree as other pollsters and they exclude it from their methods. However, traditional polls use widely differing methods to take account of turnout, and these produce equally varied corrections to the raw data. No consensus has emerged as to what, if any, correction has greatest validity.

Four weeks before the 2008 London mayoral elections
London mayoral election, 2008
The London mayoral election, 2008 for the office of Mayor of London was held on 1 May 2008 and was won by Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson....

, a YouGov poll placed Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

 13 points ahead of the incumbent Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone
Kenneth Robert "Ken" Livingstone is an English politician who is currently a member of the centrist to centre-left Labour Party...

. Livingstone's campaign team branded the poll "fundamentally flawed", arguing that it failed to take account of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's larger ethnic minority population compared to the rest of the country, and saying that it would complain to the Market Research Council of Great Britain. Ipsos MORI and ICM
ICM (polling)
ICM Research is a public opinion researcher registered in England . It is a subsidiary of Creston plc, a marketing services company.-Business:...

 polls put the candidates neck-and-neck. A subsequent poll was derided by Livingstone as "a transparent attempt by the Evening Standard/YouGov to give Boris Johnson a more credible lead". However, Livingstone never made the official complaint that had been announced to the media, and in the event, YouGov's final poll showing Johnson in the lead by six percentage point
Percentage point
Percentage points are the unit for the arithmetic difference of two percentages.Consider the following hypothetical example: in 1980, 40 percent of the population smoked, and in 1990 only 30 percent smoked...

s was the only accurate prediction.
YouGov also makes predictions about the outcomes of popular culture events based on their internet surveys. This work is usually commissioned by newspapers who publish the results immediately prior to the events. This has included predictions about the winner of the 2001/2 UK Pop Idol contest, and the last three X-Factor winners. In each case, the YouGov prediction has been correct. The first of these, which saw YouGov predict victory for Will Young, gave YouGov its first major media attention having been the only research organisation to get this one right. For the most recent X-Factor contest, YouGov correctly placed the final 4 contestants in order.

In 2010, the company launched YouGov SixthSense which provides market intelligence reports.


Starting in 2006 YouGov began expanding outside the UK with acquisitions in Europe and the United States. In 2006 YouGov acquired Dubai based Siraj, for $1.2 million, plus eventual earn outs of $600,000. In 2007 they added Palo Alto, CA based US research firm Polimetrix for approximately $17 million, Scandinavia's Zapera for $8 million and German Psychonomics for $20 million. In 2009 and 2010 they expanded US Operations with two acquisitions. First buying Princeton, NJ research firm Clear Horizons for $600,000 plus an earn out of $2.7 million. Then in 2010 Connecticut researchers Harrison Group for $6 million with a $7 million earnout.
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