YouGov is an international internet-based market research firm launched in the UK in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare (now Chief Innovation Officer) and Nadhim Zahawi (CEO). 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, Germany and Scandinavia, which are now part of the YouGov Group. [cite web|url=|title=Welcome to YouGov|publisher=YouGov|accessdate=2008-08-22] YouGov is a member of the British Polling Council.

YouGov's Chairman since April 2007 is Roger Parry, replacing political commentator Peter Kellner who now serves as President of the company. [cite news|url=|title=YouGov appoints Roger Parry non-exec chairman from April 26|publisher=ADVFN|date=2007-01-15] When YouGov floated for £18million in April 2005, Kellner owned 6% of the company. [cite news|url=|title=Interview: Peter Kellner, YouGov|publisher=Evening Standard|date=2005-04-20]


YouGov's methodology is to obtain responses from an invited group of Internet users, and then to filter these responses in line with demographic information. It draws these demographically-representative samples from a panel of about 250,000 people in the UK.Fact|date=September 2008

As YouGov's online methods require no field-force, its costs are lower than competitors that employ traditional face-to-face or telephone methods. YouGov has exploited its cost-effectiveness and speed to conduct more polls for newspapers and television programmes than any other organisation.Fact|date=September 2008 Its media clients include the "The Daily Telegraph", "The Sunday Times", "The Economist" and Sky News.

Panel members, volunteer members of the public, are credited with 50p for each simple survey they complete (up to £ 2 for more time consuming ones). They are sent a cheque when the amount accrued reaches £50. However, surveys are offered to individual participants infrequently (typically two to four per month). In addition there is a monthly prize survey, the completion of which enters the member into a prize draw, and other occasional prize surveys.


YouGov has contended that its opinion polls in recent UK elections, "e.g." the 2001 general election, have been consistently more accurate than traditional opinion pollsters who repeatedly over-estimated the Labour vote.Fact|date=September 2008

This pattern was repeated during the 2005 general election 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 (published in "The Independent") gave the most accurate forecast in their final poll in 2005.

Critics argueWho|date=September 2008 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.Fact|date=September 2008 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.Fact|date=September 2008

Four weeks before the 2008 London mayoral elections, a YouGov poll placed Boris Johnson 13 points ahead of the incumbent Ken Livingstone. Livingstone's campaign team branded the poll "fundamentally flawed", arguing that it failed to take account of London'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. [cite news|url=|title=Mayor makes complaint against YouGov over polling|author=Rosalind Ryan|publisher="The Guardian"|date=2008-04-07|accessdate=2008-04-09] Ipsos Mori and ICM polls put the candidates neck-and-neck. [cite news|url=|title=Livingstone leads Johnson in latest poll|author=Matthew Taylor|publisher="The Guardian"|date=2008-04-09|accessdate=2008-04-09] A subsequent poll was derided by Livingstone as "a transparent attempt by the Evening Standard/YouGov to give Boris Johnson a more credible lead" [cite web|url=|title=London: Mayor & More|publisher=Dave Hill (The Guardian writer)|date=2008-05-01] . 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 6 % was the only accurate prediction. [cite web|url=|title=Boris and YouGov Triumphant|publisher=MrWeb|date=2008-05-06]


In YouGov's business year from August 2006 to July 2007 turnover rose by 51% above the previous year to £ 14.3 million and profits before tax rose by 39% to £ 5.7 million. At around 40%, YouGov's net margins are amongst the highest in the industry, compared to the usual 10 - 30% range that most of its competitors produce.Fact|date=September 2008

A joint selling arrangement now allows YouGov to sell Polimetrix's products internationally, excluding the USA and Canada, and Polimetrix to sell YouGov's products, including BrandIndex, in the USA and Canada.


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