RED C Accuracy and Interpretation Shines at GE’20

RED C are delighted with the accuracy of our polling at the recent General Election 2020.  The accuracy of our polls once again underlines the quality of our offering both in our telephone and online omnibus surveys.

The RED C published polls in the Business Post, clearly provided the insight to the wider population around a growing Sinn Féin support among voters, and the decline in the Fine Gael vote very accurately.   Our final poll (see chart below) had an average error of just 0.58%, meaning it performed better than all other polls including the exit poll.  The largest error for any one party was just 1.8%, which is well within the +/-3% margin of error for a poll of this nature.

During the campaign we conducted 4 polls in total, two that were run on our RED Express telephone omnibus and published in the Business Post, while we also conducted two further polls online using our RED Line online omnibus service.

The online polls were run in order to for us to test how accurately we could predict the result of the Election using an online approach. We employed a number of quota and weighting techniques among our high quality panel to test this approach. The results of these tests were also highly successful (see chart below), with an average error of 0.80%, at a similar level to the exit poll which had 5000 interviews conducted on the day.

Some well-known UK based pollsters also tried to conduct online polls for this Election. Panelbase conducted an online poll for the Times Ireland, and Survation conducted an online poll for Sinn Fein. Both used generic panel companies to source their voters. The results were considerably worse than those achieved by RED C, with both polls having results outside the stated margin of error.


These results back up the quality credentials both of the RED C Live online panel generally, and also of the RED C sampling and quality control team tasked with ensuring we reach a representative sample through that panel. (We employ strict quality procedures and demand that we pay a fair reward to our panelists for their time.) Given that the RED C polls were run on our online omnibus service, this also gives our clients great confidence in the results we deliver for them.

The online polls also gave us the ability to dig deeper into the results and better understand the WHY? behind how people planned to vote. We used our first online poll of the campaign to probe into reasons for people to make their choice. This allowed us to gather and analyse close to 800 verbatim reasons given for choices, and provided the Business Post with the insight it needed to write a series of articles about the demand for change among likely Sinn Féin voters, and the anti-establishment rhetoric.

Finally, our data analytics and visualisation team, did extensive analysis that allowed us to provide further insight with the creation of an interactive online Sankey analysis of vote movement based on our poll data.

Made with Flourish

This analysis provided further evidence and insight of where the Sinn Féin vote had come from.  It helped us to understand the flow of voter behaviour, delivering a clear picture that Sinn Féin were doing well across the electorate and taking voters not just from its traditional heartland, but also from both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail past voters, as well as performing strongly among those voting for the first time.

Overall, we are delighted the Election 2020 has provided us with a platform to showcase the quality of our fieldwork, and the ability of our team to dig deeper and provide real understanding, using both qualitative and data analytic techniques.

Download this report below:

RED C Accuracy & Interpretation at General Election 2020