24 Mar 2014

Pollsters agree on political code of conduct

11:35 am on 24 March 2014

Six months out from the general election, most polling firms have signed a code to ensure their political polls are reasonably reliable.

The code has been drawn up by the Research Association, which says in the past the demand for political polls has led to inaccurate and misreported results.

Under the code, political polls should have at least 500 respondents and a margin of error no greater than plus or minus 4.5 percent.

The polls should exclude people who can't vote and attempt to include hard-to-reach people.

Research Association general manager Rob Bree says it's important polls are robust given more people are voting tactically and making their minds up much closer to the election date.

Mr Bree says the worst kinds of polls are those where the respondents are self-selected.

He says that's not to say they shouldn't be used, but it should be made clear they are not as reliable as properly conducted polls where respondents are randomly selected.