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Comres And ITV News Deliver First Results Of Leader Debate

In a UK polling first last night a market research company, on behalf of ITV News, masterminded a remarkable technological breakthrough in the field of political research. Within 15 minutes of the first election debate, ComRes delivered an immediate, politically weighted and statistically robust poll of 4,032 potential voters who had watched the programme, giving instant feedback on the leaders' performances.
To achieve this breakthrough, ComRes brought together a range of sector specialists, each contributing to the poll’s success. ComRes partnered with Lightspeed Research to pre-recruit a panel of around 15,000 people who would be watching the first leaders debate. Using its global online panel, Lightspeed Research was able to identify a well-defined and well-profiled group of potential UK voters who intended to watch the first debate.
ComRes employed the Storm communications system, developed by Cable&Wireless (C&W) Worldwide and Content Guru to telephone respondents and gather their answers. As the credits rolled on the debate, telephones rang in a carefully-weighted selection of homes across the UK; the voice of ITV’s James Mates invited participants to answer a short series of questions about the debate achieving a sample of 4,000 in minutes.
Their answers were recorded and transmitted instantly to ComRes over the Storm platform, which uses C&W Worldwide’s super-fast next generation network to deliver up to 30,000 channels of simultaneous connection.
ComRes partnered with Banana Software Systems to develop an unprecedented software solution to calculate the complex political and demographic weightings needed to produce a scientific and statistically robust picture of public opinion. The time taken to process data and weight results is normally measured in hours, but as the results poured in, and with the help of this bespoke software, ComRes was able to produce fully representative data in a matter of minutes.
Andrew Hawkins, ComRes Chairman, said: "We are absolutely delighted at the success of this UK first. Through the immediacy of ITV News and the cutting-edge work of all of our partners we were able to deliver the public’s verdict within minutes. It was a very exciting night, and our success in pioneering this kind of feedback opens up huge possibilities for other uses of the technology."
Deborah Turness, Editor of ITV News, added: "We have really pushed the boundaries of polling to give ITV News at Ten’s viewers an instant assessment of the true impact of the Election Debates. We delivered the first scientific quantitative assessment of what the electorate really think in record time. We believe that historic events such as the debates deserve unique analysis to show their impact."
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