BBC, ITV and Sky News announce plans for joint 2019 Election exit poll

For the fourth election running, the UK's major news broadcasters will team up for the exit poll, which gives the first real indication of the results

Jeremy Corbyn / Boris Johnson

With just days to go until the 2019 General Election, BBC News, ITV News and Sky News have announced plans to release a joint 2019 exit poll when polls close on 12th December at 10pm.

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The practice follows similar combined polls between the three UK broadcasters in the previous three General Elections, in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

The UK joint broadcaster’s exit poll 2019 will provide the best up-to-date estimate of the total number of seats expected to be won by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, the Brexit Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, and others. 

Market and opinion research specialists Ipsos Mori will be conducting the fieldwork, which is comprised of tens of thousands of interviews spread across 144 different polling stations nationwide. To provide the samples, voters will be asked to discretely indicate how they had voted, using a mock ballot paper.

Analysis and modelling responsibilities will go to leading specialists Professor Colin Rallings (ITV News), Professor Michael Thrasher (Sky News) and Professor Sir John Curtice (BBC News), along with a crack team of academics.

Professor Rallings said: “A volatile electorate, views on Brexit which cut across traditional party lines, and an election in the depths of winter all pose particular challenges for this year’s exit poll.  

“But as ever, our experienced team will be working to ensure that another politician has to ‘eat their hat’ for doubting the story the poll foretells at ten o’clock on 12th December.” 

The comments refer to former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown’s infamous statement during the 2015 General Election, when he said he would eat his hat if exit polls proved correct – which they, of course, did.

Professor Thrasher had this to say: “In pubs and clubs, in homes around the country, people are watching and waiting for the ‘exit poll moment’ as the broadcasters time the declaration for the stroke of ten o’clock. Shock, disbelief, denial and disappointment for some. A pleasant surprise for others as the forecast exceeds expectations.” 

“That headline moment only happens because of the investment, extensive work and planning that precedes it and the team of experts faced with the immense and difficult task of drawing conclusions about the national distribution of 650 constituencies based on what voters on the day have told us.” 

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The General Election takes place on Thursday 12th December 2019, with all-night coverage on BBC News, ITV and Sky News starting at 9.55pm