Introducing First Verdict: methodology statement

YouGov FirstVerdict is Britain’s fastest regular survey tool. It enables us to conduct new surveys from scratch at any time, and to gauge public sentiment within minutes

In recent years, YouGov has pioneered fast turnaround surveys, with our daily Omnibus offering results from 1500+ samples within 24 hours, and on-the-day research which allows us to set questions each weekday morning and obtain a representative sample of 600+ by late afternoon. We have also run surveys on television election debates where, by setting up the surveys and alerting respondents in advance, we have been able to provide results from 1000+ viewers within ten minutes of the end of each debate.

FirstVerdict is our latest innovation. We have recruited a demographically balanced group of YouGov panel members. They have downloaded a smartphone App which enables them to answer short questionnaires. Currently, we limit these surveys to three questions.

These short surveys may remain live for up to 24 hours; but because the 'First Verdict' panellists receive notifications on their phone, 500 responses are usually generated within ten minutes. Unlike our normal surveys, FirstVerdict respondents receive no incentive to take part.

Until recently, we operated FirstVerdict internally, on a trial basis. We now intend from time to time to publish our raw, unweighted results on our site. We shall often then repeat the same questions in our next daily omnibus, so that within two days of a published FirstVerdict survey, our site can show how the two sets of results compare.

Some differences between the two sets of results are inevitable. Even when its demographic profile is identical to that of a full, representative survey, members of the FirstVerdict community are more tech-savvy, and faster responders than the public as a whole. However, our internal trials have found that even the early, unweighted responses of the first 500 respondents provide broadly similar results to larger-scale weighted data collected over 24 or 48 hours. We believe that FirstVerdict will provide a useful, and sometimes vital, first scientific guide to public attitudes to topical issues.

Any YouGov panellist is able to download our App (here for iOS and here for Android). However, for the time being, the data we publish will come from those we have recruited for this purpose.

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