1. Home
  2. Codes and Guidelines
  3. ESOMAR and WAPOR Study on The Freedom to Conduct and Publish Opinion Polls

Despite the informational value polls bring, restricting the publication of opinion polls, particularly in the run-up to political elections, is a popular tactic in many countries.  

The latest ESOMAR and WAPOR Study on The Freedom to Conduct and Publish Opinion Polls covers 157 countries across six continents and is the seventh in the series published since 1984. 

The study finds that although the share of countries limiting the publication of pre-election polls has dropped to 46%, 15% do not permit election polling at all and another six countries have embargoes on publishing pre-election poll results lasting 30 days or more before an election. 

This is even though polls are used to evaluate public opinion about social issues, government performance and health issues such as the coronavirus pandemic in over 85% of the countries surveyed. And despite ESOMAR’s guidelines and the ICC/ESOMAR International Code when it comes to conducting and reporting polls and research study results. 

According to a 2017 study analysing 31,310 polls from 473 elections across 40 countries, polls are very generally very accurate. The average error of polls conducted within seven days before an election was shown to be +/-2.5%. A follow-up study in 2023 looking at 29 elections and 1,400 individual polls conducted between 2017 and 2023 shows very little change in the overall findings compared to the 2017 analysis. 

To download the study, fill in the form below:
This study is free and available to everyone.

By clicking the submit button, you acknowledge that you have read and understood our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

We're talking about it...

Learn how the world of polls is staying ahead of expectations and maintaining trust.


Hosted at WebSummit, leading pollsters speak about polling in the real world.


Hosted at the Insights Festival 2020, this session explored the state of polling in the United States.

A renowned international project team

The ESOMAR/WAPOR joint guideline was written by an international project team featuring some of the world's leading experts. Using the guideline ensures your compliance with globally accepted norms for carrying out such projects and securing public trust and confidence.

Kathleen Frankovic
ESOMAR Committee Member, Consultant at YouGov
Alejandro Moreno
Director, Public Opinion Polling Unit at Reforma
Christophe Jourdain
ESOMAR Individual Member, General Manager at Institut français d'opinion publique (IFOP)
Doug Rivers
Chief Scientist at YouGov, Professor of Political Science at Stanford University
Miroslawa Grabowska
Managing Director at CBOS Public Opinion Research Center, Professor at University of Warsaw
Nick Moon
Managing Director at Moonlight Research
Richard Hilmer
Managing Director at Infratest Dimap
Adam Phillips
ESOMAR Individual Member, Chief Executive Officer at AMSR - The Archive of Market and Social Research
Kathy Joe
ESOMAR Staff, Consultant to ESOMAR PSC at ESOMAR