International polling experts gather in Southampton

The world’s top polling and politics experts are convening in Southampton to debate current issues and to share their latest research, as the UK edges closer to a General Election.

They are meeting at the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) conference, being hosted by the University of Southampton.

EPOP takes place in the UK every year, bringing together academics, media commentators, opinion pollsters and national party officials to discuss and debate the latest political topics.

Will Jennings , Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Southampton, said: "EPOP is the annual opportunity in the UK to bring together leading experts from across the world on elections and public opinion. We are delighted to be hosting it in Southampton this year."

Top of the agenda is the next British General Election, expected to be held next year.

Attending EPOP, prominent political scientist Sir John Curtice, President of the British Polling Council, said: "Predictions are dangerous to make, but there is no doubt that the chances of the Conservatives being able to form the next Government are relatively low - not simply because they are behind in opinion polls, but if indeed we were to end up with a hung parliament because Labour’s lead narrows, the Conservatives don’t have any friends left inside the House of Commons."

Professor Jennings added: "With a general election due next year, now is a crucial time to discuss and debate some of the defining issues of British and global politics at the moment - it’s a turbulent time politically, with trust in democratic politics at a real low."

EPOP will include 49 different panels and a range of presentations on cutting-edge research into public opinion and behavioural science. Keynote speakers include Professor Jane Green from the British Election Study; John Burn-Murdoch, Chief Data Reporter for the Financial Times; and G. Elliott Morris, Editorial Director of Data Analytics at ABC News.

As well as hosting EPOP, the University of Southampton’s own leading politics experts are presenting research, including studies on the geography of discontent, what influences citizens’ trust in government, the polarising effects of political events on social media, and the political consequences of educated-based divides.

EPOP runs from 7 to 9 September 2023 at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton.