Working Paper
Polling during war

Challenges and lessons from Ukraine

Collecting public opinion data is challenging in the shadow of war. And yet accurate public opinion is crucial. Political elites rely on it and often attempt to influence it. Therefore, it is incumbent on researchers to provide independent and reliable wartime polls. 

However, surveying in wartime presents a distinctive set of challenges. We outline two challenges facing polling in war: under-coverage and response bias. We highlight these challenges in the context of the Russia–Ukraine war, drawing on original panel survey data tracing the attitudes of the same people prior to and after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. 

We conclude with some lessons for those employing survey methods in wartime, and point to steps forward, in Ukraine and beyond.