Knighthood for ‘beacon of objectivity’ Professor John Curtice

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Elections expert Professor John Curtice said he was “surprised and humbled” to be given a knighthood in the New Year Honours.

The professor of politics from Strathclyde University in Glasgow has become a familiar figure to many, thanks to regular television appearances explaining election results and why Britons voted the way they did.

His regular TV appearances have even inspired a spoof twitter account, Is John Curtice On TV, which has almost 10,000 followers, which regularly posts details of when he is on screen.

His exit poll after June’s snap election stunned many when it suggested Theresa May was set to lose her Commons majority, despite the Tories having had a massive lead in the polls over Labour when the contest started.

He recalled how his “shock prediction” turned out to be “uncannily accurate” – but told how he had been the one who was surprised when he learned of his knighthood.

The 64-year-old said: ” Just six months ago the exit poll I led surprised everyone with a shock prediction that went on to be uncannily accurate. Now it is my turn to be surprised – and humbled – by the gracious decision to grant me a knighthood.

“It is not something I ever expected to happen. But it appears that my attempts to analyse public opinion and outline its implications for the country’s political life and public policy are appreciated.”

Born in Cornwall, he studied politics, philosophy and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was was a student of Dr David Butler, the original psephologist and the inventor of the swingometer.

As well as his post at Strathclyde University, he is a senior research fellow at NatCen Social Research – Britain’s largest independent social research agency – and president of the British Polling Council.

His expertise has seen former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish hail him as a “beacon of objectivity in a world of fake news”.

Guy Goodwin, chief executive of The National Centre for Social Research, congratulated him on the honour and said: “It seems that during these times of political change, people value John’s ability to offer statistical insight into complex issues, and communicate that insight accessibly.

“Of course here at NatCen, we’ve always understood what a rare skill set this is, and so we couldn’t be happier for John as he gets the recognition he so clearly deserves.

“His is a voice of measured, scholarly authority in a chaotic media landscape, and long may it continue to be heard.”

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