One of the stories I spotted last week was the news that online polling outfit YouGov plans to form a joint venture with a hedge fund. According to this piece in The Times, the idea is that YouGov polling could be used identify changes in public opinion towards, say particular retailers.
In fact this isn't a new idea. I remember reading a piece in the FT probably at least two years ago suggesting that opinion polls might be used by retail analysts. I never saw anything come of it though.
The Times piece is pretty short of details - no doubt YouGov wants to keep its cards close to its chest. It does make you wonder about a few things though. Will opinion polling tell you anything that isn't already happening and thus, in the case of listed companies, is already factored into the share price? And isn't there a danger that people might be dishonest about, say, supermarket preferences (are many going to say Lidl is their favourite?).
There is something deeply old school about the idea that I do like. Afterall all the guff usually given to explain investment choices this one looks like it could be nice and simple. We ask the public what companies they like and then invest in them.