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Poles apart

Posted by
19 Jan 2016
Today sees the long-awaited report behind the failure the ‘polling community’ surrounding the 2015 General Election and their inability to be so far away from the final result. As you will all remember as the election progressed during April and May the predicted result was a hung parliament. A hung parliament had been predicted prior to the event, during the event and even up to 9.59pm on May 7th 2015.

At 10.00pm the bombshell exploded – Paddy Ashdown would eat his hat if the ‘exit polls’ panned out to deliver the predicted result of a Conservative majority and victory of twelve. The following day Ashdown was photographed eating his hat along with many other political commentators and pollsters who had projected incorrectly – the final result was a Tory victory of twelve.

So how had the ‘polling community’ got things so wrong?  The evidence suggests a number of flawed strategies undertaken by the pollsters in predicting a hung parliament which again mirrored their 1992 miscalculation when they projected Neil Kinnock would win a Labour victory.

The data suggests the following; Firstly the small sample of the ‘grumpy old man’ community were telephoned and asked their opinion of the election result and told to ‘bugger off’, and mind their own business.  These voters would naturally be aligned with the Conservatives. Consequently, the polling organisations spent more time speaking to younger and more Labour-aligned voters who skewed the result.  Finally a more diverse range of  individuals couldn’t be contacted due to their busy and hectic working lives, might have been associated with the Tories yet were unable acknowledge their opinions on how they would vote.

Tallying the above motives and explanations gives some insight into why and how they got it wrong.  

Personally, if I was asked about my intention to vote in a General Election I wouldn’t have a problem in expressing my intention to vote Liberal Democrat.  Given the Lib Dems performance at the election with an expected total of twenty two seats but a final number of seven, the major winners were likely to have been the bookies – no change there then!
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