An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Amateur Opinion Poll Spinner.

He’s the bore to beat all bores, the one who extrapolates election results down to the last seat in the Feckerstown ward even though the election is 17 years away.

But it gets worse. Not only is he a moron, he’s a partisan moron. If his party is up a fraction of a percent, he declares as fact that his party could run a rotting headless corpse in a given seat and still have a surplus quota. But if the party drops an iota, the poll is immediately dismissed as an abberation, not comparing like with like, obviously rigged by the pollsters who are of course in the pockets of the other crowd.

He’s on at the sniff of a poll, cheerleading for his crowd and fingerpointing at the others, racking up posts the way, well, proper political activists rack up first preferences for their candidate.

Still, could be worse. At least he’s at home out of harm’s way, rather than sitting on the bus beside you and overwhelming you with a toxic wave of body odour and Monster Munch as he flicks through Nealon’s Guide to the 1987 general election, sweating inside his orange lined snorkel coat and muttering to himself about the last effective count.

3 thoughts on “An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Amateur Opinion Poll Spinner.

  1. James, what I can’t stand is people who have made up their mind about the poll BEFORE they have even seen the results! It’s the my party good, your party bad thing that drives me bad. As a PD, I was used to crap poll ratings (Sometimes so low that given the margin of error, we seemed to actually owe votes) but I would like to think I never spun them to the ridiculous levels that some partisan people do. Curiously, the moment I knew the game was up for the PDs was when I heard one express his concern about the PD vote going too HIGH, as it might dilute the party’s ideological purity. Only in the PDs were there people worried that we might get too many votes…

  2. Bit harsh Jason, there are some excellent online pollsters now.

    AP Kavanagh is an academic expert in the field, and publishes a regular by-constituency interpretation of each poll:
    I wonder about some of the localised results, where local factors are arguably not catered for, but on the whole its a very useful analysis. My sources tell me he’s an FGer but if that is so, it does not skew the analysis which is objective and purely by the numbers.

    There is also a new addition to the scene, one I read after every poll, who used hover around but has since transferred his attentions to own shores, with another excellent blog at : – this one in particular, to my mind, fills a gap to bring us up to the level of UK and US pollstery, perhaps not all the way, but a good start. An openly partisan analysis (pro Labour) but required reading none the less, and a healthy dose of cynicism thrown into the mix as well. Again the author has a well honed spreadsheet, developed over many years worth of outings, and it is an excellent ready reckoner at high and low levels.

    I suppose there are the likes of “Tommy O’Brien” and “The Analyser2007” on who certainly have their leanings but then they are a different kettle of fish altogether..

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