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To wonder if opinion polls can ever be representative?

(8 Posts)
juiceFromConcentrate Sun 23-Apr-17 20:32:56

Surely most sensible people do what I do when someone phones me up or stops me in the street to ask who I'm going to vote for ...... politely tell them to mind their own business.

So, if opinion polls can only ever represent strange people who behave completely different to me, why should I believe them?

Dapplegrey2 Sun 23-Apr-17 20:58:53

Interesting point juice.
The last UK election, Brexit and the US election were wrongly predicted by most pollsters iirc, yet at the moment the media still seem to be relying on them for the next election.
If I was asked I'd say I hadn't made up my mind yet.

juiceFromConcentrate Sun 23-Apr-17 21:24:17

These days we're all conditioned to protect our personal data - which includes our opinions. In the past people might have felt it was a bit of a novelty to be polled, and have more time for it - but these days there are so many pollsters we've got used to metaphorically (or even literally) slamming the door in their faces.

I do know people who go along to focus groups to get freebies or earn a bit of extra cash, but they tend to be people with time on their hands, so not exactly representative, and even they wouldn't stop and give their opinion freely in the street.

TeenAndTween Sun 23-Apr-17 21:28:19

I seem to remember after the last election they talked about 'shy Tories'. As in Tory voters were more likely than others to refuse to answer the poll or to say they hadn't decided yet.

The pollsters need to get cleverer to correct for that kind of factor.

SpitefulMidLifeAnimal Sun 23-Apr-17 21:32:49

A lot of opinion polls are taken online, through survey websites such as YouGov and Populus Live. I've taken four this week. So yes, as juice says, they are generally taken by people who are a bit strapped for cash (like myself) so probably not representative at all.

Just as an aside, if anyone is a bit skint, now is the perfect time to join a few survey sites as the polls will continue right up until June.

TalkinPeece Sun 23-Apr-17 21:36:19

I've signed up with Yougov
theyget me to do a poll each week
and enter me into a prize draw
do it
make the stats better

Tiredbutfuckingfine Sun 23-Apr-17 21:50:03

That's your assumption- that anyone who contributes their anonymised data is a bit odd or poor, and not representative of who? The landed gentry?
How do you rationalise exit polls?

juiceFromConcentrate Sun 23-Apr-17 22:04:51

How do you rationalise exit polls?

I do a postal vote these days, as many people do, but back in the days when I voted in person I declined to take part in the exit poll.

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