Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dodgy polling in Epsom?

The Act on Campus boys have breathless announced a poll in Epsom that doesn't make any sense, but apparently announces 'they're back.' (Back from where, I wonder?)

The poll was "conducted last night of [just] 360 Epsom residents," they say excitedly, and naturally the poll shows Rodney in the lead, which is precisely why the boys are so excited -- "WE"RE BACK!!!!" they cheer. In the lead, that is, by 3 people out of the 36o polled -- or 2.952 people if you believe the figures, since the boys have announced them to plenty of significant figures more than is justified, and the arithmetic still doesn't work out.

For example, if 30.79% of 360 respondents prefer Hide, that's 110.84 people (either 110 or 111). So that's odd. (If you're rounding either 110 or 111 to two significant figures you would get 30.55% or 30.83% respectively, not the figure quoted.) You'll find the same oddity with all the figures, so presumably then the results have been 'shifted' "to match the voting demographics of Epsom." Naturally, when it is the boys themselves that have done the shifting I'm going to be suspicious, especially when the boys claim of the result "they fully expect with this news ACT's polling to lift as well."

So this is not exactly a neutral poll, is it? Every party does tracking polls and the like, but not all of them trumpet the results in this fashion.

I'm suspicious of it also because I myself received a call myself last night from "a group of volunteers in Epsom committed to freedom" which began by asking me (erroneously) if I knew that voting for Rodney Hide would ensure a centre-right government, and ended by confirming (when I asked) that it was a call from the ACT Party. If it is those same "volunteers" that were the ones collecting and collating this poll data, then I'm not sure they're worth the electrons they're being posted with.

If you're trumpeting stuff like this, then your back is very clearly at the wall.

9 Comments:

Blogger Mike Collins said...

No different poll to the one you got asked which isn't exactly a poll PC.

This poll wasn't run by us - it was run by Capitol Research, as Sydney based company.

It is important to note that getting the right demographics is important for a poll to be valid. This is consistent with how all major polling outfits operate I believe. It's not a simple as running a list of random numbers.

8/31/2005 11:42:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Mike, you say here "it was run by Capitol Research," but in your story to which I link you say "it has been controlled and verified by Capitol Research."

Aren't those two different things?

8/31/2005 12:17:00 pm  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

pc, admit it, there is at least a trend. Must be hard to admit I know.

BTW, how do the Libertarianz do in the polls? Already over the 100 voters?

8/31/2005 12:24:00 pm  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

my pick is that the poll was run by ACT volunteers from a script that was authorised by the Australian company.

8/31/2005 01:10:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Mike said, "This poll wasn't run by us - it was run by Capitol Research, as Sydney based company." And Aaron said:"My pick is that the poll was run by ACT volunteers from a script that was authorised by the Australian company."

Neither are correct if this post is accurate: http://actoncampus.blogspot.com/2005/08/ahead-in-epsom.html#112544294509335590, in which 'Gooner' said "the undecided's I spoke to on Sunday were only undecided on RW or RH. Most were smart enough to tell me.." etc. If that's true, it would suggest the poll was taken over the last few days rather than "last night," and run by the ACT boys -- not "run by Capitol Research."

So I'm still not convinced that the poll was different to the one for which I was asked questions.

8/31/2005 11:21:00 pm  
Blogger Blair said...

Gooner is an ACT candidate. He would have been talking to people in person while out campaigning, not on the phone. We were only doing tracking polling on Sunday

9/01/2005 01:52:00 pm  
Blogger Cathy Odgers said...

All polling is dodgy.

Only one poll counts - September 17th I hear is the date.

Releasing poll numbers is only done to woo the swinging 50% or so of NZ morons who vote for the party who is "winning". It is a sad indictment that people vote this way but sadly it is true.

Another reason why all polling should be banned, likewise those dreadful election hoardings.

9/01/2005 08:43:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly Cathy doesn't believe in freedom of speech

9/02/2005 12:06:00 am  
Blogger Cathy Odgers said...

I don't believe in visual pollution, false information and God either....

9/02/2005 07:29:00 pm  

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