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Thread: Banning polls in last week

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    Politics.ie Member FutureTaoiseach's Avatar
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    Default Banning polls in last week

    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    Not a bad recommendation
    Ailish Walsh

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    Personally, I think it would be better to educate people how to interpret opinion polls (and statistics in general) better. All school kids should be taught this kind of thing. And people would know to just ignore polls that don't include the parameters you mention above.

    The difficulty with banning polls, is first how to define them, in such a way that you don't infringe on fairly basic rights, like freedom of speech.

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    Politics.ie Member FutureTaoiseach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by michael1965
    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    Personally, I think it would be better to educate people how to interpret opinion polls (and statistics in general) better. All school kids should be taught this kind of thing. And people would know to just ignore polls that don't include the parameters you mention above.

    The difficulty with banning polls, is first how to define them, in such a way that you don't infringe on fairly basic rights, like freedom of speech.
    Even liberal Western societies tend to have some limits on freedom of speech e.g. libel. I would contend that that portraying fake data as fact contravenes freedom of speech in certain cases, and would include unverified poll-data in that categorisation.

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    For once we are in agreement.

    Does anyone else think that polls are overused? Political discussion in this country now centres so much around who will get in, not what they will do when they become elected.

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    They tried this prior to the last election but the legislation collapsed when it was pointed out in the Senate that the proposed legislation did not prevent polls being published on the day of the election!

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by kerrynorth
    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    They tried this prior to the last election but the legislation collapsed when it was pointed out in the Senate that the proposed legislation did not prevent polls being published on the day of the election!
    Hardly an insurmountable obstacle.

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach

    Even liberal Western societies tend to have some limits on freedom of speech e.g. libel. I would contend that that portraying fake data as fact contravenes freedom of speech in certain cases, and would include unverified poll-data in that categorisation.
    Fake data is one thing, but it's much more likely to be just unrepresentative and misleading.

    I'd prefer to depend on responsible media to exercise caution. There is a case to be made for not having polls in the last few days. I think a week is too long though.

    Do you have any examples of such fake data being used?

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by michael1965
    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach

    Even liberal Western societies tend to have some limits on freedom of speech e.g. libel. I would contend that that portraying fake data as fact contravenes freedom of speech in certain cases, and would include unverified poll-data in that categorisation.
    Fake data is one thing, but it's much more likely to be just unrepresentative and misleading.

    I'd prefer to depend on responsible media to exercise caution. There is a case to be made for not having polls in the last few days. I think a week is too long though.

    Do you have any examples of such fake data being used?
    We can't know for sure, but the greatest suspected culprits have to be political-parties who have an interest in playing up their candidates' level of support. It's very hard to prove this for sure but there should nonetheless be safeguards to avoid the public being misled.

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    Default Re: Banning polls in last week

    Quote Originally Posted by FutureTaoiseach
    In the 1997 election, Labour party politicians complained about the publication of opinion-polls, and suggested banning them in the last week of a campaign. Recently we have seen the "leaking" of polls by FG and possibly others, usually without data that would allow us to confirm the veracity of such 'polls'. For example, we are usually not being told e.g. FG Wexford, Laois-Offaly, Dublin SW polls, the sample-size, the margin of error, and how proportional the results were regarding male/female, age-profile and concentration of voters in parts of the constituency. In that context, I believe that there is a risk of voters being misled. In that context I propose the following restrictions on the publication of polling-data:

    A: No polls published in the last week of campaign.
    B: Polls can only be published if with information confirming the scientificity of the poll i.e. sample-size, margin-of-error, when the poll was conducted, representative of social-profile of constituency.
    C: Info on who carried out the poll.

    Agreed?
    So you are going to have censorship cos the voters might be stupid & fall for propaganda ?

    cYp
    "Yawn , am I alive yet ?"

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