Election Deciders

May 21, 2013

The Power Index: election deciders, the pollsters at #10

Polling will definitely influence the election outcome on September 14 -- but not necessarily in the way you think. Evidence that polling directly influences how people vote is mixed -- especially in Australia where nobody wants to be the front-runner.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Opinion polling is a key tool in political campaigning. But it’s also attacked as the bane of media coverage of politics and even a threat to democracy.

Implicit in this criticism is the idea that polling influences the behaviour of politicians and how voters respond to them, and it degrades media coverage. Polling is demonised as a substitute for integrity and core values in politicians, and rigorous coverage of policy by the media. The demonisation is usually stronger among proponents of the side of politics trailing in the polls.

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3 comments

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3 thoughts on “The Power Index: election deciders, the pollsters at #10

  1. susan winstanley

    An experienced statistician told me that any sample size less than 3000 is bullshit. He provided the standard mathematical proof but it was a bit beyond me.

  2. citizen k

    Is it the case that only those with fixed line telephones are polled? Or that if those with mobile numbers are asked to respond they have to punch in responses rather than speak to a human being? I’d be keen to know more about the mechanics of polling and how they might skew results…can anyone clarify?

  3. magoo

    @citizen So true, though any question about the validity of the polling will not get much attention from the media that depends on it so much.

    I remember a time when big media did not have its own agenda to sell and provided facts and critical thinking, or was I naive.

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