“More than 80 per cent of Australians would welcome a federal corruption watchdog similar to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Vote Compass data shows.”

So says the ABC in one of its numerous pronouncements from on high about how Australians feel about various issues of the election campaign (we are halfway there, guys. Just keep holding on.) Vote Compass results often lead ABC news bulletins, and the national broadcaster makes much of its online poll results.

But Vote Compass, scientifically speaking, is completely useless. It is an opt-in poll — punters have to choose to visit the ABC’s website and answer as many questions as they choose in Vote Compass. It’s a fun tool to reveal your own political leanings, but in aggregate, opt-in polls show absolutely nothing about the opinions of the electorate. According to the National Council on Public Polls, Vote Compass and polls like it are “unscientific junk”:

“The key reason that some polls reflect public opinion accurately and other polls are unscientific junk is how people were chosen to be interviewed. In scientific polls, the pollster uses a specific statistical method for picking respondents. In unscientific polls, the person picks himself to participate.”

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Stop pretending Vote Compass is news, ABC. It is meaningless.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


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