Monday 5 December 2016

What the country needs is a clear plan of action

Published 05/02/2011 | 05:00

There are already too many opinion polls. This is the case at the best of times and we are not in the best of times, except for opinion polls. What happens is very clear. We ask a small but allegedly representative group of voters what they think, translate it into de-personalised percentages and then extrapolate the result into seats and the formation of governments.

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This is followed by a lengthy debate designed to explain what it all means. This week, most of Thursday's chat programmes on RTE were in pursuit of the poll published that morning. Details were teased out endlessly and repeatedly. Interspersed were vox pop expansions of the opinion polls. This resulted in a political quagmire of questions and answers about what would happen if the poll were repeated in the election itself.

Since there was no agreement at all about this central question and precious little agreement about what was being discovered on doorsteps by radio and television teams, it became obvious that another opinion poll would have to be held as quickly as possible to clear up the doubt. This weekend or early next week, one of the appropriate polling organisations, handsomely rewarded by the client, will oblige.

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