Tuesday 22 October 2019

Row as 'shy' FF voters blamed for inaccurate exit poll data


Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Fianna Fáil’s Lisa Chambers. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Researchers behind the RTÉ/TG4 exit poll which followed the local elections have partly blamed 'shy' Fianna Fáil voters for inaccurate predictions.

A review of last month's exit poll by Red C has found an unusual turnout pattern in different parts of the country led to the so-called 'Green wave' being overstated by 3.5pc.

The company admitted parts of the capital were over-represented in the poll, as were people who voted early in the morning.

Fianna Fáil was particularly annoyed with the data, which underestimated its performance in the local elections by 3.9pc.

CEO of Red C Richard Colwell said that Fianna Fáil was "a problem for all pollsters". He claimed that since the economic crash many Fianna Fáil supporters "avoid talking to pollsters".

However, Lisa Chambers, Fianna Fáil's national director of European elections, told the Irish Independent it was "a bit rich" to blame voters.

"If they had an issue collecting the data they needed, then surely they would have known their polling was going to be inaccurate and should have disclosed same when they released their results.

"It's not a matter for Fianna Fáil to sort out their poor polling method. In mounting this defence Red C hasn't sought to deny what is an absolute fact, they got it massively wrong in their exit polling and I'm sure it was an embarrassment for the company," she said.

The Mayo TD described inaccurate polling as "dangerous", saying it "very often dictates and dominates the political discourse around elections so it's important that polling companies publish information in a responsible manner and this means not publishing inaccurate data which is what Red C did".

The exit poll gave indications for 14 parties/groupings and was wrong by more than 2.5 points in three cases. Along with the discrepancies for Fianna Fáil and the Greens, it overstated Sinn Féin's support by 2.5 points.

Irish Independent

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