Monday 19 August 2019

'RTE and TG4 need to get to grips' - Exit polls slammed by Fianna Fáil TD

Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers
Fianna Fáil’s Darragh O’Brien. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gabija Gataveckaite

A Fianna Fáil TD has slammed the local and European election exit polls, claiming that they understated support for the party.

While party leader Micheal Martin welcomed FF’s performance in the elections last weekend, the party's spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Darragh O’Brien is calling for an inquiry into the poll published on the national airwaves on Friday night after voting closed.

“RTE and TG4 need to get to grips with the polls,” he said.

Mr O’Brien, who took part in candidate Barry Andrews’ campaign during the European elections, said that the poll was treated like ‘gospel’ by the national broadcaster after the results were revealed on last Friday’s Late Late Show.

“The national broadcaster drove the agenda from Saturday onwards,” he said.

“How do you actually gauge and validate the information? There is no way of verifying it.

 “It’s serious enough that an inquiry should take place,” he added.

While the exit polls came with warnings that state a margin of 4pc, Mr O’Brien argued that the poll was in the party’s disadvantage.

He said that Green Party’s Ciaran Cuffe had a 23pc first preference in the polls, while FF’s Barry Andrews had a 12pc first preference.

After the vote, results showed that Mr Cuffe had amassed 20pc and Mr Andrews 19pc of the vote.

“We’re going to ask how much they invest into the polls and to carry out an inquiry into where it all went wrong and why the polls were so widely out,” Mr O’Brien said.

He added that “some commentators commentated negatively with glee” when the exit polls showed less of a support for the party.

“Then, when the results came out, they had little to say.”

He went on to argue that exit polls serve little purpose to the general public.

“They just give [the media] something to talk about for two days,” he said.

In the ‘methodology and weighting’ section of the exit poll, Red C stated that “All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error, due to issues such as refusal levels and location choice. As such the margin for error could be somewhat higher than this, at more like + or – 3pc”.

Red C did not respond to request for comment at time of publication.

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