Updated: 14/11/16 : 05:57:59
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This


Sagas of 'shy' voters versus shysters

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

THREE VOTES in 2016, thousands of miles apart, have delivered much the same message.

The silent majority is that message. It now seems you'd be better off with tarot cards and a gypsy fortune teller than the paddywhackery of polls.

Those polls are not cheap, not ever. You can spend millions -- and political parties and media organisations do -- chasing the 'mood of the nation' blah blah blah.

But focus groups, elaborate models of voting groups plus straightforward pollsters have all been left with egg on their face in 2016.

False Leads

Opinion pollsters are overlooking the simplest truth of all in seeking answers for their own (increasing) failures.

Swathes of people no longer tell the truth to opinion pollsters because, well, politicians lie to voters and give them false leads all the time.

Politicians have done both, with impunity, from east Los Angeles to the west of Ireland.

So, why should any politician be surprised if voters in these places do the very same thing -- subtly and silently.

These type of voters are now officially labelled as 'shy' -- people who do not reveal their true voting intentions to professional pollsters.

The pollsters are thankful for psychobabble such as 'shy;' it helps them explain to clients like media, political parties and even betting chains. 

Cold Eye

We have seen it here over past five years with some of the public slow to tell pollsters theyve forgiven Fianna Fáil Fáil.

Recap then the 2014 local election and 2016 general election ACTUAL outcomes for Fianna Fáil.

'Shy?' Shy, as opposed to the shysters, voters on sides of the Atlantic were asked in polling booths to cast a cold eye on and then pass by.

So why should Jo Soap tell strangers what (or why) she is thinking a certain way at a certain time beforehand.

In the British referendum and again in the United States last week the colour-coded maps of how voters had actually voted told the story.

Colour Codes

The colour codes were red and blue in both continents but the colours that mattered more seem to have been blue and white and black.

It is NOT racist to say so. Take last week in the United States as a good example:-

Trump styles himself as the 'billionaire for blue collar' working class people. 

How did only he alone 'hear' that voice? Elites in media have maybe the biggest questions to answer on that one.

He also got a majority of votes among whites, and especially those without university degrees.

Again, how did only he alone 'hear' that voice? Again, elites in media have maybe the biggest questions to answer on that one.

The above details emerged AFTER voting, as voters emerged from polling stations and gave truckloads of data to pollsters on 'the deed' just done.

Switch back, if you can, to the 10pm BBC News on the night of the last British general election.

More truckloads of data to pollsters, given freely by voters but only AFTER 'the deed 'was done.

But up to voting on the day itself people told a different story to opinion pollsters.....or at least opinion polls and media told a different story.

In last June's referendum it should have been easy for pollsters to predict the result. There were only two voting options. Easy?

Easy, of course, if they got truckloads of data from people on what they were planning to do when they got into voting booths.

Meanwhile, laughed at the Irish man on Tuesday putting €22,000 on Trump to win. He laughed on Wednesday.

What about the sophisticated Paddy Power chain.....which paid out on Clinton before the election (because of polls?) and then had to pay on Trump's victory. 

Info Surfeit

'Topics of the day' continue to be debated hourly, nightly, daily on social media and broadcast platforms. 

Does all of that surfeit of info help or hinder pollsters when they interact with potential/likely voters?

Only when 'the deed' is done and the die has been cast do we now get truckloads of data which can be regarded as trustworthy.

For a while, anyway, we may be living in a post-poll society.