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Saturday, 11 April 2015

How do pollsters go about their business? [Supposition]

First of all, I want to make this abundantly clear. I am not saying this is what happens, it is more a case of genuinely wondering whether this suspicion is true.

If you think it is false, leave a comment and say where you think I am going wrong. If you think it is true, a comment on why you agree with me would be of interest.

A national newspaper recently commissioned a poll on the Royal Family. They state, on their front page that a majority of people don't want Camilla to be Queen 'in public' and that 40% want William to be the next monarch.

I read this and wondered how true it was. It was a poll so could it be fixed? On further thought the following scenario unfolded..

The newspaper contacts the pollsters and told them they were thinking of writing an article where the majority of people didn't want Camilla to be Queen in public. And, that a sizeable chunk of people wanted Prince Charles to be bypassed when the queen dies.

Having planted in the pollsters' mind the results the newspaper were looking for, the client took themselves off. The pollsters, wanting repeat business from the newspaper, sat down to design their questions and the locations where they would ask their questions.

They then decided it was mainly the poorer Labour people who might resent Camilla and their younger generation who would want a younger monarch, they went out to ask their questions in deprived Labour areas.

The question concerning Camilla, to the older passer-by, might be: "Do you think Camilla would be wise not to push the fact she is the Queen of Britain when Charles becomes king?" Most people would answer "yes" to that question, but the box the pollster ticks reads 'I don't want Camilla to be acknowledged as Queen in public'.

On the question of William bypassing Charles, the question, to the younger passer by might be "Do you think a young dynamic King might be better for Britain, or an ageing man who often gets embroiled in controversy?" The box ticked  'I want William to be our next King"'

I have purposely not taken a political example here; readers know how concerned with British politics I am, this is neutral territory. But, dear reader, use your imagination to see how pollsters can slant results according to their clients who are paying their fees.

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