Poll positions

Image via MorgueFile

Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone writes about a phone poll of local councillors attitudes:

“Two-thirds of Councillors from the two Government parties would support changes to the Croke Park Agreement, according to this survey carried out by my office. A total of 529 City and County Councillors responded to the phone poll, with 56% of the members from Opposition parties also stating they would support a renegotiation of the deal.”

No other information is given about who the senator’s office contacted. From the way it’s described, I suspect an attempt was made to contact all 883 local councillors in Ireland, reaching 529.

The trouble is, I have no idea how representative that 529 is, either of the general public, or of councillors as a subgroup. Does the sample contain any inherent bias? I can’t tell. Maybe older councillors are less likely to have mobile phones? Maybe some councillors are more or less likely to answer a call from Fine Gael? I don’t know, because I’m not told. And so, the poll result has no meaning.

As to the usefulness of the exercise? Well, at least the senator knows what way her own electorate is leaning, whatever about the wider public.

Image via MorgueFile

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.