The democracy of opinion polls

Date of publication: June 15, 1986

Author: David Butler

Abstract:

I would like to suggest that the polling industry should not agonise too much about getting elections wrong. Error may be good for you; an occasional disaster can be good for the industry and good for the public. If polls were to have too long a run of always getting it right, it would raise FALSE expectations for your trade. It would discourage voters and politicians from fighting elections to the end and it would make pollsters too un-self-critical - and then they would be riding for a fall.

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