Pollsters’ post-mortem

Opinion pollsters are organising a post-mortem on why the opinion polls were so completely wrong in the recent General Election.

There will be much huffing and puffing, money and time wasted in trying to reach a conclusion.

For my part, a good part of the answer will be found in the tick box mentality of our computer-dependent generation.

Many questionnaires are framed in such a way as to put answers in a box, so that computers can quickly process the answers.

The tick box questionnaires I have seen do not allow the options ‘I think this is ambiguous’, ‘I think this does not cover all the options’, ‘I think the question is irrelevant’, etc. If there were enough responses in these boxes, it would send the pollsters and all questionnaire-makers back to the drawing board in an iteration that should produce more positive, useful and accurate results.

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