Scottish Election 2021: Is there a problem with the way some pollsters collect their information? – Helen Martin

Election polls are often, but not always, accurate in predicting the actual result.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 12:30 pm

Just ask that question in Google and pages will pop up declaring when polls have got it wrong.

I have to admit they’ve usually known who will win, being just a few percentage points off the mark.

But now the world, especially the UK and Scotland, has developed and changed which might make poll systems less reliable.

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Most organisations conduct a poll of 1,000 people. It’s hard for the public to accept such a small number works, but experienced pollsters reckon it does.

I did a little research on the business though, and discovered many of them are reliant on landlines. Today, that seems very risky.

Voters throughout the UK are at least 18 years old. In Scotland voting begins at 16. It’s very likely that most people up to 30 or more don’t actually have landlines and communicate or accept contact on broadband and mobile phones.

There are many older people (like my husband and I in “senior 60s”) who have got rid of their landlines because they had been constantly irritated by scammers and nuisance auto-calls. Mobiles serve everything from emails and bank apps to messages and calls so why bother with an old-fashioned phone?

Polls are usually quite good at predicting who is going to win an election (Picture: Rui Vieira/PA)

Basically, landlines are fading out when it comes to personal communication.

So, isn’t it logical that polling firms and organisations should give up landlines, or at least reduce them to 50 per cent, and find a way to contact a wider range of the public?

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