Was phoned up by Ipsos Mori last night and asked about the referendum, and then other stuff.
Some of the questions seemed like they would yield decent data: ‘eg: which way are you planning to vote?’.
But not so many. ‘On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to vote?’ I have voted at every opportunity since May 1979. Except in May 2013, when I was in a medically induced coma. (And the years I lived in other countries.) Is that a ’10’ then? There is still a week to go. I may fall ill, be hit by an asteroid or emigrate. Perhaps a 9? Or an 8? Or a 7?
Some questions can surely only yield false, pseudo-findings. ‘Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current government?’ Do I only have two options? They are pretty good on not launching nuclear weapons. They have not reintroduced the rack. I expect they will leave office when voted out. They do not shoot dissidents. This is all good.
On the other hand, they tried to pay for tax breaks for the better-off by equivalent cuts to benefits for the poor which are already set at subsistence levels. This I find less than wholly pleasing.
Or again, what do I think of a certain political leader? My first, true answer, before being moderated by Christian principles, was that I was delighted with him. He has led his party into a wretched state of political self-harm. It’s a joy to behold. Here’s a civil war you can actually buy popcorn for and settle back and enjoy. I am not sure, however, that was the answer sought.
Not sure we should entirely trust the polls.
Update June 16: here’s the poll of which I was one of the 1,200 participants, wrapped in the Standard’s spin. Depressing. Questions that extinguish even the faintest possibility of light by demanding binary answers to complex questions — trumping truth, if you will, rather than finding it. For example: do I believe the Treasury forecasts? When has the Treasury got an economic forecast right in the last 1000 years? So are they lying, then? They are playing games. ‘Answer a fool according to his folly and you will be like him yourself.’ I wish it were over.