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Why bother voting – let the pollsters decide

15 September 2005

“Why bother voting – let the pollsters decide.” Grey Power

“It’s entirely possible that ambitious odds-making or even a personal agenda by pollsters could decide the outcome of Saturday’s election,” says Grey Power national president Graham Stairmand at his home in Christchurch yesterday.

“ I can’t recall when I’ve ever seen an election with so many contradictory polls over such a short time. The real danger is that polls often become self-fulfilling prophecies, where less than decided voters follow the trend of the latest poll.

“People often mistakenly assume that the poll is accurate; or that people more knowledgeable than themselves are responding to the poll; or even just want to be on the ‘winning’ side.”

He says he “doubted this ‘confusion’ applied to older voters any more than other sectors, but it still didn’t help make an informed electorate.”

Mr Stairmand admitted that large and well-organised polls can “be both interesting and of value, but the daily snap-polls of less than 400 people that somehow supposedly represent the changing national mood is insultingly ridiculous. So too, are recording professional odds-makers, whose findings are largely based on punters polling pollsters.

“Further cluttering the issue are the large media conglomerates, each with their own polls which make for good copy, but I suspect there may be a purpose other than being merely informative.” Mr Stairmand says he would prefer seeing the occasional reliable national poll looking a people’s attitudes on issues instead of personalities.

“Notwithstanding the effect that polls may have, it is important that everyone exercises their right to choose our government.” Mr Stairmand urges voters to “use their Party Vote to get the best result in a coalition government.”

This election, Grey Power has lobbied for regulation of energy costs, a raise in the superannuation rate, and reduced hospital waiting lists.

NZ Grey Power with more than 90,000 active members is recognised as a leading support organization for many of the more than three-quarters of a million retired New Zealanders. The organization has maintained strict neutrality during the election campaign, but actively provides information in support of its membership.

ENDS

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