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To poll or not to poll

To poll or not to poll

Grape Vine
Michael Duffy


LOVE them or hate them, you just can’t ignore them. No I’m not talking about the PDs, I’m talking about political polls and the impact which they are likely to have on the General Election race here in Mayo. We have already had two conducted in the constituency way back in September but to all intents and purposes these can be ignored at this stage. It’s from here on in that the polls will be taken as serious indicators.
Politicians generally recognise that polls, by their nature, are tools used by the media to increase awareness and sell newspapers. Candidates will talk up positive results as ‘significant’ but deride negative showings as ‘misleading’. However scientific the approach taken, it won’t be long until one of the candidates declares that ‘the only poll that matters is the poll on May 18’ (if that is the date chosen).
As part of our own election coverage here in The Mayo News, we decided to put out a few feelers in the run-up to the election and pose some provoking questions on our revamped website, www.mayonews.ie.
First things first, we are in no way saying the results are indicative of public opinion. Not every age group or profile has access to the internet and in this age of technological advancement there are geniuses out there who can bypass most security and post multiple votes in these polls. Remember ‘A Nation Once Again’ by the Wolfe Tones won a BBC website poll to find the world’s top tune back in 2002!
Poll results graphicBut what this week’s poll does show is that a total of 743 votes were cast on The Mayo News website over the last week and a whopping 70% of those answered that Newport’s Frank Chambers was the most likely of the Fianna Fáil candidates to be elected. 19% went for Ballina’s Dara Calleary while just 11% went for the sitting TD, John Carty.
So what does that really tell us? Not an awful lot really as most observers agree that the three Fianna Fáil candidates are running neck and neck at present and are all likely to be involved in the race for the three remaining seats behind perceived ‘dead certs’ Enda Kenny and Michael Ring.
Cllr Chambers will be happy with such a strong showing. He was none to0 pleased with the results of the polls prior to the last election but, of course, he will know better than to believe the result of this particular poll means he’s ‘home and hosed’. Dara Calleary led the poll for a short time early in the week before succumbing to the Chambers avalanche while John Carty will point to the fact that most of his supporters don’t spend too much time on the internet.
This week we ask whether John O’Mahony or Michelle Mulherin are more likely to earn Fine Gael a third seat in Mayo? Mice at the ready …