Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2015 Contents A12
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 11, 2015
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Closing Date: May 15th 2015
Local pollsters have come out in
defence of election campaign polls,
even as UK pollsters continue to
debate what led to their inaccurate
findings which failed to predict the
Conservatives majority victory on
Friday at the close of the UK elections.
Nigel Henry, managing director and
principal consultant of Solution by Sim-
ulation Ltd, said that polls "may be
dead on, they may be slightly off, but
it is the best thing that we have."
In the UK pollsters have taken a beat-
ing after they inaccurately predicted a
dead heat between the Conservatives
and the Labour Party. The polls had
also contended that Prime Minister
David Cameron, who leads the Con-
servatives, would need to form a coali-
tion again to retain the government.
However, in an unpredicted outright
victory, Cameron secured 331 seats, five
more than needed for a Commons
Henry suggested that the polls, even
though sometimes wrong, "do perform
better than people who are going off
with pure intuition or based on hearsay."
He said polls were the most reliable
tool for sampling public opinion, even
though sometimes they were not per-
However, he said, "it is important
that we do them so we see where we
are or get some kind of gauge as to
where we are. In terms of why they
(UK polls) went wrong? The jury is still
out on that one."
Bertrand: T&T polls
can be accurate
Guardian Media Ltd pollster Louis
Bertrand of H.H.B & Associates Ltd
said calling an election in the UK was
more difficult than calling T&T s elec-
In T&T s case, he said, it was going
to be easy to predict, but at this point
the polls could not call an outright win-
ner for 2015. Polls in general, he said,
were accurate all over the world.
He said in T&T polls predicted the
PNM s 12 seats in 2010 and they pre-
dicted the People s National Move-
ment s (PNM) complete win in Toba-
go.Bertrand said all the polls were doing
was "giving you a valid indicator that
Persad-Bissessar s ratings are slipping
and Dr Rowley s ratings are rising and
people are saying that unless
something happens, if that trend
continues, they (the PP) have to
watch it because it took a long
time for Dr Keith Rowley s rating
to come anywhere close to hers."
Ragoonath: Polls a
snapshot in time
Political scientist Dr Bishnu
Ragoonath believes that polls serve
merely as a guide.
"I would not take it as gospel
truth," Ragoonath said.
This is especially since polls
reflect opinions that are taken at
a particular period of time and in
a particular location and pollsters
give themselves a particular error
of margin in their findings.
Political analyst Maukesh Bas-
deo shared Ragoonath s assess-
ment. However, he said, polls could
accurately predict "if the public
The challenge, he said, was
"politics is very fluid, it can change
as issues keep coming up. It is
going to shape the behaviour of
voters and depends on where you
are taking the poll, the sample size.
These issues are major consider-
ations in preparing a poll."
T&T pollsters defend surveys
In wake of failed UK election predictions..
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