Opinion Pollsters.......the world's most useless profession?


Are opinion polls as reliable as a chocolate teapot? The largest wailing sound after Donald Trump's victory did not come from Hillary Clinton's hotel suite. It came from the offices of the smuggest of all 20th Century inventions…the Official Pollster. Despite twice in the UK being proved to be as accurate as a cross-eyed tattooist (Conservative Victory and Brexit), the pollsters' Achilles heel is they seem unable to grasp so many of us fib to them. Their self-importance (only matched by their belief we are flattered by being asked our opinion), belongs to the thinking of 75 years ago; a time when the man in the street doffed his cap to a Gent in a suit with a clipboard! During an election you not only resent being asked your vote every time the wind changes direction, but also the scorn or derision your views might bring down. If the media hounds your preferred choice at an election as being the spawn of Satan, you are unlikely to say to a complete stranger that Beelzebub has got your vote, for fear of their reaction. It seemed obvious to me that 90% of the undecided in the US probably meant a vote for La Donald and a good chunk of those declared for Hillary were secret Trump kissers. My beef here is not if someone is a good candidate or not; if you want to vote for Biffo The Bear as Prime Minister, that is your entitlement. What astonishes me is Opinion Pollsters belief what we say to them nowadays is even on nodding terms with our true feelings.

...and another thing

If anything has ruined movies more than Lycra clad men in special effect extravaganzas, it is the Test Screening; movie land’s version of the public opinion poll. Hollywood history is littered with the nutty results of these screenings but here are couple of examples of their laser like accuracy.

Friends. The poll was so weak on a test screening of the pilot that NBC nearly smothered this multi-billion dollar behemoth at birth.

Dirty Dancing test screened so badly it was a hop and a skip away from straight to video. No one puts baby in a corner…..but they nearly put her on the shelf.

Lawsuits prevent me from naming names but a dear friend of mine worked for months on a pilot for her TV series for a very famous studio and network. After the steeplechase hurdling over commissioning editors, budget cutbacks, script rows and months of research, my friend’s pilot show had to be subjected to a test screening. The results came in.

“I am sorry, the Blue elephant has to go. The results say the audience want him pink.”

Yup a bunch of four year olds who had barely stopped poohing in their pants and whose views of colour changed direction faster that weathervane in a tornado overruled the creator of the show!

...and another thing

Kissing cousins to the previous two groups are the genii who carry out market research for big companies. Come on, own up who suggested Coke change its recipe in 1985? Step forward who decided to call a GM/Vauxhall car the Nova…and not understand why it did not sell in Spanish speaking countries (Nova translates to…Not Going).

Here in Europe McDonald’s spent the equivalent of a third of the world’s GDP putting green rather than red in the Golden Arches as market research told them this colour change would under line their eco credentials!




I know everyone finds themselves at Mickey D’s at some time or other but whoever believes shading on a logo while I munch a quarter pounder makes me think:

“Wow, I am coming back for more now they seem to eco-friendly,”

really has MacNuggets for brains.

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