Home > Politics > Double-counting


We’ve read much over the weekend of canvass returns, from both sides of the referendum debate.  ‘Yes’ says theirs show them in front, and ‘No’ make exactly the same claim. They both can’t be right, can they?

Of course they can. No canvasser I’ve ever met has questioned a positive response on the doorstep. Don’t waste time, thank the voter and move on. It was one of the unwritten rules, alongside ‘Don’t ring doorbells when Coronation Street’s on.’ The inevitable fact that many householders said what the canvasser wanted to hear was ignored and the positive target voter slips were completed without questions being asked.

The same flaw exists in opinion polls, although people are more likely to speak the truth to someone they perceive to be neutral.

The real pros knew what was happening without the need for knocking doors. I once met an old Tory agent in the north of England, a guy who knew everyone on his patch. As election day approached, he would put on his overcoat and his rosette and go for a walk along the High Street, greeting everyone he saw. By the end of his stroll he could judge whether he as in or out by the number who looked him in the eye, versus those who avoided his gaze.

But not even old Joe would be able to call it this time.

Categories: Politics
  1. Montaltoman
    September 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

    A Tory called Joe? My God the times they are a changin.

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