Post-Brexit – Polls and their Results

Now the kids are


it’s time the adults got down to some homework! 

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Dust down your reading and analytical skills.

Get ready to Compare and Contrast Polls and their Results. 

Lesson 1: Poll results, statistics, percentages are just numbers. And you know when one number is bigger or smaller than another.

Lesson 2: Polls use  a sample of (at most) a few thousand people and attempt to extrapolate the opinions of an entire nation.

Lesson 3: Data collection, weighting and  analysis  depend on the integrity and expertise of the people who are involved in writing the questions, asking the questions and questioning the results (data processing).

So much for that.

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Tasks for each poll:
1) Consider the number of questions,  type of questions,  types of answers and  number of responders in relation to population.
2) Decide which poll will most likely provide the most reliable information
3) Speculate on how the least reliable results will be used, considering source, bias and so on.

Remember: Border Poll in Northern Ireland and Independence Referendum in Scotland are broadly equivalent. So on with your tasks!

Poll No 1) July 2016: The Belfast Telegraph, arguably the most popular daily in Northern Ireland, asked 2 questions online. 47,500 people responded.



Comment: “Nothing more than a bit of fun” said a leading pollster.

Poll No 2) Sept 2016: the BBC, arguably the UK state broadcaster, asked  4 questions  face to face with 1000 people.

Graphic showing stats

Graphic showing stats

Graphic showing stats

Pay particular attention to  the  2 questions   in Question 3. What does the result refer to?

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Graphic showing stats

Poll No 3 to be completed by 30th November 2016: The Scottish Government’s National Survey is asking 12 questions about what  Scottish people think about Scotland’s place in Europe.

2,000,000 expected responders.  

Examples of  questions
Using a scale from 1-10, where 1 means “I am totally against Scottish independence” and 10 means “I am totally in favour of Scottish independence”, can you please say where you are on this scale today regarding Scotland becoming independent?
If there was a referendum on Scottish independence, how important would the following issues be to you in deciding how you vote?
Give a score from 1 – 10 on each of the following issues:
Not at all important 1   Critically important  10
*Feel British / Believe in the Union
*Feel Scottish
*Economic stability & affordability
*Public services e.g. NHS, schools, transport etc
*Pensions and social security
*Defence and security of Scotland
*Removing nuclear weapons from Scotland
*Retaining EU membership
*Making decisions in Scotland
*Protecting Human Rights
*Personal financial security
* Protecting Scotland’s environment

Query: What are the advantages of using a  1-10 scale rather than a Yes/No answer format? 
If there was a referendum on Scottish independence tomorrow, how would you vote?
Yes to independence   Don’t know   No to independence    Wouldn’t vote

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Comment: You’ve all passed!!

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Clue – Clueless – Cluelessness!


2 thoughts on “Post-Brexit – Polls and their Results

  1. And I bet if this was reported in the UK at all major emphasis was placed on the percentages for ths Protestant figure, which will have been highlighted at the beginning and the end of the report.

    We Scots know all aboout the divide and conquer bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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