Friday, September 12, 2014

Row Over Early Exit Poll

Via The Local:

An exit poll for Sweden's national election will be released four hours before voting closes on Sunday night.

But critics argue the move is unethical and could influence voters.

Pollsters YouGov have promised the result of the 2014 election in Sweden at 4pm - even though the booths officially close at 8pm.

Li-Bennich Björkman, a Professor of Political Science at Uppsala University in eastern Sweden, said she wasn't aware of such a move in Swedish election history.

"This isn't pleasant to hear at all", she told The Local.

"It surprises me actually. Not only is it unethical but I think it will influence people's votes. This could let people get the notion that they can support the 'winning team'".

She added that in countries like France, it's illegal to publish opinion polls so close to the election.

A spokesperson at competitor pollsters Ipsos was also unimpressed.

"This is unfortunate. There's a risk that a poll like this can have an effect on the actual election result", said David Ahlin, the director of public affairs.

"In my opinion, we should respect the election day and the voters should have the day to themselves to make their own decisions", he told The Local.

A spokesperson at Sweden's Election Authority (Valmyndigheten) brushed aside the news, adding that there was nothing official about YouGov's results.

"This has nothing to do with the election authority. We don't formally care about these things, we do our own reports and they'll be released later in the night", Carl-Johan Friman, press officer at authority, told The Local.

He added that the authority's preliminary results could be officially expected at around 10 or 11pm. These are not exit polls, rather results based on the counting of votes already cast.

Sunday afternoon's exit poll, which will be published by the Metro newspaper, will be carried out online from 4.500 respondents. The paper promises results that are accurate to within one percent, citing a previous attempt in a Danish election.

At 8pm exactly, when the polling closes, Sveriges Television will publish an official exit poll, as has been the tradition since 1991.

The Local's attempts to reach YouGov for comment went unanswered.

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