Have you ever been approached by a polling company looking for your views on anything? It is an important question because these polls can influence legislation all over the place. We have RedC and MRBI asking respondents questions and the answers can determine National events and public thinking.
Though the numbers polled can be as little as five hundred to a thousand the research companies involved claim high levels of accuracy in their findings. However, it is not unknown in a given week for one of them to report one thing and the other to report the direct opposite. How's that for accuracy?
AIMRO (The Association of Irish Market Research Organisations), advises that for a properly conducted scientific national poll, a minimum sample of 1000 interviews is required and 500 interviews for a published local area poll. They waffle on about the scientific methods they use, the neutral phrasing of questions and the right gender mix in both sex and age of the respondents. There are dark hints that it is pointless to use anyone but their members as well. To which I can only say, they would wouldn't they.
Among their cautions too is a warning of what they call, 'funding bias.' He who pays the piper in other words gets to choose the tune. Interestingly, the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation regularly pay these people for polls with predictable results too. Apparently we smokers would like the price of a packet of fags raised to €50.00 to ahem, 'encourage' us to quit. Shit like that gets national coverage and is followed by calls to Government to get on with it and raise the price because that's what the public want, even if they don't know it. It's an empty charade and a pack of lies but is used as a justification to persecute smokers.
I have complained elsewhere that none of us got to vote for the initial smoking ban that started the rot. Would you have voted to put aging smokers out on a cold winter's night? You see it depends on the question asked. Nobody asked any questions though it just got rushed through the Dail and one day, "WHOOSH" ……. if you lit a fag in the boozer you could be fined €3,000.
But eight years after the ban was introduced, someone did finally ask the Irish people directly. In September 2012 the Journal.ie did ask when they posed their readers the question, "Ireland’s citizens were not given a vote on the smoking ban that was introduced in 2004 so we want to know: How would you have voted?" Was anyone interested enough to vote? Was it a respectable landslide in favour of the workplace ban on smoking? Were the medical profession, the ahem, 'charities' and the Government correct when they told us there was overwhelming support for the ban?
Well, nearly five thousand people voted that day in the Journal, (4,888 to be exact) and that response is five times the accepted level for a National Poll. But while that's surprising, what truly shocked was that only thirty-seven per cent of them were in favor of the ban. A whopping fifty-two per cent were dead against it. I was stunned because even I had begun to believe the lies we were spun. We were told then too that smokers formed nearly a third of the population at the time and if so, that poll is back to front. Surely every non-smoker wanted to see the smokers banished. But they didn't apparently. Have a look yourself if you don't believe me.
I will come back to the theme of smoking several times on this new site but this poll on the topic raises the question of democracy more so than the right to smoke. Our Health Minister at the time, Michael Martin, just bullied and bluffed this ban through and appears to have got away with it. But it is far from over. As a wise old man said to me at the time, the ban is just a politically correct fad and it will pass because people will always be people. One bad major war somewhere and we'll all be down the pub smoking and drinking and worrying if we are going to be bombed to oblivion tomorrow. Meanwhile, the pompous narrow-minded, curtain-sniffers will sit at home that night and just fret about us instead of the war.
" Just you wait 'enry 'iggins!"