Opinion polls and bookies just cannot be trusted
There is now simply no disputing that opinion polls cannot be trusted. More surprisingly, the bookies — who usually have superior form compared with the polls — are just as fallible.
How did they get it so wrong?
At The Urban Developer, we conduct an annual audience survey which generates us close to 1,000 responses. For a publication with more than 40,000 daily subscribers, this is about 2.5 per cent of our audience.
A quick google reveals that Newspoll surveys (for example, this one conducted in mid-2018), surveyed only 1,728 people!
I’m no statistician, but that doesn’t fill me with confidence!
More importantly, I just don’t know how reliable people are with polls. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m either too busy or distracted to answer the calls, attend a focus group or respond to an online poll.
Either way, they’ve been more wrong than they are right.
In a quote, Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to things you can’t see or are simply unaware of as ‘unknown unknowns’.
My sense about polls is that we just cannot count what we cannot see. Having a gut feel for what’s happening on the ground — or “the zeitgeist” — is so often overlooked.
I believe this applies to property in a big way. Data and research is everywhere now, however one’s ability to observe and feel the human mood is something we will forever struggle to accurately measure.
There will never be a substitute for being authentically connected with your community.