[Newspaper Column] Polls

Each week the Romford Recorder has the Steve Allen column. And now you can find it in the Ilford Recorder too. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.

You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.

I've finally worked out what I want to be when I grow up. I realise I may have left it too late now that even my showbiz age is too old to make it in showbiz but I've noticed a job I think I'd be perfect for.

In recent times we have seen the pollsters get it spectacularly wrong. The polls said David Cameron wouldn't get an outright majority in parliament. The polls said the remain campaign would be victorious in the EU referendum. The polls predicted Hilary Clinton would be the president of the United States. Every single time the polls have got it totally wrong and that feels like something I'd be good at.

In your job, if you got things so wrong on so many occasions you'd probably be fired but the pollsters carry on ready to get it wrong again next time.

In retrospect, of course polls are wrong. If you don't have the wherewithal to avoid a man in the high street with a clipboard and branded lanyard then you are probably more dimwitted than the rest of the population, and these are the people the surveys are based on.

I regret ever paying attention to a poll. All those years wasted listening to Bruno Brookes. For all I know he was making it up. Next they'll probably say Family Fortunes was just entertainment and not serious sociological research.

Asking a few people and then extrapolating the data clearly doesn't work. That's the method used to measure radio listening figures. And if the polls about the Tory government, Brexit and the US election have taught us anything it's that the smallest group in the polls is probably the biggest group in reality.

And that is really good news for my show.


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