Irish Polling Report

A place to discuss Irish opinion polls

Quantum Engineering

with 26 comments

So, the first poll to come out since I set up the blog, and as luck would have it, it’s a Sindo/Quantum ‘Research’ poll on Anglo. Oh dear….

Those who’ve noticed my views on Quantum in the past will know how much time I give their findings. Frankly, they produce figures that just aren’t credible. While SF have averaged 8%+ in the reputable RedC/MRBI surveys, they get 3% when Quantum come-a-asking. Even with the sample size of 500 they usually use, this is well outside the margin of error, which suggests one of three things; (1) There is a problem with their sampling methodology, (2) a flaw has suddenly arisen in the methodologies of both the major polling companies, who use samples of 1,000+ and have a proven track record, or (3) the results are made to order.

Reason #3 has been cited on more than one occasion, largely because the more ridiculous figures have co-incided with the known preferences of “Dr” O’Reilly. The Indo’s antipathy to SF is rarely shrouded in subtlety. There have been some such polls that appear to have been a (rather sad) attempt to persuade renegade FF and FG TDs to form a new party, or to get FF to replace Cowen with Lenihen as leader. Of course, asking people if they would support a new party, without setting out its policies, is going to massively over-state the potential of any such party, drawing support from those to the left and the right of any such new formation.

That previous Quantum poll tried to provide further support to this notion, when it stated “Quantum Research said: Interestingly, there is a five-point increase in the figure for ‘don’t knows’, going up from 22 per cent last year to 27 per cent this time round. This ties in with a lot of people’s anger with the current political system as a whole, and their refusal to countenance voting for anyone. Many of these people would also like to see the establishment of a new party.””. If there was a figure for the number of such people supporting such an development, they should have used it, but they didn’t, as they hadn’t asked that question. Instead, they make an un-supported assertion of very dubious value. It’s hard not to see the hand of their paymaster in this, and so I tend to treat their polls with suspicion.

So, today’s poll. Apparently, 73% of respondents believe that Anglo will bankrupt the country, and 72% believe it will bring down the Government (presumably pretty much the same people). This is quite similar to the figure, in their previous poll of how many voters think that State should end its commitment to the Bank (70%). Interestingly, the previous poll’s figures appear to have excluded “Don’t Knows”, whereas today’s figures include a (laughably low) figure for don’t knows.

On the “bankruptcy” question, 73% of the population said it would, 23% said no, and only 4% appear not to be sure on the matter. Really? Only 4%? One person in 25? All the rest have an opinion on whether it might bankrupt the State? Well I studied Economics at third level, and I’m, not sure. It’ll cost us a lot (everyone accepts that) but will it put the State in a position where it can’t meet it’s financial obligations? My wife who is educated to 4th level in Politics doesn’t know either (I asked). But 96% of all voters do?  The veracity of this is stretched by the other question, on whether Anglo would bring down the Govt.  72% said yes, and 28% said no!  So, 0% “Don’t knows”?  That’s obviously impossible, at least 1% of the population don’t know what the Government is.  Perhaps they excluded don’t knows?  Perhaps, but why would they do that for this question, and not the other?

I don’t buy this.   25% don’t know which party they’d support in a General Election. I’ll bet 10% don’t know if they’d like to win the Lotto or not. There’s always a significant number of people who say “Don’t Know” in any survey, at least if it’s on a matter there is some dispute over. This very low figure suggests that, either (a) the figure was derived without using an actual survey at all, or (b) “Don’t knows” were pressed really hard to make a decision, perhaps by the questioner ‘dumbing down’ the question to something like “will it cost us a lot of money”, thereby making the question irrelevant (as we all know that it will). The only other possibility is that some questioners excluded don’t knows from their figures, but some of them didn’t.

Of course, Quantum have tied themselves up in knots before.  A previous Quantum poll in January 2009 famously showed 55% in favour of Lisbon, 37% against, and 15% undecided, a grand total of 107%!

So, The Sindo have paid Quantum for a poll, and Quantum have delivered one. 73% of the people think that Anglo will bankrupt us. Apparently. Or will crucify us. Or something.

Next, please!

EDIT : The next instalment in the Quantum story is at

Written by Dotski

September 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

26 Responses

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  1. mmclo

    September 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

  2. Does “Quantum Research” actually exist outside the pages of the Sunday Independent?

    Paddy Matthews

    September 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    • They don’t appear to. I know that one poster (I think it was Tommy O’Brien) tried to track them down, but was unable to find anything other than an inactive webpage.

      It might be worth a journalist digging about for another paper….


      September 8, 2010 at 9:23 pm

      • There is a company called Quantum Research with a plant in Drogheda, but they specialise in integrated circuits and electronics, not opinion polls:–opens–design-centre-in-Drogheda-Ireland.asp

        There is a market research company called Quantum Market Research, but it’s based in Australia.

        Paddy Matthews

        September 8, 2010 at 10:01 pm

        • Nice one Paddy – the more you learn about this crowd, the dodgier they look. Surely someone would fancy doing an exposé of this – it’s not like the Indo is popular with anyone….


          September 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm

          • Ok it is apparent that the paper is biased and the opinion polls look dodgy given the company seems to be operating out of Australia. But the main question is why would they publish false opinion polls?


            September 10, 2010 at 9:06 pm

            • well, opinion polls can lead debate. Much of the motivation for the unsuccessful putsch against Inda came from the opinion poll results, and the danger of being eclipsed by LP. My suspicion is that their proprietor is aware of the power of this sort of thing.

              He clearly wants an even more right-wing response to the budgetary situation, and is most likely disturbed by the growth of the LP, so he appears (to me at least) to be trying to build some sort of consensus that there is a basis for a new right-wing party, one that has “nothing to do with the banking crisis”, and tries to link bankers, public servants, and the “old” FF and it’s “union crony” friends as the cause of all our problems. I guess his hope is that the anti-Govt swing would accrue to this movement.

              FWIW I think it could be counter productive, as such a party, if formed, will take from FG more than anyone else, making LP most likely the largest party.


              September 10, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    • They seem to be a registered company with an address at the Arthur Cox building.

      I can’t seem to link to the results page on the CRO but you can search here and, if your minded to, buy some of the documents they’ve filed.

      It’s more than bizarre to have a company that’s engaged in opinion polling that doesn’t have an active website or work for more than one occasional client


      September 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm

      • thanks for that Ixelles (are you posting from Brussels btw? I know that area quite well)


        September 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm

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    Tomorrow's QR 'poll'

    November 6, 2010 at 2:55 pm

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  11. Were the weightings Quantum Researched used for the 06-02-11 poll for the Sindo leaked by any chance?


    February 7, 2011 at 12:11 am

    • Not that I heard, although I suspect that there is little to leak…


      February 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm

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