by Mark Angelides
Polls have been spectacularly wrong in recent years; Trump, Brexit, the UK 2015 General Election, all suggested that the Status Quo would prevail. And of course, they were wrong. This is in part due to how the polls are conducted, and the way in which they are often used as propaganda tools as opposed to informative data sets, but they are still a valuable tool if you know how to read the raw information.
The Dutch election results announced today, show how wrong the pollsters can be yet again. It was in fact, only the very last exit poll that got anywhere close to the final result. In case you didn’t catch them, here they are (with 93% counted):
- Prime Minister Rutte’s VVD to win 33 seats
- Geert Wilders’ PVV 20 seats
- V66 and CDA tie for 19
It’s a good result for Wilders, but not quite the amount he was expecting (and that many across Europe were hoping for). The polls were wrong again, but this time in the opposite direction. The anti-establishment candidate actually did worse than predicted. So either, all of the reports about “Shy Voters”, insurgent votes and the like have been just made up, or something else is happening.
The puzzling aspect (and the reason for this article), is that a story is doing the rounds about some areas (of the 388 voting regions) have reported turnout of 100%.???
Does this mean that of all the people who registered to vote before the cut-off date actually turned up and cast their ballot? Apparently not one person died, not one person sat it out, not one person went away on holiday or business. This strikes me as a statistical impossibility.
Even North Korea only had the gall to suggest that 99.97% of voters turned up for the Dear Leader. In NK, they have military buses that collect people and take them to the booths regardless of ill health, yet Holland managed to beat even that!
While it is possible that the 100% figure is inaccurate, it’s worth asking how the polls got this so badly wrong. As mentioned, the Trump and Brexit votes were polled wrong because of data misuse (for establishment purposes) and the “Shy Trumper or Shy Brexiteer”. Who would be Shy about voting for the establishment candidate, the actual Prime Minister? It seems strange, it looks strange and it feels strange. Electoral fraud on any scale delegitimizes people’s democratic rights. This needs to be looked into.