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Election officials praise NewsWire poll

Oct 17th, 2008 | By | Category: Features

The Electoral Commission has applauded the Whitireia NewsWire team for its September 19 election phone poll article.

The story educated voters and exposed some of the risks of opinion polling methodology in New Zealand, says Peter Northcote of the New Zealand Electoral Commission.

“Opinion polls can only be seen as indicative, but are often reported as if they are the results of an election taken at the time of the poll, and that’s not the case”.

Whitireia Journalism School students undertook a phonebook random poll on the night of September 15 and asked people which party they would be voting for.

The poll took a different approach to reporting the results. Undecided people made up a large percentage of those polled, which is not usually reported by conventional polls.

Poll and election experts later commented on media programmes such as Radio NZ’s Media Watch that this can mean results are distorted by several percentage points, which can alter people’s opinions and ultimately their vote.

The NewsWire article also mentioned several other factors in phone polling methodology that voters should be aware of.

Student Luke Appleby drew up graphs and wrote the final story for the package, which came from collaborative work by 25 students.

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is a multi-media journalist and Whitireia graduate specialising in video, audio, web 2.0, technology, photography, editing and Photoshop. After graduating from Whitireia, and a brief stint in teaching for the school, he moved on to working for Stuff.co.nz.
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  1. Undecided people did not make up a majority of those Whitireia polled.

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