Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Case of the Sudden Online Poll Conversion

For months now I have been watching online polls mentioning the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and most of these polls supported the ABC with regard to the poll question being put.

Then there was an intriguing self-select online poll which was published in The Sydney Morning Herald at approximately 3.30 pm on 29 January.
At approximately 3.51 pm this self-select online poll was displaying a “No” percentage, which was similar to the level of support for the ABC found in a 21 January 2013 Essential Research poll on trust in the media and an October 2013 Newspoll.
By 6 pm social media was aware of this poll and participation in the poll began to increase.
In the following hour after that the polling percentages (which had been running at “Yes” 24% and “No” 76%) began to turn and participant numbers had grown from 11,694 to 32,605 by 8pm.
Twelve minutes and 2,011 more respondents later and the poll looked like this.
Five minutes after that and 1,585 participants later, the poll again saw the number of people supporting Tony Abbott grow by another 1,373 people until it looked like this.    

Eight minutes after that again the poll looked like this and a pattern appeared to be emerging. Either a surprising number of genuine Abbott supporters had found their way to this poll or someone was organizing a large number of these people in order to affect the poll outcome.

At 8.34 pm the poll “Yes” and “No” responses were an equal 50%. By 8.38 pm “Yes” stood at 51% and the total number of participants had increased by 10,156 since 8 pm – 9,411 of which were supporting Abbott. 

At 9.27 pm "Yes” and “No” responses were 59% and 41% respectively and participation has increased by 12,214 people – with 10,627 of these supporting Abbott. 

By the time the online poll closed at around 10.06 pm it was displaying this result.

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