Belen Barrero: “Polls should inform the public, not try to influence public opinion”

Belén Barreiro (Madrid, 1968) Doctor of Political Science, Sociology and Social Anthropology and one of the few women in charge of the suffrage institute, the 40dB Agency, which implemented Electoral polls published in this journal and in the SER. She was the Chair of the Center for Social Research (CIS) between 2008 and 2010 and has more than two decades of experience in the sector. Now you’re in luck: unlike other house demographics, 40dB. PP result allowed and predicted that there will be a clear majority.

ask. How does 40 dB work? in this campaign? How many people are part of the team and what profiles do they have?

Answer. Unlike other institutes, we are always working with surveys Connected. This method has often been abused by other polling houses, but in the 21st century, considering there is more to the Internet than landlines, it is just as valid as any other. In most of the democracies around us, such as France or the United Kingdom, predictions are made in this way. We work with some committees and make a representative sample, according to age, gender, size of the municipality, social class… ConnectedWe don’t need interlocutors. Our team consists of 16 analysts from various disciplines. We have sociologists, economists, political scientists, mathematicians, mathematicians, engineers, psychologists…

s. Was this election more difficult to measure? Was there increased volatility?

R was found. There were a lot of ups and downs. After the municipal and regional elections In May we conducted a poll in which the right had a significant advantage over the left, on the verge of an absolute majority. Then when we start with tracking At the beginning of the campaign, we saw that the Socialist Workers’ Party had made a comeback for the first time [en esos días previos al inicio de la campaña oficial fue cuando Zapatero multiplicó su presencia en medios de comunicación]. After the confrontation between Pedro Sanchez and Alberto Núñez Figo, the right moved forward, and in the last week of the campaign, the second return of the PSOE took place. The right’s absolute majority no longer appears as the most likely scenario. The total rights swing between 168 and 174 seats. The most difficult thing is to understand fluctuations. Vox and Sumar’s oscillations were in narrower margins: between 12% and 14%. In PSOE and PP there were more chants.

Belén Barrero snapped a photo on Monday at Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid. Jaime Villanueva

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s. What did these polls teach about the importance of campaigning? What were the major milestones in those 15 days that most affected these oscillations?

R was found. Many items have been given to it The campaign was particularly impressive. In the May regional elections in the Community of Madrid, for example, we saw that nothing moved. The last picture was the one that was there. When the mode is more competitive, as in the public mode, where participation also increases, the campaigns are very impressive. Anything that happens in the campaign can change the results. There was a clear face-to-face effect between Sanchez and Figo, but at different times. In the first photo immediately after the debate, the tie won. But as the hours went by, after the media commented on it, Feijóo prevailed, PP got a huge advantage. And that perception changed again in the last week after that Interview with PP leader on TVE, When installing for several days famous topic The hashtag # Feijóomentiroso. We also monitored social networks, and from that day the second PSOE comeback began. And the idea that he won the debate with a strategy that the public did not like was proved by resorting to lies. he discussion to three It had a much smaller effect. It didn’t hurt Feijóo not to show up.

s. Another dispute over the electoral campaign was the exact date of the elections. The Plenipotentiary reiterated at every meeting that low turnout was sought. Have polls ever shown more summer or vacation layoffs?

R was found. Mobilization was, on average, 70-72%, with a peak of 76% and a low of 67%. But in general, in tracking What we have seen is that the abstinence was, above all, in the most moderate voter, that is, it was ideological, and had nothing to do with history. In the face of a highly polarized, bloc-based campaign, this type of voter was discouraged.

s. Why did some household demographics deviate so much from Sunday’s results?

R was found.. In order to properly evaluate other people’s polls, it would be necessary to know their data, especially three: direct voting intention, sympathy for parties and voting memory, but few houses publish them. In order to explain what led to these expectations, we must know how they made the necessary kitchen that removes prejudices. We make all raw survey data available. Transparency is required and an understanding that our mission is to inform the public and not try to influence public opinion. I also notice in my sector that it is very masculine and that it sometimes causes judgments to be expressed in a very strong way, arrogantly, when what we are talking about are always possible scenarios, to interpret reality bearing in mind that there are doubts and that those doubts must also be shared.

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