Monday’s national election in Norway ended months of intense public opinion poll activity by local research and consulting firms that have been working for media outlets, political parties or other clients. Those working for the polling firms often have a hard time getting folks to cooperate, and most are likely ready for a vacation.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported that many of those called by the polling firms don’t answer the call because they don’t recognize the number. When they do, fully three-fourths end up hanging up on the hapless poll-taker, or otherwise decline to participate. It’s especially difficult for the polling firms to get answers from young men.
“Both in Norway and in other countries there’s been a steady increase in the number of those who won’t allow themselves to be interviewed on their political positions,” Ottar Hellevik, a professor at the University of Oslo’s political science institute, told Aftenposten.
Asked why it’s become so difficult, Hellevik said the sheer number of polls taken these days has grown so much that persons called upon can grow weary, especially if they’re called several times. Others who agree to participate may also grow weary of questions on issues that don’t interest them, Hellevik said.
In addition to all the polls on political party affiliation and support, there’s been a huge jump in consumer related surveys that also are wearing down those being asked. The decline in willing participation can also lead to more uncertain results, also for researchers using polls unrelated to an election.
“We have to ask ourselves whether we’re really getting a representative overview,” researcher Ingeborg Rossow of the state agency SIRUS, which monitors alcohol consumption among the Norwegian population, told magazine Bladet Forskning. “We are becoming more uncertain.”