Pollsters Flounder on Lack of Response from Voters

      April 19, 2011 13:26

      Opinion polls on the April 27 by-election differ wildly depending on who is asking the questions. Pollsters say the major reason is the low response from voters.

      Pollsters on Monday said the response rate, which is normally around 20 to 30 percent, has plummeted to below 10 percent for the upcoming by-election. One executive with a polling firm said, "To get at least 1,000 responses, we had to contact 10,000 to 20,000 people. The response rate to polls has been falling over the past few years, but the current situation is exceptionally low."

      Park Chan-wook, a professor of political science at Seoul National University, said although the leaders of the political parties are fiercely competing for votes, voters are simply not interested. "Not responding to an opinion poll can be seen as an expression of distrust in politics," he said.

      Prof. Lee Hyun-woo Sogang University said, "People are more concerned about inflation, the economy and education than the by-election. Overly heated competition between the ruling and the opposition parties in the by-election could lead to greater political cynicism instead." And Cho Sung-kyum, the president of the Korean Association for Survey Research, said, "Pollsters are unable to capture the increasing number of households that only use mobile phones and have no landlines with the current methods, so that may be one of the reasons for the falling response rate."

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