Did you know they held an election in Australia this week?

Did you know that the polls showed the (leftward) Labour party would win that election?

And that it didn’t turn out that way?

Well, if not, now you know.

Here are the particulars of via excerpts from Steven Hayward’s article at

Australia held a national election yesterday which all of the polls predicted for weeks would be won handily by the Labour Party. The ruling Liberal Party (which is the conservative party in Australian politics because they still understand the historic meaning of liberalism) has been in office for over a decade, and had struggled as ruling parties often do when they grow stale in office. In fact leadership fights within the Liberal Party had left it in chaos heading into the election campaign. The pollsters and the media called it an “unlosable election” for Labour.

But in a stunning upset, the Liberal Party has won the election. It sounds a lot like our 2016 election, no? Apparently lots of voters told the pollsters one thing, but voted differently in the voting booth.

I spent most of my professional career as a qualitative market researcher, conducting focus groups and one on one interviews with people around the country.  But  I also did a great deal of quantitative research – the kind used to conduct political surveys.

In the early days, people were, I think, much more likely to give honest answers to research questions. But now, especially when it comes to political research, it seems evident that more and more respondents are likely to say what they think the interviewer most likely wants to hear/will not react negatively to (which, I strongly suspect, coincides with what they are told is the acceptable position by mainstream media).

In other words, if they have an opinion that might not be well received, they keep it to themselves and say the opposite. Hey, why not? They’re still going to vote the same way they would have anyway, right?

I, of course, don’t know for sure whether this analysis is right or wrong. But I do know how the presidential election turned out in 2016 and I do know how the election just turned out in Australia.  So you’ll pardon me if I suspect that I’ve got this right.

What do you think?

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