DR drops exit polls following criticism
The loud and continuous criticism of erroneous exit polls released during Tuesday’s elections has forced national broadcaster DR to adopt a policy change.
Those DR/Epinion polls showed Venstre (V) defeating Socialdemokraterne (S) so soundly nationwide that PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) actually took to the stage early on election night to apologise to her fellow party members.
“It was a huge mistake, it is embarrassing and it must not happen again,” the head of DR Nyheder, Ulrik Haagerup, told Berlingske newspaper. “We ended up not only with our hair in the soup, but the entire toupee."
Political leaders and viewers alike have damned DR’s decision to publish its first exit poll results as early as 3pm when voters still had five hours in which to cast their ballots. That first prognosis was based on a meagre 744 responses, of which only 160 were actually votes cast.
Haagerup refused to lay the blame for the faulty numbers on Epinion, which was behind the projections.
“We ordered the information and we published it,” said Haagerup.
DR Nyheder says it will no longer publish exit polls, forecasts or opinion surveys of any kind during local elections until the polls are closed.
The sound of one head rolling
Many have speculated that by publishing its first results so early, DR’s incorrect poll data may have had some effect on the election.
Former DR head Per Bjerre said it was all about beating TV2 in election day ratings.
“We had the discussion of how soon we can release figures to hold on to viewers as long as possible,” Bjerre told Berlingske.
DR's news director, Jacob Kwon, is stepping down from his job to take over as head of DR’s sports coverage. Kwon was in charge of DR’s heavily criticised election night coverage, but Haagerup said the change had already been in the works and was not related to the poll debacle.
“It has nothing to do with it,” he told Berlingske. “Jacob was the most qualified candidate and had already been given the job, we just wanted to wait until after the elections to announce it.”
In a rare sign of political unity, all of parliament's parties signed on to an open letter yesterday asking the media to stop publishing exit polls.