Friday 07 May 2021

Parties warned not to share fake opinion polls circulating online


Political parties are being warned not to spread fake opinion polls on social media in the build-up to the general election in March.

Kieskijker, an online watchdog set up to monitor disinformation during the 2021 campaign, said several smaller parties had shared polls published by A&M Research. They included the recently formed Splinter and Code Oranje, as well as the Dutch Pirate Party and the pan-European party Volt.

Kieskijker said A&M first appeared at the end of December and has no website, business address or registration at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK). Its Twitter account has just over 100 followers.

It claims to blend existing surveys with its own research from subscribers, but its polls so far have exaggerated support for populist parties such as Geert Wilders’ PVV and JA21, which was formed from the split within Forum voor Democratie last month.

‘It is wholly unclear who or what is behind the Twitter account and the so-called ‘polls’ of A&M Research,’ Kieskijker said. ‘The methods described by the account do not allow reliable polls to be created.

‘The chance that these social media users happen to constitute a good representation of the Dutch voting public is zero.’

Kieskijker urged voters and parties to restrict themselves to reliable polls from official sources such as I&O Research, Kantar, Ipsos/EenVandaag and the Peilingwijzer poll of polls compiled by Leiden University professor Tom Louwerse.

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