"Polls are not entertainment"

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

The Sunday question ("Who would you vote for if there were an election on Sunday? ") is only a snapshot, as they say, but it still keeps many politicians awake twice a year. We visited the Ilres and asked them about it.

Ilres General Director Tommy Klein ‒ Ilres stands for Institut luxembourgeois de recherches sociales et d'études de marchés ‒ receives us late in the morning in the ultra-modern premises of the opinion research institute in Bartringen and, despite a packed agenda, takes all the time in the world to talk to us. The 37-year-old, who always wanted to do something "where you get to know society and understand it better" and who is very interested in politics, has a master's degree in sociology and philosophy and has been working at Ilres in various positions since April 2013.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: To start with a banal question: What is opinion research?

Tommy Klein: I see us as the mouthpiece of society. I think that there are not many occasions where the ordinary citizen has the opportunity to speak out. Surveys can be a means through which people can express their opinion and also contribute to a policy, for example when it comes to evaluating a decision. Opinion research gives society a voice.

Can you be a little more specific?

The role of opinion research is to neutrally cover the different opinions on a certain topic or issue in society and to communicate them to the outside world.

How much power do pollsters have?

You always have to find a balance between a neutral presentation of the results and the outward effect that a survey can have. I know that especially those surveys that are also published are strongly discussed in public and the people that appear in them are asked many a question about the results. Of course, one can speak of a certain influence. However, we also do a whole series of surveys that are not published.

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