90291802Seana Stafford and William Binchy with a new billboard reflecting research carrried out on behalf of the pro-life campaign by Millward Browne Lansdowne.

John Hyland writes;

The poll commissioned by the Pro-Life Campaign and reported on in the Irish Times and elsewhere is, from a research design point of view, really flawed. Long, complicated questions that lead to the answers the campaign wanted to hear. That these responses apparently went so against the results of the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll (lots of shorter, simple questions) should be ringing alarm bells. Populations don’t change their minds that quickly. There’s a good analysis from DCU’s political science lecturer Eoin O’Malley here.



Any excuse to play this.

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

70 thoughts on “Not So Fast

  1. Limey Tank

    I know I’m stating the obvious, but if you have to resort to these types of tactics, you’ve already lost. It smacks of desperation.

        1. ABM

          Lecturers opine on the basis of their reputation. Eoin O’Malley is of course entitled to attempt to publicly refute research from a reputable research agency. But is this an objective, informed and rigourous analysis? Or are his pro-choice views bubbling to the surface? Casual, unpublished, non peer reviewed opinions criticising the findings of a professional research agency should be taken with a pinch of salt. I wonder if the results were in his favour would the DCU blogger be as motivated to be so critical?

          1. woesinger

            Of course, the way the questions were presented by the clients of this professional research agency have nothing to do with the outcome, right?
            Or are the clients’ anti-choice views bubbling to the surface?

        1. woesinger

          ABM, you need to look up the meaning of ad hominem.

          Though it takes a rare breed of brass neck to deny making an ad hominem argument in one sentence and follow it up with an ad hominem argument in the very next sentence.

          Such audacity is not much seen in the present day and should be applauded.

        2. SiriusBrowne

          Young people are such unbelievable hypocrites-I was the person who pointed out on numerous ocassions on this site the CONSTANT use of ad hominem attacks by the pro choice movement- another example of your incredible ability to dish it out and inability to take it.

        3. droid

          ‘Young People’ lol.

          And if remember correctly you and youre deluded assertions were mercilessly crushed under the weight of counter-argument and you disappeared into the aether – still, no need to start letting facts get in the way of your polemics now.

    1. paul

      Did anybody see the question they took the 66% poll result from?

      Yes or No
      In current medical practice in Ireland, the doctor treats the expectant mother and her baby as two patients and does his/her best to safeguard both in a crisis situation. Do you consider that this practice should be protected and safeguarded by law or not?

  2. S

    I was on a bus out of Dublin City last week and overheard a conversation between some teenagers. The girl stated she had been asked did she want to sign a petition against abortion. When she replied that she did not know she was asked “Well if you had to choose to kill a baby would you?”. So of course she signed the petition. Her next statement to her friends however was “Well I mean if you get pregnant from rape you should be able to have an abortion”. It made me wonder how many of the signatures they have gotten are actually from people who oppose abortion unreservedly and how many are from people who think it should be a choice in certain circumstances!?!

    1. Leela2011

      Exactly, I would have been the same as a teenager. It’s very difficult to form an opinion if you or your family have not experienced a crisis or if you haven’t thought of it in much depth

    2. well

      Its not surprising , youth defence are like any other chuggers on the street. Obviously pressuring the vulnerable they come across.

      And even while telling lies they’re getting terrible returns. But sure as long as the money keeps flowing in from America Niamh still has a job so it ain’t all bad for them.

  3. sparkyjohn

    Lets be honest, either pro life or pro choice the major problem is successive governments inability or lack of willingness to bring forward legislation to fill the legal void left in the wake of the x case ruling. If it were any other piece of law in any other country human rights groups would be jumping up and down demanding changes. Why should this be any different? Making laws only when it suits the political opinions is a dangerous road to go down.

    1. well

      Its not surprising , youth defence are like any other chuggers on the street. Obviously pressuring the vulnerable they come across.

  4. SiriusBrowne

    LOL- oh NOW you post about the poll- now that someone is trying to discredit it.

    Just so we dont stray from substance, this was one of the questions asked, to which 63% answered yes. It was conducted by Millward Brown by the way, hardly some mickey mouse outfit.

    “Are you in favour of, or opposed to, constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion, but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?”

    This question may be a little long winded but clearly states are you in favour of the status quo- 63%.

    This reiterates the point that I have made here again and again that the majority of the irish people are NOT in favour of legalised abortion on demand/x case.

    Can some of the people who regularly insult and abuse me and the prolife movement please now admit at least that the majority of Irish people are against abortion on demand.

    1. S

      Sirius the question “Are you in favour of, or opposed to, constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion, but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?” is not a yes/no question. If I am asked that and simply say “Yes” am I answering:

      a. I am in favour of constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion, but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?


      b. I am opposed to, constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion, but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother’s life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?

      1. SiriusBrowne

        The begining of the question is not very clearly worded granted, but the meaning is evident, taken together with the other questions shows a clear trend.
        Lecturer Eoin OMalley doesnt even take issue with this point.

        1. S

          The lack of clarity in the question means that the results cannot be 100% accurate.

          To simplify things let’s use the following example:

          I text a friend and say “Do you or do you not want to meet at 8pm today at the local pub”. My friend replies “Yes”. Now do I take that to mean my friend will be there at 8pm or will not be there?

          I have no way of knowing do I?

          1. SiriusBrowne

            Prochoice polls routinely ask do you think that abortion should be available to a woman if her life is at risk- response overwhelming yes- prochoice then claim this is an argument for legalising abortion on demand/x case when in fact this is just the status quo as it exists currently in Ireland.

            The problem which this poll is trying to address is that people dont understand the current legal and medical status quo and that people dont fully understand the consequences of legislation ie. xcase/abortion on demand. So polls are wildly misinterpretted to support the views of proabortion activists.

          2. SiriusBrowne

            Any poll that states there is an enormous majority in favour of legalising abortion on demand- you people keep claim this is the will of the peoplke and im simply trying to explain it is not- as this poll shows.

            I also note that you ignore the entirety of the rest of my comment in favour of making a glib remark about one phrase. Afraid of debating is it?

        2. droid

          Its a farce of a poll designed to elicit the desired answer. Not only is it deliberately badly worded but it also contradicts numerous other polls authored by neutral parties which consistently show a high support for introduction of limited abortion under certain circumstances.

          The far right catholic fringe of youth defence, the pro-life campaign and the Iona Institute represent at best 15-20% of the population, which is a pretty bad return for all the millions pumped in by their fanatical US backers.

          1. S

            I think you’re even being generous with that percentage of 15-20% droid! :) I think a lot of supporters are young girls brain washed and guilted by the images of cute babies with taglines “protect their right to life”.

          2. droid

            I’m being generous, and basing that % on a poll of Irish catholics commissioned by the association of catholic priests, that gives some results which should give SB and ABM pause for thought :

            Only 12% of laypeople believe their views are sought by the hierarchy on important issues in their diocese

            87% believe priests should be allowed marry

            77% support the ordination of women

            72% believe married men should be eligible for ordination

            75% feel the Church’s teachings on sexuality are irrelevant

            Only 18% agree with the hierarchy on homosexuality

            87% believe that divorcees should be allowed receive communion

            So even amongst the 80% or so of the population who identify as catholics an average of about 80% oppose the stated positions of the fringe nutcase brigade.

            So yes, its is probably lower than 15-20%, which is heartening, and indicates that without the financial support the receive from foreign fanatics (which allows them to run big ad campaigns, organise well facilitated events and commission dodgy polls), that their influence on public life would be negligible.

            Survey here:


          3. SiriusBrowne

            Sorry I dont understand what those statistics or the catholic church have to do with this. We are discussing abortion in Ireland and the majority of people being for/against abortion…..please dont clutter the thread with irrelevant points.

          4. woesinger

            Yes – the Catholic Church has nothing to do with abortion.

            Next you’ll be saying the Iona Institute is a Catholic lobbying group, and sure we know that’s not true.

            Don’t be cluttering up the thread with evidence that the Irish public is less religiously conservative than the anti-choice movement would want us to believe.

            They’re trying to create a boogyman of a conservative silent majority to scare the politicians with and your facts aren’t helping!

          5. droid

            Sorry for confusing you Sirius, just pointing out that you and your cavemen friends constitute a small minority of opinion in this country that wouldve been consigned to the dustbin of history long ago if not for support from your lunatic financiers.

          6. SiriusBrowne

            @droid…really, this is like banging my head against a wall trying to explain this to you……

            You believe that those who are in favour of the status quo are a “caveman minority”.

            I REPEAT- the status quo is a logical human rights based stance which is supported by the majority of people in the country- as this poll shows- as several referenda have shown and as has every government in history shown.

            Do you not understand how crazily out of touch you sound when you claim that this is a caveman minority opinion?

          7. droid

            Sirius, you are a minority, even within your own church. Your claims are farcical, deluded and counter factual. You dont represent a majority, and the only evidence you have that you do is a rigged poll authored by fanatics.

            Abortion legislation will be introduced here, as will gay marraige and an end to the monopoly of religious school patronage. Youth defence et al will eventually lose their funding from disenchanted US fanatics, and in the absence of popular support the influence of hard right catholic extremists will wither away, taking their poisonous bigoted worldview with them.

      1. SiriusBrowne

        Despite the abuse that I continue to receive from idiots like you I feel pretty good today because this poll finally shows all of you out of touch liberals what the people of Ireland really think.

        Again, I am in no way a bigot nor have I ever made any bigoted remarks and yet you continue to call me so. Your comment is about as logical as me calling you a racist homophobe and a paedophile based on your comment.

        1. woesinger

          Lovely spin on that, Sirius.

          Yes, it’s the liberals who are out of touch, based on a single poll paid for by a biased lobbying group.

          1. SiriusBrowne

            the poll and several referenda plus every single government elected by the people of the state….versus……one supreme court ruling from 20 years ago that heard zero medical/psychiatric medecine- sounds like the majority versus the liberal elite to me……despite how much work you have done using the death of that poor woman to twist reality.

          2. woesinger

            Oh – I’m part of the liberal elite? Hooray! When do I get my membership card and where do I cash my frequent abortion points?

            But seriously, Sirius – you’re really reaching now.

            “Several referenda” – really? Like the ones where the people rejected amendments that would have banned women from travelling to the UK and banned information about travel to the UK? Like the two failed amendments that sought to rule out suicide as a grounds for abortion? Are those the referenda you’re talking about?

            And since when have governments been elected solely on the issue of abortion? Weak, my friend, very weak.

          3. droid

            You mean those ‘several’ referenda’ which refused to negate that suicide is a grounds for abortion as legitimised by the supreme court?

            Strange how its always the most deluded who always claim that everyone else is trying to twist reality. Its a form of mental illness really.

          4. SiriusBrowne

            The last referendum to rule out suicide, almost achieved a majority if you add those on the no side that are also against abortion (the dana brigade) you get a clear majority- please read up on current affairs. Ivana Bacik is not popular outside of your socodu circles.

    2. timbot

      Just to be clear, Sirius is lying, the question he outlines here is not the one on which the poll result is based

  5. whyioughta

    But it’s Ireland. Nobody asks awkward questions, like looking for the truth or anything annoying like that.

    Good old Jesuit double think. Or Hypocrisy as it’s known.

  6. droid

    And show us a poll that wasn’t authored by a bunch of nutcase far right catholic throwbacks and we’ll return the favour.

  7. woesinger

    Show me a poll not commissioned by a conservative anti-choice lobbying group and it might be worth analysing.

    Oh wait..


    But that one’s “biased” apparently because it had the wrong result. Because we all know that it’s only a tiny liberal elite trying to foist this legislation on the plain people of Ireland, who are wholly and in a large majority against any such impious suggestion. That’s the anti-choice mantra, at least.

    Anything that goes against this party line is Biased; anything that supports it is Unquestionably True. Up is down, black is white, the sky is green and the grass is blue.

      1. Frilly Keane

        Funny you should say that Droid

        I was only thinking that Another_Misogynist_Bigot’s repertoire of posts should be turned into a one man show

        All his words should be spoken out loud don’t Ye think?

      1. droid

        If you were cynical, you might think that Broadsheet see that the repeated page views resulting from ‘controversial’ posts in the comments represent a significant boost in ad revenue, hence when the real ABM disappeared a while back, that someone, even more extreme was necessary in order to fill the void and keep the coffers filled…

      2. droid

        Well yeah – but we know that there is a parody ABM lurking around here, and his Raison D’être is to be more extreme than the original ABM, therefore highlighting the insanity of his views, so its not THAT much of a stretch.

      3. Clampers Outside!

        @droid yes it is a stretch.

        Considering that ads only appear on this site intermittently I can honestly say they, BS, make f*ck all money and the idea of BS setting up a false ABM to keep page impressions is a bit like offering someone, oh, say, 50 cent an hour (or possibly less). It’s ridiculous in the extreme.

        That said, I don’t know who this ABM character is… original ABM or potential parody.

        And, find me an advertiser that would want to be associated with the content of posts relating to ABM’s comments and those engaging with him(?)… please do!

        It doesn’t make any sense.

      4. droid

        OK. I was being facetious, but the views of ABM etc.. arent relevant to this kind of advertising, and if Im not mistaken, they run ads here about 50% of the time.

        Every time the IT prints an obnoxious John Waters article the page count goes through the roof increasing ad revenue by a factor of ten. At this stage its a well worn tactic of online publishing to troll and roll. The Daily Mail’s entire online business model is based on this concept.

        Now, of course, I dont think the broadsheet lads are those kind of guys, but that said, theyre smart fellas who know whats what, so I cant believe that the thought hasnt even occurred. Troll in the comments box = a significantly increased paycheck. Its just business.

  8. Teets

    How about this – the 64% opposed to abortion don’t get one and we legalise abortion anyway for the 46%? Legalising something doesn’t mean the people who oppose it will be forced to terminate. Legalising is the right thing to do for women, our government knows it. Can we stop playing around with surveys and figures now and LISTEN to the ECHR?

    1. SiriusBrowne

      BRILLIANT! How did no one think of this before. I tell you what how about we legalise killing your neighbour but only for the those that want to do it? That way no one else will be negatively effected.

      1. C.D.

        Of coras, as sure luck would have it, it might put some solicitors out of a job.

        Know any good ones, Sirius?

      2. Pauly D

        There’s a huge difference between killing someone who has had a life for 50 years and something that’s not even born yet.

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