If one took the recent MRBI/Irish Times opinion poll on abortion at face value, it would appear that those who believe in defending unborn children from deliberate destruction are only a fringe minority. I would not for a moment take that seriously.
The survey was a multi-question one, introducing emotive topics like rape and lethal foetal abnormality (not a medical term). Way back in the 1980s when a divorce referendum was on the horizon, The Irish Times published a series of MRBI polls which played much on topics like wife beating, child abuse and other ills. Naturally, high pro-divorce support resulted.
At the very same time, the Irish Independent ran IMS polls requiring a simple YES or NO answer and low pro-divorce figures resulted. The Oireachtas All Party Committee on Marriage Breakdown was then sitting and loudly noted the gross disparity between the two polls.
The loud and clear message was that all opinion polls were rubbish. As a result, the Directors of MRBI and IMS (Jack Jones and Charles Coyle) met and issued a joint statement, which was widely published, admitting that references to emotive situations in the polls had distorted the results, as people interviewed tended to lose objectivity. That is as true today as it was then.
When the divorce campaign commenced in May 1986, an MRBI poll predicted that divorcé would be approved by 61% of the people. In fact, divorce lost by 63.1%
Second Look Project
(Oct 13 2016)