In Summary

  • Several readers have asked why disparities in the results of recent political opinion polls.
  • First of all, let me be clear: I don’t think these polls add value to democracy. Many voters feel discouraged to vote for a candidate they think will lose.
  • For that reason, opinion polls should only be shared with the candidates to help them decide where to put more effort.

Elections are finally  here. Just two days to go; or is it? Today being Sunday and the elections coming on Tuesday, are we two or three days away? Well, if we say today is the first day, then Monday will be the second day and Tuesday the third. However, the question is not which day but how many days are remaining.

Polling stations will open at 6am on Tuesday; so, assuming that you are reading this at 8am today, there are exactly 48 hours remaining. That is, two days. Thus even though Tuesday will be the third day from today, it is two days away!

A related question has been asked several times but the answer still perplexes many: why are we holding elections four years and five months since the last time? What happened to the “five-year” rule? The Constitution says that a General Election should be held on the second Tuesday in August in every fifth year. It doesn’t say after every five years.

Thus if we count five years from March 4, 2013 we end up at March 3, 2018. This tells us that we are in the fifth year and so we should rightly hold the election on August 8, 2017. If we count another five years from Tuesday, we will end up on August 7, 2022.

This will be a Sunday. The second Tuesday in August 2022 will be the 9th day of the month. But that will be outside the fifth year. Therefore, the correct day for the next General Election after 2017 will be the second Tuesday in August 2021; that is August 10, 2021.

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Several readers have asked why disparities in the results of recent political opinion polls. First of all, let me be clear: I don’t think these polls add value to democracy. Many voters feel discouraged to vote for a candidate they think will lose. For that reason, opinion polls should only be shared with the candidates to help them decide where to put more effort.

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