During the build up to Eurovision, punters will find the internet inundated with polls each claiming to represent the majority or boasting the best accuracy. Once analysed, these spurious claims transpire to be a piss-poor crock of shit concocted by groups of fervent populist voters. You will discover that these polls are about as accurate as consulting tealeaves and you would be best served using your gut instincts and following our basic Eurovision betting rules.
The three main polls are ESCtoday’s Big Poll, Oiko Times’ Europredict and the OGAE poll published via ESCtoday.
My loathing for these polls should already be apparent. They serve as a platform for the over enthusiastic fans of certain nations to vote for their political allies, or to give nil point to their fiercest enemy.
Now I can hear some of you reading this shouting that good songs and small countries sometimes benefit from these polls. I agree, there are a proportion of honest voters in these polls. But let us consider the main demographic of Eurovision fans voting at these early stages:
- Kids, teens and young adults
- Regional bloc voters
- Pink vote
These demographics are the reason why Hera Björk topped the ESCtoday poll in 2010, and why Kati Wolf topped the OGAE poll in 2011. I was a fan of Hungary’s entry in 2011, but as soon as the frailties were exposed, it quickly became apparent this song would struggle to challenge the top 10. As it turned out, both songs mirrored each other’s fortunes and failed to resonate with both the voters and the juries, despite Iceland’s performance being flawless.
I’m not trying to insult those demographics, as everyone is entitled to their opinion. Nevertheless, it is important to look back and understand polling data collected prior to the finals and compare it to the actual results. As the previous paragraph describes, there is a solid pattern with respect to how poorly the camp dance-floor numbers perform with both the voting public and national juries.
Analysing the 2011 polls, it is easy get lost in what is a random splatter of countries. We can already see the influence of the youth and pink votes on the Irish, Estonian and Hungarian acts, and with prior knowledge, we would simply dismiss them as red herrings. Jedward, however, were unique in that rather than just being considered as an upbeat dance song, they also arrived as ‘the novelty act’ with a huge PR machine. Top 10 was a definite possibility, but as you will discover from our article on stage design, there was more to their performance than just the novelty factor.
Identifying countries with a strong presence in all three polls maybe a good tactic. You would have been well served by backing Azerbaijan, but that tactic would have failed had it applied to the UK and France. You should now appreciate why the polls are considered far too subjective and fail to account for many more factors than public opinion alone. Allowing yourself to be fooled by these polls could cost a small fortune. Given that 50% of the Eurovision result is made up of the juries’ opinions, why would any sensible punter take advice from a source that is influenced by only 50% of the voting demographic?
Polls should be taken with a pinch of salt. Despite the claims of their respective websites, they struggle to predict any aspect of the Eurovision result and merely arrange the songs in the order of their readerships’ preference. Additionally, their results are primarily based upon studio versions of a song, which fail to account for an act’s inability to sing live or interact with the TV audience.
The only use polls serve, apart from generating website hits, is to gauge the possibility of a top-10 finish, but even that is fraught with danger!