Written by Josh_Cluderay

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The general election is now less than 6 weeks away, making this the busy season for polling companies. With the election looking harder to call than BT customer service on a Sunday afternoon, these pollsters have been working round the clock to crunch the numbers. Unfortunately, it appears to be taking a psychological toll. We put the issue to Arfan Hanif from YouPoll, who wished to remain anonymous.

"I don't know what's going to happen!" he told us. "How could I? All we actually do is ask other people. And they don't know! Or if they do, they change their minds 10 minutes later. How am I supposed to make any sense of it?"

We wondered if he might be asking the wrong questions.

"But I've asked all the questions!" he shrieked. "Who will you vote for? Who do you want to win? Who'd win in a fight? Snog Marry Avoid? Deal or No Deal? Where's Wally? No one knows!"

To Arfan, predicting the outcome of the election isn't just a bit of fun for bookmakers, or even a crucial milestone in our nation's history, it's also a massive hassle.

"We have these squiggly lines right, which are supposed to show you who's winning. Every day I stare at the squiggly lines and sometimes the red one is slightly on top and sometimes the blue one is slightly on top. The only time it changed was when the purple line suddenly took the lead and I thought UKIP were going to win, but then I realised I'd been staring at the squiggly lines so long that they'd just blurred together.

"Sometimes the squiggly lines even twist together into a sort of dagger that stabs into my brain and screams 'FORECAST THE ELECTION!' over and over, but all that means is that I've fallen asleep at my desk and I'm dreaming about the squiggly lines again."

The problem, he tells us, is sample size, which is generally too small to deliver a representative outcome, and too big to deliver a decisive one.

"I tried reducing it to one" he recalls. "I asked a bloke in Nandos who he was voting for, but he said he was on holiday from Malaga and was flying home later. I submitted that to my boss, but he said it was unrealistic to suggest that 100% of voters were planning to emigrate to Spain.

"So then I went the other way. I drew up a proposal for a nationwide poll - one that would include every voter in the country. I wanted to set up centres in every constituency where people could come and cast their poll, that way we'd be sure to get the right result. Unfortunately, the plan was rejected as I wanted to do it on May 7th, and apparently there's already something happening on that day. Typical government short-sightedness."

Unfortunately for Arfan, he'll have to keep poring over those squiggly lines right up till election night. Some might suggest that our demand for relentlessly updated information is a product of an impatient, over-entitled culture and we might as well just wait for the election. But most would agree that in this day and age, it's utterly vital that absolutely everyone in the country knows absolutely everything that is happening at the moment it happens - if not before. Anything else is simply undemocratic.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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