Musings, politics and environmental issues

Archive for March, 2013

Opinion polls – do they tell us anything?

Does anyone else get annoyed by opinion polls, whereby people are asked about who they would vote for in the next election, whenever that happens to be? I find it really irritating. In some cases opinion polls are carried out soon after an election has happened, which tells nothing except perhaps for how satisfied the population is with the government. Sometimes different polls are published on consecutive days with results that differ quite significantly. Sometimes results reflect some current event, sometimes the smaller parties are not included, sometimes the number of people who give concrete answers (rather than “don’t know”, don’t intend to vote, etc.) is not really large enough to be meaningful, and so on.

There have been instances here in Iceland where a new party has rocketed up to 20% support in one poll and then dwindled to less than 5% a few months later. And other parties, new or old, have almost doubled their support between polls. And yet many of the new parties have not yet developed their policies enough to publicise them to the prospective voters, so people do not have enough facts to choose properly anyway.

MAYBE opinion polls give some indication when carried out within two weeks or so of an election, by which time people should be aware of what each party stands for and thus have grounds on which to base their decision. But I’m not sure they mean much at other times.

Recycling – the packaging dilemma

In our house, we diligently try to recycle everything (or almost everything). In Iceland there are separate containers for plastic, paper, plastic bottles, etc. And aluminium foil can also be recycled. But sometimes it’s difficult to decide what category to put something in, as some paper resembles plastic and sometimes it appears that plastic (or paper) has an aluminium lining – but maybe it doesn’t. And then there are the foam-like trays that are used sometimes under vegetables or fruit – even organic fruit. What are they made of? I haven’t a clue. It would be wonderful if packaging was clearly labelled with recycling guidelines.