Matt Cooper: Plastic pollsters pulling a stroke undermines trust and politics

The political parties’ cavalier attitude to revelations of fake polling suggests they think we’re as cynical as they are

Going to somebody’s door and asking them their voting intentions is fair enough; there’s nothing wrong with proper polling. But doing it while pretending to be someone else, such as a representative of a fictitious market research company, is a classic Irish political stroke. Picture: Getty

Strokes, as they’re known, are a longstanding part of Irish traditional political culture. To many participants, politics is a bit of a game in which it’s all about getting a leg up on a rival by fair means or foul.

In 1986, the late Breandán Ó hEithir wrote a wonderful book called The Begrudger’s Guide to Irish Politics that was full of stories of strokes pulled over the years. It was funny, enlightening and depressing ...