RIP testing in pubs

Since I was a little girl, reporters have been putting the news to “the pub test”.  The idea being that “the pub test” guages public opinion and provides an “every man” view.  But after years of watching people sitting in pubs telling us what they think, I have to ask - Is it just me or is it time to lay “the pub test” to rest?  

The statistician in me argues that they are unreliable and here are the 2 key reasons why:
1.    Unless you are doing a vox pop in the local on a Friday or Saturday night, you are going to have a meagre number of people to garner views from.  The streets will provide a greater sample size.
2.      Going into a pub in the middle of the day is going to give you a very limited pool - not just in size, but in variation of the participants.  You are less likely to get diversity in any of the relevant factors - cultural, socioeconomic, gender, sexual orientation, age, education levels, etc… 

So dear reporters/news readers/broadcasters/host, unless you:

  • are aiming your programs/papers/broadcasts at white males aged late twenties to late 50’s that hang out in pubs; 
  • are still living in a world where white males that hang out at the pub in the middle of the day are representative of what we all think; 
  • believe that women are obliged to take the opinions of their pub dwelling husbands and therefore are not worth hearing from;
  • still live in the 1940’s where white Australia IS Australia 
  • are concerned that showing educated people giving their opinions will be seen as elitist;
  • think that your audience will be convinced by this poor excuse for journalism,please, we beg you, STOP THE PUB TEST and come and join us in 2017, you may be surprised with what you find when you get here.
Bar Flies The Esplanade Hotel St Kilda Melbourne Victoria Australia October 2014

Bar Flies
The Esplanade Hotel
St Kilda
Melbourne Victoria Australia
October 2014