May 1st sees the launch of what has become an exciting annual Eurovision Song Contest tradition – esctoday.com’s famous Big Poll!
The Big Poll has a long and distinguished history, being one of the first large-scale fan polls on the Internet. Conceived as a prediction rather than a favourites poll, it aimed to pool fan expertise in order to predict the outcome of the contest. Initially a collaboration between eight of the biggest Eurovision fan sites at the time, the first one was announced by our very own Sietse Bakker in 2002, and was an instant hit with fans. With over 5,000 votes, the project could be considered a great success from the start, although its success at predicting a winner had yet to be perfected; the 2002 poll placed Sweden and Spain in the top two (eventually 8th and 7th respectively)!
A fine-tuned machine
Over the years, the sensitivity of Big Poll as an instrument of prediction has been fine-tuned. With the introduction of semifinals, perhaps it’s simply that fans now have the opportunity to practice three times a year instead of just once. Indeed, the inclusion of semi-final qualifier forecasts has not only provided a practice run for the grand final, but also pushes the excitement up a notch for our pollsters. Greater numbers certainly help; by 2011, tens of thousands of votes were being counted. But whatever the reason, the reliability of Big Poll has increased year on year, representing more and more fan predictions rather than simply favourites.
In 2013, our readers correctly picked Denmark as winner, and had three of the top five right. By 2014, the collective fans’ foresight had predicted not only the correct winner of the final, Austria, but also accurately placed four of the eventual top five in the top of the table. There are still the outliers and oddities; last year, for example, there was overconfidence in the UK entry, and nobody seemed to see Netherlands’ rocket-ride into second place, for example. But generally, Big Poll has become a yardstick for fans’ expert prediction of the results!
As Big Poll gained ground, so did its official standing; press releases with our pre-contest results have been finding their way into commentator boxes at the live event for some years now, thanks to the hard work of on-location esctoday.com reporters.
Big Poll 2015: the next phase
This year, Big Poll enters a new phase. Backed up with industry-standard pollster verification techniques, esctoday.com is aiming for the most accurate and reliable Big Poll of all time. In what many are calling an extremely difficult contest to call, can your predictions help cut through the doubt and predict the eventual winner? Get your predictions in order, and get ready for Big Poll 2015!
Big Poll 2015 launches on May 1st. Check the site regularly for updates!