Mistake made on daylight savings time survey

A Rolex watch (Photo: hypo.physe / Wikimedia Commons). (A Rolex watch (Photo: hypo.physe / Wikimedia Commons))

A mistake was made in a survey intended to gauge what the Dutch population thinks about daylight savings time. In one question about implementing permanent summer time the survey states that the sun will set at around 8:00 p.m. at the end of June, while in fact the sun will set at around 10:00 p.m., NOS reports.

The survey was done by Motivaction on behalf of Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations. The results showed that the majority of Dutch are in favor of permanent winter time. Motivaction concluded that the Dutch are slightly more negative about permanent summer time "after information about the times of sunrise and sunset on the longest and shortest day of the year" was provided. And it is exactly that information on the survey that is incorrect.

"In the summer nothing changes compared to the current time system", the survey states in an explanation of permanent summer time. "A the end of June, the sun rises at 5:20 a.m. and sets at 8:00 p.m." Afterwards respondents are asked: "Can you indicate again to what extent you are positive or negative about this possibility: the implementation of permanent summer time?" In reality, the sun will set at around 10:00 p.m. at the end of June if permanent summer time is implemented. 

In a written statement Motivaction said that the extra information did not have much influence on the answers. "In all three ways in which we ask for an opinion per option, the support for 'standard time' remains more or less the same, regardless of the information we provide with the option." The agency therefore believes that the error had no effect on the conclusions of the survey. 

Minister Ollongren said the same thing to NOS. "People gave very consistent answers, also where the question was well formulated." She does however regret the mistake. "This is sloppy and should never have happened. I am of course not happy with it and let the research agency know it."

As the mistake had no influence on the outcome, there will also be no new survey, Ollonren said. "The result is valid. And I already concluded that it is necessary to carry out further research into summer and winter time, for example by looking at aspects of public health, safety and economy."