By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
Actually, Forum Research’s last poll in Labrador was fairly reflective of the final vote—and Conservatives could point to that as evidence of Mr. Trudeau driving voters away, but then the 20-point drop they claimed on Monday night becomes a nine-point drop (from 57% in early April to 48% on by-election night).
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 3:14 PM - 0 Comments
Only two national polls in August, but the Conservatives gain a slight advantage.
A year ago, the Conservatives went into the fall with a five-point advantage. Two years ago, the Liberals were at 29% and the NDP was at 16%. The New Demorats have now led the Liberals for 16 months.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Loewen considers the recent failures of political polling.
The problem is not with the first part. Pollsters have developed very clever ways to obtain people’s honest opinions. They can use live people on the phone. They can find respondents over the Internet. They can use “interactive voice recognition,” in which a poll is conducted via a pre-recorded phone message and respondents key in their answers. Data collection is more affordable than ever, and text messaging and smartphone apps are promising even swifter data collection.
The problem is the second part. Pollsters simply do not know enough about who responds to polls via some media, who replies through others, and what kinds of people ignore polling requests entirely. The problem isn’t getting sample, it’s getting good sample. Simply knowing a respondent’s demographic information is not enough to correct for bad sampling. The result is that we cannot extrapolate with sufficient accuracy from our samples to the whole population. We cannot, in other words, know with much confidence the likely outcome of an election before the votes are cast.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 4:04 PM - 21 Comments
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 12:56 PM - 19 Comments
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM - 14 Comments
By Emma Teitel - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:25 AM - 2 Comments
A review of survey results from across Canada
Atlantic Canada: Fifteen per cent of East Coasters claim that their hairdressers know more about them than their spouses. That’s tops in the country. The national average is 10 per cent.
Quebec: With just 51 per cent backing the Canucks during the Stanley Cup ﬁnal against Boston—the team that knocked Montreal out in the first round—Quebecers are the least supportive in Canada. Meanwhile, 63 per cent in Ontario and 66 per cent of those on the Prairies were bleeding blue and green.
Ontario: Sixty-three per cent of Ontarians would like all films featuring smoking to receive an 18A rating—a mandate that would permit teens to have consensual sex and operate a motor vehicle before they are allowed to watch Pinocchio. Other films potentially implicated include Snow White, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Alice in Wonderland.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 2:30 PM - 36 Comments
Ekos asks what should happen if a minority government is defeated soon after the next election.
The EKOS-iPolitics survey finds two-in-five Canadians – 43 per cent – think the governor general should call on the leader of the Official Opposition to form a new government if the next prime minister’s party is immediately defeated. Only 19 per cent of Canadians think another election should be called. The remaining 38 per cent either had no opinion or refused to respond.
Leger asks a similar question and gets a similar response.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 53 Comments
Alice Funke challenges the seat projection phenomenon.
The inherent bias in seat prediction methodologies to favour previous election results means they tend to overly favour parties set to lose seats, such as the Liberals and Bloc Québécois in the last election. They also tend to miss the likelihood of parties on the rise to gain seats, such as was the case with the Conservatives in the last election. Only the NDP, whose vote intention numbers showed little gain by the end of the 2008 campaign, saw seat count predictions on both sides of its eventual total.
Another problem for the seat projection methodologies is that they are backward-looking. They’re using days-old polling data at a time of incredible movement in the polls, and laying that on top of results from the last election when incumbency was a factor for some political parties’ votes that is no longer at play.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 18, 2011 at 4:06 PM - 25 Comments
Michael Veall cautions against reading too much into sudden poll changes.
So even if a party is up say 3.5 percentage points comparing a new poll with a previous poll, if each poll had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, the 3.5 percentage point increase should be compared to a margin for error of about 4.4 percentage points. There is a reasonable chance that the party’s vote intention share in the total population did not change at all: all that happened was that the pollsters randomly happened to choose more of the party’s supporters in the second poll.
The margins of errors for changes in leads can be twice as large again. If a party is leading by 5 percentage points in one poll and then by 9 percentage points in the next poll, the margin of error around that 4 percentage point gain could be over 8 percentage points. While probably the lead increased, there is still a significant chance that the lead decreased.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 14, 2011 at 9:05 AM - 27 Comments
There’s broad consensus among pollsters that proliferating political polls suffer from a combination of methodological problems, commercial pressures and an unhealthy relationship with the media … ”The dirty little secret of the polling business . . . is that our ability to yield results accurately from samples that reflect the total population has probably never been worse in the 30 to 35 years that the discipline has been active in Canada,” says veteran pollster Allan Gregg, chairman of Harris-Decima which provides political polling for The Canadian Press.
By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 2:10 PM - 9 Comments
Nearly half believe in aliens and want scientists to find them
According to Britain’s Royal Society, which conducted a survey to mark its 350th anniversary, nearly half of all Britons believe in aliens and almost 80 per cent think cancer should be prioritized in the hunt for a new vaccine, Reuters reports. What’s more, around 53 per cent would like science to help them live longer, and 66 per cent think disease control and eradication should be a top priority. After cancer, HIV/AIDS was considered the disease most in need of vaccine, according to the survey of 2,000 people. Nearly half (44 per cent) believe in aliens, and over one-third think scientists should be actively searching for them and trying to contact them.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM - 56 Comments
Bruce Anderson contemplates Michael Ignatieff’s predicament.
More fundamentally, he hasn’t yet developed clusters of voters who see him as “their guy.” I’m talking about groups of voters with common interests: aligned by income or region or gender based concerns, or who hold a particular place on the political spectrum, or who care deeply about a single issue, and who know they can trust him to champion their causes … in the end, for the voter who worries about taxes, or health, or retirement, or fiscal management, or jobs, or the environment, or trade, or foreign policy, or who lives in Atlantic Canada, or economically stressed Ontario, or the lower mainland of British Columbia, there is a sense that he is sufficiently smart but insufficiently passionate about what keeps you awake at night.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 25 Comments
“Perspective” in Ottawa generally means an ability to remember what happened two weeks ago and, alas, Goat Boy was passed over when the television networks were last hiring. So here is a table of voter intention polling by Environics between 1978 and 2001. For the sake of the present discussion, note Liberal numbers throughout most of the 80s, particularly at the end of 1988, and then in late 1990 and early 1991.