Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strategic Counsel Replies, and the rest of the Harris-Decima poll comes in...

The details of the Harris-Decima poll have been released. The only missing information were the Ontario numbers, and a switch of the Green support in Quebec from 5% to 4%. The Ontario numbers:

Conservatives - 37%
Liberals - 37%
New Democrats - 16%
Greens - 9%

There has been little change in the Ontario projection, the seats are the same but the Conservative-Liberal gap continues to shrink.

I also received a reply from Strategic Counsel about their odd 26%-result for the Green Party in Quebec. More or less, this is either one of the 1 in 20 moments, or they captured a new trend in Quebec. I think it is pretty obvious which is the most likely.

This brings up the question of responsibility. Do polling firms have a responsibility to present the numbers without any context or explanation, or do they have a responsibility to point out any errors? They are always careful to mention that parties can be in a "statistical tie", but should they also be up-front and open and say "these numbers are probably way off"? People who follow polls and politics closely know that the Green Party is not at 26% support in Quebec, but those who don't will read the article on CTV.ca and be misinformed. Is there no responsibility there?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

2 comments:

  1. Great Blog - I am definitely book marking you. Thanks for getting inside the polls.

    I believe that polling companies should have to produce the actual questions asked. I believe that often they use leading questions or give preamble that directs the participant towards a certain result. This is evident by the fact that many polls seem to favour the beliefs of those who commissioned the poll. Of is it that the ones that don't favour them never get published?

    Keep up the good work!

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  2. I wonder if this how the NDP surge in Quebec came about. Someone reported incorrectly which built momentum to cause a surge

    asa

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