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 and be misinformed. Is there no responsibility there?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.