Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Ipsos poll, Battleground Toronto, and this site's name

After Friday's confusion arising from diametrically opposed polls being released on the same day, Ipsos Reid cleared things up a little yesterday evening by splitting the difference in its poll for Global News.

The CBC Poll Tracker has been updated with these latest numbers, and continues to show a tie between the Conservatives and New Democrats. The riding-by-riding projections have also been put up-to-date.

I identified what was potentially the main reason for Mainstreet Research's divergence from the consensus in my Poll Tracker analysis on Friday: namely, that Mainstreet had some abnormally high scores for the Conservatives among 18-to-34 year olds.

After removing the undecideds myself, I calculated that the Conservatives had 43% support among this age group in Mainstreet's poll. That was very high. You can see how high in the chart below. Mainstreet's poll is the second last in this chart, and is in italics. All the other polls are recent findings from other pollsters among this age group. Ipsos's latest is at the bottom of the chart, showing the Conservatives at just 17% among this group.

18-to-34 year olds, Mainstreet in italics
So, you can see that this is a bit of an issue. If this age group represents about 20% of the weighted sample, the discrepancy between Mainstreet's numbers and those of other pollsters would be worth about four points to the Conservatives. That drops them from the 38% of that poll to 34%, just about where Ipsos has them.

Of course, everybody else could be wrong or this could have been a momentary excitement on the part of young Canadians that lasted a couple of days, but the odds of that would seem rather low.

Leafs not the only blue team likely to struggle this fall in Toronto

In light of the Liberal nomination battle in Eglinton-Lawrence that saw Marco Mendicino defeat Eve Adams on the weekend, and yesterday's announcement that Olivia Chow was returning to the federal scene, I took a look at how the parties's chances are shaping up in Toronto for the CBC.

I hadn't fully realized something before writing this piece: Toronto itself, and not just the GTA in general, was very important to the Conservatives in 2011. They won eight seats there, after winning zero seats there in every election prior to that going back a few decades. Eight seats out of 22 in Toronto is quite good (tying the NDP), but it is very important when you consider that the Conservatives made a net gain of 23 seats between the 2008 and 2011 elections. That means Toronto represented just over one-third of the Tories' gains in the last election. The 905 is important for the Conservatives, but the 416 is no slouch either.

ThreeThirtyEight not going to happen, so please stop asking me

The name of this site, ThreeHundredEight.com, is in homage to Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight as well as the number of seats that are currently in the House of Commons and were in the House when the site was launched in 2008. It might as well also represent the number of times I have been asked when I will be changing the name of the site.

Let me clear it up once and for all (not that I've been saying anything different from the last few years). The name of the site is not going to be changed to ThreeThirtyEight or variations of that. And the name of the site is already quite long, so changing it ThreeHundredThirtyEight, as some have suggested, would be a step in the wrong direction too.

A few reasons for why I will not be changing the name of this site to reflect the new number of seats in the House of Commons:

1) It has been this way for almost seven years, which gives this name its own branding strength. It would be confusing to suddenly change the name and I'd likely be correcting people for a year or two. While the site was named after the number of seats in the House of Commons, it was never meant as a running tally of the number of seats in the House of Commons.

2) Four elections occurred with 308 seats up for grabs. You have to go back to 1965 to find a string of at least that many elections with the same number of seats. It is a particularly interesting era to name the site after, with three minority governments and the newly merged Conservative Party. Stephen Harper, Jack Layton, and Gilles Duceppe led their respective parties in all four of thsoe elections, and it is hard to name three federal leaders that have more greatly marked their respective parties or Canadian politics in the 21st century. Harper embodies, in many ways, the merged Conservative Party, Duceppe has led his party for almost 20 years, and Layton set the NDP on the path that might bring it to power this fall. The 308-seat House was also the only House I ever really knew, having started getting interested in politics after the 2000 election.

3) This site was launched in 2008 because of how interesting I found FiveThirtyEight. But to change the name of the site to ThreeThirtyEight (or 338 as many would call it) gets the name much too close to FiveThirtyEight (538). That would also lead to confusion, as well as being discourteous to 538.

4) If this site still somehow exists in another 10 years, I'll have to change the name yet again.

5) Last I checked, the URL was taken anyway so the whole thing is moot.

46 comments:

  1. The URL was probably taken by some squatter who expected you to want it.

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    1. Possibly, but I remember checking the URL very early on. If it was a squatter, they moved quickly.

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  2. Why not change the name of the site every time an MP resigns, dies, or otherwise leave office?

    The site should be called threehundredfour right now. I think there are 4 vacant seats at the moment.

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    1. You pay to keep URL names; I can't imagine Éric wanting to pay extra money for a whole bunch of extra URL names to account for shifts in the number of seats in the House.

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    2. I'm pretty sure he was being facetious.

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  3. Replies
    1. threehundredeight.com is a fine URL. He doesn't need suggestions.

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  4. As a Senators fan, I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the comment about the Leafs struggling. Lol

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    1. I was wondering if anyone saw that...

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    2. Will the Leafs go on struggling with this new GM they just got ?

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  5. Comparing with the other polls of 18-34 year olds, it almost looks as if Mainstreet may have mistakenly interchanged CPC and NDP support. Wouldn't be the first time something like this happened: in January 2014 Forum did a poll for Hill Times in which Mulcair and Trudeau's preferred PM results were mistakenly interchanged, and a correction was issued a couple days later.

    Dom

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    1. I do indeed recall that, I was the one that discovered it!

      But it would require a transcription error that was carried through the entire poll. At the time, Forum's looked just like an actual typo that wasn't picked up when the analysis was written. This would require an error back when the calculations were made initially.

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    2. Ah, you may be right. I just dug up the Hill Times "amended" news release in case you're interested in fully refreshing your memory:

      http://www.hilltimes.com/news/politics/2014/01/31/forum-research-amends-poll-results-that-put-mulcair-as-best-potential-pm/37263

      Dom

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  6. Really enjoyed your arguments against the name change. Totally agree with all of them. I would also add another: the 308 name could improve over time as it indicates that you have been doing your thing for a while.

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  7. Hello Éric! I was just wondering if the discrepancy in the Mainstreet poll will mean that you will lower its weighting? Currently it seems to have a weight of 20% on the Polltracker website. Thank you!

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    1. No, I handle all polls according to the same set of uniform rules, whether or not the numbers 'feel' or 'look' right.

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    2. Alright, thank you very much for the quick reply. Cheers!

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  8. I agree that the Mainstreet numbers should be used as is to stay consistent. But it would be interesting to see how the model would be changed if the probably discrepancy did not happen.

    Assuming that the Mainstreet Poll would than confirm what all the other polls have been telling us (small lead for NDP), A large weight probably would have tilted more seats to NDP and increase the maximum further into majority?

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  9. I can see why you wouldn't want to mess with the weighting. It is very important that this type of website is above partisanship. If this were right before the election and voting behaviour could be unfairly affected by an outlier, then there would be more of a conversation to be had.

    However just for fun, I ran some descriptive stats on the 13 polls you list (using conservative's data only).

    The Mainstreet poll is 2.98 standard deviations above the mean for the other polls or about 6.44 SDs if you don't count Mainstreet in the variance.

    Mainstreet's number is so far off the rest of the distribution that it more than double's the standard deviation of the 13 poll results. It also reverses the sign on the linear trend all on its own. An outlier by pretty much any standard.

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  10. Eric: 308 is dated. You are part of the establishment.

    You used to be a leader in the era of technology. You forced your way onto the national landscape from an internet blog!!!

    Now you have joined Craig Oliver, Fife, Mansbridge, Rex Murphy as the out of touch institutions that dominate the MSM .


    May as well change your site name to 265 as were the number of seats when many of your colleagues at CBC were in their prime.

    Leaving this site name as 308 will date it and mark it as out of touch.

    You were an innovator and did a great job getting this far....

    suggestions for a name:

    The Grenier Report on Political Trends

    What Polls Mean: Canada

    Election results before they happen



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    1. Guess we know how BC Voice votes ??

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    2. I couldn't disagree more, Eric. I think you do a great job, and that's why I check the site nearly every day (sometimes multiple times a day). Keep up the good work.

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    3. I think we already did know how BCVoR votes, but I don't see how we could get that from this specific comment.

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    4. I didn't at all to impinge the the quality of the site or Eric's work.

      The 308 site name clearly sets the time frame for the site. It has become dated and will become worse.

      Hate to see the site that was on the edge of the wave being swamped in the backwater.

      Peter.... There are plenty of clues how I vote.. Does my lack of enthusiasm for the 60+ crowd dominating the MSM political commentary indicate a political preference?

      Is that group of dated political commentators your personal favorites?



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    5. Jeepers, I hope I don't look 60+.

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    6. BC: Rather Eric now has a recognized and respected trademark. Something you apparently can't understand. But given your other pronouncements understandable !

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    7. BCVoR - The name isn't a description; it's a brand. There's a reason 20th Century Fox didn't change its name when the 21st Century began.

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    8. Uhm Ira sorry but they did. It took them a while but in 2013 Murdoch Rupert's group saw the value in making it 21st Century Fox. Fox TV and Fox New and Fox Sports did not make the mistake of tying a time signature to the name.

      Eric you don't look 60+ and the CBC is making an attempt to refresh.... BUT if you look at your corporate competition for fame and fortune there will be a lot of folks that are past eligible for pension and will not step aside to provide growth opportunities for you young whipper snippers.

      Your way forward is really tied to this website.

      Clinging to the 308 name (especially after breaking into the CBC) indicates that your best might very well be behind you.

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    9. IMHO keeping the name as 308 indicates settling and basking in your significant accomplishment.

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    10. No, BCVoR, that's not true.

      20th Century Fox still exists, and is still called 20th Century Fox.

      21st Century Fox is the parent company of 20th Century Fox, and is one of the two companies that were formed when News Corporation was split into two in 2013. The publishing division became News Corp, and the entertainment division became 21st Century Fox.

      But 20th Century Fox, the brand that's actually presented to the public, is still 20th Century Fox.

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  11. Wow, totally disagree with this. Your contribution is a breathe of fresh air compared with most Canadian commentary. Rex Murphy? Ouch!

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  12. And now we have the figures and Canadian economy slides for fifth month in a row while US economy rises 2.3%

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    1. The Americans are finally seeing a real recovery from their recession.

      Our recession wasn't as deep (Paul Martin should get credit for that), so we don't get that predictable recovery.

      Currently, the low price of oil and the high price of electricity on Ontario contribute greatly to our lack of economic growth. Political uncertainty doesn't help, nor does our recent failure to complete large trade deals.

      Harper's government hasn't been a terrific steward of the Canadian economy. I'm not at all confident Mulcair or Trudeau would do better, but Harper has been far from my ideal.

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    2. Actually Ira I would suggest that that high electricity price in Ont. is causing more of a problem than the low oil price. It's an absolute bastard and really, really hurts industry !

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    3. Blame Dalton McGuinty for that. Shutting down the coal plants with no plan to replace the production was moronic.

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    4. Ontario still has the highest economic growth rate out of the provinces. So while Ontario has it's own problems, this province isn't causing the recession.

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    5. Ira I agree but it wasn't just Dalton !! Think back to Mike Harris and others! All other Ont PM's have screwed around with Hydro and we are paying the price for sure !

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    6. No, the recession is caused by the sudden contraction of the richest parts of the country: Alberta and Saskatchewan. With GDP per capita 50% ahead of the rest of the country, volatility there really messes up the national average.

      But stronger growth in Ontario would offset that. Our monthly GDP declines are tiny. Small variations is a big economy like Ontario would prevent Canada from being in a recession.

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    7. Harper put everything in the tar sands basket and now he is paying for it. 8 straight years of deficits and two recessions he would not admit to.

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    8. Canadians have been hewers of wood and drawers of water since the very beginning of Canada. In any case natural resources are a provincial responsibility so your anger towards investing in oil and gas would be better focused on the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The NDP in Alberta is doing a fine job of ruining that province's economy by eliminating any incentive to invest in the oil industry through their royalty review.

      Harper is well on his way to a second strong stable Conservative majority Government!

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  13. Love that new Forum poll.

    And I don't often say that about a Forum poll.

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    1. Yup, after spending hundreds of millions on taxpayer funded ads, throwing tax dollars around like water, all the CPC can do is tie the NDP. Love it.

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    2. Hey Jimmy,

      Is the NDP ever going to refund taxpayers for absconding with 3 million dollars in parliamentary funds to pay for party staff? Anybody who has ever lived in a Province that had or has a NDP government knows the NDP is overly eager to spend and waste taxpayers money!

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