03.04.2011 09:16 AM

Context

A polling firm, Forum Research, has something out suggesting that the McGuinty Liberals and the Hudak-Hillier PCs are vitually “neck and neck” in the Greater Toronto Area.

I asked some friends who Forum Research was.

Then I remembered.

I’m sure they are very nice folks and all that, but no other polling firm ever, ever confirmed their GTA result.  In fact, everyone else found that Sarah Thompson and Joe Pantalone were never behind Rossi in the final few months.  Not once.  That’s why Benedict Baldy dropped out, in fact.  The Forum Research poll did not match what others were finding, or what was happening at the doors.

Can pollsters get things wrong?  Yep, they sure can.  The good folks at Forum did with Rossi, in my view.

I’m writing a column about this polling stuff for the Sunday Sun. I don’t believe the federal Liberals are as behind as some pollsters say they are.  And I don’t believe this morning’s survey, at all.

Over and out.

9 Comments

  1. Riley Hennessey says:

    Polling is just data. Why do people get so upset with it as soon as it doesn’t reflect their personal opinion? You take it for what it’s worth, and you move on. Regarding the federal Liberals, the polls only indicate that they are in the mid-20’s… and this has been consistent for several years. Why are Liberals suddenly stunned by this? Do you not remember the 2008 election returns?

    • Namesake says:

      Stay in school. And watch the news, once in a while.

      People — and not just Liberals — have “suddenly” been talking about the accuracy of polling for the past couple weeks because Allan Gregg, one of the country’s most prominent and well-respected pollsters, has made a series of public statements on CBC’s ‘The National’ and ‘The House’ and some follow-up print interviews to caution people about the facts that telephone polls have a response rate of only about 15% and are skewed to certain demographics, and that internet polls do not draw from a random sample and so shouldn’t be reported as meeting certain margins of error, and that far too often the analysts of both have been exaggerating minute differences that fall within the margins of error.

      And don’t give their findings the honorific of “data” and then try to exploit the equivocation between “input of information” and “fact,” as though their findings are always accurate indicators of the true state of the whole public’s voting intentions;

      the quality of the “data” extracted by pollsters for input can vary widely according to a number of factors, and as any computer or social scientist can tell you, the quality of the output thus varies accordingly:

      http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/definition/garbage-in-garbage-out

      For an illustration of one of the problems: in the P&P panel on the accidentally leaked Kenney “ethnic vote” strategy yesterday, the columnist John Ivison noted that he’s heard from pollsters — off the record, of course — that the mainstream Canadian polling companies have an abysmal response rate from new immigrant families.

      • Brian says:

        And perhaps the voting rate in those families is abysmal as well. But I don’t the issue is that polls are often wrong. Nor is Gregg saying so.

        I think the issue is that polling can only be so right: it’s accurate only to within a certain margin, for a specific instant in time, and it doesn’t factor for the event that confirms everyone’s unspoken hopes or fears one day later.

  2. nic coivert says:

    Polls are no longer data, they are propaganda.

    Is the Wizard of Oz really as powerful as he appears?

    Wait until Dorothy and Toto get behind the voter’s screen.

  3. Deke says:

    WK might be correct but when the McGinty Libs are talking like lanark landowner wierdos and Hillier about holding a killing contest on coyotes ya gotta think they are running scared.

  4. Cath says:

    federal, provincial doesn’t matter. It’s all data smog. Why? Because there are so many pollsters out there, and soooo many polls that the general public is tuning them off almost completely making their message smog-like. Every poll that comes out from here on in needs a big “WARNING” as pretext, reading something like this:

    WARNING – FREQUENT AND UNNECESSARY POLLS MAY BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH – IF YOU EXPERIENCE DIZZINESS, EYE-ROLLING, UNCONTROLLABLE SHOULDER SHRUGGING, NAUSEA AND SHORTNESS OF BREATH CLOSE THE NEWSPAPER, TURN OFF THE TELLY AND COMPUTER AND PROCEED TO THE NEAREST MOVIE THEATRE, RESTAURANT OR RELATIVES HOUSE – YOU’RE SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF DATA OVERLOAD BROUGHT ON BY WAY TOO MUCH DATA SMOG.

  5. Cath says:

    maybe we need a poll done on how many Canadians would like to see the end of polls?

  6. Brad says:

    I heard about this poll on CFRB 1010, if it’s on CFRB 1010, then it must be true

Leave a Reply to Riley Hennessey Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*