New Poll Released: Canadian opinion erratic?

There have been three new polls released since the last update of the Paulitics polling resource, including an Ipsos-Reid poll released yesterday.

The latest poll has the parties standing as follows:

CON: 36;  LIB: 34;  NDP: 12;  BLOC: 9;  GREEN: 8 (source)

Anybody who’s interested in the other two polls, you can access them here and here.

As evidenced by the latest 5 or 6 new polls released by various polling firms, it seems as though either there’s been a sudden, and unexplainable, decrease in the reliability of polling methodology or Canadian opinion appears to be increasingly unstable.

For instance, the Angus-Reid Strategies poll released on Feb. 27 had the Liberals at their lowest point since mid-July 2006 (26%) and the Decima poll released the following day confirmed this result showing the Liberals at 27%.  Yet the latest Ipsos Reid poll above shows the Liberals and Conservatives within the margin of error.

Similarly, recent polls have shown the Conservatives varying wildly from a maximum of 40% to a minimum of 32%; Greens between a max of 13% and a minimum of 7%; and the Bloc has been received its lowest poll result since well before the 2006 election (7%) as well as it’s highest result in 5 months – both within a couple of weeks of each other.

With these new polls, even the Paulitics weighted and rolling averages are not moving along smoothly as they normally do, but are currently demonstrating a huge surge for the Liberals (although, most of this has to do with the two aforementioned dismal poll results for the Liberals being dropped from the five-poll averages).

The Paulitics trend lines now sit as follows:

2007-03-17-results.JPG

Click here for the updated Paulitics Polling Resource, the long-term trend lines and the new Paulitics Provincial/Regional party breakdown

12 Responses to “New Poll Released: Canadian opinion erratic?”


  1. 1 Ken Chapman 17 March, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Save Democracy – Lie to a Pollster

  2. 2 Scott Tribe 17 March, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    The Angus-Reid 26% Liberal poll was if not bogus, very questionable.. it was an online poll.. and I’m surprised you even bothered to include it.

  3. 3 Andrew 17 March, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Check for the % undecided. When polls are unstable, the undecided number is usually quite high.

  4. 5 paulitics 18 March, 2007 at 7:10 am

    Scott – The reason I included the Angus-Reid poll is because I haven’t received a sufficient and sustained justification as to why it is so unacceptable other than from Libloggers whining about their party’s performance in it and various commenters on your blog.

    I’m not saying that there can’t be a reason why I shouldn’t include it, rather just that I haven’t read anybody whose motivations aren’t suspicious (such as you) give a sustained justification as to why the mechanisms Angus-Reid uses to maintain a modicum of EPSEM standards for that online poll are insufficient.

    Find me an academic, peer-reviewed paper on the topic, or another reliable source, and I’ll take that poll down tomorrow.

    I find it ironic that you only ever seem to find flaws with polls which show the Liberals down. A bit convenient, no?

  5. 6 Scott Tribe 18 March, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Not true.. I’ve already wrote at my site why online polls should be discounted. Their track record is spotty at best when they’ve been used in US elections – so much so that the lefties like Daily Kos and the lefty election prediction sites will either refuse to use them or else put a big asterisk beside them and tell people to take them with a grain of salt (and I am thinking of Zogby specifically).. and those polls have tended to skew Democratic.. so if they dont want to use them or view them with suspicion.. that means they believe that these type of polls are probably joined by people most motivated by politics, and as lefties in the US have been rather activist and motivated the last 6 years, it would make sense that there would be more of them sampled in an online poll that you are asked to sign up for.

    The same could be said to be true up here.. its generally been recognized that conservatives are pretty motivated politically to participate in online activities up here.. particuarly when they were in opposition for so long (hence the popularity of the Blogging Tories).

    That’s why you should have discounted this poll – its unreliability and with no proven track record would have caused me to condemn it whether it had Liberals 14 points up or 23 down. The fact that their phone poll shows the difference only 2 should confirm that.

  6. 7 Ken Chapman 18 March, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Paulitics – go to http://www.policychannel.com and check out the video interview with Dr. Earle Snider on the faults with standard polling operations. The self selected particiption in on-line polls does not reflect the sense of the statistically valid poplation nor are they likely to be representative.

    The other side is that the world is run by those who show up. The on-line survey participants are more likely to be individuals are engaged and influentials because they take the time to engage in on-line polling…no proof – just intuitive suspicion.

    Therefore it is arguable that on-line polls can be more refeectif of what is on the minds of the influentials and engaged citizens – those people who are likely to show up and vote. We have to temper that a bit obviously but in terms of previewing voter preferences (at a point in time) that has a change of reflecting ultimate results – I think those who are engaged (as evidenced by on-line poll participation) are more likely to reflect attitudes that will reflect their ultimate behaviours and impact actual election results.

    The on line survey has to be so much bigger than the usual 800-1000 players in traditional polling though to have any chance of reflecting ultimate behaviours. As for questions of “who are you likely to vote for if an election were called today” is such a waste of time anyway – as if campaigns didn’t matter. Besides the consequences of the answers are irrelevant tothe participants. So who really cares what I think or even if I think when giving my answers.

    I end where I started – Save Democracy – Lie to a pollster so we can show how just how stupid this is and how it is an exercise in media manipulation – by and of the media BTW

  7. 8 paulitics 18 March, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Scott – Not being a complete idiot, I am aware what internet polling is and why, in its raw form, it ought not to be trusted.

    My question was rather about the mechanisms (if any) Angus-Reid uses to ensure a modicum of EPSEM standards in these polls as opposed to, for instance, the polls that the Globe and Mail hosts on their site.

    Contrary to your assertions, I do not consider you a polling expert. That is why I was puting forward a genuine question to see if you or anybody else had actually read a credible, preferably peer-reviewed, academic source about what specific EPSEM mechanisms Angus-Reid uses for said polls. Thus, you merely forcefully reasserting what I already knew, does nothing for the issue at hand.

    Lastly, Scott, it’s a little bit rich for you to suggest that your critique is based merely on the high regard you have for polling methodology and that your partisan motivations are not suspect. Every time the Liberals take a nosedive in the polls you and your Liberal Party sycophants chime in with why that poll is wrong or why that polling company has bad methodology. I’ve also seen you attack non-internet polls and polling firms just because you didn’t like the results, so you’ll excuse me if I exercise a little bit of scepticism with regards to your sincerity and forthrightness on this matter.

    ————————————————————

    Ken – Is Snider just talking about online polls in general or Angus-Reid’s online polls specifically? I don’t need to be sold on the unreliability of generic online polls (as I’m already a sceptic), but I honestly don’t know enough about what kind of mechanisms Angus-Reid employs to maintain EPSEM standards. I’ll take a look and see if it’s what I’m looking for, thanks for the link.

  8. 9 Malcolm 18 March, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Liberal apologists have been attacking Angus Reid for the “online polls” by dishonestly confusing the Angus Reid instrument with the sort of self-selecting sample polls we see on various media or other websites. They are two different things.

    The classic online poll is usually one or two questions, often on a hot button issue, and frequently linked through a media or advocacy website. For example, a poll on the Toronto Sun website asking about voting intentions would be expected to have an oversampling of conservative responses because that is the nature of the Sun readership. The response is self-selecting and makes no pretence at reflecting a random sampling of Canadian viewpoints. In addition, the right seem to be more likely to influence distortion in these polls, although I have no partucular idea why that is.

    By contract, the Angus Reid insturment and process is a multiquestion poll on a range of issues, and includes demographic questions.

    Equating the two types of poll simply because they are both online is like claiming there is no distinction between a reputable poll done by phone and the voting process on American Idol.


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