Ipsos Reid: 0; bloggers everywhere: 1

A short while ago there was a post here on Paulitics which analyzed what I saw to be a discrepancy between the Ipsos Reid polling firm’s data and every other polling firms’ data. That post elicited a somewhat condescending and ad hominem response from John Wright, the senior vice president of Ipsos Reid.

Despite the profoundly unprofessional tone of this comment, this blog issued a detailed, statistical, and fully-sourced response addressing not only each one of Mr. Wright’s utterances, but also posited even further evidence to back up the initial argument that there is a statistically significant discrepancy between Ipsos Reid’s numbers for the Conservative and New Democratic parties and every other polling firm’s numbers for those parties. This response was in three parts and can be viewed at each of the urls below:

A Response to Ipsos Reid, Part III

A response to Ipsos Reid, Part II

A response to Ipsos Reid, Part I

After an initial non-response from Mr. Wright to these three statistical analyses of his firm’s data, Mr. Wright has now offered his only quasi-substantive retort to date. His response merits quotation to fully appreciate it:

John Wright 20 June, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I don’t need to clarify anything. My initial response was correct and I stand by it. In fact, the assertion of how I somehow didn’t calculate the right average is absurd. 20 years in the business and we do $200 Million a year in Canada alone…all I can say is that he seems to have a great deal of time on his hands to burn through a lot of graphs and charts and, well, whatever…and by the way, EKOS and us have pretty much the exact numbers out in the last 48 hours with the Liberals in front by a point.

john.wright@ipsos.com 20 June, 2009 at 3:31 pm

What I wrote previously still stands…despite all the charts and graphs and arrows and calculations, what I put up is entirely accurate.
You really should get your own polling company and test out your ideas.
Regards.

So his response to the overwhelming mass of data presented here is three-fold:

  1. He attempts to push the well-known logical fallacy of an argument from authority
    – (“In fact, the assertion of how I somehow didn’t calculate the right average is absurd. 20 years in the business and we do $200 Million a year in Canada alone.”)
    – (“You really should get your own polling company and test out your ideas.”)
  2. He then attempts to engage in an ad hominem attack against me. The irony here is that his ad hominem attack is based on his belief that I have done too much research into this matter. Presumably, if I’d just started spouting off about something without backing it up with a detailed, statistical, and fully-sourced response, Mr. Wright could then have charged that I was naïve and relying on unsourced assertions that had no statistical validity.
    – (“all I can say is that he seems to have a great deal of time on his hands to burn through a lot of graphs and charts and, well, whatever.”)
  3. He then uses the profoundly unstatistical argument that his initial support for his firm’s data is still reasonable because one of his firm’s latest data points (for the Liberal Party, no less, which was never even a subject of any analysis I’ve ever done of his firm’s data) is very similar to one datapoint for the Ekos polling firm.
    – (“and by the way, EKOS and us have pretty much the exact numbers out in the last 48 hours with the Liberals in front by a point.”)

As always, I remain interested in getting to the bottom of the kind of descrepancies we have been seeing. So, if Mr. Wright would like to issue a substantive response to the actual data and arguments presented here, I would greatly welcome it.

14 Responses to “Ipsos Reid: 0; bloggers everywhere: 1”


  1. 1 john.wright@ipsos.com 21 June, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Getting to the bottom
    of what? I told you in
    my first response that I took all the
    polls of all the firms from 2008-2009
    and did some simple averaging that is
    very correct and showed that we are
    nicely in the middle of the
    pack. There is nothing more to tell
    you, honestly. I’m sorry if this causes you
    some great angst but we have no motive or conspiracy
    here and I just think as a bright kid you like
    to stir the pot to get people to visit your site.
    The fact is this: I gave you a very clear answer at
    the outset and I’m really sorry it has got you all
    worked up about it, really.
    Sometimes the Tories are up,
    sometimes they’re down (and don’t forget we’ve
    been polling on federal numbers for 30 years)
    and the last time the NDP were anywhere in
    the hunt was when Ed Broadbent led the party…what you want is some kind of debate
    over methodology when the fact is all of the firms, on average,
    are always within a few points of each other and during an election we’re
    usually within the
    margin of error.
    Nothing, in all the years of our polling has changed and we do it the same each time. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
    Best regards.

    • 2 Liamyoung 22 June, 2009 at 7:11 am

      RE John Wright’s Response:

      I’m confused by the comment “you like to stir the pot to get people to visit your site”. Since you seem to be offering your perspective free of charge and without advertising, the only ‘benefit’ of having more people to your site would be the added cost of traffic and bandwidth with your hosting service!

      Paul: for new visitors (like me), maybe you can provide a permanent link at the top of your site that gives users and visitors an explanation about polling, why people are consistently suspicious about them and what the alternatives might be?

      Thanks!
      Liam.

  2. 3 sid 22 June, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Wow again.

    The non-responses from the Ipsos VP sure sound a lot like “You are totally wrong, 1+1=0 but I will not show my work”.

    And a pollster making fun of the amount of number crunching is again truly amazing – especially since he has not pointed out a single flaw in any of your work, not one.

    I would guess his legal folks have warned him to tone his crap down and not to say anything actionable, so he instead just screams “I am right” at the top of his lungs.

    Like a great many conservatives, Mr, Wright has shown he falls into the “facts have a liberal bias” wing.

    I would challenge him to show a mistake in your work, but I figure all it will get is more personal attacks on the author without a single fact to back him up.

    By the way Mr.Wright, I believe Mr. Madoff could have blown away your annual numbers, they don’t mean the underlying structure of your company aren’t rotten.

  3. 4 John Wright 22 June, 2009 at 8:57 am

    You are truly an embarrassment.

  4. 5 john zogby 22 June, 2009 at 9:11 am

    “You are truly an embarrassment”

    Herein lies a perfect example of “projection”.

  5. 7 Dave 22 June, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    used to work there. they poll to the client spec, push-poll relentlessly and depend on lawyers whenever negative press comes out. they use sophisticated techniques (think of the movie Magnolia) to achieve the answers they want.

    don’t believe a word that comes out of this tory front.

  6. 9 Dave 23 June, 2009 at 1:08 am

    whatever you say john. say hi to Arlowe for me.

  7. 10 laurence.stoclet@ipsos.com 25 June, 2009 at 12:36 am

    John, we warned you about this type of thing. Please let corporate communications handle this from now on.

    My apologies on behalf of Ipsos.

  8. 11 John Wright 26 June, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Remove this last comment as soon as possible. This is a fake message.

    Unless removed immediately is carries severe penalty for the person who did it and the host who maintains it.

    This action misappropriates a person and the comments have produce measurable damage.

    This has crossed the line.

    Remove it forthwith and govern yourself accordingly.

  9. 12 John Wright 26 June, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Remove this last comment as soon as possible. This is a fake message.

    Unless removed immediately it carries severe penalty for the person who did it and the host who maintains it.

    This action misappropriates a person and the comments can produce measurable damage.

    This has crossed the line.

    Remove it forthwith and govern yourself accordingly.

  10. 13 RPJ 26 June, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Regardless of what Paulitics decides to do about the post that you are having a hissy about Mr. Wright, I’d like to remind you that you have chosen to engage in an arena where the posters are all anonymous. The way this works is that we all know this and expect to make our own decisions about who is who and what is fact and what is fiction. We are used to making up our own minds and in fact this is the way we want to get our information. The days of relying on corporations to pre-chew our food are gone. Have you not wondered why sites like FiveThirtyEight in the USA and Paulitics and others like it in Canada are becoming popular sources of information? It is because the evidence presented here stands or falls on its own and not because some mega-corporation can force-feed public opinion. (I’ll leave it up to you and our readers to decide how many ways a corporation might do this). What, I can tell you though, is that I have no sympathy for you whatsoever in whatever damages you imagine you might suffer for your participation here. You came into this knowing the rules (or lack thereof) and yet you jumped right in with fists a-flailing slinging poop with the best of them. If you now find that you may have gotten a little of it on yourself, then don’t now go running back to hide behind your big corporate legal department. No doubt that is where you feel most comfortable where it is your position that opens doors for you and kisses your ass. Here you are just the same as the rest of us. No better and no worse. And that is driving you nuts. You seem to have never learned to play without a loaded set of dice. Quite frankly I don’t care if Stoclet is who he purports to be or not. He adds nothing to the data analysis and that is the meat of the issue. Just as you making your identity an issue has been an entertaining side issue, it has not factored into my opinion of the veracity of the info presented. In closing, I just want to say, thank God for a free internet and I hope we can keep it that way forever. It is truly the hope for us … the general populations of the world.

  11. 14 John Wright 27 June, 2009 at 1:03 am

    So, what’s your e-mail? What’s your phone number? What’s your address??

    What, you aren’t a coward are you???? Show us where you are…you have to have more than that “Paul Bernardo” lookalike picture, don’t you???

    C’mon, fess up…


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