John Wright has issued a semi-substantive response to the corpus of data presented here on this blog.
Unfortunately for Mr. Wright, as he continued talking he revealed far more than he intended. Now that he has been talking, he seems to have stumbled headfirst into what I believe is a contradiction against himself and I invite my readers to think critically for themselves about whether they share in this analysis.
In one of his initial comments here at Paulitics, John Wright claimed that the source for his polling data was “Elections Canada”. The suggestion was, of course, that his data integrity was superior to mine and that therefore his numbers should also be more valid. At the time that he wrote this, I thought it was a bit strange since I was unaware of Elections Canada publishing or even keeping a database of polls released by private polling firms. I even did a search of the Elections Canada website, and found that in the last 12 months, Elections Canada hasn’t published a single article containing the word “Ipsos”.
However, Mr. Wright gave me enough material to respond to that I just let it be. While I knew that it was unlikely, I also knew that it was certainly not impossible that I could be missing some polls from 2009 and thus I asked him for the first time to provide his source. This week Mr. Wright is now claiming his source as nodice.ca and that his source this whole time has been not just 2009 polls but also some 2008 polls (presumably also from nodice.ca).
(makes Scooby-Doo “Ruh-roh” sound)
This is a big problem for Mr. Wright as nodice.ca contains nowhere even close to an exhaustive list of all polls.
The Paulitics Polling Resource and Wikipedia both documented a total 33 polls between the start of 2009 and when this whole episode blew up (two new polls have since been released, neither of which is by Ipsos Reid). At only 12 polls, Nodice has less than half of all the polls conducted in 2009 and this is the source John Wright has been using (in addition to 2008 polls which I haven’t analysed once yet, but which I would be happy to take a look at.
Mr. Wright then states a complete and demonstrable falsehood. He writes that
In the last of our 4 polls the NDP have been in the lower range (running 14-15 points) with EKOS and Harris Decima roughly the same and the others at the higher end. This is when Paulitics made the calculations. But just previous to that are 4 of our polls with the NDP running between 18-19 points. [emphasis added] (source)
Below is a list of the last four polls Ipsos Reid released in 2008. See for yourself if the last four of Ipsos’s 2008 polls all have the NDP “running between 18-19 points”
If anybody is interested in seeing for themselves, the published sources for these four polls can be found here, here, here and here. Furthermore, the October 9th, 2008 Ipsos Reid poll, even though it shows the NDP at 18 percent is actually still an outlier because it comes directly before a Nanos, Angus and Ekos trifecta of polls which put the NDP at an average of 20%; and it came on the same day as Segma poll which put the NDP at 21%, a Nanos poll which put the NDP at 22%, and an Ekos poll which put the NDP at 19% (source).
Finally, Mr. Wright again attempts to reiterate his claim that taking the unweighted averages of several unevenly-weighted averages is not problemmatic despite multiple, solid, irrefutable proofs to the contrary. Mr. Wright also attempts to argue that his method of calculating averages is “perfectly legit and pretty much what the original author [i.e. me, Paul] did with his handful of polls in his charts.” (source)
I am truly sorry John, but this “new math” method calculating averages is neither legitimate nor has it been used by me. Furthermore, since I’ve demonstrated why this technique is not “perfectly legit”, I think this argument is just a particularly sad attempt to attack the messenger when the data and the arguments presented here speak for themselves.
So, to reiterate:
- Mr. Wright seems to have forgotten his original source for 2009 polls (originally it was elections canada, now he says it’s nodice.ca)
- Mr. Wright then admits that his numbers are actually based on a database (nodice.ca) that contains less than 50% of the pertinent data
- (perhaps because of this) Mr. Wright has been unable to provide a single poll which I have missed in my data.
- Mr. Wright then demonstrates a shocking lack of knowledge about the polls that his own firm released in late 2008.
- Mr. Wright then proved unable to articulate a single methodological fault in any of my analyses.
- Mr. Wright then admits that he has supplemented his 2009 data with 2008 polls
- Mr. Wright then reiterates once again that taking the unweighted averages of several unevently-weighted averages is not problemmatic despite multiple instances in which I have provided mathematical proof to the contrary
I’ll tell you, Mr. Wright is the gift that keeps on giving. Swing and a miss, Mr. Wright, swing and a miss.