In one corner, the Strategic Counsel firm is standing by a recent survey that suggested only one-third of Canadians shared Harper's staunch pro-Israel stand. In the other corner, the head of the Compas firm says the prime minister enjoys twice that much support and accused his rivals Monday of conducting a "misleading anti-Harper poll."
Compas said its rival invited an anti-Harper response by asking about "Israeli actions" - a term it decried as a hostile-sounding statement that swayed respondents.
Coming to Strategic Counsel's defense:
"The Strategic Counsel has produced a fair and reasonable study of how Canadians feel about some of the issues here," said Bruce Anderson, president of Decima Research.
"The criticisms are not terribly well-founded."
I find it quite ironic that Compas speaks of misleading questions, given their biased questions. Here is how Compas reached its results:
Compas arrived at its conclusion that Canadians supported Harper after asking the following four questions:
-Does Israel have a right to defend itself? (82 per cent responded in the affirmative)
-Was Iran wrong to arm Hezbollah and call for the destruction of Israel? (69 per cent agreed)
-Was Syria wrong to arm Hezbollah and disobey the United Nations resolution requiring Syria to keep guns out of Lebanon? (68 per cent agreed)
-Did Hezbollah in Lebanon start the war? (Just 38 per cent agreed)
Compas then took those four responses, averaged them out, and concluded that 64 per cent of Canadians supported Harper's policy.
Most sane people wouldn't dispute Israel's right to defend itself. In fact, I don't even see that as a serious question, ditto for foreign countries arming Hezbollah. The only question that really asks anything in my mind is the, "did Hezbollah in Lebanon start the war?", of which only 38 per cent agreed. That response is the most telling because it speaks to intent and blame. I am actually surprised that more didn't agree with this statement, because it has become conventional wisdom in all reporting that Hezbollah initiated the violence.
If anyone was "skewing", it would appear to be Compas, with its broad questions that didn't address Israeli response. How someone can conclude that taking the average of these four questions is representative of Canadians views is beyond me. Compas might want to remember the saying "if you live in a glass house...", because the more scrutiny their own polling receives(see link), the more it stinks of patent bias and manipulation of opinion to cobble a desirable result.