Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Polls, Polls, Polls

Leger:
The Leger Marketing survey indicates the Conservatives had the support of 33 per cent of respondents, the Liberals 22 per cent and the NDP 12 per cent. The Bloc Quebecois had the backing of seven per cent of respondents while the Green Party had five per cent.

The numbers jump with the redistribution of the undecided, suggesting Conservative support was at 41 per cent, Liberals 27 per cent, the NDP 14 per cent, the Bloc nine per cent and the Greens six per cent.
The poll of 1,500 people was conducted between March 20 and 25 and has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

I would like a breakdown of how many people were polled on which days. As I've said before any results in the first couple days following the budget are suspect at best. This poll was conducted between Tuesday and Sunday, so I'm not sure how to read the results. I'm also not sure how you "redistribute" undecideds.

The poll suggests majority terrority for the Tories, which directly contradicts yesterday's Decima findings. Conclusion, who knows.

UPDATE:
Some internals:
The Leger poll indicates the Conservatives have yet to pass the dominant Bloc in Quebec. The poll suggested the Bloc still led with 36 per cent support compared to the Conservatives who had 26 per cent, the Liberals a hair behind at 25 per cent and the NDP trailing at 10 per cent.
The news was more encouraging in the other key electoral battleground of vote-rich Ontario, where Leger found the Conservatives polled at 44 per cent support, the Liberals at 32 per cent, the NDP 14 per cent and the Greens at eight per cent.
The margin of error for the Quebec results is five percentage points and 4.5 percentage points for Ontario.
Other good news for Harper in the Leger poll suggests 57 per cent of respondents were satisfied with his government and 35 per cent saw him as the party leader who would make the best prime minister.
Harper was followed by NDP Leader Jack Layton at 14 per cent and Liberal Leader Stephane Dion at 12 per cent.

The Quebec numbers are similar to Decima's, although the Ontario numbers show no relationship whatsoever.

30 comments:

Gayle said...

What does "redistribution of the undecided" mean?

Yesterday the conservatives were saying they are not going to go to the polls. Today, they might start talking about how the liberals are forcing their hands again.

A new day, a new poll, a new comment from the conservatives.

Steve V said...

People don't really know who they support?

rockfish said...

Seems there is a group of people who are flipping from one party to another. Regularly. And no one knows why. Could the COns be emailing nasty attacks on Dion at various groups of voters?
Also, Leger has Liberals at 22%???
Please tell me that's a typo...

knb said...

This is absolute BS, imho.

You cannot just apply the undecided to the existing numbers. I presume that they would apply the numbers based on the existing percentage breakdown.

What an assumption! How many of those undecided's have any intention of voting? How many actually know what the individual parties stand for? I mean, if you're not political and you're asked if you would vote for party a, b c, or d) don't know, what are you going to answer?

I'm sure there are some legitimate undecideds out there, but to apply the number this way, is just beyond ridiculous. Can't wait to read how the con's
rejoice over this farce.


I'm getting the sense that every pollster and every reporter in Canada, has made pushing an election, their religion. They'd all do well to focus on something that is real. When is the last time you read a serious piece on the environment from one of these jokers? They write about the strategy of announcing this, what buttons that ammendment might push, how will the con's react?

It's now official in my mind. The dumbing down of the message has caught on and we're all the poorer for it.

bigcitylib said...

What this poll really reveals is a huge pool of undecideds. How you would redistribute them at this point seems pretty arbitrary. Usually polls don't do that until right before the election

Anonymous said...

Could it be that some that would normally support NDP or Green may feel a need to vote Liberal rather than get a Tory majority so therefore declare themselves undecided?

Gayle said...

"I'm getting the sense that every pollster and every reporter in Canada, has made pushing an election, their religion."

Totally agree. I would think there has been so much attention paid to their opinions these days that they would want things to stay as they are, and then I really get into the conspiracy theories and think maybe they want another election now because they know it will be another minority - and more work for them.

Steve V said...

Before "redistribution" there are 21% undecided, which is quite high. After the unknown methodology that doles outs undecideds the total is still only 97%.

knb said...

gayle, I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I'm having trouble stopping myself from thinking something is drastically wrong here.

I flipped around the tv and caught part of Duffy tonight and quickly changed the channel. The man is an ass. What I saw had him stating that the Liberal Leader's questions in the House, were fluff and weak, based on hearsay, then chuckled. Since when do political hacks decide what the Leader of the Opposition should be asking? Since when does the media decide what import those questions may have?

Remember all the outrage at how the PM was treating the media? Something has changed I think. I think the con's have found a way to send the media their talking points and people as thick as Duff, think they are being given special info, so they collaborate.

That's my latest theory and I'm sticking to it, lol!

Steve V said...

knb

Duffy was on about decorum in the H of C today too. He wondered why someone could call the PM a "liar" and get away with it. I don't recall him questioning decorum when the Right Dishonorable was discrediting his office in parliament.

ottlib said...

Leger did this a little differently than the rest of the polling companies.

When a poll is conducted the interviewer notes down what the respondent says for their response to the party they support, whether it is one party or another or undecided or don't know or fuck off I am eating supper.

At processing time the polling company then counts each response, except for the eating supper responses as they are not completed interviews. Not a difficult concept to grasp really. What they wind up with is the first set of numbers that are quoted in this story.

Then most of the time the polling company removes the undecideds from the mix and recalculates the estimates. It is the recalculated results that are published along with the undecideds almost as an afterthought the end. That is why you usually see polls with the phrase "the poll indicates that X% of DECIDED VOTERS..." You will note in this story it says 33% of RESPONDENTS.... In other works 33% of the 1500 interviewed said they are supporting the Conservatives.

What this polling firm has done is to take the undecideds and distribute them amongst the decideds before re-calculating the numbers. There methodology for doing so is to take the undecideds and to distribute them in proportion to the level of support indicated by the decideds.

Although statistically valid it is generally not the way things are done in the polling business because it is assuming the opinion of a respondent, which is usually not a good thing in survey work. However, this is a political poll and the rules are usually massaged for such things.

Regardless, Conservative supporters will ignore all of that and claim the Harper majority is in the bag.

However, the reality is this result just demonstrates what I have always said. Different polls done for roughly the same reference period, using different methodologies for data collection and processing will give you wildly different results.

Anonymous said...

Has Cherniak declared a Liberal majority yet?

Steve V said...

ottlib

"There methodology for doing so is to take the undecideds and to distribute them in proportion to the level of support indicated by the decideds."

That's what I thought they did. Why not just leave the undecideds as such, because it is representative of reality, not to mention a testament to volatility and soft support. I know some polling companies use leaners, while others frame so you can't answer undecided, but if you want the true picture, leaving the undecideds sounds accurate.

Steve V said...

"Has Cherniak declared a Liberal majority yet?"

Well, the NFLD results are in, and it looks bleak for the Tories ;)

ottlib said...

I said this a couple of weeks ago and I will say it again. All of these polls showing wildly different results is just going to confuse those folks who are not political junkies like me.

Heck, I look at them and I sometimes wonder what to think.

I cannot imagine what those who do not follow politics on a daily basis must think when they see these polls.

In_The_Centre said...

Yesterday the conservatives were saying they are not going to go to the polls. Today, they might start talking about how the liberals are forcing their hands again.

A new day, a new poll, a new comment from the conservatives.


I can guarantee you that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals are relying on these public polls for election planning purposes.

The Conservatives are doing no such thing. Their own private polling numbers (which, by the way, are way more in depth then ours as they have the money to splurge in such luxuries) are giving them seat projections of 160-180. This information is known to all Liberal party organizers who are currently prepping up the party's electoral readiness machine.

Elections are ultimately won by the ground/air war, and as it stands at this moment, the Con’s are light years ahead in organizational ability, almost to the point as being good as Chr├ętien’s old red machine.

knb said...

ottlib:Different polls done for roughly the same reference period, using different methodologies for data collection and processing will give you wildly different results.

Agreed, but what is discouraging, nay worse than that and I cannot think of the word, is that it suggests an agenda, to which I say, what the hell is the point of conducting polls?

Sorry, I'm getting angry about this stuff. I've been involved in focus groups, on both sides. I worked with reputable companies that did their utmost to not bias the questions, nor the resulting numbers in favour of the client. What I see going on, and daily no less, is this intentional manipulation. Who will call them on it?

Steve, how rich is that coming from Duff? I'm not surprised, but the list of what the PM and gang have done, from both sides of the House, is too long to print without killing many trees!

Though I will say this, calling the PM a liar, or anyone I think, is not allowed, no matter how accurate. I saw the member say that and I agreed with him, but I thought, oh, oh. Odd isn't though? You can't call someone a liar, but you can say that they sympathise with the Taliban. (Tweak that a bit and it's a good ad) Perhaps the rules, stating what is un-parliamentary should be revamped.

ottlib said...

Lorrie Goldstein is that you?

You published that statement almost verbatim in the Sun chain just a few days ago.

Why are you bothering to make these comments on a blog when you have your own column is a national chain of newspapers?

knb said...

in_the_centre...I have no reason to doubt what you are saying, so what do we do? Currently the con's are winning the air wars. Why I'm not sure, but how did the Lib's get on the media's bad side? Conversely, how did the con's gain favour?

ottlib said...

knb:

It is partially a function of being in opposition. In between elections the media care more about what the government is doing and saying than the opposition. Stephen Harper was largely ignored before both the 2004 and 2006 elections.

It is partially a function of the advantage of incumbency. In both the 2004 and 2006 elections the Liberals held similar leads to the Conservatives just days before the writ was dropped. In both cases the media was saying the Liberals were headed for a majority government.

It is partially a function of the media being more interested in a narrative than reporting the facts. News outlets are more and more about entertaining than informing.

How do you change the narrative? You don't, it changes on its own once they decide the narrative is no longer entertaining.

If recent history is any indication it will change several times during the election because media narratives have much shorter lifespans during elections.

So unless the Liberals conduct such a terrible campaign that it cannot be ignored (Like the last one) they should receive some more positive press during the election.

ottlib said...

If I may expand on my first point. Stephen Harper was largely ignored before the 2004 and 2006 elections accept when he was perceived as screwing up. Sound familiar?

I would also point out that the media had written him off as late as a month before the 2004 election. Again, sound familiar?

knb said...

ottlib, thanks for that. Actually, over dinner I was thinking, did the media only profile Ministers, with no rebuttalin the past. It seems that the con's have a free voice and I cannot recall that happening before.

To conspiracy again, I thought perhaps that the con's had negotiated with the major networks and said, I'll appear, but only alone. I doubt my thought, though could not recall what happened in the past.

If memory serves, they used to have a Minister, on his/her own, then they had the critic respond, after the fact. That doesn't happen anymore.

I'm liking your rational optimism though. Thanks for that.

ottlib said...

knb:

I do not recall ever seeing a direct rebuttal to something a Minister said. If it ever happened it was usually well after the statements.

Certainly, the media would give the opposition some time to respond to the government but rarely was it to everything the government ministers said.

Instead they would take a topic or two that had the most entertainment value and then get differing opinions on them.

knb said...

Fair enough, you are better versed on this than I.

I really only got active when I saw Harper rising. I've always held my views, but was quiet, 'till then. I sometimes regret that, but, we all emerge for a reason I guess.

Steve V said...

I updated the post with some internals to chew on if anyone's interested.

In_The_Centre said...

in_the_centre...I have no reason to doubt what you are saying, so what do we do? Currently the con's are winning the air wars. Why I'm not sure, but how did the Lib's get on the media's bad side? Conversely, how did the con's gain favour?

Honestly, the ground war is the most important
when it comes to election campaigning. If we run a stellar campaign based on ideas and vision, rather then calling Harper a neo-con, the media will come around.

The party is having a difficult time in recruiting and retaining volunteers from the leadership days (all those youth Kennedy supporters have vanished). We are improving our fundraising abilities but have not had enough time to build true grassroot's support on a level to compete against the Conservatives.

If the Conservatives are smart, they will want the election campaign to be 5-6 weeks, since I hear our party has enough money for a 2-3 week campaign (The Con's know this as well)

When Dion says we dont want an election, he really means it. Why? This next election will be the first time in 15 years where the potential really exists for our seat count to be similar to those found in the Turner days

The best we can do is get more of our friends to knock doors and make calls when the time comes. I would even argue that the last election was won by the Conservatives mainly in part by their excellent ground war and "getting the vote out" efforts rather then Martin's sorry excuse for a campaign. Remember, this new CPC has had the best training from Republicans down south in terms of how to get out the vote.

-ITC

Steve V said...

"I would even argue that the last election was won by the Conservatives mainly in part by their excellent ground war and "getting the vote out" efforts rather then Martin's sorry excuse for a campaign."

I would agree that the Conservative did a good job a GOTV, largely because of the palpable anger towards the Liberals. Having said that, the Liberals would have been defeated years ago if not for the divided right and an apprehension for the new Conservative party. Harper ran on the "kick the bums out" theme and that's what voters did. The campaign was a referendum on 13 years, people timidly embraced a change, it really should have been a rout in my view.

The ground war will be a factor this election, and I'm not dismissing it in the last, but the biggest factor was the anti-Liberal sentiment, the festering finally came home when Harper managed to look credible.

knb said...

ITC. Well, Harper is a neo-con, but I take your point.

Where did the Kennedy kid's go? I'm reading that he has a great following. BTW, what was that in the biz section today about Martha? I found that odd.

Back to the point though, I'm of two minds on the door to door thing. I had two guys knock on my door the day after the U-Con school let out. They looked like religious folk, coming to sell. When I told them I was a Liberal, they said "everyone here is, that's so weird". (I'm in Ontario, South Mississauga)

My point, they offered nothing. I'll volunteer, but that activity seems a bit futile.

Steve:The ground war will be a factor this election, and I'm not dismissing it in the last, but the biggest factor was the anti-Liberal sentiment, the festering finally came home when Harper managed to look credible.

I would agree, though Martin (and staff) did a poor job of "getting" what was needed.

BTW, I sent you an e-mail, through your profile.

Steve V said...

"Where did the Kennedy kid's go?"

I'm still here, all 38 years ;) Give me a K, E lol

Anonymous said...

I had a very BAD feeling when Bob Rae got his nomination in Ontario..Ontario will not forget or forgive Rae because he hurt the seniors and disabled and they will not support liberals because he is nominated and maybe re-elected. very bad move.