Thursday, February 21, 2008

Common Trends

Two different polls, two very different overall results. However, there are some common themes in the Decima and Strategic Counsel offerings, which represent good news for the Conservatives, bad trends for the Liberals, depressing results for the NDP.

Looking at Decima's latest first, it seems to contradict the SC poll, with the following:
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey put the Tories at 35 per cent and the Liberals at 33 per cent, a statistical tie given the poll’s 3.1-percentage-point margin of error.

Both parties remain well short of capturing majority support and neither appears to have strong momentum.

Support for the NDP and Green party slipped slightly to 13 per cent and nine per cent respectively.

On the face of it, nothing particularly bad for the opposition, until you compare these results with Decima's previous poll. That poll, done three weeks ago, showed the following:
the Liberals stand at 32% compared to 29% for the Conservatives, 16% for the NDP, 12% for the Green Party and 9% for the BQ.

The trend is clear, movement for the Conservatives, a full 6% increase. The NDP falling into official party status terrority.

The real troubling news for the Liberals, the Conservatives have rallied in Ontario:
The poll also found some modest good news for the Tories in vote-rich Ontario, where they climbed into a tie with the Liberals at 40 per cent. The NDP were at 11 per cent and the Greens at eight per cent.

Decima three weeks ago:
latest results show the Liberals with 44%, compared to the Conservatives 30%, the NDP 15%, and the Green Party 10%.

Decima shows the Conservatives gaining nationally, particularly in Ontario.

When you look at the Strategic Counsel poll, you have to be concerned by the fact that the 12 point spread is the largest recorded by this outfit since the last election. We can debate the accuracy, but the trends are similar to Decima, which gives some validity:
Conservatives the first choice of 39 per cent of Canadians, 12 points ahead of St├ęphane Dion's Liberals, at 27 per cent. NDP and Greens tied at 12%

If you look at the last two SC polls, you see solid upward movement for the Conservatives, Liberals basically stagnant, erosion for the NDP. In terms of trending, basically the same as Decima.

Strategic Counsel also finds the same worrying trend in Ontario:
Some of the poll's key findings are in Ontario, where 42 per cent pick the Conservatives, an increase of 7 per cent from 2006 and of 5 per cent from last month. The Grits are down six points from the last election to 34.

In the span of a few weeks we see the Conservative move from 2 down to the Liberals, to a full 8 ahead. Comparing that finding with Decima, we saw a 14 point lead for the Liberals three weeks ago evaporate into a deadheat. Both polls convey the same trend, both show real erosion for the Liberals in Ontario, a big uptick for the Conservatives, the NDP wallowing(actually fourth in Ontario).

For the first time I can remember, a polling outfit other than Ipsos, has the Tories ahead or tied in Ontario. Given the fact we now have three polls, all telling basically the same story, I tend to believe these results, and they represent real trouble for the Liberals, very encouraging news for the Conservatives, the NDP bordering on irrelevant.

Ontario was the Liberal firewall, in fact the older polls that showed a national tie, actually pointed to a Liberal minority, once you factored in the Ontario numbers. Everything changes with these results, if taken at face value, the prospect of a Conservative majority seems possible.

35 comments:

Raphael Alexander said...

I weighed in on these polls as well. I agree with your analysis, and I think the more the Liberals show weakness of character and party, the worse these numbers will get. My only surprise is that soft Liberal support has headed right instead of left. I guess Layton is too weak for their tastes.

Steve V said...

"My only surprise is that soft Liberal support has headed right instead of left. I guess Layton is too weak for their tastes."

If you look at the SC findings on Afghanistan, when you factor in potential NATO help, the Ontario numbers show the NDP marginalized on the question, with their stance. I doubt NDP support moved to the Cons in Ontario, what could be happening concurrently, some movement to the Libs, while Lib support moves to the Cons.

Scott Tribe said...

When Nanos shows those trends.. I'll be worried. Til then, I'm not. I don't rate SC much higher then Ipsos, to be honest.

That said, I certainly wouldn't be afraid to show these polls to the Nervous Nellies in the Liberal caucus and tell them voters like to see parties stand up for their principles, not abstain all the time. Since many of them seem obsessed by polls, that should be their proper conclusion.

tori said...

im guessing that the LPC's internal numbers suggest the same trends, and could help explain dion's sudden change of heart re: the budget

JimmE said...

Polls Schmolls! If Mr. D grows a spine over the Budget this all changes in about 15 minutes. BTW I don't think this wild swing in two or three weeks says anything other than the Tim & Tina Hortons of Canada can't give a rat's rear about any of these fellows at this point. Wake me up in March when Alberta looses its Tory majority.

Anonymous said...

I’m also wondering if this has anything to do with the new offensive the CPC/Flaherty have decided to take against McGuinty? Perhaps they see a way to exploit some rising unpopularity against the premier, especially in the 905 area? (Interestingly, it was the Southern Ontario Liberals who went from being decidedly hawkish to squeamish about going into a federal election)

Ontario is losing jobs, and perhaps some in that province have decided to blame the premier over the Prime Minister, up to this point.

All speculation, of course.

-ITC

ottlib said...

Comparing the results of different polls from different companies and drawing conclusions on trends is kind of risky. I would point to a comment I made over at BCer in TO for the reasons why.

You know this is the third time that Strategic Council has done this. On three other occasions other polling firms have shown the Liberals doing fine and then SC came out with a poll showing them way behind the Conservatives. Kind of makes me wonder.

I expected the Decima poll to be what it was, except I am surprised at how high the Liberals actually are in their poll. I was expecting them to fall back to around 30% not hold steady. The Conservatives did what I expected. Incumbents rarely trail the opposition between elections unless there is a real appetite for change amongst the electorate, which is not currently the case.

As well, big swings as indicated by the SC poll are usually accompanied by something big happening on the political scene. The only thing I can think of that would hold the attention of the electorate would be Afghanistan but there was a highly publicised compromise reached at around the time this poll was taken and much of the impetus for that compromise came from the Liberals.

So what are we to read into the results in that case? That Canadians do not like Stephane Dion's compromise? That Canadians totally ignored the Liberals' role in that compromise and gave all of the credit to the Conservatives?

I would also point out that both of these polls were taken when Stephane Dion was still talking about taking the government down over the budget. So, I would say to anybody claiming that these results are a result of his softening his stance, your timing is a little off.

As Scott says I would not worry overly much about these polls. The results of Decima were predictable and the SC results are suspect considering the political conditions at the time the poll was taken.

liberazzi said...

These polling firms are losing credibility by the day. Perhaps there is a lot of voilatility amongst the electorate, but how can you have a handful of recent polls saying it is a virtual tie? Moreover, how can you have two polls taken at the same time with the same number of participants and get two different results? I personally believe it is status quo, which is to say it is a stalemate. Polls be damned.

However, if you go with the trend argument, what is precipitating a rise in the Cons support? On the flip side what have the Libs done to deserve a decline in support? Very frustrating indeed.

In any event, if the reason for the trend are these constant abstentions, then the Libs need to realize that this strategy is not working. Dion needs to show some leadership and say follow me, lets go and let the chips fall where they may.

However, lets go with the trend argument. What have the Cons done in the past few weeks to deserve a bump in the polls?

Yet, if this is what the majority of Canadians want then be prepared for the consequences. The US voted in Bush twice (sort of) and they certainly got what they asked for.

Steve V said...

"Comparing the results of different polls from different companies and drawing conclusions on trends is kind of risky."

Ottlib, I specifically addressed that in this post, which is why I showed the trends within the same polling company. Your point??

Scott

The trouble with NANOS, he only polls quarterly, so his numbers quickly become outdated. I would add, when his poll came out, others showed similar results, particularly in Ontario, which I posted on.


The polls have been pretty stagnant, this is the first time we've seen a big fluctuation in Ontario. I'm inclined to believe it, if others choose to discount, I think you ignore reality. I was the first to point to the Ontario numbers to defend the Liberal position, nobody seemed to disagree then, now that it doesn't jive with our partisan math, it isn't to be believed.

This same poll also shows the environment dropping to FOURTH on the issues list, for the first time in two years. I've actually thought in recent days how the issue has fallen off the map, if you hear Baird, it's like "oh ya, where has he been". There are two issues which the Cons are shaky on, the environment and Afghanistan. If the environment is off the front burner, temporarily, and Afghanistan looks somewhat "resolved", then the two achilles heels are neutralized, and this may explain this perceived bounce.

ottlib said...

ITC:

The Ontario Liberals are actually doing things in Ontario to attempt to mitigate the job losses in Ontario. They are not very far reaching but they are still there.

The Federal Government's response to troubles in Ontario is to not do anything but pick fights with the Ontario Government.

But you bring up an interesting point. These polls were taken before this latest dustup and before Mr. Prentice sacrificed his chances of being the leader of the Conservative Party by lying and claiming the Liberals would put the country back into deficit.

I wonder how those two events would impact the polling numbers?

liberazzi said...

What is even more frustrating is that CTV doesn't even question the contradictions (I know they commissioned the poll). All the news orgs are the same, once a poll is published it becomes gospel. Now its the "Cons are flirting with majority". Yesterday, it was Cons and Libs in statistical tie. Huh?

ottlib said...

Steve:

Comparing two or three polls from the same polling company and claiming a trend is beyond risky.

These are not longitudinal polls so you cannot compare them. When alot polls from the same polling company show very little movement then it might not be risky to claim a trend. We saw that for most of last 18 months.

However, since Christmas the polls from all of the companies that do their polls regularly and often have shown volatility.

Take Decima for example. They showed the Conservatives down below the Liberals before Christmas, only to recover during the Parliamentary recess, then to fall again below the Liberals two weeks ago to then rise again for this poll.

When the support for a political party fluctuates like that in just a couple of months no trend can be discerned with any degree of safety.

The only claim I would make when looking at the polls from the past couple of months is we have entered a period of increased voter volatility. Where that volatility is going to take us is anybody's guess but I would not be drawing any conclusions just yet.

Steve V said...

"Comparing two or three polls from the same polling company and claiming a trend is beyond risky."

Ottlib, well that is quite curious, because I distinctly remember you commenting on results from the same company, saying they were good to see the trends. I believe it was an Ipsos poll, that showed the Conservatives still higher than other outfits, but down compared to an earlier poll.

Here's the bottomline for me. Better to be honest here, and proceed with our eyes open, rather than pretend it is all a ruse, we are being duped. I believe something has happened in Ontario, the question is what?

ottlib said...

Steve:

I don't look at the numbers per se when I read polls. I look at what the numbers are doing.

The numbers are meaningless because they are already out of date when they are released. This is especially true for political polls.

For most of the 18 months leading up to last Christmas all of the polls released by all of the polling companies showed there was no fluctuation in the estimates. Decima showed that, Ipsos showed that, Nanos showed that and so did all of the rest. Of course, they all had different numbers but they all showed no movement of those numbers.

Based on that it was safe to conclude that Canadians had parked their votes and were getting on with their lives.

That has changed in the last two or three months. Party support is bouncing around like a yoyo. That is why the only conclusion I would be willing to make is we are seeing a period of increased volatility.

As for Ontario, three polls taken by three different companies is not a basis for concluding that anything is up in Ontario. If we still see this situation by June then I will begin to believe it.

Steve V said...

"The numbers are meaningless because they are already out of date when they are released."

That's only true during an election, when a day is a week, they are indicative under normal circumstances.

Just once, it would nice for people to just take the numbers, instead of constantly spinning everything through a partisan lens. If I did a post, showing three polls that had the Libs surging in Quebec, or increasing their lead in Ontario, we would all just offer our reasons why, no problem believing the results. Only when it suggests Liberal weakness, then we must wait and see, I'm not believing it til Nik chimes in, etc... I would also say, it is usually these times that a friendly conservative comes along and tells me how objective I am, something you never here when the shoe is on the other foot.

I must say, I find partisanship absolutely EXHAUSTING. I'm trying to be fair, acknowledging weakness, which is supported by multiple sources. Again, I am more focused on the "why" this happening, rather than coming up with clever retorts to dispute anything that challenges what I want to hear. Two cents.

I'm starting to think its time to quit the Liberal Party...

tori said...

I'm curious, ottlib...do u actually work in the polling biz?

Joseph said...

I know this will sound bizarre, but I'll blame it on my cold medicine . . .

I think Steve is right to point out these results as containing some concern. However, as I've read the fine print in recent polls, I continue to see a silver lining as well.

Even this poll had some noise about folks trusting the conservatives with a majority government with 51% to liberals at 45%. Donello, of course, immediately read this as a tremendous comfort level with conservatives. But I saw it mirroring the leadership numbers in one of the other polls from a couple of weeks back (which one escapes me), which showed Dion's leadership numbers at 25 to Harper's in mid-30s.

Considering Dion was polling in the low teens as a potential leader just a few months ago, I see a trend where voters seems to be looking at the two parties (and the two leaders) as viable alternatives. And, to be frank, I never saw that in the first half of 2007. It seems to me that the Liberals are moving beyond just having branding "residue" in the polls and may actually be considered by voters as an alternative to the current government.

It does not mean they would necessarily win if the election were held today or if the election were managed badly, but it's no longer a simple question of whether Harper would win or blow it. It is whether the Liberals can present a viable competing vision for where Canada heads in the coming years.

So, yes, there is concern. But it also appears to me that voters may be ready to hear details of a different vision.

Whether the government falls or not in the coming weeks, I think the Liberals need to continue to start projecting what they would do as government. Some aspects may go over well, and some may not. But it's time to start putting that competing vision out there across the board on the issues facing Canada.

Final unrelated thought is I do think the bluster and pull back on Liberals bringing down the government are in these numbers. In the long run, that may not matter. But I wish they would stop the on-again / off-again very public speculation. I do think it makes the party look weak and frightful. Just keep more of that behind closed doors, thank you very much. And when an election does come, go for it.

Steve V said...

joseph

Agreed. I'm not suggesting "all is lost", just acknowledging apparent weakness. I believe you are better able to source the cause when you admit the problem, and in that way you are more effective moving forward. We are talking about soft support here, that moves around, you can easily win them back, if you present something which speaks to the reasons for erosion.

You mentioned comfort levels for a Harper majority. It is noteworthy, that Quebecers are least comfortable with this reality, a fact which will be exploited by Duceppe in an election.

liberazzi said...

Steve,

It's called politics for a reason. It's partisan, get over it. I don't think you should take your ball home, because someone wants to question the validity of polls that are all over the map, trend or no trend. Nanos was showing that the Libs were running away with Ont last week, now its flipped? Gimme a break. Now your questioning Nanos, when its been proven over the last Fed election and the last Ont election that he had the most accurate polling data.

However, fine lets go with the premise that there is a trend. Why? Why when there has been no dramatic event or significant policy announcement to sway voters. This poll simply does not make sense, in the face of all the other recent polls (besides Ipsos).Period...regardless of partisanship. Anyway, if you want to be an "Independent" ala Lou Dobbs be my guest.

The press love to focus on leadership and what a great leader Harper is. Huh? We are not voting for a president.

I actually like this version of the Liberal Party. I actually like the direction and the values of this version of the Liberal Party. Furthermore, I believe this new band of Libs will do good if not great things for the country. I do not like the extreme partisanship, the bullying tactics, the values and the shear incompetence of this "New Government". I have voted Green and I have voted for the PC's in the Jean Charest days. These are not your father's PC's. What I am saying is that maybe I am partisan, but I actually believe in this group. Kennedy, Dryden, Rae, Findlay, Trudeau, Iggy et al. I think that this bright group is being hamstrung by the sins of the past and the nervous nellies. I've met them all and I am really excited about their potential. Therefore, I get a little frustrated when faced with prospects of having to live in a country run by these band of incompetent assholes. Maybe, your right about a trend, but I sure hope your wrong, because I truly believe Harper's gang is bad news for this country. Day, Baird, Clement, Flaherty, Van Loan, Mackay. Seriously, another four years of this shit?

Anonymous said...

These polls are fake, most of them are done for ultra-right wing newspapers that Brian Mulroney is one of the board of directors of.

There is no way a fascist like Harper is higher in the polls.

Harper is going to destroy farmers marketing power through the CWB, and get rid of supply management (he denies this, because supply management is popular in Quebec and Ontario, while at the same time attacking and undermining the CWB. (HYPOCRISY at its finest)

Brian Mulroney is on the board of directors of ADM, while at the same time being a main Harper advisor. ADM stands to benefit the most from the destruction of the CWB.

Also the Canadian Grain Commission(CGC) is under attack by the Harper gestapo. If the CGC goes, you might as well get rid of the CWB, because the CGC is an intregral part to ensure farmers are treated fairly by the grain companies and ensures the grain companies meet or exceed quality standards (Canada Wheat is known for its quality around the world, and the CWB can obtain premiums because of this.)

Gerry Ritz (harpers agriculture minister) the other day in a press conference said that farmers should plant more barley to lower the prices, so that Cattle producers can afford to buy it.
(stealing from Peter to pay Paul)

These conservatives are complete jackasses. (I don't like them with a minority) (DON'T WANT TO SEE A MAJORITY)

Blue Magic said...

Good Blog, Good post.

Your good at analyzing polls. Keep it up. Your postings on polls the past couple months, have been excellent.

And I am a Harper partisan.

liberazzi said...

Steve: If you are going to leave the Libs, please at least vote Green.

Gayle said...

"Final unrelated thought is I do think the bluster and pull back on Liberals bringing down the government are in these numbers. In the long run, that may not matter. But I wish they would stop the on-again / off-again very public speculation. I do think it makes the party look weak and frightful. Just keep more of that behind closed doors, thank you very much. And when an election does come, go for it."

I agree, and I think when people become distracted from the liberal party divisions the con numbers go down and the liberals go up.

I hear what you are saying here Steve, but I think it is too early to panic. At the same time I would also suggest any votes from any region should not be taken for granted.

I must say that the fact that ottlib may not agree with your reasoning is not necessarily because he is partisan. Maybe he just thinks you are wrong, or that you could be wrong, or that it is too soon to tell if you are wrong or right.

What I have been seeing in the media over the past couple weeks are pundits mocking Dion for being too "Joe Clark" for wanting an election now just to prove something, and then mocking him for "backing down" from the election. Personally I do not recall ever hearing Dion say anything other than he would wait to see the budget before he decides.

I will say it again - they need to be ready to go to an election, but they should not make the government fall unless there is a good reason to do so...and I do not think proving Dion is tough is a good reason.

I say let the budget pass, start ramping up on the environment again and then use an opposition day for a vote of non-confidence on that issue.

But then again, I am just a person sitting before a computer screen. What do I know...

Mushroom said...

"I say let the budget pass, start ramping up on the environment again and then use an opposition day for a vote of non-confidence on that issue."

Gayle,

This expresses a greater form of opportunism, which voters do not take kindly on. Van Loan has scheduled Fri Feb 29 as an opposition day. One day after the confidence vote on the budget. Coupled with a divided opposition, no way you can mobilize. Layton and Duceppe can taunt us and say Feb 28 or nothing. What will we do?

"I'm starting to think its time to quit the Liberal Party..."

Steve,

It is difficult when you are a reluctant drinker of partisan kool-aid. I once let my membership lapse and became non-partisan. Feels great when you are an academic, not having any attachments to politicos you know and like. The recent leadership race brought me back. Thought the party grassroots would be more vocal while in Opposition than in government. Having second thoughts now, but the consolation is that I am not alone in expressing these views.

Gayle said...

"Van Loan has scheduled Fri Feb 29 as an opposition day. One day after the confidence vote on the budget.'

I did not know that, and they can hardly ramp up the environment issue in one day, so...

As for political opportunism, I agree it is unseemly, and yet it is everywhere. If the cons are not going to be punished for it, why should the liberals???

I think the liberals should choose an issue that is important to them, and where they have an edge over Harper. The economy is one, but if the budget is non-contentious, forcing an election over it would be seen as just as opportunistic as a non-confidence vote on another issue.

Dr. Tux said...

Gayle said:

"I will say it again - they need to be ready to go to an election, but they should not make the government fall unless there is a good reason to do so...and I do not think proving Dion is tough is a good reason."

The point of going to an election on the economy is not to prove that Dion is tough or to avoid looking weak by abstaining. We're not children, we're not fearful of these ridiculous teenage tactics.

The point of going to an election on the economy is because, from an organizational standing point, the liberal party is resilient to conservative attacks on the economy, we spontaneously unite around shared past accomplishments which we can all understand, and the economy gives us the best platform from which to express our vision of the future of Canada's economy and society.... Dion's virtuous circle.

Three principles: resilient, united and with a vision.

Mushroom said...

"If the cons are not going to be punished for it, why should the liberals???"

One main reason. The Grits are punished for it because it is the Official Opposition. Even with fixed election dates, the government has the right to fall anytime it feels the mandate needs to be renewed. On issues such as the budget and managing the economy, minority governments need a mandate from the people. If not in the House, then through the polls. Many governments have tabled a budget and dissolved the House early the next day. If Harper decides not to play chicken with Dion, it is within his right to tell his backbench MPs to abstain and call for a snap election. Done and dusted.

If people decide not to vote in the next election, then I think this reflects the bitter cynicism of politics. It is bad already and it has gotten worse. This applies to all levels of government, not just the political process in Ottawa.

ottlib said...

Steve:

Focusing on the why is all and good but be careful in making conclusions on incomplete data. Which is the whole point of my argument.

These polls could be indicating the beginning of a trend that is disadvantageous to the Liberals but it is still too early to conclude that with any level confidence. Therefore, any conclusions about why this is happening will be suspect by definition. That is not partisanship that is just the way it is.

Oh yes Steve, I am not a member of the Liberal Party but I am a supporter of them these days because I happen to agree with their policies and their approach to government. However, it should be noted that in my life I have voted for the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP. So I would really not characterise myself as a Liberal partisan, although I am certain others would disagree.

Tori, yes I am in the survey business, which is close to being in the polling business. We do surveys for organizations that use our data to make decisions that effects their bottom line. Therefore, we have to be much more stringent in producing quality data.

The clients for polls are usually news organizations who really only care about filling column inches or time in a news broadcast. Data quality is usually not a high priority so polling companies usually do not spend alot of time and resources on it.

I once worked for a firm that did some polling as well as survey work so I have been on the inside. Now however, I work strictly on surveys.

Steve V said...

" I don't think you should take your ball home"

Oh please...I guess home means a place where people's sensibilities aren't filtered through a team construct, which always has to counter any critique which conveys a weakness.

This is the type of post which occasionally gets linked to some Blogging Tory, who uses a perceived partisan to make their point, offers up some "he's a pretty rational fellow" bs, because it supports their bias and next week, when it's something like global warming, it's "look at what this moron thinks". It seems all that matters, thumbs up, thumbs down, is whether it reaffirms, rather than any real assessment of what's said. Maybe you take your ball, because the game is pretty boring, not to mention predictable. It's not about agreeing or disagreeing, I love being challenged, it's about something refreshing from time to time, rather than... or whatever.

Gayle said...

dr tux - you are convincing me.

That is not easy to do :).

Sean S. said...

how many times did you allude to the NDP bordering on "irrelevant"? Well a wish of many on all sides of the Canadian spectrum, the NDP is far from irrelevant or close to it. I would be more afraid for the soft center-right Lib support bleeding to the Green's than the NDP losing support to the Liberals and becoming "irrelevant".

Steve V said...

sean

Yes, clearly being tied with the Greens in Ontario is great news for the NDP. My apologies, I'm sure Layton is drunk on champagne tonight.

You might have noticed sean, that on other occasions I have pointed to NDP strength, but well you know...

wilson said...

Recently, numerous Libloggers have asked 'what does the Liberal Party stand for'.
BCer just today posted`
``It's also pretty unclear to many right now just what the Liberals stand for these days. When the powers that be decide what we stand for, hopefully they'll let me know. Send me a memo or something.``

That`s the answer to your question `what has happened in Ontario`

Steve V said...

wilson

Thank you for using a Liblogger to support your own massive bias, that makes objectivity look like a faint star from where you stand. Make sure to quote Jeff next time he comments on what an ass Harper is...surprise me.

tori said...

ottlib,

so you work in market research.

you mention "Focusing on the why is all and good but be careful in making conclusions on incomplete data."

Polling data is incomplete? In what way? And if so, would that not be spread across all polling agencies?

Technically, Nanos made predictions on incomplete data, and he was very close to dead on in the last election. Mind you, he also had a bigger n (around 4000) the weekend before the election. So he also took advantage of probably a greater
number of committed voters.

Another thing you write is that it is dangerous to compare polling results from within the same company. This is probably the best way to compare, as the company- most likely- would not have changed their methodology, making such comparisons difficult.

Polling companies track the data points they gather from each poll and look for trends all the time. Why else do they post those pretty excel line graphs showing their results for the parties?

You also mention that question order may influence the results. Yes, that's true. But I believe that most companies take advantage of CATI and not only randomly rotate question order, but also rotate the order of response options.

Of course, there are also other biases such as response biases and interviewer effects. Hopefully, the polling company have trained their callers well enough so that deviations are minimal.

I will agree that i wish they would post how many calls it took to get their sample.