Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sometimes the poll is as much a fraud as Harper is

The only good thing about this poll is that it prompted Steve V to compose an excellent post on Fraud, elitism and relating to people.   Read the first two sentences and then go to Far and Wide for the rest.
Pedigree, accomplishment and choice of beverage don't make one an elitist. Inability to relate to, and participate with ordinary Canadians is a far better measure.
As to the poll itself; it is a waste of time but needs to be dissected.  First off, it is an online poll and therefore questionable (my highlights in bold): 
The online poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted from May 26 to 28. The Quebec results were measured in separate data culled from the responses of 743 individuals.
How do you get exactly 1,000 respondents to an online poll?  Was the poll capped at the first 1,000 respondents?  This is even more open to freeping then regular online polls.

Then consider the questions asked and who commissioned the poll.  Where are the questions concerning what are seen as MI's strengths?  The questions are directly linked to the image the Conservatives have been trying to build for Harper (e.g.: "Would buy his coffee from Tim Horton's", "Cares about people like me.").  I would hope that after all the money they have spent on building this image that he would lead in this and the other contrived categories.  What I find interesting in the Timmies and "Would be someone you would invite to dinner" themes is the parallel with the "Who would you rather have a beer with" theme from the 2000 American Presidential election.  Rove's man couldn't compete on the basis of accomplishments or character so they worked to build a false standard for office.  Harper can't compete with Ignatieff so they must build similar straw comparisons.

The poll was commissioned by the Globe/CTV.  Do we need to remind anyone of the taint CTV carries with regards political bias?  Why not?  It can't hurt.  Anyone but CTV that is.

The poll is presented as a conclusive comparison between Ignatieff and SpongeSteve Squaresweater (I love that one.  From a great Harry Bruce op-ed.  Worth a read, BTW).  But look at the numbers.
According to the poll, when asked which party leader they most identify as patriotic, 37 per cent named Mr. Harper and 9 per cent named Mr. Ignatieff. And when asked who is more likely to buy his coffee at Tim Hortons, Mr. Harper led, 24 per cent to 10 per cent.
(The bar chart indicates that 34% of respondents picked Harper as the most patriotic but then getting the facts straight don't appear to matter much in this article.  Let us go with the text.)  37%+9%=46%.  24%+10%=34%.  The numbers don't make up 100% because "both or neither" aren't counted.  We are seeing 54% in the former and 66% in the latter say they don't have an opinion.  Assume that the poll roughly reflects public opinion.  All that effort.  All the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on attacks ads (Think of the burn rate) and they didn't move the yardsticks much beyond their kool-aid base.  And that is the percentage of the national population.  By extracting Quebec from the results, it accentuates the influence of the western Reform base.  And this is quite likely a transitory effect.  Most of the country has looked at the ads and said "Whatever".

The bar chart only shows the categories Harper leads in.  Reading the article you can see that there is areas where MI is strong but they aren't shown in the graphic.  This poll and the related article were commissioned to build on a theme.  They were never intended to reflect reality or contribute to the public debate.

Update: The CTV website has more.  Some of it contradicting the article.  For instance:
 Technical notes

  • The nationwide telephone survey was conducted between May 26 and May 28, 2009.
  • Results are based on a national sample size of 1,000 voting-age Canadians with an over-sample of 500 respondents from Quebec.

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