Tag Archives: gallop poll results

Canadian Election: Be Wary of Polls

Polls wield an enormous amount of influence on the decision making process with Canadians.  Every day, during an election, we’re inundated with numbers about how leaders are doing, who we’d vote for and what the trends are.

Unfortunately, a lot of it is bunk.  Polls might offer some guidelines, but they are rooted in an imperfect science.  I could go to the ‘Canadians Supporting Stephen Harper’ Facebook page (I don’t know if there is one) and ask them what they thought of recent announcements and conclude that 100% would love to jump Steve’s sweater-clad bones.

To make matters worse, questions can be carved out to reflect the ‘conclusions’ that pollsters and the mainstream media want to push through the public.

Example:  do you like it when people rape you?  If no, should we have more money spent on security?

However, the reality is that this probably only represents the will of a small portion of people.

Here’s a story that might be of interest to those who read this blog :  Gallop has been accused of releasing number only when they favour McCain.

Gallup is admitting the following:

  1. At the time it released the September 8th poll (showing McCain up by 10), it believed institutionally that likely voter results were less accurate than registered voter results.
  1. Likely voter results have only occasionally diverged from the registered voter results.
  1. Despite these facts, Gallup deliberately chose to release, to the widest fanfare possible, a poll using an admittedly less accurate method (the likely voter method) at the time of McCain’s maximum convention bounce, knowing that it would show a large divergence (+10 for McCain vs. only +4 with registered voters) based on the likely voter method, even though such a divergence is not often present.
  1. In short, they combined all possible factors in McCain’s favor to make his lead seem as big as possible — and the media went wild with it.

Like tea leaves, these predictions and prognostications are up to interpretation.  Be careful how you read the numbers and be even more wary of how people interpret them for you.