Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I usually do not comment on polls.  They are all polling the same population but they always seem to come up with radically different estimates so I generally do not give them much thought or credibility.

For example, if you are following Nanos the Conservatives seem to have been on the verge of a majority government for weeks.  However, if you look at EKOS and Harris Decima the Conservatives are firmly planted in minority territory with the Liberals not as far behind as the Conservatives would like.

In short, the polls are giving us very conflicting information on where the parties stand in the eyes of Canadians, which to my mind make them largely useless.

However, something all of the polls seem to be indicating is there has not been much change in the opinions of Canadians for about a week.  The last time we saw any real movement was a week ago today, after the leaked AG draft report caused a tightening of the race.  Since then we have had the debates but the estimates have really not changed. 

Yes, yes, yes, some in the media have been touting an NDP surge but if you look at said surge most polls are showing the differences between the national horse race estimates today being within the MOE compared to where they were this time last week.  In other words, the difference is statistically insignificant, statistical noise.  This is true for all of the parties.

What about the regionals you might ask.  The same is true there as well.  The MOEs are much greater for these regional breakdowns so if you look at the estimates for each of them you will note any changes in the estimates for the regional breakdowns today are within the MOE compared to this time last week.  Certainly there appears to have been large fluctuations but that always happens with polls with large MOEs.  There is no way you can discern statistical noise from actual changes in public opinion.

It is as if the electorate is holding its breath.  So the question is why.

Has the electorate made up its mind and we are just playing out the string?

Or is conventional wisdom wrong, and Canadians are still not paying as much attention to the election as expected at this point in the campaign?

Who knows.  However, I do know that a significant portion of the electorate makes up their mind during the final weekend of any election campaign, with a significant portion of them waiting until they pick up the pencil behind the voting screen.  So, I am leaning towards the second choice.

This election is not over yet.


Blogger marie said...

And I am sure that the young especially university young people have not been counted in the Media's numbers as well as the Media's. These young adults have been totally ignored again. That I am sure of.

Great post ottlib. I always check your blog and respect your threads.

April 19, 2011 4:03 PM  
Blogger Miles Lunn said...

I think the Easter weekend could be interesting as I have noticed in the past dramatic shifts seem to be more common over long weekends. On the other hand maybe there is just isn't any compelling issue thats convinced people to change their mind. I think the biggest thing in what will determine whether we have a weaker Conservative minority or majority will be turnout and which parties have the best GOTV. Having worked on a few campaigns myself, one should never underestimate the impact of local races. So my advice to those of all political persuasions is whether the polls are looking good or bad for your party just keep campaigning hard and do everything to identify your supporters and then bring them out on election day.

April 20, 2011 12:34 AM  

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