Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Will we see fewer political polls in Canada?

Given the recent track record of polling firms in Canada to utterly miss the actual results of a number elections, how will the media and public react to polls between elections?

Here is how many federal polls there were in each given month over a number of recent non-election years:
     2013 2012 2010 2009 2007 2006 2005 
July   2    3    8    6    3    7    4
June   6    8    7   10    3    3    7
May    4    7   11    5   10    4   15
Total 12   18   26   21   16   14   26

For a non election year, 2013 has seen the fewest national public opinion surveys in a long time.   During the minority years you may have expected more polls but this does not explain why in 2012 we had 18 over the the May to July timeframe and only 12 this year.  Two polls in July 2013 is the fewest in any month going back a long time.

There are more polling companies active in Canada now than in the past, and the newer phone and internet technologies make it easier to get started in polling than ever before so should be seeing a consistent rise in the number of polls publicly released but we are not.

Is this drop a reaction to the wrong results pollsters got in the BC and Alberta elections?

Also, how does the media make a story out of numbers released in a poll if they have no way of knowing if these numbers are any reflection of reality?


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