Saturday, May 2, 2015

Federal Political Opinion in BC created with a Google Survey

I have been testing out Google Surveys as a possible polling tool.   Here are the headline results

April 30-May 2
n=914 - decided voters only
Liberals - 28.5%
NDP - 27.5%
Conservatives - 23.5%
Greens - 15.7%
Other - 4.8%

I did a smaller one roughly at the same time - April 29 - May 1
n=545 - decided voters only
Liberals - 33.7%
Conservatives - 23.9%
NDP - 22.2%
Greens - 16.5%
Other 7.7%

I did a first one a week earlier - April 23 to 25
n=432 - decided voters only
Liberals - 31.3%
NDP - 26.2%
Conservatives - 25.5%
Greens - 11.8%
Other - 4.4%

For comparison, here are the EKOS results from April 22-28
n=400 - decided voters only
Liberals - 30.9%
Conservatives - 26.4%
NDP - 21.9%
Greens - 19.6%
Other - 1.1%

The numbers I am getting are in the same ballpark as the EKOS results but that does not mean my numbers are a useful representation of public opinion.   It may only be luck.  What I have been testing is how good the Google Surveys sampling method is, can it give me a demographically accurate representation of BC?

I think it may be a useful polling tool but in the testing I have made some observations that leave me feeling mixed about the quality of the results.  I will discussing the results in detail with Google on Monday,

Here are some quick observations:

  • Too many of the responses come with no demographic data which means when you start a survey looking for 1,000 responses you are likely to only 700, I am finding 30% of the responses are without demographic data.   The results above are weighted for age and gender which means all the responses with no demographic data are not counted in the results above
  • The geographic distribution of the results are not an accurate reflection of BC, it is far enough off that I am not happy with it.  I would like to calculate the weighting that would need to go into that to correct the number but I do need more information about how the locations are set.
  • The responses consistently have had more men than women answer meaning the female responses are given a lot more weighting and this makes the results less reliable.

I have lot more detailed analysis to do over the next couple days.  I also want to run one more test, this time targeted specifically to Vancouver Island, I want to see if choosing a specific region would remove most of the responses with no demographic information.

If Google Surveys can be made function as a opinion poll, I would like to run a weekly public opinion poll of federal voting intentions in BC till the election.  If I go ahead with this I will be crowdfunding to cover the costs, but feel free to drop me a line now if you would like to support this idea.

If you want the raw data, I will happily share it with you, just drop me a line.

Google Surveys can be very cost effective.  A single question survey within one province or the whole country costs only $0.10 per responses - a 2000 response survey only costs $200.

Google gets their respondents from people wanting to read content that costs but which by answering a survey you can read it for free.   

This is how a Google Survey looks:

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