Poll Smokers

Jason Cherniak has ignited a heated debate in the blogosphere after calling BS on a recent Angus Reid poll. He contends that it should be ignore since it was conducted online, rather than over the phone. As someone who enjoys few things more than reading a good article on sampling methodology, I thought I’d chime in.

To me, I regard online polling the same way I regard airplanes. While it seems intuitively wrong to me than a hunk of metal weighing several tons can fly thousands of feet in the air, I can accept the science and track record behind it (even if it leaves me a little uneasy when I fly). Online polling still feels wrong to me because of the massive under coverage problems but most recent studies have shown that it works as good, or in some cases better, than telephone surveys. I know last election Ipsos Reid did some internet polling and it usually matched their phone survey numbers bang on.

Regardless, Decima has a poll out using the good, old, traditional, never wrong telephone technique with similar results. I suspect that even the infalible people at SES will have similar results in their next update. The bottom line is, the Tories have the big Mo, and we’re right back to where we were on election night 2006 except that the NDP is pretty much lamb chops (not to be confused with Lamb Chop, who will be Pat Martin’s campaign manager).

Despite the Tory surge, I really do think the talk of “free fall” and the mass hysteria is overblown. All that we’ve really seen is the end of Dion’s honeymoon which was to be expected. By my count, the last four men to take over a party in Stornoway (Chretien, Duceppe, Day, Harper) all had far worse starts than Dion, mainly because leader of the opposition is such a thankless job. That’s not to say that Liberals should put their heads in the sand and refuse to believe the reality that Harper is up in the polls and the smart bettors choice to win the next election. It’s simply to say that it’s far too early to push the panic button or talk about a Conservative majority.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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