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BC Libs surprise election win is a warning to pollsters – and to Justin Trudeau

Can you find anyone other then the BC Liberals who felt they were going to win a majority last night (did they even think that?).  I would suspect that number is a handful. Nevertheless, when all was said and done, the BC Liberals are back in power (despite Christy Clark losing her own seat) and INCREASED their seat total. I’m not particularly thrilled with that result –  I hold to my view that they are the LINO (Liberals In Name Only) Party out there for the most part – but, I congratulate them.  Another observation is that I am dismayed at the voter turnout – only 48%. I wonder if all the negative campaigning the BC Libs did against Dix had a drag on it. (EDIT: as of this article, it’s “up” to 52%- still very shoddy, and far less then what the Labrador By-election managed).

What does amuse me however, is how once again, the polling companies were so wrong. You may remember they predicted a Wild Rose Party victory in Alberta (a substantial one) and yet the Progressive Conservatives were returned with a very comfortable majority.  This time, they showed the Liberals closing the gap,  but none of them had this majority or percentage of vote in their polling radar. The last major poll the day before yesterday by Ipsos-Reid had a 9 point NDP Lead: 45-36.  Other pollsters such as Angus-Reid showed similar gaps – with only Forum Research being anywhere remotely close – they showed a 2 point NDP lead. I note that of the major polling companies out there, it appears only Forum was using phone polling – they use what is called IVR (Interactive Voice Response) – basically automated phone polling that gives voters a choice (“Press 1 for so and so”). The others were using the new recent fad amongst polling companies, which is  the Internet Panel – a method I’ve long been skeptical of about how reliable it is to use a setup that has no margin of error built into it.  After tonight’s result – there should be some hard questions as to the methodology over selecting people who have volunteered to join a panel to give their opinions on how they would vote. That said, Forum Research shouldn’t be bragging about being the “least wrong”, so polling methodology overall has to be looked at and corrected, else polling in Canada is at risk of being deemed unreliable for showing voting intentions.

This election result should also be a warning to Justin Trudeau and his desire to run a “positive campaign”. While admirable, it may not be a winning strategy. Ask Adrian Dix about that. At the very least, Justin and his team will need to stress from the beginning that ‘going positive’ refers to the fact they will not attack Prime Minister Harper personally; it should not mean they ignore or not point out every policy of his and his Conservative Party that they feel merits an argument to Canadian voters that they are wrong for the country. Mr Dix appears to have ignored that – at least until belatedly in the campaign – which then left him open to the charge from the BC Liberals and some in the BC media that  he was flip-flopping on his original promise. That was ridiculous, as pointing out policies that are not popular or which you feel should be unpopular is not going negative, but the charge may have worked.

Justin may feel he is immune to that, having a bit more charisma then Mr Dix does, but I think he would ignore this result at his electoral peril.

1 comment to BC Libs surprise election win is a warning to pollsters – and to Justin Trudeau

  • CuJoYYC

    “At the very least, Justin and his team will need to stress from the beginning that ‘going positive’ refers to the fact they will not attack Prime Minister Harper personally; it should not mean they ignore or not point out every policy of his and his Conservative Party that they feel merits an argument to Canadian voters that they are wrong for the country.”

    Absolutely what I’ve been saying. No ad hominem ads but you can run a lot of ads showing the error of their ways and their policies. Point out the years of, hmmm how shall I say this, ‘questionable’ estimates on the F35s, the ‘unfortunate’ release of the costs and details regarding the ‘design’ phase of arctic patrol ships, the ‘regrettable’ accounting lapses regarding $3.1 billion anti-terrorism activities …

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