Election 2015: Tracking the Issues and the Polls

Election 2015: Tracking the Issues and the Polls

 

August 19, 2015 – This 2015 election period, the Angus Reid Institute is presenting an ongoing summary and analysis of published polls in the current Canadian federal election. Because of the diversity of polling methods, we categorize published polls under three headings: online polls, live interview telephone surveys and Robo/IVR polls where an auto dialler and automated voice seek responses via a telephone touchpad.

Each of these methodologies has strengths and weaknesses but taken together they can form an accurate composite picture of how Canadians are viewing the parties, leaders and issues.

Robo/ IVR Polls

The most controversial of the polling methods involves the use of an automated voice to ask people questions by phone. IVR’s advantages are that it is by far the least expensive method and can produce results very quickly. Internationally, the Robo/IVR practitioners have had a mixed experience in recent years. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has signalled its intention to ban IVR polling.  Canadian Robo/IVR companies have enjoyed a general good record when projecting election outcomes.

Online Polls

Online surveys using reputable and representative respondent panels have proven highly effective at projecting election results in Canada, the US, Britain and other major democracies. Some media agencies and industry trade groups dislike online polling because they do not employ traditional population wide sampling. This characterization fails to acknowledge that other techniques involving telephone polls involve such large refusal and non-completion rates that they also fail on the random sample standard.

Live Interview Telephone Polls

Once the standard for polling in Canada, this technique is now less common because of a combination of cost and refusal rate issues.  When employed professionally with proper weighting procedures, this method nicely compliments online polling and remains quite accurate.

 

 


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