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BTC: Pollism


 

From a Canwest story headlined, “Entering Week 3 amid growing voter apathy.”

But the fight over protecting urban streets, or the promises of a new dawn in the Arctic, seemed to be doing little to attract the imaginations of voters.

A new Ipsos Reid poll for Canwest News Service and Global News suggested only one in five Canadians are paying more attention to this election than past campaigns. About two-thirds said they were giving the election the same amount of attention as others, while 14 per cent say they’re paying less attention.

“Quite clearly, the campaign hasn’t really heated up yet. Most people aren’t really paying that much attention to it,” said Darrell Bricker, president and CEO of Ipsos Reid.

Look at those numbers again.

One-fifth are paying more attention. Two-thirds are paying the same amount of attention. Fourteen percent are paying less attention.

So 20% are paying more. About 66% are paying the same. And 14% are paying less.

If the percentage paying more attention is higher than the percentage paying less, doesn’t that mean that, generally speaking, the public is paying more attention than usual? And, if so, how does that qualify as apathy?


 
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BTC: Pollism

  1. If the amount of attention the 2/3rds were paying before is 0.. then it’s still 0, and thus the public, in general, is apathetic, regardless of what the other 1/3 is doing.

    Now.. growing voter apathy doesn’t seem to be supported, although to really know, I guess you’d have to do election over election comparisons.

  2. The moral of this story is don’t trust anything coming out of the mouths of pollsters (or the media’s mouths regarding polls). Everyone together now: “Polls with small sample sizes are highly uncertain”.

    One current national poll has the spread between the Libs and Cons as 5% (Nanos) and another poll has it as 15% (Harris-Decima). Polls generate a long series of horse race stories for the media but their relationship with reality? Not much.

    As the old cliche goes, the only poll that really counts is on election day.

  3. To be fair to CanWest, the headline seems to be paraphrasing the pollster’s comments

    “Quite clearly, the campaign hasn’t really heated up yet. Most people aren’t really paying that much attention to it,” said Darrell Bricker, president and CEO of Ipsos Reid.
    The Ipsos press release is the source of this inane comment.

    Of course, you’d think a pollster would be able to do math, because what’s he saying has no logical connection to the numbers from the poll. Makes you wonder about the quality of their polling.

  4. “As the old cliche goes, the only poll that really counts is on election day.”

    Unless it’s in Florida…

  5. I read this article in the weekend Citizen. I was struck by the uselessness of the question: Are you paying more attention than *during the last election*.

    I’m not sure why we should be paying *more* attention than last time. No argument is presented to support the idea that we weren’t paying enough attention in 2006, so the idea that most people (claim they) are paying as much or more attention than last time is not at all worrying. And frankly, how accurate is this reading, anyway? That is, how well do people remember how much attention they were paying to something 2 years ago?

    Why does journalism always suffer from a lack of math skills and logic when faced with statistics and science stories? Maybe we need a prize to lure scientists/science students into reporting.

  6. Never mind math skills, although I agree it seems the so-called perfessional pollster can’t make the proper conclusion from the data before him — what a stupid question for a pollster to be asking in the first place! What’s next: do you strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, or agree strongly that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is more like a fruit or a vegetable?

  7. You guys are forgetting, everything always gets bigger, newer, faster, better! If we’re barely treading water, we must be falling way behind.

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