Nanos, nit-picked (UPDATED) - Macleans.ca

Nanos, nit-picked (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: The tables are now up at the IRPP

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Free-agent pollster Nik Nanos has a new study out with the IRPP, looking at attitudes toward H1N1. According to the polling analysis, “Seven Canadians in ten aren’t at all worried or are not very worried about H1N1, despite saturation coverage in the media about Ottawa’s ability to provide an adequate supply of vaccine and the provinces’ capacity to meet the demand.”

I’ll take his word for it — I have not yet been able to find the complete tables on the site. (Can you? I must be looking in the wrong place).

There is one weird passage in the analysis. Nanos writes:

Although a pandemic in name, public opinion at the time of the Nanos-Policy Options survey indicates that with a strong majority of Canadians not worried about H1N1, this may be perceived as more of a nasty flu than a pandemic.

The contrast between “nasty flu” and “pandemic” seems to be a category mistake. “Pandemic” is not a measure of the severity of the illness or of how sick it makes you, it is a combined measure of the novelty of the illness in the population, its global distribution, and its infectiousness. The seasonal flu is a pandemic, regardless of how nasty or nice it is. Here’s the wikipedia def of pandemic.

This is a common mistake. I suspect it comes from a false assumption that the word “pandemic” is a combination of “panic” and “epidemic” — an epidemic so nasty we should panic!

Anyhoo, here’s the Nanos press release:

Nik on the Numbers

Seven Canadians in ten aren’t at all worried or are not very worried about H1N1, despite saturation coverage in the media about Ottawa’s ability to provide an adequate supply of vaccine and the provinces’ capacity to meet the demand.

As of November 8th, the Public Health Agency had estimated that over 6 million doses had been distributed to the provinces.

Although a pandemic in name, public opinion at the time of the Nanos-Policy Options survey indicates that with a strong majority of Canadians not worried about H1N1, this may be perceived as more of a nasty flu than a pandemic.

Furthermore, a majority of Canadians think Ottawa is doing an adequate job of assuring a supply of flu vaccine, and that their provincial governments are equally doing a decent job of meeting the demand.

Of note, the most striking differences were between Canada’s two most populous provinces. Ontarians were more likely to be worried and were more likely to give lower approval ratings while Quebecers were less worried and gave higher approval ratings (see our website for more information).

These are the principal findings of the latest Nanos Research poll conducted exclusively for Policy Options, and published as an Online Extra. The poll is a companion piece to our survey on Canadians’ attitudes on health care, published as part of the cover package, “Health Care, Again”, in the November issue of the magazine (it can be viewed and downloaded at www.irpp.org). The detailed tables and methodology are also posted on our website. You can also register to receive automatic polling updates.

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