Tuesday, 21 May 2019

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Session J – Gerrard
WAPOR-ESOMAR-CRIC SESSION: Accuracy of Polls in Canada
Chair: Marita Carballo, WAPOR President (marita@maritacarballo.com.ar)

Canada Polling in a Global Context
Jon Puleston, Lightspeed Research (Jon.Puleston@lightspeedresearch.com)

This paper will look at election polling on an international scale and compare the historical performance of election opinion polling in Canada to average performance of polls around the world. It will examine why the accuracy of polling varies from country to country and in different types of elections and outline the common causes of differences between polling results and election results. It is based on the analysis of over 30,000 polls from over 480 elections across 40 countries compiled by Kantar.

Problematic Polling Conducted During the 2017 Calgary Election
Christopher Adams, St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba (Christopher.Adams@umanitoba.ca)

During the 2017 Calgary election campaign, numerous polls were publicly released which inaccurately revealed the levels of voter support for each candidate. It was widely believed that these polls had a negative effect on the electoral process, the public discourse, and the reputation of the polling industry itself. Subsequent to this election, the Marketing Research and intelligence Association commissioned an independent panel to review what happened during the 2017 campaign. Three independent academics with a background knowledge of the research industry led this panel: Christopher Adams, Paul Adams, and Davdi Zussman. For this WAPOR/ESOMAR/AAPOR session, one of these panelists, Christopher Adams, will provide an overview of their report’s findings and the key recommendations relating to both media and the polling industry.

A Failure of the Polls, a Late Campaign Swing, or Else? The Quebec 2018 Election
Claire Durand, University of Montreal (Claire.Durand@umontreal.ca)

On October 1st 2018, the Quebec electoral campaign concluded with a majority government of a “new party” that had never been elected before, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), a right-wing party. The CAQ obtained 37.4% of the vote, more than 12 points above the Quebec Liberal Party (QLP) at 24.8%. The two other parties – Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire (QS) – received respectively 17% and 16% of the vote. However, in the days preceding the vote, the polls generally showed a close race between the two major parties. Therefore, the results came as a major surprise to pollsters and to the public. The M5 absolute error for the two major parties reached an average of 10 for the 5 last polls, which is way higher than the preceding polling miss in Quebec in 1998 where the M5 absolute error was 7.4 (Durand et al., 2002), the UK 2015 polling miss (6.6) and the Chili 2017 presidential election polling misses (7.2). The question raised in this paper is how to explain this large discrepancy between the polls and the vote. The literature shows that the possible reasons for polling misses are either a late campaign swing, differential participation, a “shy conservative” phenomena, and/or a biased sampling frame. We have examined these possible explanations using a recontact survey conducted by Ipsos among the respondents of its last pre-electoral survey. The data show that three phenomena combine to explain the polling miss: a late campaign swing towards CAQ, a tendency of “discrete” respondents to finally vote in greater proportion for CAQ and a small effect of differential participation. The presentation concludes on the necessity to find ways to anticipate that such phenomena are likely to occur and to correct the estimates accordingly in order to prevent other polling misses to occur. It also raises the question of what is a polling miss and whether we can conclude to a polling miss without the necessary validation coming from a recontact survey.

Session K – Mountbatten Salon
WAPOR-ESOMAR-CRIC Session: Challenges of Public Opinion Research in Canada
Chair: Claire Durand, University of Montreal (Claire.Durand@umontreal.ca)

Darrel Bricker, Ipsos Canada
Christian Bourque, Léger360
Annie Pettit, MORS Canada
Christopher Adams, University of Manitoba
Adam Radwanski, Globe and Mail

Darrell Bricker is Global CEO, IPSOS Public Affairs. IPSOS is the world’s leading social research company with operations in 37 countries and a team of 900 researchers. Darrell has been involved in election polling all over the world, and has lead IPSOS’s election polling in Canada since 1990.

Christian Bourque is Executive Vice-President and Senior Partner at Leger. He has over 25 years of experience in public opinion research. As the media spokesperson for Leger, he regularly comments on Canadian political trends. He is also a consumer trend columnist on the French CBC.

Annie Pettit, PhD, FMRIA is a freelance consultant and writer who specializes in research design, analysis, and data quality. She is the author of “People Aren’t Robots,” a questionnaire design book, and “7 Strategies and 10 Tactics to Become a Thought Leader.” Annie is the recipient of a 2015 Ginny Valentine Award, 2014 ESOMAR Excellence Award for the Best Paper, 2014 MRIA Award of Outstanding Merit, and the 2011 AMA David K. Hardin Award. She runs MOSR Canada, a central news hub for Canadian market, opinion, and social research.

Christopher Adams holds a PhD from Carleton University and worked for twenty years in the public opinion research industry. His scholarly writings on polling and elections have appeared in various books and academic journals. Dr. Adams currently serves as the rector of St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba.

Adam Radwanski is a political columnist and feature writer for The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. He specializes in in-depth examinations of political phenomena and how campaigns and issues are playing out on the ground. Covering an array of Canadian elections at the federal and provincial levels (as well as recent U.S. elections), he has reported on public-opinion research with an aim to get beyond horserace coverage and better understand the electorate.

Session L – Gerrard
WAPOR-ESOMAR-CRIC Session: Overcoming Challenges and Assuring the Future of Public Opinion Polls in Canada
Chair: Kathy Frankovic (kathy.frankovic@gmail.com)

Eric Grenier, CBC
Frank Graves, Ekos Research Associates
Christian Bourque, Léger

Éric Grenier has been the CBC’s polls analyst since 2014. He was the founder of ThreeHundredEight.com and has written for The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Hill Times, Le Devoir, and L’actualité.

Frank Graves is a Canadian applied social researcher and one of Canada’s best known and respected pollsters, whose analysis and advice has been sought by senior decision makers in both the private and public sectors. The founder and President of EKOS Research Associates is a frequent commentator on Canadian and American media, and has published widely in academic and mainstream publications. He has directed public opinion research projects on behalf of the CBC, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and La Presse.

Christian Bourque is Executive Vice-President and Senior Partner at Leger. He has over 25 years of experience in public opinion research. As the media spokesperson for Leger, he regularly comments on Canadian political trends. He is also a consumer trend columnist on the French CBC.