Thursday, January 19, 2006

Liberal speechwriter discredits polls

Paul Martin's speechwriter, Scott Feschuk discredits all recent polls. Some would say he is living in a dream world. Others would point to the fact that he is in Paul Martin's 'circle of fantasy' as an explanation for his disconnection with reality.
"Two: About the polls. Some say we're a fair bit behind. Others say we're not far behind at all. The point is: aren't the polls supposed to be, you know, kinda the same? On account of how they're based on numbers and math and all that? I'm just saying.

Semi-relevant anecdote: A decade ago, back when I worked at The Globe, I spent a night at a polling firm in Toronto. I sat in a room where I could listen in on any of the 36 lines as people answered political poll questions. Over the course of two hours, I lost much of my faith in the 'science' of public opinion research. I heard people at home who were barely listening to the questions as their kids screamed in the background. I heard employees of the polling firm who correctly pronounced maybe half the names in the survey. And I heard a huge number of potential repondents hang up and refuse to participate at all. And I remember saying to my host for the evening: 'Governments actually base their decisions on the results of THIS process??!' He flashed me his Rolex, which I took to mean: 'Apparently so.'

This is not to impugn the integrity or the methodology of today's polling firms. But they were wrong by a lot last time. And someone is going to be wrong by a lot this time. And there's only so many times you can fail before people start to question your reputation."

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