Chronicle Herald/CRA political poll puzzles prof
A journalism professor says he doesn't believe the predictions in the Halifax Chronicle Herald's rolling poll will hold up on election day, but the company behind the poll says it's confident in its methods.
Every day, pollsters from Corporate Research Associates ask roughly 90 Nova Scotians where their political sympathies lie and the results are melded into a weekly average, with a total sample size hovering around 630.
The Halifax-based company said a daily barometer of public support for the parties and their leaders is a useful exercise.
“Well, you get to see the potential effects of any daily event. You can see whether debates or particular announcements have an impact on people's opinions,” said vice-president Margaret Chapman.
NDP Leader Darrell Dexter said he doesn't follow polls, but he did say the clear Liberal lead is changing his strategy.
“It allows us to talk about the risk associated with that result. In this case if Mr. McNeil should be elected,” he said.
Chapman said there's no clear evidence on how rolling polls affect voters' behavior.
“It can either cause people to jump on the bandwagon. Or it can cause people to lean towards people who are the underdogs,” she said.
But some observers question the journalistic value of the poll.
“A third of the people are not saying how they're going to vote,” said David Swick, who teaches journalism ethics at the University of King’s College.
“You know politics does have a sporting side. It's sort of fun to see the horse racing. Frankly, I'd rather see the Herald spending their money on serious journalism rather than this. Yes, there's a market for this, but is it accurate and trustworthy? Maybe not as much as good reporting.”
On Monday, the poll had the Liberals at 57 per cent with a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.
“Are we going to going to have 45 to 50 Liberal seats which is what you'd expect with 57 per cent polling. I just don't believe it,” said Swick.
Chapman said she’s confident CRA’s methods are sound.
“I think it's potentially a sign that people really are up for a change,” she said.
No one from The Chronicle Herald was available for comment.