Friday June 12, 2015

Polling Police: Introducing Canada's new polling governing body

Alberta public opinion polls got it wrong for a Wildrose Party win, how to pollsters restore public trust? A Chair of a new group to govern Canadian pollsters says transparency is key.

Alberta public opinion polls got it wrong for a Wildrose Party win, how to pollsters restore public trust? A Chair of a new group to govern Canadian pollsters says transparency is key. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Listen 22:00

There have been more then one high-profile electoral upsets in recent years. Upsets, that is, if you'd been trusting the polls.

In 2013, Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals won big, despite a projected NDP victory. And the year before in Alberta, the Wild Rose Party's predicted breakthrough... didn't happen. 

CANADA/

Despite the polls, B.C. Liberals had a stunning victory in provincial elections last May. (REUTERS/Andy Clark )

It's experiences such as those that have left many Canadians wondering -- not just how the polls can get it so wrong... but whether it's worth paying much attention to polls at all any more. 

And with a federal election looming, those are pressing concerns. Well, a new industry group is aiming to regain some public confidence in polls.

The Canadian Association for Public Opinion Research's first chair is Darrel Bricker, CEO of Ispos Public Affairs. 
He was in Toronto. 

Sasha Issenberg is a journalist and writer whose spent his career watching the way polling works... and the effect polling has on democracy. He is the author of "The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns," in Washington.

What would it take for you to trust a poll?

1) the pollster

2) the publication

3) nothing could make me trust a poll

4) I trust all polls!
 

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath and Acey Rowe. 
 

How to skew an opinion survery

Fom the British comedy series, Yes, Prime Minister, here is a scene where Bernard, who works for the prime minister, has just informed the cabinet secretary that his boss is planning a big announcement: re-introducing the national service -- or conscription.