The making of a poll: How we're asking Albertans what matters to them most

Venture down the rabbit hole as we explore the making of the CBC Road Ahead poll and political research ahead of next year's provincial vote.

We're roughly a year from the next provincial election. What's on people's minds? What will motivate voters?

Albertans from all walks of life were asked about their beliefs, their priorities and their feelings on the future of their province as part of a CBC: The Road Ahead poll. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC, Todd Korol/Reuters, Frank Gasparik, Trevor Wilson/CBC)

We are about a year from the next provincial election in this province and Alberta voters are facing a whole new situation.

An NDP government running for re-election. A newly formed United Conservative Party hoping to unseat them. And the Alberta Liberal Party and Alberta Party with new leaders.

In a bid for power, political parties of all stripes try to figure out who the electorate is, and then leverage this knowledge into platforms and policies to attract votes.

Carbon taxes, pipelines, debt and deficits, social values, fiscal values, hopes, dreams and fears. What will motivate voters? What attitudes matter most to voters? And even more importantly, how do people see their lives fitting into the province's future.

To look at that, we are surveying Albertans — right now.

Yes, a poll.

It's research on who we are and we'll follow that up shortly with focus groups to better understand how Albertans are formulating their political opinions.

The CBC's Brooks DeCillia is leading the project, and we partnered with Calgary pollster Janet Brown and data scientist John Santos to explore what matters most to Alberta voters. We asked political scientists Duane Bratt from Mount Royal University and Melanee Thomas from the University of Calgary to act as advisors.

Clockwise from front left, Duane Bratt, Janet Brown, Rob Brown, John Santos, Brooks DeCillia, and Melanee Thomas talking about just what it takes to do political research. (CBC)

So, what to ask and how to ask it? Discussions were held, emails exchanged, plans were laid out, questions drafted, revised, rethought, retooled, individual words debated, and finally, the poll was finalized.

And we wanted to share some of that process with you.

So, recently, we held a final roundtable at our CBC studios in Calgary.

Our own Rob Brown, host of CBC Calgary News at 6, sat down with many of the people involved in the construction and background thinking that went into our poll. It was a discussion on how it was put together, and what information we hope to learn.

So sit back and listen to how it all came to be.

You'll hear Rob Brown, Duane Bratt, Melanee Thomas, Janet Brown, Brooks DeCillia, and John Santos talking about just what it takes to do political research.

Calgary: The Road Ahead is CBC Calgary's special focus on our city as we build the city we want — the city we need. It's the place for possibilities, a marketplace of ideas. Have an idea? Email us at:

More from the series:


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?