Should you pay attention to national polls?

Heather Libby is taking a pledge to ignore national polls leading up to the election, and she wants other Canadians to do the same - but pollster Craig Worden says national polls are valuable if you're looking at the right one.
A man casts his vote for the federal election in a polling station on Toronto's Ward Island on Monday, May 2, 2011. (Chris Youn/Canadian Press)

Deadlocked. A virtual tie. A tight three way race.

That's how the Canadian federal election has been characterized in most of the national polls so far. As we draw nearer to voting day, politically minded Canadians will be watching those polls closely. If you're one of them, your anxieties, fears, and hopes may depend on a spread of a few percentage points.

But not everyone feels that watching those national numbers is worth the sweat. Heather Libby is a writer and researcher based in Vancouver. She says she's taking a pledge to ignore national polls leading up to the election, and she wants other Canadians to do the same.

It really gives you absolutely no useful information aside from an awesome headline for the media, because we love a horse race.- Heather Libby, Vancouver writer and researcher

Craig Worden is the executive vice-president of Pollara Strategic Insights in Toronto. He says more local polls would be valuable, but they're too expensive to produce. Worden believes national polls do have value, but he believes it's the media's job to highlight the right ones. 

In a perfect world, it would be great to have...riding polls. But the fact of the matter is riding polls can be quite expensive. That's just not something that we're going to have. - Craig Worden, Pollara Strategic Insights

Click the blue button above to listen to the full interview.


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