Saturday, 17 March 2012

Paging Poll Wonks!

Here's my reaction on Election Night 2011, titled 'Totally Fucked'.
I can barely type for tears. Thanks, to vote-splitters, conscience voters. Thanks. Canada is now Tea Party North.

The comments on that post and my (dimming) memory indicate that there was a fair amount of shock at the result. How wrong did pollsters get it?

Or, to put it another way: did pollsters more or less accurately reflect voter intentions MINUS criminal skulduggery?

So I went looking for immediate reactions. Here's ThreeHundredEight from May 3, 2011:
Well, at least I got the order of the parties right.

Clearly, the final projection was wrong. It under-estimated both the Conservatives and the New Democrats and over-estimated the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois. While I was not alone in making this error, I humbly recognize that of all the projections mine was among the worst.

Of the 308 ridings in the country, correctly called 234 of them. That's an accuracy rate of 76.0%, which is absolutely unacceptable.

However, it was not the seat projection model that failed. The seat projection model actually performed very well - or would have had the popular vote projection model not missed the mark so completely.
. . .

I should be clear that the polls were not terribly inaccurate. They were actually quite good in pegging the support levels of the Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Québécois. But they under-estimated the Conservatives, arguing for a strong minority rather than a relatively strong majority government. This was especially problematic in British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. On the other hand, full marks go to the pollsters in unpredictable Quebec. They were all very close to the actual result.

Hm. Of the 92 ridings with 'hoax phone calls' The Sixth Estate had listed as of yesterday, I count 74 in British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, where Conservative strength was under-estimated by pollsters, but where allegations of manipulation or suppression abound.

Here's another post-mortem from May 4, 2011.
Stephen Harper achieved his long-sought Conservative majority last night, leaving many of us gobsmacked and dumbstruck.

Pundits quoted there blame vote-splitting.

KICKER: There's also this:
Now Harper (3 May) tells us that in majority, he will adopt a no-surprises approach to government, with no radical shifts in policy: “One thing I’ve learned in this business is that surprises are generally not well received by the public and so we intend to move forward with what Canadians understand about us and I think what they’re more and more comfortable with.”

No surprises, indeed. Long-form census, 'Royal' everything, OAS. I could go on.

I am no poll wonk. But it would be très cool if a number cruncher could take a look at this stuff.

Aside: From my trip down memory lane just now, it is QUITE remarkable how many contemporary reports of 'dirty tricks' were noted by us -- mostly by deBeauxOs. Viz today's Creekside.

h/t @stignasty for the threehundredeight link.


deBeauxOs said...

My own conclusions:

The CONs snagged their so-called 39% "majority" because they deliberately used robocalls to suppress votes they knew would not be cast for the CPC.

And they screwed the folks who did vote for them by bullying through Parliament and imposing on "their" government a MASSIVE number of initiatives that were never stated in their 2011 campaign platform.

Beijing York said...

I agree, dBO and fern. Remember, there were live calls too as well as some weird on-the-ground stuff going on at some polling stations.

I don't think anyone predicted how badly slaughtered the Libs would be. Even I who had nothing but scathing criticism for Ignatieff never thought he read THAT badly with the public. In retrospect it almost seems ludicrous that they would bleed so many more votes than they did as a result of AdScam. I think the concerted effort was to target Liberal seats first and foremost.

There is no way this wasn't a nationally orchestrated fraud committed by the Harper Conservatives.

Dave said...

Typo in line 1 of the post above - should be 2011 v. 2001?

fern hill said...

Yes, you're right, but the my edit function has gone awol. Thanks. I'll try to fix.

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