Polls and Messages
can't entirely blame Vaughn Palmer, he doesn't write the headlines
for his columns, let alone the sub-heading
on March 25th which read: "Premier gets 50-per-cent
approval rating in latest poll after 16 years in provincial
politics". How could Palmer have known that within hours
of his column appearing, Angus
Reid would release a poll of 800 British Columbians, showing
an approval rating of only 34% for Premier Campbell?
Group and Angus
Reid are B.C.'s foremost polling companies, and their
findings with respect to B.C. politics haven't been in agreement
lately. There is a lot of argument about Internet vs. telephone
polling, as well as whether a polled-out public simply isn't
telling the truth. Wherever truth is found, it is clear that
no one should put too much faith in any single poll.
you believe the Ipsos-Reid poll, the NDP has had the bun -
down 11% on the eve of the election. If you believe the Angus
Reid poll, the NDP is in contention, down 6%, reduced to 2%
amongst voters who are certain they will actually vote.
media, and this blog, frequently follow the horserace rather
than focusing on the issues. The polls will always provide
good entertainment, but the only one that counts is the actual
vote on May 12th. In the meantime, it might be worthwhile
to hear from the competing parties on what real differences
they offer to British Columbians.
Ipsos-Reid, Angus Reid found that the economy is the major
issue (highest ranked but not by a majority). Angus Reid reported
that while the economy was on top, it was so for only 36%
of those polled. In other words, for 64% of those polled,
issues other than the economy will dominate their voting decision,
including crime (19%), health care (8%) and social services.
Social services are tricky because Angus Reid broke them into
subcategories: homelessness (5%), drug use (5%), poverty (4%),
housing (3%) and child care (1%). Perhaps one social service
category would have gotten a double digit rating, while the
subcategories got single digits. He found that only 5% ranked
the environment as the most important issue facing BC.
parties use polls to drive their advertising. It is a waste
of money for a party to run an ad that carries a message no
one believes. Angus Reid reported that 45% of those polled
said that Carole James "understands the problems of BC
residents", compared to 31% for Gordon Campbell. Don't
be surprised to see advertisements that emphasize which party
understands the problems of BC residents. Likewise, Angus
Reid found that 45% of those polled said Gordon Campbell "is
a strong and decisive leader", compared to 23% for James.
question is which ads would be more effective, those emphasizing
Campbell's leadership or those emphasizing James' understanding?