Sunday, 11 October 2015

A New Tactic from the NDP: Utilizing Old Polls to Mislead Voters

Misleading Poll Stats via the NDP in the
Edmonton Journal - Polls Dated
September 15-18 & August 15-18 2015
This past week those of us in Edmonton were treated to some advertisements paid for by the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada. The ads highlighted that according to the NDP, Edmonton was in a two-way race between the Conservatives and NDP… with the Liberals in a very distant third.

They highlighted this by specifically showing polling information on only three (3) of the ridings in Edmonton… (Let us understand that Edmonton has more then three: Edmonton West, Edmonton Centre,  Edmonton Strathcona, Edmonton Riverbend, Edmonton Mill Woods, Edmonton Griesbach, Edmonton Manning, St Albert-Edmonton,  and Edmonton-Wetaskiwin)

Thus, one has to ask how Edmonton is a two-way race when they only point out three of the ridings. Additionally, another two questions that leave me, and others, wondering are: 1) How does this truly reflect the three ridings when they are doing an ‘aggregate’ of all three together, and (most importantly) 2) Why are the polls they are citing for Edmonton Centre for the dates September 15-18th and the one for Edmonton-Griesbach from August 15-18th. In other words: How factual are these polls when they are from 3 weeks and 7 weeks ago.

(The Edmonton Region is not the only area in Canada the NDP has done this in the last 2 weeks)


In early August (lets remember that August 15-18 is only two weeks into the election) was when the NDP were leading in first place according to majority of polls being presented at that time. Additionally, the NDP have been steadfast in the lead in Edmonton-Griesbach for months with it looking like Janis Irwin was a definite for heading to Ottawa come October 19th. Additionally around this time and the first half of September, the NDP (with Aaron Paquette) was dominating in Edmonton-Manning, the NDP Candidate in Lethbridge also looked to win over the Conservatives, and the NDP were slightly ahead  (according to the polls) of the Liberal Candidate Randy Boissonnault in Edmonton Centre. Let’s also note that originally, at the time the poll for Edmonton-Centre was taken, Gill McGowan was yet to be the NDP’s candidate in the area.

Forward to October 11, 2015:

Since September 15-18th the NDP have witnessed a steady decline to 3rd place standing (this is what all polling companies seem to highlight with their poll results since the end of September). Majority of polling also show that it is now, nationally, neck-in-neck for the Liberals and Conservatives. In relation to Alberta – the Conservatives are dominating the scene – with the chance of Liberals making breakthroughs in 3-4 ridings in Calgary (Calgary-Centre, Calgary-Confederation, Calgary-Skyview and Calgary Forestlawn), and the NDP and Liberals trading between each other for potential ridings in Edmonton (NDP are leading in Edmonton-Strathcona and looking like it is a toss up between Conservative Kerry Diotte and Janis Irwin in Edmonton-Griesbach). In relation to Edmonton-Manning, the NDP and Liberals seem to be tied for a distant second-place (which I do find quite unfortunate because I do think the voice of Aaron Paquette in Canada’s H.O.C would be not only amazing but important on dealing with rectifying the tattered relationships between Canada and Indigenous nations). The Liberal candidates in Edmonton-West (Karen Leibovici) and Edmonton Mill Woods (Amarjeet Sohi), both have the potential to win above the Conservatives (with the NDP being a distant third in both).

The Edmonton-Centre Factor:

Via - October 10, 2015
Now, lets turn to Edmonton-Centre – where the NDP have also used misleading and outdated polling data. The NDP have tried to make it look like the race in Centre is between Gil McGowan and James Cumming (the Conservative Candidate)… with supposed signs that Randy Biossannault is a distant third. This is where that aggregation comes in that the NDP used from polls dating to August 15-18 and September 15-18 (when the NDP were leading in Griesbach and Manning) – it allows for them to skew the standing of the race in Edmonton-Centre where other aggregates and discussions relating to Centre has consistently shown it either to be a close race between the three (which relates back to early September polls – with the NDP and Liberals going back and forth for first or second) to today where results are highlighting that it is now a close race between the Liberals and Conservatives with Randy Biossannault being the one to hold first place currently, followed by James Cumming in second and Gil McGowan in third.

For instance, according to the Hill Times: “And there could be Liberal surprises in what were core Conservative seats in 2011. In rural seats, the Conservatives won by 25 points or more in 2011, the Liberals have narrowed the gap to eight points.  In seats the Conservatives won by 15 to 25 points four years ago, the Liberals trail by just two points.  In Edmonton and Calgary the Liberals are now 11 points ahead of the NDP and just eight points behind the Conservatives.” (


Some of you will now state: “But wait, the Alberta Federation of Labour released a poll (through Environics) saying Gil has the best chance”

Here is the thing with the AFL Poll: Sampling size, and whether or not it actually polled areas specifically favourable to the NDP and Gil McGowan needs to be thought of and considered. Additionally – lets not forget who had worked for the AFL before becoming the NDP’s preferred candidate: Gil McGowan.

Lets just understand – I would also call out polls that would specifically favour Liberals (many friends have heard me express caution over Nanos because I have found it to always put the Liberals a bit further ahead then they actually are). This is why if I opt to look at polls I do prefer to look at updated assessments of them that also average out the polls – such as

Thus, I want to express people to be cautious with polls – especially ones paid for and distributed by political parties. They have traditionally and always been problematic, as the newest tactics by the NDP in Edmonton highlight.

I also want to express, especially in Edmonton-Centre – to be cautious with the manipulation of these polling aggregates as they are no longer factual in the last week of the election.

Self Explanatory

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