Are Pollsters To Be Believed

(Quebec Provincial Election)
October 11, 2012

Are pollsters to be believed to be right 19 out of 20 times as they claim they are? As Canadians breathed a sigh of relief upon the results of the 2012 Quebec Provincial election, it seems pollsters are overwhelmingly wrong in their forecasts for at least the second time this year. In Quebec, pollsters managed to whip up Quebec sovereignty sentiment to near all-time highs on the shoulders of the feisty Parti Quebecois leader, Pauline Marois. Seeking sensationalism, national columnists shamefully jumped on the unity crisis bandwagon.

Numerous polls were done within Quebec to attempt to gauge how Quebecers were feeling. Not surprisingly, reports done on the polls in Quebec were inflammatory and sensationalist. Poll after poll came back showing Marois` PQ had a majority government lined up. This is illustrated by a September 2, 2012 EKOS poll which had the Parti Quebecois with 36% of the popular vote and the Quebec Liberal Party with 23.3%. The September 4th election results, just two days later, gave the PQ only 32% of the popular vote and a bare minority government, while the QLP received an unforeseen 31.2% to become the Official Opposition.

Does this story sound familiar? You may recall the Alberta provincial election this past spring, where an April 11th, 2012 Abacus poll had the Wildrose party emerging with a majority government with 46% of the popular vote whereas the Progressive Conservatives were projected with 29%. In that case, the Wildrose party only received 34% of the popular vote in the April 23rd election and came in at a distant second to the Progressive Conservatives who won 44%.

In the recent case of Quebec, contrary to what pollsters and columnists reported, the vote thankfully was indeed for change, not separation.

What do you think?