An Odd Way to Conduct an Opinion Poll

The website ABvote has been following the Albertan election super closely and, yesterday, released this startling poll. You can see the results (along with other polls earlier in this campaign below:


I would wager that anybody who has been following Albertan politics for any length of time saw their jaw drop to the floor. However, ignore the stunning graph for a moment, and take the time to read the article itself, which goes on at length for why we shouldn’t take this poll at face value.

The reasoning goes like this: the pollster contacts 1,798 people, of whom 1,153 are decided, asks them questions about their demographics, and then asks them who they intend to vote for in the coming election. The NDP gets 44% across the province, 61% in Edmonton, and leads in every other region. Wow.

But hold on, says the pollster: we think the Conservatives are heading towards a minority government. Why? Because they asked another very interesting question: who do you think your next door neighbour intends to vote for in the coming election. The results? The NDP gets 34%, the Progressive Conservatives get 28%, the Wild Rose Party get 21%, the Liberals get 10%, and the Alberta Party get 6%.

This strikes me as an odd question to ask on a number of fronts. One: who still talks about politics with their neighbours anymore? After all, we have Facebook to sound off on our issues, and the anonymity of the Internet allows us to hold those opinions without fear of major real-life repercussions. You have to live next to your next door neighbour, so I would guess that I would be more reluctant to raise political issues with them in case there is disagreement.

Unless, of course, you’re asking what colour lawn sign the neighbour has. That might be a good indicator — although it’s worth noting that there are many examples where lawn sign placements weren’t a good predictor of election results.

But if Albertans are generally assuming “Oh, the PCs will win”, because “they always win”, that’s not the best way to go out and vote, in my opinion. I mean, are you voting Wild Rose or New Democrat because you honestly want change and think that these parties will bring in change that you want? Or are you expressing yourself by boldly voting against the PCs while secretly hoping that your neighbours will save you from your choice?

This mentality has risks. To avoid potential political hangovers come May 6th, I would recommend that Albertans decide for themselves who they want to vote for, rather than who they want to protest against. The government that gets elected is on the backs of you as well as your neighbours. Take responsibility for it and vote with your heart.

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