Friday, May 11, 2012

Repost: The CARP Poll is a Voodoo Poll

The Canadian Association of Retired Peoples is out with a poll of roughly 2,600 of their members (individuals over 55 years old, mostly), and apparently is shows the topline numbers of 39% NDP, 31% Conservative, and 25% Liberal.

Below is my post on their poll that came out in March 2011, showing the Liberals leading the Conservatives, 42% to 41%. I think that post itself speaks for this one as well. Don't trust everything you see.
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There's been this little poll circulating the blogosphere recently done by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) on the voting intentions of their specific voter subset - people over the age of 55. This poll essentially states that among CARP's membership, the Conservatives have had a huge drop in support, going from a high of about 52% in early February, to 41% now - while the Liberals jumped from 32% to 42% in the same time. This is taken as an indication that the Conservatives are facing something of a backlash amongst older voters.

Before anyone gets excited though, remember that a single poll is not a trend - and so far, no poll has shown the kind of drop amongst older voters that CARP has. Right away, the numbers presented must be taken with a very large grain of salt.

The other fact throwing doubt upon this poll is the fact that it's amongst CARP's own membership, and it's methodology and samples are questionable. Let me explain.

CARP's poll is an online poll of approx. 2,000 participants, all of whom are subscribers and readers of CARP's newsletter that obviously come online. That, however, is as much as we know; there is no explanation of their methodology, of any weighting system used, of regional data, voting subsets (income, race, age, gender, etc.), or whatever else you can think of. Essentially, all CARP's poll could mean is that there are a lot more older people from the GTA who are possibly lower income reading the online newsletter right now.

Which is what may have actually happened. Looking over the "raw data" of CARP's poll, you can see that 61.2% of the 2,515 votes came from Ontario, 7.9% came from Alberta, and 2.9% came from Quebec. That right there is a serious indication that your samples are flawed in a very big way.

Going on, you continue to see other big flaws in the samples, including in gender (I didn't know over 2/3 of Canadians were male), income, and even age brackets. And with no indication that the samples were weighed to battle against these results, there is a big question of validity in this poll. It's more or less a voodoo poll, something that is pretty to look at but we can't possibly base any data or hopes off of.

What really kills me is CARP's insistence that this poll is just as credible as others. It isn't. Don't believe it. Whatever these results may say, they can't be trusted. That's simply the truth. There's not likely such a big drop in Conservative support amongst this 55+ age bracket. And in no way have I seen CARP reflect any polling trend yet.

No Conservative implosion. No Liberal upswing. I hate to burst people's bubble, but this poll is not trustworthy. Simple as that - until anyone can prove me wrong, however.

6 comments:

  1. You can't just poll a subgroup of people and claim it's a national poll. If you could do that, we could just poll Liberal members and see how well we are doing.

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  2. Isn't that what most pollsters do? It is evident that they keep polling the same provinces and people. I have been a voter for more years then I care to state and have never had a call asking me what party I will be supporting. I came from a large family and none of them have ever been polled.

    That tells us a lot. Call the same people who support the Reformers dictator Harpo or other party leaders. A poll is only as accurate as the questions asked and the only ones I believe are the polls on election day unless of course we have fraudulent parties rigging the voters. or ridingbY,Harpers parrot trolls.

    BTW, I answer the questions asked as a Carp member and those consist of seniors, you know the ones who do show up on election day to vote. They are not as gullible as some parrots posting on these blogs.

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    1. No offense ma'am, but you're saying an awful lot of nonsense.

      Just because you've specifically never been called, doesn't mean that the pollsters are maliciously hitting the same people over and over again. There are roughly 25-million adults in this country, and there are maybe 50 or so polls done a year, with between 1K to 2K polled each time. That's only 75,000 per year, and it would take nearly three centuries to get through the total adult populatin of Canada at that rate. So your logic is false.

      Besides, how can you explain fluctuating voting patterns if they're ONLY calling Conservative supporters? You think thousands of people are in on some sort of conspiracy? Come off it.

      And yeah, I know seniors show up on voting day - and guess what, they voted Conservative in massive numbers. That was despite the magical poll out in March 2011 showing a "groundbreaking" shift towards the Liberals, something totally confirmed by E-day.

      CARP is an activist organization. I've got no problem with that at all, except when an activist organization polls its own members, especially after said activist organization releases a series of bad pressers on the government, it tends to skew the results just a bit. That's just a fact, even when you don't take into account the glaring demographics issues.

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    2. I have to agree, you have no idea what you are talking about. Polls ask seniors and weight their responses more than youth. No offence, but actually look at a poll - and I don't mean the topline numbers in the newspaper, I mean the actual document itself - before pretending you know what they say.

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  3. tough titty just because the poll favours the dips you don't like - get used to it!!

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    1. Volkov has been just as willing to attack unscientific polls that show the Liberals ahead. And I presume you are talking to him because I'd rather see the NDP in first than Harper, so a Conservative dip would make me happy.

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