Is that Mainstreet or Elm Street?

Having started out as a young man writing scripts for telephone co-incidental research, we are not about to easily buy into Interactive Voice Response (IVR) polling. This is mentioned in that some recent political polls in Alberta and B.C. have the politicos excited. The polls were done with IVR by Mainstreet Research. What we have always assumed about this technique of political research is that quality of call is replaced with quantity of calls.

But people used to lie to live interviewers and why would they not lie to a recording? And why would children and teenagers not have some phone fun with a recording? It was a long time ago that researchers found that the entire United States could be based on sampling just 480 people. Increasing that figure has not improved accuracy in polling. It is just an opportunity to annoy more people in their homes.

Before you malign all pollsters though, you should bear in mind that even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. And knowing Quito Maggi, CEO of Mainstreet, we should mention we once made a ten-dollar side bet on an election on which we were working. He lost, he paid and it felt good.

But this commentary is about Quito’s IVR research out west. The Mainstreet news is that the Wildrose Party would win an election tomorrow. As there is no writ for an election in Alberta tomorrow, you can relax. The interpretation of this survey is that if whomever is leader of the right in Alberta at the next election—if there is only one right-wing party—will have a slam-dunk.

But since there are two right-wing parties in Alberta, we should wait until the Conservatives pick their new leader and see how he does at trying to strong-arm the Wildrose to join his party. And by the way, the electoral districts will be redistributed before the next election. Best that Albertan’s wait before celebrating any victories.

It might also be best to wait until the election in British Columbia as well. The Mainstreet polling shows the ruling Liberals and the provincial New Democrats are almost tied and the Green Party is the wild card. What it obviously means is that the anti-pipeline voters will be out in force and the fence Premier Christy Clark is trying to ride in the coming election is going to get more and more uncomfortable. Quito Maggi is quoted as saying that what they know is they do not know enough.

But Quito might have other concerns. Mainstreet Research is reported to now be part of American Bellwether Technologies. He might not know that a bellwether can also be a castrated ram who leads his herd of sheep. Good luck, Quito!


Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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