Reading political polls is a trap but we all do it. Polls are never that accurate. Polls can mislead us. Polls are always old news. At their best, they report history. Not only do some people consider pollsters intrusive, but people often lie to them.
The worst type of polls are the robotic ones—they are the type where a recorded voice asks you to press one for candidate “X” and two for candidate “Y” etc. You can never prove to me that the kids in that household don’t answer the home telephone. They hardly want to tie up that phone by giving it to a parent, so they obligingly press a few guesses for the pollster.
But how ever the dirty was done, pollsters wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time on tweaking polls for the news media. I never shared my polls for my candidates with the news media and I really don’t know what the current arrangements are with the pollsters for the free advertising.
I am expecting, with some trepidation, the first scam artist who sets up a phony political poll that enables the scammer to get you to press more than a few numbers and you find that you have bought a few acres of a swamp. I hope at that point our lackadaisical telecom regulators will put an end to robotic telephone calls.
The real purpose of this opinion piece was to comment on the polls in Toronto in regards to the upcoming mayoralty race. I think if we are going to have over 100 candidates in an election or by-election, there should be some sort of preliminary process that allows the voters to choose the debaters instead of letting the pollsters make the decision.
So far, the polls have conclusively convinced us that the NDP candidate has the best name recognition among the 102 candidates for mayor. Olivia Chow is very lucky to have no serious NDP competition but there are certainly candidates with better credentials than Chow. And there is lots of time for a loser such as Chow to drop to third again as she did last time that she ran, nine years ago. She came third behind two conservative candidates. John Tory and Doug Ford.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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