Thursday, September 11, 2008

The roller coaster battleground riding polling

The Globe is running a report every night, it appears, reporting on the Strategic Counsel's running poll of what they term battleground ridings. Since they've started this reporting, the results appear to be fluctuating widely. Last night's report speaks of a doubling in support for NDP in 10 B.C. ridings. They claim that NDP support has moved from 17 percent last week to 30 percent this week. Notably, here's their sample size:
Surveys are conducted daily, with three-day running tallies comprising a poll of 1,325 Canadians.
A poll of 45 ridings surveying 1,325 people. Perhaps this is indeed legitimate polling practice, and I'm not sure how they do this exactly, but 1,325 people over 45 ridings ends up being about 29 plus people per riding. If they're able to legitimately extrapolate from that, then fine. But the results we're seeing reported on a nightly basis are showing volatility. Until these trends start being repeated over the course of a few weeks, to roll along with the highs and lows at this point is just plain irritating.

To the point, here are some of the conclusions we've been treated to this week as a result of this poll: Monday: "Tories seize lead in key ridings, poll shows; Tuesday:"Liberals losing ground in key ridings, poll shows;" Wednesday: "Tory momentum slows in swing ridings since election call;" Thursday: "NDP support doubles in B.C., poll suggests." The Thursday report on the high NDP percentages in those ten ridings in B.C. notes that the latest numbers don't take into account the debate brouhaha.

I'll be watching these with interest but I'm taking them with a grain of salt too. Until trends solidify, among a number of polls, it's hard to get too excited about any of it.