9.20.2008

question about canadian polls

In this country where polls are taken every five minutes, I have a question about their true meaning.

How do public opinion polls correspond to seat projections? If 30-something percent of Canadian polled say they prefer the Conservatives, does that correspond to the same percentage of seats in the House of Commons?

Everyone is running around muttering "Conservative majority, Conservative majority". But where do the polls show that?

Here's the current seat projection from DemocraticSpace. It's disturbing, but the Liberals have gained ground every day, and there are still weeks to go.

The public opinion polls we keep hearing about show the Conservatives ahead, and show the Liberals steadily gaining ground. But they do not show a Conservative majority. I know precious little about statistics, but I do know how to add, and I know a majority requires at least 51%. Where do you see that?

Now, I don't believe we're going to have a Conservative majority. I know this is not the general opinion, but a lot of general opinion is formed by people hearing what other people say, then repeating it with great certainty, as if they know something.

This election is not just about the popularity of St├ęphane Dion. It's a referendum on the past 31 months. And I do not think a majority of Canadians* loved the Harper Government so much that they want a steaming second helping with a side of unchecked power.

* Of course the true popular vote doesn't really matter, what matters is how the votes are concentrated within any given riding. Antiquated, unfair and undemocratic, but consider this shorthand for now.

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