On the weird Bristol poll

Jacques Poitras has a piece on his blog about the supposedly innovative Bristol poll this election where they will survey the same group of 600+ New Brunswickers to assess any changes in opinion over the course of the election cycle.

He and others are quite critical of this poll approach – as am I (as pointed out in a previous blog) but I don’t know that there has been much backlash in the traditional media. I would have expected a quote from a national polling firm slamming this model. Maybe I just didn’t see it.

The whole purpose of polls is their randomness. The minute you move out of that -all you have is a focus group. The only good that poll will do is it will tell the parties where those specific 600 people will be voting and nothing more.

Except the reality is much more different than that. Polls do influence people and their voting patterns. At least some New Brunswickers want to vote for the ‘winning’ party so as to be in someone’s good graces. If the Bristol poll shows a big swing either way, it could influence voters without having the usual rigor.

And given my mistrust of Al Hogan and Bristol, I almost think this is some kind of political ploy. Al likes to use the witches and card readers to predict the election so I wouldn’t put a little election trickery beyond his reach.

Either way, that’s bad form. But to be expected.