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No matter how you look at the numbers—be they seats, votes, or polling results before the vote on Oct. 21—everyone claims some sort of victory and points out someone else’s loss.
In analyzing the federal election in which everyone seems to have lost something, the only winners may be the pollsters. With the exception of a few outliers, most of the major polling houses did very well in the Canadian 43rd General Election.
Here is a quick look at the score of the final polls of the top five finishers, all taken between the 16th and 20th of October:
All pollsters did a good job; Leger, best of all. The one party that tripped up the most polls was the NDP, predictions for whom varied between 16% and 21%. Apart from this, however, none of the top pollsters were further away than one or two points from the actual election result for each party.
While this lends credence to the assumption that pollsters observe each other's' work and "herd" toward the end of an election period, this is not the case. Each pollster has his or her own weighting formula, which take into account turnout modelling, allocating undecided votes and estimating late shifts. While they are all different, these formulas have the effect of harmonizing towards Election Day, as voters become more sure of their intentions and late trends become clearer.
In Election 43, the online pollsters were the most accurate, but not by much. Random selection methods are also in the top five. It is obvious, however, that online, self-selection polling methodologies can no longer be dismissed out of hand.
So, while the Liberals lost 20 seats and their majority, the Conservatives lost their chance at forming a government, and the NDP lost half their caucus, the Greens lost the battle of the millennium, and the PPC lost their leader, Canada's pollsters—the best of them, at least—won the day with uncannily accurate prescience about the outcome of our quadrennial bun fight.
Technology has changed the way research professionals are doing their work.
There are interactive voice-recognition phone surveys, online communities, and new software programs that make surveys quick and convenient on cell phones. There is also an array of dashboards and analytics programs, complemented with unique links that track a customer’s journey.
“A lot has changed in the years since we formed in 2004,” said Albert Lam, board chair of Canada’s Marketing Research and Intelligence Association.
“In response, we are changing our logo to better reflect who our members are and what they do.”
The new logo remains green and blue, as it recognizes the history of the association. The colours, however, shift in colour to show adaptability, which has been and continues to be critical as technology and society change.
“The data points on the logo represent not just the data, but the insightful analysis our members do, as well as the many varied research concentrations that make up our Canadian insights industry,” said Lam.
About the MRIA
The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association has served as the voice of Canada’s survey industry, which includes social research, competitive intelligence, data mining, insight and knowledge management, since 2004. Newly reorganized, the MRIA is a member-driven association that advocates for ethical and transparent conduct by all who do qualitative and quantitative research, including polling, customer surveys, and online panel communities.
For more information
Albert Lam, Board Chair: 905-604-6620; 1-833-604-6620; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Robinson, Executive Director: 905-767-2195; email@example.com
With more than 20 years of experience working in marketing insights for businesses and charities, Albert Lam is leading Canada’s foremost market research industry association.
Albert Lam, the Founder, and CEO of BrainVision Market Analytics is the newly elected chair of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA). He brings not just the experience in market research and data insights, as he worked with the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, World Vision Canada and the YMCA of Greater Toronto to not only broaden their marketing but also build donor engagement.
“My mission is to use technology and analytics to help retailers with their digital marketing so they not only can promote their business but stay competitive,” said the University of Toronto statistics and business management graduate.
With his statistics degree and business management diploma, Lam went on to obtain the prestigious Certified Marketing Research Professional (CMRP) designation.
Lam was one of the first Certified Market Research Professionals (CMRP) since its inception in 2004. Lam merges market research, analytics, and technology to create problem-solving solutions for businesses. In a rapidly changing digital era, new innovations are needed to complement these needs. He shares this passion for innovation as he mentors post-secondary software engineering and statistics students. Currently, he is the 2020 mentor with the University of Toronto’s Statistical Sciences department.
Lam has assisted the newly reorganized MRIA with defining its vision and mission, its branding, and connecting with partners to ensure that the CMRP curriculum remains not only relevant but cutting edge. He has also led the development of the Research Registry, MRIA's survey validation system, in time for the federal election.
“For 15 years, the MRIA’s members have advocated for world-class standards, ethics, and professionalism in the research industry in Canada,” said Lam.
“This advocacy is critical today, especially as Canadians prepare to vote on Oct. 21. We want to ensure researchers and pollsters are transparent and honest with Canadians so Canadians can trust us and confidently give us their honest feedback, which is critical in shaping a better Canada—whether in government services or consumer goods.”
Transparency and gaining public confidence matter—and Canadians need to be able to verify that your poll or project is indeed legit.
The MRIA is opening its Research Registry System to all Canadian pollsters just in time for the federal election. Follow the link here to register your firm and your election polling.
“We are working on behalf of not just our industry, but for consumers as well as potential survey participants, as we ensure that research is not used as a marketing or sales tactic,” said MRIA board chair Albert Lam, CMRP, principal of BrainVision Market Analytics, a marketing research and data intelligence consultancy headquartered in Markham, Ontario.
“We are advocating that high standards be followed by all, so the public can confidently participate, which not only makes surveys and polling easier but more importantly improves the quality of research we all do. Working together as we build transparency and a database of research projects will benefit everyone in our industry, now and in the future.”
For more information on standards, visit here.
The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association has served as the voice of Canada’s market research industry, which includes surveys, social research, competitive intelligence, data mining, and insight and knowledge management, since 2005.
Newly reorganized, the MRIA is a member-driven association that advocates for ethical and transparent conduct by all who do qualitative and quantitative, market, and social research.
For more information, please contact
Albert Lam, Board Chair: 905-604-6620; 1-833-604-6620 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Robinson, Executive Director: 647-612-7200 email@example.com.
Bill C-76 came into effect on June 13, 2019, and election surveys conducted during the pre-election period, including the election period, are now classified as regulated activities by Elections Canada. It does not matter who commissioned the survey; it is now considered a regulated activity. The survey may be initiated by the following:
MRIA members who conduct election surveys or any related surveys that may be issued during the pre-election period and the election period must ensure that they are following the law.
Best practices to comply with the new laws:
Pre-election period means the period beginning on the June 30 before the day set in accordance with subsection 56.1(2) for the holding of a general election and ending on the day before the earlier of:
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