The MRIA has been following developments in the Province of Alberta regarding a recent leaked poll. On March 19,2022, we learned that the leak may have originated from the governing political party in Alberta, the UCP according to the researcher and media reports. The MRIA condemns political interference, pressure and the abuse of power demonstrated by this most recent incident in the research industry. The MRIA would like to remind politicians, political parties, partisans and especially those in Government who may be positively or negatively impacted by polls, to refrain from behaviour or comments that may impact the economic or reputational standing of professional researchers.
The MRIA would also like to take this opportunity to remind media that there are both Canadian and International standards for the publication of public opinion research. To be published or referred to directly in media, a public opinion poll should note the mode (online, phone, etc), frame, field dates and margin of error if applicable and who commissioned the poll. For syndicated studies like the one in question, that should be noted for readers. In addition, the weighted and unweighted frequencies must be published. In this case, the researcher was unaware that her syndicated work had been leaked to media and the work was criticized unfairly because it lacked those details. Again, this may have economic and reputational impacts on the researcher because of the lack of disclosure by the media outlets.
"Public opinion research is an important part of our democratic process. When researchers like Janet Brown are put under pressure by the Governing political party of a Province, that is an abuse of power that should be vigorously condemned. The potential for economic and reputational harm to individuals and the broader industry make this incident unacceptable." said MRIA Chair Quito Maggi who is the President & CEO of Mainstreet Research. "Pollsters and researchers are used to scrutiny of their published work, including from political parties and media. In this case, it should have been clear to media that the work was not suitable for public consumption without permission from the researcher." he added.
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