MRIA Member Requirements for Disclosure of Polling Results

Canada’s Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)—the professional association for those carrying out quantitative and qualitative survey work—has amended its Member Code of Conduct with new requirements and penalties for those members and their firms who release results into the public domain. While this is intended to bring about a more consistent and rigorous transparency for results released by members on any subject matter at any time, this will especially apply to those who issue opinion polls concerning elections and electoral prospects.

The Common Standards of Disclosure & Member Declaration for the Issuance of Survey Research into the Canadian Marketplace applies to all survey research firms who are members of the MRIA and is contained in their Code of Conduct for Market and Social Research. If a member survey research/public opinion polling firm regularly releases results into the public domain, their name and a clickthrough to their site is listed below. If a firm in this category is not found on this site, then it is because they are not in this category as members of the professional association.

The new MRIA requirements reflect the recommendations put forward by the British House of Lords Select Committee on Political Polling and Digital Media, those made by the Canadian Association of Public Opinion Research (which folded into the MRIA) and those from its own Standards Committee.

The MRIA has taken this initiative because members who issue polls must be accountable in their transparency while the media and public require a better route to scrutiny of those firms not just during the writ period but all the time. We note that some discrepancies in output and predictions may still occur because of different methodologies, interpretation, or voter volatility. As was jointly announced in May 2018, these Standards provide a platform for ongoing dialogue between both peer and media practitioners for collaborative, constructive insight, and interpretation.

As the result of a formal review by the MRIA or its designate of an alleged violation of the Declaration, the firm and its Principals may be subject to advice or a warning at one end of the scale to penalties ranging from censure or termination of its membership in the MRIA at the other end. Complaints can be made to the MRIA which has the right to determine if any such a complaint is to be taken in as advice and counsel or deserves a more fulsome process. The MRIA also has the right not to respond to frivolous, extraneous, or competitive/stakeholder complaints.