Polling results add fuel to federal election race

A sudden proliferation of local polling results offer more for North Okanagan-Shuswap voters to ponder before the Oct. 19 federal election

A sudden proliferation of local polling results offer more for North Okanagan-Shuswap voters to ponder before the Oct. 19 federal election.

As of Tuesday, three polls had been conducted in the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding. One was commissioned by local residents, another by the organization Leadnow.ca and a third by the Liberal Party of Canada. The former two, when compared to the Liberal poll, paint a different election outcome for the Liberal and NDP positions.

The Leadnow polling results – a sampling of 755 eligible voters in the riding – are the latest to be released. It suggests 37 per cent of eligible voters in the riding will be casting their ballots for NDP candidate Jacqui Gingras, 33 per cent for Conservative candidate Mel Arnold, 22 per cent for Liberal Cindy Derkaz and eight per cent for Green candidate Chris George. Five per cent are undecided. The results of this poll are in response to two questions, “If the federal election were held tomorrow, which one of the following parties would you vote for here in the riding of North Okanagan-Shuswap,” and “Even though you are undecided, is there a party’s candidate that you are leaning towards.”

It was conducted by Environics Analytics between Oct. 9 and 11, by telephone, using interactive voice response technology and random sampling, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results can be found at https://www.votetogether.ca/riding/59020/north-okanaganshuswap/.

On Saturday, Oct. 10, polling company Mainstreet Technologies conducted a telephone survey in the riding funded by the local Liberal campaign.

To the question: “If the election were held today, which candidate would you vote for,” 38 per cent of respondents said Arnold, 22 per cent said NDP candidate Jacqui Gingras, 20 per cent said Liberal candidate Cindy Derkaz and four per cent said Green candidate Chris George. Ten per cent of respondents were undecided.

To the follow-up question, If you knew your preferred candidate wouldn’t win, which candidate would you vote for, Arnold received 24 per cent, Derkaz 20 per cent, Gingras 18 per cent and George 12 per cent, while 26 per cent remained undecided.

A total of 567 people were interviewed in this survey, available at http://cindyderkaz.liberal.ca/ndp-support-fading-fast-in-north-okanagan-shuswap/, using random number selection, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

“The national polls make it clear that Justin Trudeau is the only leader, and the Liberals are the only party who can replace Stephen Harper,” said Derkaz in a news release accompanying the Liberal poll. “The Mainstreet survey confirms the same trend in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. The NDP are fading fast here as well.”

Derkaz says the results of the Liberal poll paint a very different picture from another poll, conducted on Oct. 5 and 6 by polling company Oraclepoll. This poll, which surveyed 312 eligible voters in the riding, shows the NDP leading the Liberals by a much wider margin and narrowly beating out the Conservatives.

To the Oraclepoll question: “If a federal election were held today, which party and its candidate in the riding of North Okanagan Shuswap would you most likely vote for or be leaning towards at this time,” 41 per cent of (109 of 264) respondents chose Gingras. Thirty-eight per cent (99) said Arnold, 12 per cent (31) said Liberal Cindy Derkaz and nine per cent (25) said Green candidate Chris George.

To the follow-up question, “Is there a party or several parties you may be leaning towards,” 31.3 per cent (15 respondents) said the Liberal camp, 27.1 per cent (13) said the Conservatives, 20.8 per cent (10) said the NDP, 8.3 per cent (4) said the Green Party and 12.5 per cent (6) said they didn’t know.

The complete Oraclepoll results can be found at http://pollokanaganshuswap.weebly.com. It was commissioned by Warren Bell, and funded by a non-partisan group of 25 voting-age residents in the riding.

Derkaz dismisses the Oraclepoll results, noting the non-partisan group is connected to Renewing Democracy Through Co-operation.

“The group (Renewing Democracy) was started by Jacqui Gingras and she has been very involved in it,” said Derkaz.

“The whole poll is rather dubious. The sample size is very small. Our results from 23,000 attempted contacts and door knockings show something different. We are very strong and ahead of the NDP.”

Bell, spokesperson for the residents who commissioned the poll, says some are members of Renewing Democracy and some are not, and the poll was non-partisan.

Gingras confirms she was a member of Renewing Democracy, but stepped away when the election campaign began.

“I haven’t contributed any money to the poll or participated in the poll,” she said.

Bell, meanwhile, calls the Liberal poll skewed, noting its 66 per cent of female respondents is well over the regional proportion, as is the 52 per cent of respondents aged 65 and over.

As for the Oraclepoll results, Gingras, said they’re an accurate reflection of what she and her campaigners have been hearing on the hustings. George, too, said the Oraclepoll results are consistent with what he’s heard, while Arnold says there’s no clear outcome until election day.

The Oraclepoll results have a margin of error of +/- 5.5 per cent, 19 out of 20 times. The poll was conducted by telephone using live operators at Oraclepoll, who were using computer-assisted techniques of telephone interviewing and random number selection.

It’s this random selection that’s critical to a poll’s reliability, says Ron McGivern, senior lecturer and chair of the departments of sociology and anthropology at Thompson Rivers University.

“If it was based on a random sampling… You probably have reasonable representation there,” said McGivern, who teaches a course on survey design and analysis.

 

With files from the Vernon Morning Star.

 

 

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