How the media use pollsters as propagandists for Canada’s Liberals

Read this Canadian Press article dated December 1st, 2013 with the misleading title: “Liberal lead solidifies as pollsters predict significant voter shift underway.” Wow! Talk about media and Harris Decima propaganda. The Justin Trudeau Liberals are not solidifying their lead.

In fact, one of the first sentences in the article, regarding the pollster, the writer admits that the Liberals have dropped from a high of 37% support prior to the recent by-elections to 34% now. So, how does a drop of 3% voter support show a voter shift towards the Liberals is underway — regardless of the 3% being within Decima’s claimed margin of error.

Plus, in the recent by-elections, the Liberals won only the two seats they have held for decades. Sure, they came second in Brandon Souris (Manitoba). But, sorry, second doesn’t count, particularly when the Liberal candidate (Rolf Dinsdale) had a very popular, beloved name. His father Walter served 11 terms as a Conservative MP.  Meaning, the only thing the increase in Liberal vote in that riding indicates, is that many of the voters supported the Dinsdale family.

So, no, there is absolutely no evidence that Liberal support is solidifying — particularly west of the Ontario border!

Then, there is the ridiculous claim in the article that the Harris Decima poll shows that the Conservative base are deserting the Conservative Party of Canada and the Conservative Government in Ottawa. Specifically: “He [Gregg] says traditional Liberals — the so-called professional class and women — are returning to the fold, while stalwart Conservatives — men and rural voters — appear to be wavering and expressing disappointment with the Harper government.”


As a former researcher myself, I have to say that there is no way any pollster can extrapolate the personal intentions they claim to have done from a few questions. So, it seems to me that this article and the Harris Decima poll are something else entirely.

Merriam Webster defines propaganda as “ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, or a government.”

Does this poll truly indicate what the pollster claims? Or, is the media simply using its questionable generalizations to develop a positive Liberal and Justin Trudeau narrative in an attempt to influence voter intentions for 2015?

Obviously the answer is yes, it is pure pro-Liberal propaganda, since, as I said at the start of this post,  a decline of 3% Liberal support is not an improvement. In fact, even if we were to accept the 3% margin of error, it still leaves Liberal support static, not shifting upwards.

C/P Jack’s Newswatch. Welcome readers.

31 thoughts on “How the media use pollsters as propagandists for Canada’s Liberals

  1. The media better be very very careful with the style of games they play; they will encounter a problem that none of them would be able to change or worm they way out. Once they have created a a path to their own likening they will have to deal with it to the very end or else face rebuke from those they the media used to try help ruin the federal cpc gov.


  2. The media maggots for Turdeau will stop at nothing to get their breathless, lispy, blathering man/boy into the PMO. The maggot media are so predictable in their tactics… 1. Carpet bomb the public with hysterical, over the top smear campaigns against the Government, usually based upon nothing other than colossal hypocrisy and self righteousness along with the media’s defacto hatred for the PM and the Conservatives in general… 2. Hire loyal Liberal pollsters to gauge whether said smear campaign has had the desired effect of hurting the Government…3. manufacture the ridiculous false narrative that the poll results are irrefutable evidence that little Justy is really “connecting” with voters… LOL!! If it wasn’t so dishonest, corrupted and insultingly cynical, it would be funny, although this type of pure propaganda is anything but funny… predictable and corrupt, but not funny.


  3. Nicola, Misleading for sure. And, as Jen and Sean suggest, cynical. It was a couple of days ago but I thought it worth writing about anyway.


  4. Sandy, I caught this as well. Talk about torquing a result but then with the media I don’t expect anything different.
    I proudly never watch CBC or CTV. That is the best was to express my disgust is to hit them in the pocketbook. Cheers


  5. Polls are just a snapshot, not a predictor, nonetheless I never look at one poll but look at long term trends and they are not good for the Tories while the Liberals have some reason to be optimistic. One cannot deny the Tories have lost about 10 points since last election, however with an election two years away a lot can happen between now and then.

    As for media bias, every party claims that. Those on the left claim the media has a right wing bias while those on the right claim it has a left wing bias. With the internet and social media any party can overcome a bias if it exists.


  6. Monkey — This post is about a poll that has a clear liberal bias. You just couldn’t resist saying the Tories have lost about 10 points since the last election. Problem is the bias I am talking about, which you obviously don’t see. Given the results of the by-elections, the Tories have not lost enough to lose existing seats.

    Bottom line — I am not interested in debating polls per se, just the one I wrote about and its pro-Liberal narrative. Not simply bias, but propaganda.


  7. Monkey, I am not going to approve any more of your comments. Anyone who can write — I never look at one poll but look at long term trends and they are not good for the Tories while the Liberals have some reason to be optimistic is Liberal. Therefore, IMO the purpose for such a comment is simply to disrupt and annoy.

    Blogs represent the blogger’s world view. And, as I have suggested to you before in a previous thread, I would recommend you start your own blog.


  8. Lyn — I hear your frustration. But, you will need to reword your comment if I am going to be able to approve it. As it is written, it is simply too inflammatory (which has legal implications for me) and not really related to the topic of the post.

    Plus, I need a real name in your email address. As it stands, you are basically anonymous.


  9. That bullstink story is one of the reasons I pay no attention to the mainstream media anymore. facts mean nothing; they’re more interested in pushing an agenda, stating their opinions or what they wish was real, and trying to influence public opinion- if they keep spouting the BS that the Libs are leading, loyal sheep will start to listen. The only thing I can’t understand, is why does the media shill for the Liberals anyway? Is there money in it for them, or something?


  10. Why do the RINOs in the U.S. go along with Obama. Because they want to be invited to the right parties, they want to be seen as progressive and of course all the cushy jobs go to those that think the right way. The left takes care of its own.


  11. The Main Stream Media is already past the point of being a trustworthy source of accurate news. What is worse, with the advent of Press Agencies, news has been centralized and homoginized to a single voice/opinion. It has become group think. If a reporter, or media outlet does not toe the line, they are ostracized.

    In the Soviet Union it was known that the Media lied and was a tool of the Communist Party. Here it is a tool of the Left and everyday more people start to ignore the media. It is very close to the tipping point where it has no credibility.

    Papers like the Toronto Red Star are such examples of promotion of hatred, that people now tend to think whatever is promoted in that paper, the opposite must be true. They actually do their viewpoint a disservice.

    Polls are ways of making the propaganda seem more scientific. Sad part is, that every poll during every election has had no resemblance to the actual result. So most people tend to ignore them.

    The 308 Project was a wonderful tool for seeing the inherent biases of the various polling groups, Liberal & Progressive owned polling firms were consistantly off by 5% to 15% in favour of the left — I would say it was a “snapshot” or “within statistical error” if it varied on both sides. It never does, almost as if result obtained is modified with the addition of a fudge factor in favour of the Liberals and/or NDP.

    This speaks to either serious flaws in the polling, i.e. wording of question, do they only call party faithful, too small a sample size, or more seriously wrong, manipulation/massaging of the polling data to give the impression the tide is turning in favour of a floundering candidate/leader/party.

    How is it certain polling firms are within +/-5% 1 time out of 20, not the intended 19 out of 20 times? LoL and pretty consistantly.


  12. Don’t forget how the media keep reporting things about PM Harper stepping down. This is FALSE. A reporter asked him if he planned to run in 2015 and PM Harper said YES, but they still keep reporting their wishful thinking BS. They know the PM is what’s standing in the way of getting the “KID” in as PM so they like to give the illusion PM Harper isn’t going to be in the next election.
    BTW…where is Trudeau? He hasn’t been in QP yet this week…last week he was there twice, and the week before once. Why is he hiding?


  13. Gerry from the GTA, as a former researcher, I believe it is the content of the pollsters questions, combined with the huge assumptions they are making from the results of those questions that is the problem. For example, Nik Nanos’ people always ask which party is your first choice if an election were held today. Then, you have to give them your second choice even if you don’t have one. So, the Liberals and Conservatives are always neck and neck. I recall being polled by Nanos when Stephane Dion was Liberal Leader. His tie with the Conservatives was as a result of that kind of questioning. And, Nanos is one of the better ones!


  14. OG — Trudeau is not ready for prime time. The man is middle aged but he looks and speaks as though he is in his early twenties. However, in fairness, I know his wife is pregnant. Maybe he is with her. Speaking of her latest pregnancy, look at the articles on this Google page. Can you just imagine that type of “wow” being written by the MSM about Laureen Harper?

    Gerry is right. I would imagine it is very difficult for any journalist in the MSM to stray from the anti-Harper rhetoric.


  15. I looked at the google page…I thought it was a page of some famous movie star. Such fawning. I did learn something…I didn’t know Trudeau’s wife worked for CTV in Montreal. Maybe that’s why they hate PM Harper so much. I bet her baby arrives when PM Harper is in Israel in Jan.There was no coverage of the Conservative convention and there will be none of PM Harper in Israel either…they just cover anything Obama. Their baby will get more media attention then Kate. Guaranteed.
    I noticed how questions are put for polls also…who is your SECOND CHOICE? That’s ridiculous.


  16. Sandy, I think Nanos was a far more objective pollster before he started his stint with the CBC. Now, not so much. His poll questions seem to be aimed at discrediting the conservatives and the PM and the results appear to be more aligned to those objectives. Jamie Watt also seems to follow the CBC line and he is a conservative (CINO, perhaps?).


  17. Pingback: How the Media Use Pollsters as Propagandists for Canada’s Liberals | Calebs StrengthCalebs Strength

  18. CINOs are everywhere. Liberalism truly is a disease and it’s spreading. Now we have to contend with filthy underhanded Left-wingers who masquerade as Conservatives to get the vote (imagine that!) then once they’ve secured their place at the trough they drag out their….wait for it…..HIDDEN AGENDA!!!!!
    I believe there were at least two newly-elected councillors in Calgary who did exactly that.


  19. Thank you for getting that ‘monkey’ off your back Sandy.
    If we want to read bias negative spin about our leader, we have plenty of choice.
    Here at ‘home’ on Bloggingtories we look for honest debate and the real story.

    I used to read every political article, took me a couple of hours every morning. Now I scan the headlines and first para, if it has:
    poll says, Trudeau, Senate scandal, or any obvious Harper-hating, I don’t waste my time.
    And I won’t waste my money either, paying to see what is behind the paywall .
    It’s all so repetitive and opinionated. Where’s the real news without the spin, long gone….


  20. Ontario Girl — When the PM is in Israel, some scandal or another will definitely happen in the HOC or wherever the PM happens to be. It always does when he is out of the country. Wafergate comes to mind, as does bathroombreakgate and pronouncing the first name of the head of the EU.

    Pettiness and hypocrisy. Funny, I got a tweet from Jeff D re this post calling me a hypocrite because when polls are favourable to the Conservatives, I am happy. Wrong! I would be just as ticked off with any misleading analysis of any poll.

    It’s amazing to me how liberals and progressives really don’t see the media bias. I read recently that Andrew Coyne was a Conservative columnist. Not! He actually told everyone in 2011 that he was voting Liberal.


  21. Anne — I agree re Nanos. I am a little uncomfortable calling anyone a CINO because I am a former PC. We are often called that. True, I am not a former Reformer but I do see myself as a moderate conservative. Jamie Watt falls into that category. I suppose he has to be wishy washy like that to keep his job at the CBC. He sure wasn’t like that when he worked for the Mike Harris campaign and later gov’t.

    Then, there is nice Bruce Anderson, who apparently just joined Abacus. He is referred to as the conservative on the At Issue Panel. Yea, sure. I have yet to hear him support the current gov’t in any way.

    And there is the rub. I think the problem is with this gov’t and this PM. Why I don’t understand given how well managed things are. Now compare to Ontario. Well, maybe not. LOL


  22. I know why the new Nanos poll is out saying the Liberals are leading…the NDP are second and the Conservatives are down in third place. To make the poll saying Trudeau is leading legitimate. By saying the NDP are second is somehow supposed to look like this isn’t all about the Liberals.CBC and David Akin on Sun News are leading off with this bogus poll…smiling and smirking. Then Akin has his second story…PM Harper is leaving…stepping down…MAYBE,
    Nice to see Brian Lilly talking about Mayor Fontana…too bad he has Warren Kensella on to commentate on this.Then we have a ton of new Rob Ford documents dumped over at CBC . God I am sick of media.


  23. OG — Yes, I am sick of the media too. I turned on Global and Dawna Friesen started in the Rob Ford documents. Why is that information even being released? It’s all allegations and Ford can do nothing about it. It sounded like the Global National Enquirer. And, how much worse is CBC and CTV. I don’t know because I will not watch those channels. Like Sandra O’Reilly. Ever.


  24. Sandy, I agree with your disgust — I also saw that Global National broadcast — Global was the last bastion of the big 3 that kept a level headed coverage. SUN Media was blocked from basic coverage so it is not in the big leagues.

    I had to chuckle when every channel covered how the Ontario Government was monitoring the situation wrt Rob Ford — yet we had testimony from Premier Wynne she did not read the documents for paying out $1.1 billion for nothing, Deb Matthews did not read the auditor general’s report on Ornge, The energy minister seems oblivious to the causes of the increased power costs born by consumers, The mayor of London is now allegedly complicit in diverting 8 million from a charity to his friends & himself etc etc. So these Ontario ministers are not monitoring their own portfolios but are concerned with a Toronto Conservative-leaning mayor in Liberal Fortress Toronto.

    And not a single media outlet brought this up. This is very outstanding!!!!! They are more concerned about a mayor in Toronto and no concern about London’s Mayor and worse, what they are mandated to be responsible for — i.e. Gas Plant, Ornge, etc etc.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with the media and it’s organs including poling organizations.


  25. The PMO just put an end to all those media hyped falsehoods about PM harper resigning after his trip to Israel..This just reported on Sun News.

    “Prime Minister Harper will be leading the party into the 2015 election”.

    Now I wonder if the maggot media will stop their lies?


  26. An interesting analysis of current polling issues from a professional (Liberal) pollster, using the spectacularly incorrect Forum Research poll as an example.

    This poll on Brandon-Souris was out by about 6 std deviations, odds of about 150 m to 1 of being accurate.
    There is nothing unknown about proper techniques to use for polling for an upcoming election, they have been around for 75 years. Firms like Forum are attempting to do it cheaply, with robo calls. Their sample is in no way random, it is biased towards those having
    line phones and possessing the patience to answer questions. A survey like this is as useful as taking a poll on abstinence in a bar room.A result is obtained, but cannot be extrapolated to the general population.
    Even without intentionally distorting questions, these type of surveys have huge built in sampling error.
    It is worth noting that Forum was the source of a number of Post Media headlines last spring suggesting J Trudeau was favoured to be next PM.
    The more errors polling firms make, the harder it is for them to drum up routine business, and Forum research has been wrong on quite a few recent elections.
    I think it prudent to take all polls with a degree of caution, while paying very close attention to sample size, methodology, past performance and commissioner of the survey.


  27. Can’t agree more on the media bias especially in Ontario, (ie Toronto Star, Glob, Ottawa Citizen et al) wrt the Liberal debacle that has turn this once great powerhouse of a province into a soon to be third world like county. The only fair coverage we’re getting is from SUN media. This is probably why CRTC is denying them a spot on coverage. The brainwashed Liberal powerbase in Toronto need to wake up an finally realize what McGuinty and company did to us and will continue to do to us if the Wynne (Liberal) Government is not brought down. BTW hi to Ontario Girl. Couldn’t take one more day of HP.


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