Public Opinion Polling, the Wright Way

The most recent provincial election in British Columbia brought a lot of attention to election polling. In an industry that has been generally successful in predicting election outcomes, the victory of the BC Liberals came as a surprise to many. As such, our meeting with John Wright of Ipsos provided us with timely insights into the public opinion and market research sector. We should also mention (brag) that John is a former OLIP intern!

In regards to the BC election, John emphasized it partly had to do with predicting voter turnout. Simply put, young voters did not show up to cast their ballots on election day, and since many of them had indicated they would vote NDP, the polls were skewed. If you are interested in reading more about public opinion research re: the BC provincial election 2013, one of John’s former mentors Angus Reid published an informative article (LINK 1) in Maclean’s last summer on the topic.

In order to partially deal with the proliferation of polling firms, and to avoid incidents like the BC election, John hopes that the industry may one day become more standardized. The Association of Public Opinion Researchers (APOR) regulates polling in the US. It is one of John’s goals to establish a similar regulating body north of the border.

Mr.Wright also shared some of his ongoing projects with us. Ipsos currently fields nationally representative survies in 24 countries once a month (see global @dvisor LINK 2 for more info). These surveys measure things like economic confidence and usage of products and services. One day, Ipsos plans to field weekly global surveys.

Thank you John for meeting with us interns and regaling us with tales of your time at the pink palace, and for your ongoing support of the program. Needless to say, if there is an election during our 10 month tenure at Queen’s Park, Ipsos will be a coveted placement!



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