Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, December 08, 2007

John Wright and Ipsos Reid

Here's something to keep in mind next time you see some poll results from Ipsos-Reid. Also, something a little funnier than Canada's inaction with regard to climate change...

1) Paulitics writes a post showing how in the last few Federal polls, Ipsos-Reid has been an outlier, consistently showing much higher support for the Conservative party than other pollsters. There are also some suggestions in the post made by commenter 'Martinp' in the comments to the original post that this might be linked to the fact that Ipsos-Reid generally does its polling work for Conservative media establishments.

2) Jim Harris, former leader of the Green Party, sees the Paulitics post and cross-posts it on the Green Party site here

3) John Wright, who works for Ipsos-Reid, drops by the comment section of Paulitics to threaten legal action,
"So, folks, let’s not waste time and words on “freedom of the web” and anything that says we are trying to “intimidate you”…honestly, good political discourse is fun…but when this stuff gets said and is now posted and defacto endorsed by a national political party, it is over the line.

By way of this blog, you and the Green Party of Canada, are hereby given notice, that if these accusations noted above and now extended to the Green Party site by its former President are not removed and expunged by Monday, December 3, 2007 at 10:00 AM EDT we will be compelled to seek legal redress.


We are very, very serious about this. Please remove the offending parts now and let’s resolve this amiably before we get involved in something more protracted."

It's my uninformed opinion that few words characterize their user more precisely than 'expunged', but I digress.

4) Saskboy comments humourously on the bruhaha here.

Note that the original Paulitics post has been edited after the threatened lawsuit. Follow-up from Paulitics here.

Meanwhile, patrolling the internet is clearly nothing new for Mr. Wright, as various pieces of debris such as this amusing one-sided conversation show.

Probably stressful for Paulitics, but just good humour at Mr. Wright's expense from over here. As one of Saskboy's commenters says, it might be more effective for Wright to simply offer some potential explanations for why the Ipsos-Reid methodology (unchanged for 20 years, apparently) has been consistently finding higher levels of support for the Conservative party than other polling outfits recently. Obviously somebody is wrong (which could be due to random sampling of course, but as Paulitics notes, this is quite unlikely given the size and persistence of the gap) and it's the Canadian polling industry on one side and Ipsos-Reid on the other, so you think they'd be interested themselves in what is happening to cause the divergence.

As a final note, I have to say that I find Wright's proud declaration that, "Darrell Bricker and I have been doing this at the same firm with the same methodology for 20 years and we haven’t changed a thing" a little odd. You'd think that over all those years they could have improved something, but maybe they've been
too busy threatening to sue people...


  • Hey Declan, great post. It's always great to have more bloggers shining some light on this subject especially considering that all of the truly bad publicity Ipsos has received has been as a result of their attempts to censor bloggers rather than from the actual original post.

    I did just want to correct one thing for the record though (just because this incident has definitely taught me the virtue of precision). In your post above, you wrote that:

    "There are also some suggestions in the post that this might be linked to the fact that Ipsos-Reid generally does its polling work for Conservative media establishments."

    I actually never wrote anything of that sort in the original post. Some commentators on my blog hinted at that and drew attention to that fact, but neither the current post nor the original post said anything of the sort (in fact you can still read what the original post stated, by reading Wright's comment on my blog because he quotes it.)

    Anyway, just wanted to point that out.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 PM  

  • Yes, I was going by the quoted text in the comments, in particular, "“Just an update, most of these surveys at Ipsos seem to be sponsored by Global and Canwest, who are quite noticeably conservative. It’s a ‘family company’ and so its easy to see why this view is portrayed, the National Post is hardly a beacon of objectivity, and Canwest is commonly known as the ‘Fox’ of Canada. So there you go.”"

    By Blogger Declan, at 9:25 PM  

  • Declan, that comment in particular was left my "martinp" in the comment section.

    It's still up because I refused to delete any of the comments that were posted even though Wright had drawn attention to them.

    If you like, you can read the full comment here:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 PM  

  • Oops, I guess the hyperlink didn't work. But anyway, you or your readers can find it just by going to the original post and doing a word search.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:04 PM  

  • OK, I had thought Wright was only quoting your post in his comment, I understand what you're saying now (posted my last reply a little too quickly as I should have got that from your previous comment). I'll update the post.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:05 PM  

  • You can embed links using the "a href=" html tag in blogger comments, but you have to know the html, otherwise is an option, but like you say, it's easy enough to find.

    By Blogger Declan, at 10:08 PM  

  • Wow, you folks actually have a polling company that recognizes Greens as a "national political party."

    So cool.

    (And, yes, this is MSS of Fruits & Votes.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:25 PM  

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