I think that Strategic Counsel, the pollster for the Globe and Mail, is asking for trouble in some of its methodology. And by trouble, I mean inaccurate results. It seems to me their warm-up questions may encourage a Conservative response once the ‘who-are-you-going-to-for’ question is posed.
Its first survey question in its latest release is:
From what you can tell, which party, if any, is gaining the most popularity and momentum leading up to the election. Is it the ...?
The momentum question could tempt respondents simply to echo media coverage. At the same time by focusing on who is doing well there is at least the possibility of a bandwagon effect. It might only be that way for a small percentage of respondents, but there is no reason not to ask a dead neutral question such as: What are the key issues in the current campaign?
Then they ask:
Some people have been saying it’s time for a change and that a new government should be voted in. Other people have said that now would be the wrong time to make a change and we should return the Liberals to power. Which one of these two views best represents your own?
This question is more troublesome. Change has been an important campaign theme for the Conservatives and there it is, even if in neutral language, all laid out just before the ballot question is asked.
Strategic Counsel has had the lowest national finding for the Liberals so far in the campaign, 24% in the poll numbers out yesterday. Is their methodology causing them to overstate Conservative support or are they going to be right (or lucky)? We will find out Monday.