TORONTO, Oct. 26, 2017 /CNW/ - The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association is announcing today that it will initiate an independent Inquiry into underperforming and conflicting election polling results published during the recent municipal elections in Calgary (fall 2017).
As the national body responsible for the development of robust, world-leading industry standards, MRIA wishes to know what information and data pollsters publicly released to support their polling results as well as whether industry standards for public opinion research were met.
"MRIA believes that what happened in Calgary needs to be better understood so that it can be prevented in the future," said MRIA CEO Dr. Kara Mitchelmore. "We call on the pollsters involved to submit their data and methods to an independent Inquiry that will be organized by MRIA. The Inquiry's findings will help ensure that polling research remains a vital and useful tool for democracy."
The Inquiry will be comprised of academic experts in political science and polling standards. Its primary objectives will be to establish in an open and transparent fashion: (1) the degree of inaccuracy in the Calgary election polls; (2) the reasons for the inaccuracy; and (3) whether the polling results were adequately communicated to the general public. More information will be published as the full scope, mandate and membership are developed.
Election polls are a vital tool in democracy. Polls help tell the election story, highlighting how things are moving and the currents and drifts in public opinion. In doing so, they inform the electorate in their decision-making as they head to the ballet box. In the Calgary elections, however, the wide discrepancies between various polling studies became part of the media story and acted as a distraction rather than an informative democratic tool.
The reason that polls work – when they are done well – is that they are based on reliable science. This includes rigorous adherence to standards that have been developed over many years by the world's best statistical experts. This provides a scientific foundation to validate that study findings are accurate and a true reflection of public opinion at a particular moment in time. In Canada, adherence to MRIA's internationally-recognized standards and code of conduct has resulted in multiple examples of election survey results that have mirrored nearly exactly the final voting outcomes, sometimes down to the decimal.
The failure to accurately paint the mayoral election story in Calgary has led many to question the value and robustness of polling methodology, and has shaken confidence in our industry. It is the reality of our industry that bad election polls or the undisciplined conduct of pollsters can tarnish the industry's credibility and call into question the reliability of all survey research.
Participants in the Calgary election, from pollsters (whether they are MRIA members or not), to media, public affairs commentators and citizens at large will be invited to share information with the Inquiry and relate their views and perspectives regarding the matter. MRIA will act as secretariat for the Inquiry. Once it has completed its review, MRIA will publish the Inquiry's report in full.
MRIA is the national self-regulatory body representing all sectors of the market and survey research industry. Members include over 1,200 individual research professionals and over 150 corporate members, comprised of small to large research agencies, and many buyers of research services, such as financial institutions, major retailers, insurance companies, telecommunications firms, and manufacturers.
Public opinion polls are subject to the same professional, and ethical requirements as other forms of market and social research set out in the MRIA's Code of Conduct for Market and Social Research to which researchers and research users must conform.
MRIA's Polling Standards include:
- Ethical rules that members must follow;
- Key information that must be made available to maintain transparency;
- Standards to ensure published survey results are presented in an unbiased way;
- Core methodological principles;
- References to federal regulations, including the Canada Elections Act and CRTC.
SOURCE Marketing Research Intelligence Association
For further information: contact Dr. Kara Mitchelmore, CEO MRIA: 647-632-3272 or [email protected].