Calgary election 2017: Polls yield contradictory results

Click to play video: 'Polls with different outcome for Mayor’s race may be confusing civic election voters'
Polls with different outcome for Mayor’s race may be confusing civic election voters
Wed, Oct 11: The most recent poll in the mayor’s race has incumbent Naheed Nenshi with a comfortable lead. Other polls have challenger Bill Smith as the frontrunner. Gary Bobrovitz reports – Oct 12, 2017

Polling comes up during every election as a quantitative measure of which candidate is in the lead and who is most likely to get elected.

FULL COVERAGE: 2017 Calgary election

A poll released Wednesday afternoon shows Calgary mayoral candidate Naheed Nenshi ahead of fellow candidate Bill Smith by 15 points.

This information comes five days after a poll commissioned by a different group had Smith ahead of Nenshi by 13 points.

A third poll, released Oct. 7 showed Smith ahead of Nenshi by 17 points.

According to Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt, some skepticism over polling results is probably wise.

“When you see (results) all across the board — when you see one poll with Nenshi up 17 points and another with Smith up 17 points — that tells us neither of them are accurate. Either one is dead-on and the other is completely accurate, or there’s something fundamentally flawed with all of them.”

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Bratt said steady trending in polling is usually a better indication of what voters are going to do on election day.

READ MORE: 2017 Calgary mayoral candidates Q&A – What is your position on the city’s public art policy?

Wednesday afternoon, a group called The LRT on the Green Foundation (LRTOTG), “released a scientific poll of Calgarians which confirms that there is strong support for the Green Line among Calgarians.”

The group said they decided to commission a public opinion poll after “a leading candidate for mayor stated that he would delay and re-evaluate the project.”

READ MORE: Danielle Smith – Anything could happen on election day in Calgary

LRTOTG reported 1,004 respondents and stated: “This online survey utilizes a representative but non-random sample, therefore margin of error is not applicable. However, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence interval.”

According to the results, as of Oct. 10, Nenshi was leading with 41 per cent support compared to Smith at 26 per cent, Andre Chabot with 3 per cent, other at 2 per cent and 28 per cent undecided.

The group said its data was gathered by online data collection firm AskingCanadians through an online panel, “which is considered by experts to be more accurate than IVR “robo-dial” polls. The poll was conducted between Oct. 7 and 10.”

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Following the LRTOTG release, the president and CEO of Mainstreet Research, Quito Maggi, tweeted:

Maggi’s company released its own poll Oct. 7 commissioned by Postmedia, which showed Smith in the lead by 17 points.

READ MORE: Calgary Election 2017: Mainstreet poll has Bill Smith eclipsing Naheed Nenshi in race for mayor’s seat

A group called Common Sense Calgary also released poll results Oct. 6 showing Smith leading with 43 per cent of the vote, compared to Nenshi with 32 per cent, Andre Chabot with five per cent, “other” with seven per cent, and 12 per cent undecided.

According to its website: “This polling research was conducted by Pantheon Research between Sept. 29, 2017 through Oct. 2, 2017, via interactive voice response (IVR), using a random sample of 4,887 Calgarians, distributed across every ward.”

They state their margin of error to be 1.4 per cent.

Bratt doesn’t believe any of the mayoral candidates are shoo-ins.

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