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Controversial poll results raise red flags for Manitoba election watchers

Experts are raising concerns about a poll that popped up Friday that placed the NDP and PCs in a dead heat for the upcoming Manitoba Election.
Experts are raising concerns about a poll that popped up Friday that placed the NDP and PCs in a dead heat for the upcoming Manitoba Election. Getty Images

A recent survey by a Toronto-based polling company – the firm’s first ever foray into political opinion research – has local election-watchers scratching their heads.

The poll, released Friday by the Converso firm, suggested that NDP leader Wab Kinew and his party had narrowed the lead of Brian Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives in the upcoming provincial election – making the race a virtual dead heat.

That’s a very different result from the latest polls released by more established pollsters, which showed Pallister with a commanding lead earlier this summer.

University of Manitoba political science prof Chris Adams told 680 CJOB on Sunday that when a poll comes out that is highly different from what’s expected, it tends to raise a few red flags.

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“There are problems when you get a poll out of nowhere that has something that other people aren’t expecting,” said Adams.

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“I would treat these results with interest, but also with trepidation until some of the other polls come out from other firms.”

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Global Winnipeg did not publish the results of the poll, although other local media outlets did.

Adams said the poll’s accuracy is difficult to judge, because there aren’t any details on where the sample of 1,200 respondents came from, or which parts of Manitoba were surveyed. It also didn’t have a percentage error, something crucial in polls.

It’s the first survey on the Manitoba election to release results in a few months.

“We haven’t seen any other polls since June. Probe Research had a poll in June and it had Pallister quite a bit ahead in the voter choice,” he said.

“So I’m out on a loose limb on a tree… because I don’t have any other data to compare it to.”

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Converso has since said there was an issue with the weighting of the poll and that it will be reissued if any discrepancies will be found.

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