As dubious polling becomes more prevalent, the industry looks poised to have an unusually large impact on this year’s federal election. About two-thirds of voters are determined to replace the Harper government and many believe that whichever left-of-centre party looks likeliest to accomplish that goal will reap a bumper crop of strategic ballots.
In an effort to shore up their credibility and their bottom lines ahead of such a crucial test, Canadian pollsters have begun trying to self-police. Mr. Bricker was recently elected chairman of one such group, the Canadian Association for Public Opinion Research, which launched in June. It plans to set standards around transparency and polling methods to hold firms accountable when things go pear-shaped.
“In Canada, everybody just kind of runs away,” he said. “It hurts the industry, but most importantly, it’s a disservice to democracy.”
Others, such as Mr. Graves and Mr. MacKay, predict a return to old-school techniques such as door-to-door surveys, which they think could bolster polling’s legitimacy.