Local poll reflects tight race in North Okangan-Shuswap

While the Liberals currently appear to have the edge in national polls, the NDP appears to have a slight lead in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

A non-partisan group commissioned a poll for the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding to provide additional information to voters before going to the polls Oct. 19.

While the Liberals currently appear to have the edge in national polling, the NDP appears to have a slight lead in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

A telephone poll, conducted by company Oraclepoll on Oct. 5 and 6 which surveyed 312 eligible voters in the riding, shows NDP candidate Jacqui Gingras as the front-runner, with Conservative candidate Mel Arnold close behind.

The poll’s complete results can be found at http://pollokanaganshuswap.weebly.com. It was commissioned by a non-partisan group of voting-age residents in the riding who, according to spokesperson Warren Bell, wanted to make available current, local polling data for the candidates and voters, particularly those interested in voting strategically.

“Many people are uncertain how to vote,” states a news release accompanying the poll results. “Although there is a widespread feeling that it’s time for a regime change, in many ridings this means trying to decide which party’s candidate is in the best position to defeat the Conservative candidate. Others, of course may feel that the status quo is entirely satisfactory.”

Asked, “Have you made up your mind about who you’ll vote for this election,” 84.6 per cent (264) of respondents said yes and 15.4 (48) said no.

To the question, “If a federal election were held today, which party and its candidate in the riding of North Okanagan Shuswap would you most likely vote for or be leaning towards at this time,” 41 per cent of (109 of 264) respondents  chose Gingras. Thirty-eight per cent (99) said Arnold, 12 per cent (31) said Liberal Cindy Derkaz and nine per cent (25) said Green candidate Chris George.

Asked, “Is there a chance that you may switch your vote for this party and its candidate between now and election day,” 22.7 per cent (60 of 264) respondents said yes.

To the follow up question, “Is there a party or several parties you may be leaning towards,” 31.3 per cent (15 respondents) said the Liberal camp, 27.1 per cent (13) said the Conservatives, 20.8 per cent (10) said the NDP, 8.3 per cent (4) said the Green Party and 12.5 per cent (6) said they didn’t know.

Poll results have margin of error of +/- 5.5 per cent, 19 out of 20 times. It was conducted by telephone using live operators at Oraclepoll, using “computer-assisted techniques of telephone interviewing and random number selection.” It’s this random selection that’s critical to a poll’s reliability, says Ron McGivern, senior lecturer and chair of the departments of sociology and anthropology with Thompson Rivers University.

“If it was based on a random sampling… You probably have reasonable representation there,” said McGivern, who teaches a course on survey design and analysis. “The absolute key to polling is to have random sampling. That allows you, for example, a small size, it allows you to generalize out to the larger population base, and I think the neat part is it allows you through rather efficient methods, with a concern to cost, to get the pulse on a particular issue of a population.”

McGivern said the survey methodology of the Oraclepoll appears to have followed standard protocols of telephone based surveys laid out by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (of which Oraclepoll president/founder Dr. Paul Seccaspina is a member). McGivern says he and other members of the association are required to abide by a code of conduct on research.

“If we don’t abide by that, well, we’re in trouble,” added McGivern.

Bell says remaining funds that were raised to conduct out the $1,250 poll, will go towards publishing the results.

“We urge you to share these results as widely as possible, and to encourage everyone you know to cast his or her ballot,” said Bell.