07 September 2007

Pull the other one

vocm.com is carrying a story featuring comments from Corporate Research Associates president Don Mills on his company's latest poll results in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It includes this statement:
Mills says the timing of the Hebron announcement was 'impeccable' for the premier given the election is just weeks away.
Well, the timing was impeccable but it had little to do with the election, which, as pretty well everyone knows, has been underway since at least last June.


Check the timing on when CRA was in the field.

August 9 to August 31.

The Hebron announcement came, quite suddenly, and quite inexplicably given that there was no final deal, on August 22.

Right smack in the middle of Mills' data collection.

Not like the first time this administration - or its predecessor for that matter - timed major government announcements to coincide with Mills' quarterly data collection.

Take a look at the graph at left. The blue line is the weekly number of news releases from the provincial government. The green spaces are the times CRA was in the field.

The provincial government knows when CRA is collecting data since the provincial government is a CRA client for the quarterly survey.

The coincidence of the peaks with the polling periods doesn't look random. In fact it's a bit hard to explain making a major announcement in August, for example, or a high volume of government releases in August when most people are on vacation.

It's harder to explain a quickie announcement of a huge oil deal before the deal is actually finalized. Election? Well, there was a whole block of time after Labour Day for that, especially the time when the election is on and people are focused on electioneering.

Impeccable timing, yes, but timed for the election?

Pull the other one, Don, it's got bells on it.

Telephone bells ringing with a pollster on the other end of the line.