22 September 2011

Some old habits must die really hard: Telly edition #nlpoli #nlvotes

In the last couple of days of the 1989 election, the Telegram featured a set of poll results done by a local company. 

The poll showed Tom Rideout’s Tories in front of the Clyde Wells Liberals by quite a margin.

Small problem of accuracy:  the Telegram didn’t mention that the polling firm was also the PC party pollster.

The company’s name was Omnifacts.

The Liberals issued a news release using their own rolling poll results that turned out to be way closer to the result than the Tory one. The title on the release was “Partisan polls should be identified”.

A version of the story turned up in a couple of Claire Hoy books and in both accounts Hoy’s supposed Liberal Party insider is someone who evidently didn’t understand how the Liberals were conducting their polls or what happened.  If the Liberals made up the numbers, as Hoy’s uninformed informant claimed, then they got the results pretty close to accurate.

Way more accurate say, than any given CRA poll over the past five years.  The Liberal poll showed the Libs on top by 3.5%.  In the end the popular vote was almost dead even, with the Tories slightly on top.  CRA missed the 2007 election by a country mile.


Fast forward 21 years and the latest iteration of the same firm – MQO or Market Quest Omnifacts – released another political poll this week.

In the Telegram story on page three of the Wednesday edition, the story starts out by referring to an “independent poll”.

That’s an interesting word choice.

MQO is part of a related group of companies that goes under the business name M5.

As Nalcor confirmed again for SRBP on Wednesday, the M5 Group is the agency of record for the provincial government’s energy corporation.

In effect, that would make MQO Nalcor’s pollster.

When asked by SRBP if MQO was doing work for the Tory Party or the provincial government or Nalcor, an MQO spokesperson said that “[w]hether or not the company currently has projects in play with the organizations you mentioned, I’m unaware.  It’s not something that MQO’s researcher’s would confirm for me due to client confidentiality.  In fact, the same is true for the entire group of m5 companies.”


- srbp -