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Poll Dance

Posted on 14 April 2011

What if from the time an election was called to the time the ballots were counted, there was a ban on polls? What would change?

Media would have to report on something other than the latest polls, for one. No more finding out which party leader with a +/- 3% margin of error is viewed as ‘most trustworthy’ versus last week’s findings. Maybe more time would be spent focusing on what candidates were actually saying and doing, rather than how 1,001 Canadians felt about what they were saying and doing over the last four days.

Parties wouldn’t know whether what they were doing and saying was resonating with voters. Then they’d have to base what they say and do on something other than how well it targeted niche voting groups. Maybe they’d spend more time saying and doing things based on what they believe is best.

Maybe voters, undistracted by poll result after poll result, would focus on what politicians are saying and doing, as well. With reports coming out every few days telling us how parties are doing in the polls, it can feel like elections are foregone conclusions. Maybe if voters didn’t have access to polls, more of them would vote. How many people in Riding A are told that candidate X is assured victory based on the latest poll result, and then stay home because they don’t feel like their ballot will make a difference? How many people strategically change their vote based on polls telling them their preferred candidate doesn’t stand a chance?

Maybe we should take a poll.

Filed under: Canada

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