Issues surface over election polling

The election is underway and now we regularly get poll results that indicate how the parties are doing.

One refrain at every poll goes something like this “Poll numbers are considered accurate +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.” What does this really mean?

In no other circumstances does the media report about accuracy. Just imagine if the weather report were to finish up with: “The temperature outside is 5 degrees. The reading is considered accurate +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20”

So why do we have to listen to this drivel every time we hear about a poll? Couldn’t they just say “It’s a really accurate poll”? Or “We’ve done a lot of polls, and we’re quite good at it”?

Or better yet, just leave it off altogether.

Emma Marsh

Red Deer