Monday, August 14, 2006

Dueling Canadian Polls on Harper's Support of Israel

If you only read right-leaning news sources, you'll find that you have now been told that a 'Majority back Harper's support of Israel, poll shows' and, if you're a Harper supporter, that will give you warm fuzzies while you flip the bird at the rest of us.

Not so fast.

You don't even have to read between the lines to discover that the COMPAS poll cited in that news story didn't exactly conclude what that headline proclaims. In fact, here is the question that was asked by COMPAS to only 500 Canadians (not a statistically relevant sample size to begin with):

'Does Israel have a right to defend itself?'

A whopping 82% answered in the affirmative. The author of the Ottawa Citizen article, Vito Pilieci, concludes:

An overwhelming number of Canadians support Prime Minister Stephen Harper's assertion that Israel's attacks on Lebanon are justified because Israel has a right to self defence...

What Pilieci doesn't tell his readers, however, is that the row in Canada was not even about Israel's right to defend itself, it was about Harper stating that Israel's response was 'measured' - a view for which a recent Strategic Counsel poll found , ' only 19 per cent of Canadians believed Harper's position was a principled one, while 53 thought it was designed to mimic the U.S. stand.'

The CP offers a comparison of both pollster's findings which basically decimates COMPAS's methods and findings - and rightly so.

You'll notice that the Ottawa Citizen's reporter ended his article with this, while (intentionally?) neglecting to give his readers the actual sample size.

The COMPAS poll was taken through a national sample of interviews. It is considered accurate to within plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Maybe he'll be up for the next available Conservative cabinet post.

So, put away that middle finger, Conservatives. Some of us are not quite as easy to fool as you seem to believe we are.

(h/t to Wayne and knb)

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