The National Post ran an interesting bit of conjecture as news on Friday, with Liberals under Justin Trudeau could clinch a majority, new poll shows by Allison Cross.
Personally, I find this type of article irritating. Especially when it’s jammed into the News section of the paper, where it definitely doesn’t belong. So, I’m going to break this down a bit.
If a federal election were held in Canada today and Justin Trudeau were at the helm of the Liberal Party, they’d win a strong majority in the House of Commons, says a Forum Poll for the National Post.
Although this opening paragraph is tempting to believe for many, and presented as a fact, the truth is that the poll consists of the hypothetical votes of 1,091 randomly selected people aged 18+ in a what-if election that never happened.
The problem with articles like these is that it takes a teeny tiny smattering of fact (The National Post commissioned Forum Research to do an interactive voice-response poll of 1,091 people), and drowns it in extensive storytelling and predictions.
The responses of those 1,091 do not necessarily represent the voices of Canadians who will vote in the 2015 federal election. In fact, the responses don’t even necessarily represent how those 1,091 people would actually vote. It is not because those people who were polled necessarily would lie – far from it. It is simply because those people were imagining what they would do, and how they would vote, IF there had been an election on February 6th, 2013.
The article paints a picture of a Canada which does not exist. And that’s fine – just about everyone indulges in a little fortune-telling from time to time – but the article does not belong in the news section. It sways public opinion by creating an imaginary picture of how the other 95% of eligible voters would vote. And that’s just not a paper’s job.
In short, it’s not news. It’s a prediction. And while I love creative extrapolation and storytelling as much as the next person, I don’t want it intertwined with my news stories. Simply because it is absolutely not the news.
You can read the original article here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/08/liberals-under-justin-trudeau-could-clinch-a-majority-new-poll-shows/