The Poll’s The Thing
My little Electoral Reform Opinion Poll on Twitter has run it’s course, and since there was approximately a 3% response, as promised it’s time to share.
The most effective referenda employ a binary question, and so that’s what I did in my simple opinion poll.
What I thought I was asking:
Do you think 39% of the votes should equal 100% of the power in Canadian Government?
Do you think 39% of the votes should equal 39% of the power in Canadian Government?
That’s pretty straightforward, right?
But looking at it now, I’m a bit flabbergasted to discover 7 respondents (that’s about 3%) thought 39% of the votes should equal majority power. That seems pretty high.
But then, as often happens in opinion polls and referenda, I realized the question really wasn’t phrased well at all. Because it is too easily open to interpretation.
Looking at it now, more than a week later, is that my question might just as easily be read as:
In Canada’s electoral system, do you think
39% of the votes equal 100% of the power in Canadian Government?
Do you think 39% of the votes equal 39% of the power in Canadian Government?
The upshot is I have no more idea what question the respondents were actually answering than Parliament knows what voters have actually voted for.
An Opinion Poll, or a Referendum is only as good as the question.
[Full disclosure: I hate opinion polls.]