MSM-SA: The Globe Misleads Readers

The Globe & Mail
Once again, The Globe & Mail is demonstrating that it is the official flyer of left-wing politics in Canada. The Globe published an article on January 3, 2007, entitled New Poll Suggests Conservatives, Liberals in dead heat. The article reports the results of a Decima Research poll showing the Conservatives with 34% of public support and the Liberals with 31%. Given that the margin of error of the poll is 3.1 percentage points, The Globe assumes that both parties can be considered to have equal public support.

It’s true that the race is close between the two parties, but that doesn’t mean that their support is equal. That’s not how you interpret margins of error in polls. The Globe should know better. If they don’t, then they should get out of the business of reporting poll results.

When a poll has a margin of error of 3.1%, that means that the estimates of 34% for the Conservatives and 31% for the Liberals could each be up or down by about 3%. In other words, support for the Conservatives ranges between 31% and 37%, while support for the Liberals is between 28% and 34%. Notice how the Conservatives’ range is higher, on average, than the Liberals’ range. That’s because the “point estimate” (to use the technical term) is higher for the Conservatives (34% vs. 31%).

So that puts the Conservatives ahead in this poll, period. That’s how you interpret margins of error in polls. To do otherwise is to embark on a subjective interpretation, possibly for political purposes. We’ve seen The Globe do this many times in the past, so I can’t say I’m surprised.

We all know that many people will not bother reading the details of the article, but simply glance over the title declaring a “dead heat” and move on. Mission accomplished for the manipulators at The Globe. There is no “dead heat” at all, but rather a healthy lead (even if it is on the lower end) for the Conservative Party. The only thing dead here is the truth with this shameless and, presumably, unpaid advertising for the Liberal Party of Canada.

It is clear that The Globe’s approach is often subtle, but the trend is unmistakable. The Globe loves to manipulate public opinion to push a left-leaning agenda. The only difference this time is that we aren’t taking it any more. We’re pushing back.

Submitted by: Steve G.
Date: January 8, 2007.

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