May 30, 2011: The day before the last election and this one, CARP polled its members on their preferences. How did these final polls match the actual election results?
We overstated both Conservative (49%) and Liberal support (32%) in October, 2008 (actual result – 38% and 26%, respectively), while understating NDP support slightly (13% polled, 18% actual). We pegged the Green party vote to the spot (7%).
In general, in 2008, our member poll predicted the shape of the eventual result, with the exception that our results suggested a majority for the Conservatives.
In 2011, we saw the sharp increase for the NDP (24% polled, 31% actual), and we predicted, based on their momentum from previous waves of polling, that they might form the opposition.
While we failed to catch the collapse of the Liberal vote (29% polled, 19% actual), we were alone in confidently predicting a strong Conservative result, possibly a majority (44% polled, 40% actual).
In this election, we were able to predict the final movement of the electorate, even if we didn’t capture its magnitude. It is clear the CARP Poll™, being a tracking survey of a bellwether group of highly engaged voters, is a sensitive and valuable predictive political tool.