Monthly Archives : April 2017

Mainstreet Research sets record straight on MRIA decision

Ottawa – Today Mainstreet Research President & CEO Quito Maggi issued the following statement about Canadian polling standards and the Industry Association MRIA.

“Mainstreet Research adheres to the highest internationally recognized standards for quality and accuracy in polling and public opinion research. Recently, the Canadian industry association, MRIA, published its decision in a dispute between Mainstreet and another pollster. That decision is being disputed in court, but it must be made clear that Mainstreet has not been suspended as a member of MRIA, as we purposely never renewed our membership in November of 2016. Furthermore, the MRIA decision is related to an opinion given by myself on another pollster’s work, and does not reflect on Mainstreet’s work in the least.

“MRIA’s decision to publish false and defamatory information about Mainstreet has little to do with the matter in dispute, and everything to do with an ongoing campaign to discredit Canada’s most accurate pollster, Mainstreet Research. We will take immediate legal action to correct the record, but stand on our record as the only pollster that accurately called the outcome of the last federal election, the outcome of the last BC election, and others. Despite our decision to not participate in MRIA, we remain firmly committed to the highest standards that our clients and the public have come to expect from our work, and our results will continue to demonstrate that level of excellence.”

“Mainstreet Research believes in truth. Mainstreet believes in a free and fair expression of opinion. Mainstreet believes in innovation and diversity in the public opinion research industry. Mainstreet believes in fair and free criticism of our work and the work of other public opinion firms. Mainstreet believes in quality and accurate public opinion research that Canadians can rely on. Mainstreet does not believe in censorship, dominance or bullying.”

Mainstreet & MRIA facts:
• MRIA is not a governing body; it is a voluntary industry association, of which Mainstreet is not a member;
• MRIA made no finding regarding the accuracy of Mainstreet Polling;
• MRIA made no finding regarding the accuracy of the Illumina Research poll;
• The only findings were related to MRIA’s opinion of our public comments about the research conducted by Illumina Research;
• Anyone using the findings to cast doubt on the credibility of Mainstreet Research is subject to legal action;
• Mainstreet Research continues to believe that Illumina poll results showing 95-99% citizen satisfaction of the Calgary Police Service are not believable;
• Mainstreet strongly objects to MRIA trying to censor the opinions of its members and others in the industry, in an effort to protect pollsters from fair criticism;
• In order to maintain the confidence of our clients and the general public in our ability to deliver free and fair comments on issues of the day, Mainstreet will continue to abstain from membership in MRIA.


Background on Mainstreet Research and MRIA

Mainstreet Research was founded in 2010, doing mostly targeted public opinion and market research work for its clients. After seeing the catastrophic polling failures that occurred in Alberta in 2012 and British Columbia in 2013 that shook the confidence of the public and media in the industry, Mainstreet made the decision to make a portion of its work publicly available to re-establish that confidence. Mainstreet was the most accurate pollster in the 2014 Toronto Mayoral race, we were the only pollster to accurately predict both the Liberal majority in the federal election and the NDP majority in Alberta. We also accurately predicted results in numerous other elections and by-elections across Canada.

Throughout, we have provided quality public opinion research to our clients and the public alike. For some time, we avoided joining the Market Research & Intelligence Association (MRIA) because we did not believe that they had adopted appropriate standards. This changed in 2015 when MRIA adopted the internationally recognized ESOMAR standards. Our decision to join the MRIA was guided by a desire to influence reform and discussion on standards that focus on results. We argued that being correct in process but still getting outcomes wrong was not good enough. While other pollsters complained about declining response rates and stampeded towards inferior non-probability methodologies that yielded inconsistent results, we argued for better results. In April 2016, the MRIA standards committee decided to deviate from the ESOMAR code, which led to a prolonged dispute with the MRIA and its board members, primarily those board members who are associates from Ipsos. Despite a reversal of those decisions later in 2016 by the standards committee, prompted by legal action, it became clear that our membership in MRIA was not valued and our efforts to influence reform were fruitless. A decision by MRIA to merge with CAPOR also made our decision not to renew our membership an easy one.


Background on Mainstreet Research, Illumina Research Partners and MRIA

In September of 2016, Mainstreet Research conducted a poll for Postmedia on the approvals of the Calgary Police force. Published results conflicted with polls provided to the Calgary Police Commission by Illumina Research Partners. While the Calgary Police Force had been plagued by several high-profile incidents, the citizen satisfaction survey conducted by Illumina showed consistently high levels of satisfaction in the range of 95 to 99%. Despite the methodological differences, the Illumina polls were largely criticized by local media and public alike on social media in the days that followed the Mainstreet survey. The Calgary Police Commission requested that Mainstreet provide some commentary for its members on the differences, and we complied with the request. The controversy surrounding the polls and the fallout resulted in a complaint being filed by Illumina Research Partners against Mainstreet Research with the MRIA. The MRIA convened an adjudication panel that was selected by the Chair of the Standards Committee, an Ipsos Associate. Mainstreet requested that the Ipsos associate recuse herself from that task because Mainstreet and Ipsos had been involved in a prolonged legal dispute over the formation of the Canadian Association of Public Opinion Research (CAPOR) in 2015. Despite that request and clear conflict, the request was denied and the panel convened. During the panel hearing, Mainstreet President Quito Maggi explained that the briefing provided to the Calgary Police Commission was a private communication obtained by Illumina illegally and it could not be used as evidence. Further, he argued that the critique offered in that briefing was fair. The MRIA panel made various unsubstantiated findings against Mainstreet that were inappropriately legal in nature, related to Illumina’s claims that it had been defamed and contrary to the principles of freedom of expression. There were no complaints or findings related to the validity or reliability of Mainstreet Research, only on its criticism of another firm. The decision was rendered without consideration of significant evidence presented by Mainstreet and without an opportunity for Mainstreet to review Illumina’s unredacted results. Evidence presented by Illumina Research Partners included a study conducted by Ipsos Research that corroborated their findings. Similar research done with the exact same methodology in other Alberta communities like Beaumont, were also ignored by MRIA and the panel. The decision of the adjudication panel was appealed by Mainstreet, but the appeal was decided without an oral hearing, contrary to MRIA’s own rules.


Background on Mainstreet Research, Ipsos and CAPOR

In late 2015 Darrel Bricker and John Wright of Ipsos Research decided to form a new industry association in Canada, with a hand-picked board that would act as the “polling police” for the industry. CAPOR was founded with 22 members, largely dominated by Ipsos associates, the President & Secretary (and its spokespeople) were the senior leadership of a single firm, Ipsos. CAPOR was founded without any notice to the industry and without disclosure of its rules. Its stated purpose was to provide greater transparency and accountability in public opinion research. By contrast, its formation, rules and processes were opaque, clumsy and unprofessional. At the time, Mainstreet Research expressed serious reservations about the dominance of Ipsos in the association and challenged the new disclosure regulations to the Competition Bureau. Forcing the disclosure of proprietary information by an industry association is one of several “dont’s” that CAPOR violated when it was founded. This resulted in a complaint to the Competition Bureau by prominent competition lawyer Mark Warner on behalf of Mainstreet Research. CAPOR never held an annual meeting as was promised by its leadership during its founding and announced in late 2016 that it would consider merging with MRIA after a vote of its members. That vote never took place according to several members and the status of CAPOR is unknown since its website was taken down sometime in 2016.


Kenney PCs in Stasis

April 28, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds the PC Party polling at the same levels as earlier in February – despite a new leader. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.99 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s groundhog month for the Alberta PCs,” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. It doesn’t look like the PC Party has seen a Jason Kenney leadership bump – or perhaps there was one but it was short lived. Lately Mr. Kenney appears to have kept a low profile after a flare up over GSAs.”

“All numbers are essentially within the margin of error from our last check-up on the Alberta horserace. This is the first time we have polled the PCs led by Jason Kenney.”

Mainstreet’s methodology lists party name and leader to test voter support, ie. the NDP led by Rachel Notley, The Progressive Conservatives led by Jason Kenney.

“The movement that we’ve seen is mainly beneficial for the NDP. The PCs have dropped to 33% support in Calgary (from 38%) and the NDP are up one point to 27% with the Wildrose following at 24%. The PCs have made ground outside the urban centres however where they are up to 30% from 27%. With the regional margin of error higher than the overall survey, we would want to confirm these results in a subsequent poll before coming to any definite conclusions.”

“As discussions continue surrounding a potential merger, we asked Albertans who they would prefer to see as leader of the merged party. 29% told us Brian Jean with a further 24% citing Mr. Kenney, the remainder are not sure or would prefer someone else. This is an increase in support for Mr. Kenney from last month. Wildrose Voters prefer Mr. Jean (42% support) while PC Voters prefer Mr. Kenney (36%). There is a significant gap between Mr. Jean and Mr. Kenney among Wildrose supporters but they are more or less evenly matched among Wildrose voters.”


Mainstreet – Alberta April 2017 by Mainstreet on Scribd


Despite Some Salary Reforms, Opinions of Bombardier Have ‘Gotten Worse’

April 27, 2017 (Montréal, QC) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll produced for the Montreal Gazette finds only 7% of Quebecers say their opinions of Bombardier have improved over the past few weeks with 51% saying their opinions have gotten worse. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.53 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“Ever since news of Bombardier’s executive compensation became a topic of public conversation they have experienced a backlash” said David Valentin, Executive Vice-President of Mainstreet Research. “We have seen everything from protests to politicians attempting to reign in Bombardier in the National Assembly.

“Despite Bombardier taking some action to lower compensation for executives, a majority of Quebecers still say their opinions of the company has gotten worse (51%). Another 25% say their opinions have stayed the same over the past few weeks.”

“Non-Francophone respondents are registering almost double the support for Bombardier as Francophone respondents. Among age cohorts, it’s Quebec’s seniors who are the most likely to say their opinion has improved, but even then it is only 9%.”

“Ultimately there may not be any real consequences to Bombardier at all. While some individual executives may be affected, it remains to be seen if there will be any real lasting consequences to a company that is receiving financial support from both the provincial and federal government. That’s more likely is that politicians will be more careful about negotiating these sorts of funding arrangements in the future – though even that is no guarantee if political interests take priority, as they often do.”


Mainstreet – Québec April – Bombardier by Mainstreet on Scribd


Nenshi Approval Continues To Drop

April 27, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds Naheed Nenshi’s approval rating down 4 percentage points with his disapproval rising by 5 percentage points. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.44 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“The Mayor’s approval rating continues to drop” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “He started at 65% approval this year in January and is now down to 52% approval. That’s a drop of 13% over 4 months. It remains to be seen if this is the floor, or if his numbers could go down even further in the future. Of course, it’s also possible we could see his numbers rebound in the months to come as well.”

“With a largely unknown field of candidates running against Nenshi, I don’t think he is in trouble just yet. 52% is over half of the city. We’ve seen Mayors in other municipalities have negative approval ratings, as long as Nenshi is able to hold onto a net approval rating he should be fine with his re-election campaign. Detractors of the mayor, after all, will have several candidates to spread their votes on.”

“That being said, we don’t yet know what effect the election campaign will have on the Mayor’s approvals and favourability scores. It’s possible his opponents may run negative campaigns, and that even if he ultimately wins, he does so amidst lower ratings.”

“Taking on incumbents and winning is not impossible but it is difficult. Campaigns need money, strategy and volunteers – a little luck doesn’t hurt either. No one should underestimate the mayor who has proven that he is an effective campaigner and savvy with social media. The mayoral campaign is not in full swing just yet, but we will be watching closely to see what happens next,” finished Maggi.


Mainstreet – Calgary April 2017 by Mainstreet on Scribd


B.C. Post Debate Poll

April 27, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds voters who watched the B.C. Leaders Debate say John Horgan narrowly won – though Andrew Weaver walked away with the highest favourables.

Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research made the following remarks:

British Columbians like “Doctor Weaver”, as he was referred to repeatedly by Christy Clark in the debate last night, they just don’t think he has much of a chance to win.

Andrew Weaver has a PHD in Applied Mathematics and as such carries the “Dr” honorific. This approach of using titles to refer to a political opponent has been used in the past with some success. By referring to an opponent by their title instead of their given name or a more generic title like “Mr.”, it can create the impression that the individual is out of touch. This strategy may pay off eventually but results of the post debate poll say most B.C. residents have a favourable view of Weaver, for now.

The debate featured another solid performance by Christy Clark, who has a solid track record of good performances in debates and more generally as a strong campaigner. Clark started the debate strongly with hard hitting questions for the other party leaders in a debate format that uniquely allowed each candidate to pose questions of the other participants. As the debate wore on though, and the focus shifted to some heated exchanges between NDP leader John Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver, Clark seemed to loose steam.

The highlight of the debate can be attributed to Green leader Weaver who said “Well better than the worst is still really bad” to NDP leader Horgan. He later repeated this by saying, “Better than really bad is still just bad, B.C. deserves the best” in the next exchange with Horgan.

29% of B.C. debate watchers believe than Weaver won the debate and 50% have a favourable view of him compared to just 26% who have an unfavourable view. When compared to John Horgan of the BC NDP or Christy Clark of the BC Liberals, the favourability score of BC Green leader Weaver is by far the best. Horgan scored just 37% favourable vs 42% unfavourable and Christy Clark fared even worse with 34% favourable vs 54% unfavourable.

When asked about who would win the election however, the opinions shift quite dramatically with just 6% saying the Greens will win. 40% said the BC Liberals would win and 35% said the BC NDP. This gap between voter preferences and perceptions of chances may point to the achilles heal of the BC Greens who have polled significantly higher than any previous election.

Despite the highlight going to Weaver, it does not appear that any significant knock out blow took place in the televised debate. With less than two weeks remaining to election day, the battle between the governing BC Liberals and the opposition BC NDP continues.

We expect to see the full impact of the debate and the leader performances in the days ahead. As people digest the debate and discuss it with friends and family, opinions will shift and solidify. The debate effect may take almost a week to be fully reflected in voter intentions.


Mainstreet – B.C. Post Debate Poll by Mainstreet on Scribd


59% of Quebecers Say Racial Discrimination a ‘Serious’ Issue

April 26, 2017 (Montréal, QC) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll produced for the Montréal Gazette finds 59% of Quebecers saying racial discrimination is a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ issue in the province. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.53 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“A majority of Quebecers in the province say racial discrimination is a problem with numbers consistent across regions” said David Valentin, Executive Vice-President of Mainstreet Research. “We‘ve seen in the past few months more high profile incidents involving xenophobia in Québec, including of course the attack on the St. Foy mosque. Subsequent vandalism targeted at specific communities followed, including in Montréal, which may be partly why Quebecers are noting this as a serious issue.”

“Women are more likely than men to say this is an issue (61%-55%), while numbers among age groups are roughly consistent. Where we see some differentiation is with Non-Francophones and Francophones. 68% of Non-Francophones say racial discrimination is a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ issue, while only 57% of Francophones say the same. 57% and 68% are both strong majorities.”

“The government has announced a taskforce to fight systemic discrimination so this is an issue that will remain in the spotlight. Provincial parties have in the past attempted to create wedge issues with identity politics, for now it seems Quebecers are tuned into some of the problems different groups face in Québec society,” finished Valentin.


Mainstreet – Québec April – Racism by Mainstreet on Scribd


NDP Surges Post Radio Debate

April 25, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds the BC NDP surging to a 10 percentage point lead. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.41 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“It’s been a good week for the NDP, with major gains in the lower mainland” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “In our last poll we saw the Liberals make up the gap in Greater Vancouver, this week it looks like the NDP was able to reverse that trend and then some, they now hold a 16 point lead over the Liberals in what is a crucial battleground in the election.”

“Despite the movement to the NDP the Greens have been able to hang on, growing their support by 1 percentage point and just barely hanging on to a lead on Vancouver Island where they are now essentially tied. Their supporters are now more committed than ever, with 67% saying they will not change their mind.”

Among all voters: 27% Liberal (-3), 36% NDP (+4), 16% Green (+1), 21% Undecided (+2)
Among Decided & Leaning Voters: 34% Liberal (-3), 44% NDP (+5), 22% Green (+1)


“There are several possible outcomes to this election, this week we asked British Columbians how they would feel about different outcomes. 29% told us that they would be happy with a Liberal Majority government – while 24% would be disappointed, 19% would be angry and 8% would be sad.”

“A BC NDP Majority government would make 40% of British Columbians happy, 13% of them disappointed and 11% of them sad. Only 15% of undecided voters say this outcome would make them happy, the same number of undecided voters that say they would be happy with a Liberal majority.”

“If there was a minority government – and the Greens held the balance of power, 29% of voters would be happy, 24% would be disappointed and 19% would be angry. 20% of Liberal voters would be angry with that outcome, while all other voting groups register anger in the low single digits. Liberal voters would be just as angry with a minority government as they would be with an NDP majority government.”

“We checked in once again on how British Columbians see the party leaders. Only 26% have a favourable view of Christy Clark and overall she has a net disapproval of -30 (approval-disapproval). More voters know who John Horgan is than before but that has translated into a net approval of +5 with 33% of British Columbians holding a favourable view. Andrew Weaver holds the highest net approval rating with a +8 with 28% of voters viewing him favourably.”

“39% of voters don’t know who John Horgan is or have no clear opinion. That number is 53% for Weaver. Even 23% of Green Party voters say they’re not sure what they think of him with an additional 9% saying they are not familiar with Weaver,” finished Maggi.


Mainstreet – B.C. April 20-22 by Mainstreet on Scribd


Liberals, Greens Gain as Writs Dropped

April 18, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds the BC Liberals and BC Greens gaining ground as the writs dropped. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.41 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“As the writs dropped the Liberals were able to make gains” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “Most of the Liberal gains came in the Greater Vancouver area, where the NDP now hold just a 5 point lead – a difference that Liberal incumbents could make up. Today’s portrait of Greater Vancouver would mean the ground war would matter more than ever.”

“The Greens have gained over our last poll as well and are now leading by 4 percentage points on Vancouver Island. At the same time the Green vote has solidified, 53% of Green Voters now say they won’t change their mind – similar to the increase the Liberals and NDP are seeing as well.”

Among all voters: 30% Liberal (+5), 32% NDP (-), 15% Green (+3), 3% Conservative (-3), 19% Undecided (-6)
Among Decided & Leaning Voters: 37% Liberal (+2), 39% NDP (-), 21% Green (+2), 3% Conservative (-4)


“This week we tested campaign proposals to see what voters thought – interestingly while the Green Party’s proposal to increase the Foreign Buyers tax was the most popular of the three campaign planks we tested, voters don’t know it’s a BC Green campaign plank. 31% of British Columbians told us it was the BC NDP who put forward the Foreign Buyers Tax increase, another 16% said it was the Liberals – the Greens came in third when it came to their own platform. Only 16% correctly identified the proposal came from the Green Party.”

“When it comes to duelling bridge toll proposals British Columbians say the Liberal Plan is the better one. 45% of voters say they prefer the plan to cap bridge tolls annually at $500 while 31% say they prefer the plans to scrap the bridge tolls altogether,” finished Maggi.


Mainstreet BC April 12-14 by Mainstreet on Scribd


Liberals, NDP Gain as Campaign Begins

April 12, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds the BC NDP and BC Liberals both gaining support while the Green party remains steady at 19%. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.32 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“The NDP has extended its lead ever so slightly” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “They are ahead by 4 percent among decided & leaning voters – but it’s important to remember there is a long way to go in this campaign. This poll was taken in the 5 days before the writs dropped and we expect to see movement as voters begin to learn more about each party’s platform.”

“This is the Green Party’s 3rd week at 19%, just shy of the psychological 20% ceiling. However in good news for the Greens their support is more committed, 46% of their voters say they won’t change their minds compared to just 36% last week That is movement in the right direction.”

Among all voters: 27% Liberal (+1), 31% NDP (+2), 12% Green (-1), 6% Conservative (-3), 25% Undecided (+2)
Among Decided & Leaning Voters: 35% Liberal (+2), 39% NDP (+3), 19% Green (-), 7 Conservative (-4)

“Campaign proposals are coming fast from all parties but there’s a couple of key dates we are looking at. April 18th is the deadline for candidates to register with Elections British Columbia – that is just days away. Will the Green Party actually file a full slate? And how many candidates will the BC Conservatives actually field? With less than 10 candidates at the moment, the BC Conservatives will likely fall off our surveys unless they are able to field substantially more candidates.”

“This week, we saw support for the Conservatives take a sharp drop, perhaps as voters finally begin to realize that they are not a factor in the campaign and non-existent in media coverage. It’s not immediately clear that those voters moved to any of the 3 main parties, this week we also saw a small increase in the number of undecided voters in general.”


Mainstreet – BC April 6-10 by Mainstreet on Scribd


As B.C. Election Begins, Minority Looms

April 7, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds the NDP continues to lead province wide, while the Greens have held onto gains made last week. The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.41 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“The NDP continues to lead in the province but it is a tight race when we look at decided and leaning voters” said Quito Maggi, President of Mainstreet Research. “The NDP and Liberals are essentially tied and all three parties seem to be doing well in different parts of the province. The NDP are seeing their strength come from the Greater Vancouver area, the Greens are leading the NDP on Vancouver Island by 1 percentage point, essentially leaving them tied given the margin of error, and the BC Liberals are doing best in the interior and north. If an election were held today the result would likely be a minority government.”

“There’s two ways to look at Green support this week, given that their numbers are essentially unchanged from last week: you could say that the Greens have stalled or you could say that they have been able to hang on to their newfound support.”

Among all voters: 26% Liberal, 29% NDP, 13% Green, 9% Conservative, 23% Undecided
Among Decided & Leaning Voters: 33% Liberal, 36% NDP, 19% Green, 11 Conservative

“This week we asked about affordable housing and whether the BC government has a role to play. 58% of British Columbian say it does though that number falls outside of Greater Vancouver (67%) and Vancouver Island (64%) to just 37%. 12% of British Columbians say the federal government should have sole responsibility while 10% say municipal governments should have sole responsibility.”

“We asked British Columbians about a host of taxes that could stem speculation in the real estate industry. Despite telling us in previous polling that the foreign buyers tax was ineffective, the foreign buyers taxed polled highest at 37%. Other options included a tax on non-first time home buyers (13% support), a tax on corporate home buyers (15%) and combining all three tax proposals (25% support).

”Lastly, we asked what British Columbians thought of giving families in Vancouver assistance or a tax credit if they could prove they worked in the city. While the idea is popular in Greater Vancouver (65% support) it has less than 1 third support in the rest of the province,” finished Maggi.


Mainstreet – BC April 1-3 by Mainstreet on Scribd