“The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!”
– Tyler Durden, 1999
Canadian pundits, academics, journalists and even some pollsters have been saying more and more, we shouldn’t talk about horserace polls. The advice I hear increasingly is, we should focus on issues, people care about the issues. That is fair advice and meant quite earnestly, don’t talk about fight club, got it.
We do a lot of issue/policy polling and have done so since our inception in 2010. Nationally, in the past few months we’ve asked people about NAFTA, the proposed federal tax changes, the Government’s LGBTQ2 apology and the changes to the National Anthem. In Ontario, we’ve polled on cannabis, budget reaction, education and healthcare. In Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC, Manitoba & Quebec, the same. We’ve asked about opinions on everything from pipelines to vaccinations. In Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa & Montreal, we’ve asked about transit, police and emergency services, safe injection sites and dozens of other interesting issues.
But the first question I get asked, by the media, by politicians, even by the public, when I talk about these issues is: So, tell me about fight club? In other words, how will this issue impact the horserace numbers? There is a fundamental disconnect between the well-meaning advice and the reality of political public opinion research. The horserace is still what people care about at the end of the day, how the issues affect the electoral prospects of individuals and political parties and why.
So, although we will continue to conduct surveys on issues, we start 2018 by looking at the horserace numbers, all of them.
In the weeks ahead we will be releasing new National and Provincial voter intentions that look at the whole landscape of Canada. The national poll is actually a combination of 10 Provincial polls that each asked Federal and Provincial horserace questions. This is a first of a series that we are calling the “poll of polls”, snapshots of every possible election from January 2018 through 2021 including snapshots of three important leadership races in BC and Saskatchewan.
We look forward to talking about these snapshots and the state of various upcoming political matches in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, and how those might affect the political landscape in Ottawa. Due to the very large sample size, this poll also gives us the most in depth snapshot of federal voter intentions, including provincial and regional samples that will be key in determining where the 2019 federal election will be won or lost.
Lastly, as we always do, we look at the relative economic optimism and pessimism of Canadians and some of those numbers, and the regional differences are very revealing.
“The third rule of Fight Club: Someone yells stop, goes limp, or taps out, the fight is over.”
– Tyler Durden, 1999
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.