Saturday, April 16, 2005

73% of Canadians Conclude Paul Martin is Responsible for the Sponsorship Scandal – CBC Poll

Yesterday we published an article that detailed how Paul Hunter of the CBC skewed the results of its own poll to favor Paul Martin. Today comes new revelations about that poll from our friends at CBC Watch. It seems Paul Hunter’s left-wing spin of those poll results was even worse than we thought.

The polling question delivered by Environics Research Group was phrased this way:

4. In your opinion are each of the following very responsible, somewhat responsible, or not responsible for the alleged wrongdoings that have been reported from the Gomery inquiry.

a) Prime Minister Paul Martin?
b) The Liberal Party of Canada?
c) A small number of officials working within the federal government?
d) Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien?
e) The way that politics is conducted in Quebec?

When Paul Hunter delivered his news piece, he did it in such a way as to give the appearance that Canadians think Jean Chrétien and a few rogue members of the liberal party were to blame. This angle is one that the liberal party has been pushing for weeks in the House of Commons and in the mainstream media. Paul Hunter furthers the liberal agenda by portraying the numbers in a way that reinforce the liberal position. He says,

“As the opposition points its fingers at Paul Martin over it all, Canadians seem to be aiming elsewhere. Asked to assess blame for the scandal on five different targets; 45% say the liberal party is ‘very’ responsible for it. Separately, 48% put a small group of government officials in that category. 42% cited former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien as ‘very’ responsible. Just 28% put Paul Martin that way; roughly the same number that says that is just Quebec politics.”

His deception involves the use of the word ‘very’ in assessing who was responsible for the sponsorship scandal. According to the poll 28% of Canadians think Paul Martin is ‘very’ responsible for the scandal. What Paul Hunter does not say is that another 54% of Canadians think Paul Martin is somewhat responsible versus 18% who think that the Prime Minister is not to blame at all. Only 8% did not know or did not have an opinion.

When you add together the number of Canadians that think Paul Martin is responsible for the sponsorship scandal versus those that do not, you have 73% of Canadians that conclude Paul Martin is to blame. Only 18% of Canadians think Paul Martin is not to blame.

When you remove the word ‘very’ and simply asses whether the same targets are responsible or not, you get a very different outcome. 82% of Canadians think the liberal party is responsible versus 10% that do not think they are responsible. 82% say a small group of government officials is to blame versus 10% that think they are not. 84% say Jean Chrétien is to blame, versus 9% that think he is not. And, 73% of Canadians believe Paul Martin, who was Finance Minister in charge of public money under Jean Chrétien, is to blame for sponsorship scandal versus 18% that think he is not responsible for it.

Yet, Paul Hunter tries to convince viewers that only 28% think Paul Martin is to blame and he further reinforces this message with a video bite from Donna Dasko of the Environics Research Group who says, “And even though the Prime Minister does not seem to be mainly responsible for this, he and his party are certainly being punished.”

Paul Martin does not seem to be mainly responsible for this, even though 73% of Canadians think he is? You cannot get 73% of Canadians to say they like ice cream on any given day!

When it comes to spinning the results of a poll to advance the liberal cause, Paul Hunter and the CBC is ‘very’ guilty and ‘very’ deceptive.


At 6:38 AM, Blogger Brent Colbert said...

Stories like this are becoming the rule rather then the exception. It sickens me when I hear them and will take a special type of glee when it's sink or swim time at the CBC.

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Mark said...

One of the first things Harper should do when the Conservatives take power is privatize the CBC. Remove the $900M of public funding and place them on par with the rest of the nation's private broadcasters.

Who knows. Maybe the Liberal party will hire them all as propagandists.

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Michael said...

The CBC got a funding increase in this year's budget. They are over a billion a year now bud.

At 1:04 AM, Blogger calgarygrit said...

I think it's more a case of a media that doesn't really understand polling that well. The medis misrepresents poll numbers all the time.

Great post though! I hadn't picked up on that discrepancy until I read it.

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Mark. Privatize the CBC.


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