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How Did The Pollsters Fail?

After the Liberals won the B.C. election, a single question quickly emerged: How did the pollsters get it so wrong?

Right from the start, after polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, the results were much different than what the pollsters were forecasting.

A May 10 Angus Reid poll showed that 45 per cent of 803 voters surveyed intended to support the NDP, while 36 per cent said they would vote for the Liberals. That was a nine-point overall lead over the Liberals. An earlier Ipsos Reid poll, which surveyed 800 adult British Columbians, found that 43 per cent of surveyed voters were supporting the NDP.

An Ekos poll, with robocall technology, on Monday gave the NDP 40.5 per cent of voter support.

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But almost two hours after polls have closed, the Liberals have 44.7 per cent of the vote, the NDP with 39.1 per cent and the Liberals leading or elected in 52 ridings, with 43 needed for a majority.

Elections in Alberta in 2012 showed a similar pattern, where voters showed second thoughts as the poll deadline got closer. After Tuesday's election, Alberta's premier Alison Redford wrote "welcome to club! Proving the pollsters, pundits & political scientists so spectacularly wrong. Congratulations!"

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