A Field Guide to Polling: Election 2020 Edition

Useful advice in general, not just in terms of US political polling:

How can you tell a ‘good’ poll from a ‘bad’ one?

The longevity of phone polls has allowed scholars time to study them and establish basic standards and best practices. For this reason, it’s a fairly straightforward task to sort more rigorous phone polls from the rest. In general, rigorous surveys are those that are paid for and fielded by a neutral source; have selected a probability-based, random sample of the public (or the population of interest, such as registered voters); dial cellphones in addition to landlines; make multiple attempts to reach people; use live interviewers; and make public both the questionnaire and a detailed methodology.

On the other hand, creating a quality checklist for online opt-in polls remains a challenge and a work in progress.7 Some considerations are the same as for phone polls, as they too should be funded and conducted by a neutral source and transparent with their questionnaires and methodologies. Beyond these basics, evaluating the quality of an opt-in election poll should consider the following questions: Does the sample include all kinds of Americans? Does it include them in roughly the right proportion compared to their share of the population? If not, how are researchers working on the back end to address these issues?8

The Center is now several years into a sustained effort to evaluate these surveys, and several key findings have emerged. Online opt-in polls are not monolithic – some vendors produce more accurate data than others. What separates the better vendors is that they adjust their surveys to be representative on a large set of variables that includes both demographics (e.g., race, age, sex and, per the lessons of 2016, education) and political variables (e.g. party affiliation, voter registration status). Less accurate vendors tend to either not weight their data at all or adjust for just a few demographics. When evaluating these polls, look for evidence that the pollster has thought carefully about these kinds of problems and taken steps to correct them.

When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality.

Perhaps surprisingly, Center research found that having a sample that looked demographically representative of the country (through use of quotas or weighting) did not predict accuracy. In other words, just getting the survey to look representative with respect to age, sex, etc. does not mean that the survey estimates for other outcomes are accurate. At this stage in their development, opt-in polls require a very thoughtful, hands-on effort for those fielding the survey, requiring them to consider what they are trying to measure and how the characteristics of the sample may interact with those concepts. As a result, consumers of these polls should also be particularly attentive to these issues.

One last “false flag” to ignore: When it comes to opt-in online polls, enormous sample sizes aren’t necessarily a sign of quality. Given that opt-in surveys are so cheap to field, it’s not hard to drive up a sample size to provide the illusion of precision. But Center research suggests that an 8,000 person opt-in survey is not necessarily more accurate than a 2,000 person survey.

The bottom line for now is that, at least in our own explorations, “even the most effective adjustment procedures were unable to remove most of the bias”9 from opt-in polls. That said, the level of precision these opt-in panels can provide may be adequate for some research purposes.

Source: pewrsr.ch/34cknjD

Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

Interesting analysis of longer-term polling data, where most of the change towards greater acceptance of immigration has occurred among Democrats and independent voters:

In 1979, John Tanton, a Michigan eye doctor and environmentalist, launched the modern nativist movement. He believed that population growth would slow down if poor people stayed in developing countries, where poverty and potentially starvation would keep growth in check, but that if they came to places like the United States in larger numbers, the planet would become more overcrowded. So he founded a group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which aimed to stop nearly all immigration to the United States. It was initially seen for it what it was: a fringe group based on long-disproven ideas about the planet’s ability to support more people.

Forty years later, FAIR would seem to be in its heyday. At least three former FAIR employees, including its former executive director, have been hired for senior roles at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for legal immigration. And the White House has taken a more sharply anti-immigration stand than in any administration of the modern era.

But when it comes to swaying public opinion to its view that legal immigration should be all but eliminated, FAIR and its offshoots are farther from success than ever.

Twenty-five years ago, Democrats and Republicans felt the same way about immigrants: The Pew Research Center found that nearly two-thirds of both parties agreed they were a burden. Immigration critics were confident that those numbers would increase as a backlash to rising immigration took hold among native-born Americans. Instead, the opposite happened. By the time Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign, the share of Democrats and independents who said immigrants strengthen America had nearly doubled, while Republican opinion on the question had barely budged.

And under Trump, anti-immigrant sentiment has fallen even further as the president’s rhetoric about immigrants alienates large swaths of the public. According to a Pew poll from January, 55 percent of Republicans—8 percent fewer than in May 2015—and a record-low 13 percent of Democrats believe that immigrants burden the United States by taking jobs, housing, and health care from native-born Americans. And according to Gallup surveys, 67 percent of Americans now say immigration should be increased or kept at its present level, the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1965.

The United States is in the midst of a two-decade-long shift in favor of immigration, and it is only accelerating under Trump. For all the nativist movement’s efforts over the decades to rein in immigration, the chances of preserving a white majority are effectively gone.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/eSlIS/1/

Unlike most environmentalists of his era, Tanton believed ending the era of international migration was essential to stopping population growth and preserving the planet. Frustrated that environmentalists were treating immigration control as taboo, Tanton launched FAIR. His anti-population-growth crusade attracted few followers, but he quickly discovered that tapping into resentment of Latino immigrants held far more potential. So did Dan Stein, who became FAIR’s press secretary in 1982 and has served as its president since 2003. In 1994, as part of an oral history series FAIR was conducting, Stein told Tanton, “What produces the income is evidence of an enemy seeking to produce hostile forces and hostile consequences.”

At the time, it looked like FAIR might succeed. Opposition to immigration was rising in the early nineties amid a dramatic increase in legal immigration from Asia and Latin America, as well as high levels of unauthorized immigration from Mexico. In 1994, voters in California overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187 to bar undocumented immigrants from using government services. Frank Sharry, the founder of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, expected huge cuts to legal immigration after Republicans regained control of Congress in 1995. A Gallup poll that year showed that only 7 percent of Americans favored more immigration and 65 percent wanted cuts, up from 42 percent in the late seventies.

Stein called for slashing legal immigration from more than 700,000 green cards per year to about 100,000, hoping that Americans would realize that “we don’t need immigration as a country anymore.” When Congress rejected measures to cut legal immigration in 1996, he said the country was getting “madder and madder.”

The mid-nineties ended up being the peak of the immigration backlash. Stein didn’t seem to notice. Speaking at an event organized by Pat Buchanan, Stein said “we are about to see a tsunami” against immigration and, as conservatives tried to ban same-sex marriage, predicted that it “will be about the hottest topic in politics once we get gay marriage taken care of.” Congress did take up immigration legislation under George W. Bush. But it was a bipartisan bill that gave undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and FAIR fought successfully to kill it. And when the Senate finally passed an immigration bill in 2013, it was again one that paved the way to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and FAIR lobbied fiercely to prevent it from passing in the House.

FAIR has known for decades that it needs to do more than just block legislation to succeed. Under the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which removed country-specific caps on immigration designed to favor Northern Europeans and made it easier for immigrants to bring relatives to the United States, legal immigration has risen steadily, to levels not seen since the early 20th century. Tanton noted in 1989 that the post-1965 rise in immigration would “go on forever, until the situation gets so bad that finally the Congress is forced to react.” But he was wrong about how Congress—and the American public—would react.

Since 1994, the share of Republicans who tell Pew that immigrants strengthen the country has barely moved from about 30 percent; among Democrats, it has spiked from 31 percent to 80 percent. Even among white voters without a college degree—Trump’s core base of support—just one in four told Quinnipiac last year that they favored cutting legal immigration. Republicans without a college degree are now less likely to support cutting legal immigration than the average Democrat was 13 years ago.

Last year, nearly two-thirds of respondents, including 67 percent of independents, told the Public Religion Research Institute that it would be mostly a positive thing for the United States to become a majority-nonwhite country by 2045. PRRI has been asking Americans since 2013 whether they would prefer to deport undocumented immigrants or give them a path to citizenship. The responses have not changed much over the years. “It’s kind of remarkable, really,” says PRRI founder and chief executive officer Robert P. Jones. “Usually, we see some movement”—particularly when there’s a “a big bully pulpit, scaring an entire political party toward a more negative anti-immigrant stance.” And with Americans under 40 much more supportive of immigration than the overall population, the future looks bleak for FAIR.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/FEcQ4/1/

Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate voted on a series of immigration bills. A Trump-endorsed bill to reduce legal immigration by roughly 40 percent got just 39 votes. A measure opposed by the president to fund a border wall in exchange for protections for some undocumented immigrants received 54. Neither became law, but the more progressive bill came a lot closer.

In the absence of legislative success, FAIR’s former staffers and allies in the Trump administration are turning to executive action. Trump has cut refugee admissions to record lows. USCIS, the legal immigration agency, has adopted a long list of policies that make it harder to come to the United States legally, although so far, the number of green cards issued each year is still in line with where it was under Obama. USCIS is in the process of implementing new regulations to dramatically expand a section of immigration law that blocks people from entering the country if they are likely to rely on government assistance, such as food stamps or Medicaid. The rule, which is not yet finalized, could cut legal immigration by hundreds of thousands of people per year by denying green cards to the relatives of working-class immigrants. But unlike legislation, the rule could be overturned by a future administration. Twenty-two Democratic senators—including five of the six running for president—sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security in October, requesting that it withdraw the rule.

Asked about FAIR’s record under Trump, Sharry, of America’s Voice, responded with glee. Republicans, he noted, controlled Congress for two years and had the most nativist president in modern history. “And on his signature issues of a border wall and cuts to legal immigration, they got zilch, nada, zero,” he said. “That is an abject failure.”

Source: Trump and His Allies Have Lost the Public Debate Over Immigration

Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration Into the US

Lots of good data here, suggesting more limited support for Trump administration policies:

Many unaware that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally.

Since 2001, decline in the share saying legal immigration should be decreasedWhile there has been considerable attention on illegal immigration into the U.S. recently, opinions about legal immigration have undergone a long-term change. Support for increasing the level of legal immigration has risen, while the share saying legal immigration should decrease has fallen.

The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, finds that 38% say legal immigration into the United States should be kept at its present level, while 32% say it should be increased and 24% say it should be decreased.

Since 2001, the share of Americans who favor increased legal immigration into the U.S. has risen 22 percentage points (from 10% to 32%), while the share who support a decrease has declined 29 points (from 53% to 24%).

The shift is mostly driven by changing views among Democrats. The share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who say legal immigration into the U.S. should be increased has doubled since 2006, from 20% to 40%.

Growing share of Democrats support increased legal immigration into the U.S.Republicans’ views also have changed, though more modestly. The share of Republicans and Republican leaners who say legal immigration should be decreased has fallen 10 percentage points since 2006, from 43% to 33%.

Still, about twice as many Republicans (33%) as Democrats (16%) support cutting legal immigration into the U.S.

The new survey, which was largely conducted before the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border involving immigrant children being separated from their parents, finds deep and persistent partisan divisions in a number of attitudes toward immigrants, as well as widespread misperceptions among the public overall about the share of the immigrant population in the U.S. that is in this country illegally:

Fewer than half of Americans know that most immigrants in the U.S. are here legally. Just 45% of Americans say that most immigrants living in the U.S. are here legally; 35% say most immigrants are in the country illegally, while 6% volunteer that about half are here legally and half illegally and 13% say they don’t know. In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, lawful immigrants accounted for about three-quarters of the foreign-born population in the United States.

Republicans are split in their views of undocumented immigrantsMost feel sympathy toward unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) are very or somewhat sympathetic toward immigrants who are in the United States illegally. That view has changed little since 2014, when a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America attempted to enter the U.S. at the border. An overwhelming share of Democrats (86%) say they are sympathetic toward immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally, compared with about half of Republicans (48%) .

Fewer say granting legal status to unauthorized immigrants is a “reward.”Just 27% of Americans say that giving people who are in the U.S. illegally a way to gain legal status is like rewarding them for doing something wrong. More than twice as many (67%) say they don’t think of it this way. Since 2015, the share saying that providing legal status for those in the U.S. illegally is akin to a “reward” for doing something wrong has declined 9 percentage points. (Americans also broadly support granting legal status to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.)

Most Americans do not think undocumented immigrants are more likely to commit serious crimes. Large majorities of Americans say that undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. are not more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes (65% say this) and that undocumented immigrants mostly fill jobs citizens don’t want (71% say this). These opinions, which also are divided along partisan lines, are virtually unchanged since 2016.

Most people who encounter immigrants who do not speak English well aren’t bothered by this. Most Americans say they often (47%) or sometimes (27%) come into contact with immigrants who speak little or no English. Among those who say this, just 26% say it bothers them, while 73% say it does not. The share saying they are bothered by immigrants speaking little or no English has declined by 12 percentage points since 2006 (from 38% to 26%) and 19 points since 1993 (from 45%).

Source: Shifting Public Views on Legal Immigration Into the US

On First Nations issues, there’s a giant gap between Trudeau’s rhetoric and what Canadians really think: exclusive poll

While the wording of the questions appears to prompt this kind of response, nevertheless of interest:

From the front steps of her home in Brantford, Ont., Linda Johns looks down the street toward the Mohawk Institute, one of Canada’s oldest residential schools, and says she wishes they’d simply “torn the damn thing down.” The building is currently under renovation to “save the evidence,” as the fundraising campaign for repairs puts it.

Linda has visited the grounds as a tourist with her family, years ago, and says it was awful what happened to Indigenous youth there over the decades, “but now that we’re adults, I don’t care to hear about it. What they’re trying to do is blame other people for the problems they have now.”

She says Indigenous Canadians should have unique status in this country, but equally feels that, through our government, we are “almost climbing over ourselves to apologize” for past transgressions. As for federal spending on First Nations issues, Johns accepts that Indigenous people in northern areas need the money, but she says: “Around here, I think they could get off their butts and work.”

Her husband of 38 years disagrees. For starters, he wants the Mohawk Institute restored: it will serve as a reminder to Canadians of what the residential school did to him when he went there. “The food was terrible. You never got enough to eat. When it came for roll call to make sure everyone was still there, it went by number, not by name,” Doug Johns recalls. “It was almost like being in a prison.”

The front steps of the institute—where Doug was forced to relocate at the age of 10, away from his family on the nearby Six Nations of the Grand River; where he saw classmates beaten for speaking their native tongue; which he first ran away from when he was 12, by way of country fields on a winter night to avoid police detection; where an abusive schoolmaster with a riding crop was more than willing to issue Doug lashings to his rear after every failed escape—are about 100 m from his front porch.

Linda says she doesn’t understand why her husband would want a building where he was so poorly treated to still stand. “She’s not Native,” Doug says of his wife. “We don’t see eye to eye on all these issues.”

Neither does the rest of the country. The most comprehensive public opinion survey on Indigenous issues since the Trudeau Liberals took office has uncovered deep fractures over key questions facing First Nations and the rest of Canada, suggesting the current government’s promises of reconciliation may be as hard to deliver as ever. The findings of the nationwide survey from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute point to divergent yet entrenched attitudes on both symbolic and existential questions.

Fully 53 per cent surveyed said the country spends too much time apologizing for residential schools and it’s time to move on (compared to 47 per cent who believe harm done by the schools continues and cannot be ignored); more than half of respondents said Indigenous people should have no special status that other Canadians don’t; the same proportion said Indigenous peoples would be better off if they integrated more into broader Canadian society, even if the cost is losing more of their traditions and culture. Such ideas are, to put it mildly, anathema to the future many First Nations people—and the politicians who advocate on their behalf—envisage.

The wide-ranging survey, provided exclusively to Maclean’s, polled nearly 2,500 Canadians, and deliberately oversampled in regions with high Indigenous populations, only to uncover solitudes that the Johns household neatly encapsulates: sympathetic yet resolved; divided yet finding ways to co-exist. “This country is split down the middle on many of these questions,” says pollster Angus Reid in an interview. “It tells me the perspective of Justin Trudeau and [Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs] Carolyn Bennett on some of these issues is certainly not shared by a lot of Canadians.”

Sheryl Lightfoot isn’t surprised to see a divided public opinion at this point regarding Indigenous issues. “Given the heightened attention to them since 2015, with the shift in government to the Liberals, I could see it enhancing that polarization because people will view it—depending on their perspectives—as either too much or too little,” says Lightfoot, who holds a Canada Research Chair in global Indigenous rights and politics at the University of British Columbia. “What we’ve got is a country that’s woefully uneducated on Indigenous history and issues. Or they are living it every day and are close to it. There isn’t a lot in the middle.”

A lack of contact, familiarity and exposure defines Canadian relations with First Nations issues in many ways—most importantly by relegating them to the bottom of the political agenda. For decades, politicians have shied away from debating Indigenous matters regarding public policy, says Ken Coates, senior fellow in Aboriginal and northern Canadian issues at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. “There’s been an implicit assumption in the Canadian political process for decades that if you had parties say we should do more [for Indigenous people], you’re not going to win many votes, so stay away from it.”

As such, the Trudeau government deserves credit for “moving ahead with something they feel is important,” Coates adds. But the fact that fully a third of Canadians polled feel Trudeau gives too much attention to Indigenous issues, compared to 17 per cent who feel he gives too little, highlights a gap in how the country prioritizes this relationship. (The rest are divided, saying either Trudeau gives them the right amount of attention, or they’re unsure.) “So long as you have a public that doesn’t believe Indigenous issues are a big deal, or doesn’t understand their context, then those issues are going to persist,” says Tunchai Redvers, co-founder of We Matter, a national support campaign for Indigenous youth. “Look at the Colten Boushie case.”When a Saskatchewan jury acquitted farmer Gerald Stanley for the 2016 shooting death of Red Pheasant First Nation resident Colten Boushie, the Prime Minister said, “There are systemic issues in our criminal justice system that we must address.” Trudeau’s words of support for the family of the deceased 22-year-old drew support from advocates, but scorn from others who felt he’d undermined the court’s authority and independence. In what has become a common avenue to express public support, a GoFundMe page set up for the Stanley family “to recoup some of their lost time, property and vehicles that were damaged, harvest income, and sanity” garnered more than $220,000 in donations in three months—surpassing the $200,000 in GoFundMe donations for Boushie’s family over a nine-month span.

The Boushie case points to one of the survey’s most puzzling findings: that non-Indigenous Canadians with regular exposure to reserves were more likely to take a rigid stance on Indigenous issues.

The institute found that Canadians are divided into four groups of roughly the same size on most questions: those who advocate for First Nations self-determination; those sympathetic to Indigenous people; those wary of Indigenous people asserting their priorities; and full-on hardliners who oppose special status and accommodation. “Western Canadians tend to be more hardliners,” Reid says. “Quebec has very liberal attitudes, but it’s also where we have the least likelihood of contact.”

Hardliners—a group that encompasses nearly a quarter of the sample—unanimously said Canada spends too much time apologizing for residential schools, and almost unanimously felt Indigenous Canadians should have no special status, while 85 per cent of them said Indigenous people would be better off if they integrated into broader Canadian society. “The hardliners are not racist, but they don’t buy the idea of separate status,” Reid says. “I think what the hardliners are saying is they don’t think the answer to the issues confronting Indigenous communities is going to come through more spending, but it’s going to come through improved leadership in Indigenous communities and through a heavier emphasis on integration.”

If there’s one thing respondents to the Angus Reid Institute survey agreed on, it’s that tax dollars meant to help First Nations people are generally failing to do so. Two out of three said government funds going toward Indigenous issues are generally ineffective—and a new report from the auditor general’s office will hardly quell that pessimism. Among other things, it found that data on high school graduation rates on reserves left out students who dropped out prior to Grade 12, meaning the department overstated the graduation rate by 22 percentage points.

Similarly, Employment and Social Development Canada—despite 30 years of supporting Indigenous employment—didn’t collect data or measure whether its key skills development fund resulted in Indigenous people getting steady meaningful work. Back at Six Nations, Doug Johns credits Trudeau with good intentions, but asks, “How many terms will he get to serve before he gets any of that accomplished? It would take two or three terms to see anything really done.”

Canadians might not have that kind of patience. Indeed, the survey results raise the question of whether a politician might succeed by taking a hardline stance on Indigenous issues. No mainstream leader is running on an explicitly integrationist platform, or argues the government should stop apologizing for residential schools. But Sen. Lynn Beyak published on her website letters of support from Canadians on these exact issues after she commented about the positive outcomes of residential schools. Her actions prompted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to call some of the letters “simply racist” and booted Beyak from caucus for refusing to remove them. But other letters voiced opinions that, while taboo, have a discernible market.

As it stands, only a third of Canadians believe Indigenous communities should move toward greater independence and control over their own affairs, according to the survey, compared to two-thirds who feel First Nations communities should be governed by the same rules and systems as all Canadians. Kim Baird, former chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation in B.C., wonders whether Canada has attained a critical mass of people who grasp basic truths about residential schools and the foundation of the country. “There needs to be more knowledge about the systemic reasons why reserves don’t look like other places, why they’re trapped in poverty, why there’s a lack of resources and infrastructure. It’s such a complex story to unpack. I think the residential school story is a good starting point.”

The Mohawk Institute, alas, will remain closed for a while, though visitors can take a virtual tour of the grounds. Before the work began, Doug Johns took his own kids through the school’s deserted corridors. He showed them where he ate, where he slept and the visitors’ room, where he got the whip for his attempted escapes.

He recalls new students getting beaten for not speaking English; because of the language barrier, they couldn’t understand why they were being punished. He remembers it being a “terrible place,” with fights often erupting on the grounds. “The whole idea of residential schools was to kill the Indian and save the child,” he says. “A lot of non-Native people aren’t aware of that, so I want them to restore the institute so people can see it.”

Source: On First Nations issues, there’s a giant gap between Trudeau’s rhetoric and what Canadians really think: exclusive poll

Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

What is more surprising in this story is that CROP, the pollster in questions, had such a blind spot with respect to these questions in a customer survey.

In a values or politics survey, these or more subtle variants are normal and uncontroversial but for a loyalty program that aims to attract as many possible members?:

Aeroplan is deleting all data collected from a recent online survey and offering an apology to anyone who found it offensive, after it sparked a complaint from one of its members.

The survey included controversial questions that asserted immigration was harmful, suggested males were superior and that traditional marriage was the only way to form a family.

Aeroplan’s owner, Aimia, hired a market research company to create the survey intended to help the company improve its loyalty program. However, Aimia says it failed to properly review the questionnaire before distributing it to members this month.

Some of the more than 80 questions probed members’ thoughts on shopping and brands. But others asked their level of agreement or disagreement on provocative statements such as:

  • Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.
  • Getting married and having children is the only real way of having a family.
  • The father of the family must be master in his own house.
  • Whatever people say, men have a certain natural superiority over women, and nothing can change this.

The contentious questions offended Lacey Willmott, who complained to Aeroplan after taking the survey last week.

“I was alarmed and extremely concerned,” said the PhD geography student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.

In an email, Aeroplan offered her 100 bonus miles to take a “shopping and life habits” survey. It said the results would only be used to help enhance the program.

So she was shocked when she encountered questions on hot-button topics such as gay marriage, government’s role in society and family values.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is really problematic,'” said Willmott, who wondered what the questions had to do with Aeroplan’s rewards program.

She could opt to “totally disagree” to any statement she didn’t like. But that didn’t appease Willmott, who felt some of the questions had sexist or racist undertones, such as the one on whether immigration threatens the “purity” of Canada.

“I was horrified when I saw that,” she said. “That implants the idea in my mind that immigration could somehow affect the purity of the country.”

Where’s my data going?

She also worried about how the data collected for these sensitive topics would be used.

Her concerns were heightened due to the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The consulting firm was reported to have harvested Facebook data of 50 million Americans to develop ways to influence potential Trump supporters in the last U.S. election.

“Is this actually for Aeroplan, or is Aeroplan collecting this data for someone else?” said Willmott.

Turns out, all the data was collected solely for Aeroplan by Montreal-based market research firm, CROP.  The company says it was gauging the attitudes and values of Aeroplan members, so that the rewards program could better serve them.

Aeroplan members collect rewards they can redeem for travel and other products. (Aeroplan)
CROP’s president Alain Giguere says he asked some bold questions simply to help Aeroplan better understand its members’ points of view.

“Are we dealing with modern people or are we dealing with very traditional people?” he said. “The goal of it is really to understand all the sensitivities of your audience.”

Giguere says, like it or not, many Canadians have conservative views on some issues.

According to his own research, in August 2017, when Canada was experiencing an influx of asylum seekers, 45 per cent of the 6,000 Canadians CROP surveyed agreed with the statement: “Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.”

Giguere says he’s been asking these contentious questions in market research surveys for decades, and that people are free to oppose any statements they find offensive.

“You just have to disagree and we will know that you are a modern person,” he said. “This is a very scientific process.”

Wiping the data

Aeroplan’s owner, however, has a different viewpoint. Aimia pledged to delete the data collected and offered an apology after being contacted by CBC News about Willmott’s complaint.

The Toronto-based company said it should have taken a closer look at the questionnaire before distributing it.

“I was surprised by the questions myself,” said spokesperson Cheryl Kim in an email. “After looking into it, there are aspects of the survey that don’t meet the standards we hold ourselves to in terms of the kind of information we gather.”

The news was welcomed by Willmott, who contemplated cutting ties with Aeroplan if it didn’t take action.

“Hopefully, they are more careful with that in the future,” she said.

CROP isn’t happy with the outcome. Giguere says he still doesn’t understand what all the ruckus is about.

“I think it’s a big drama for nothing.”

via Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

Sondage [Ipsos]: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration

Didn’t see coverage of this before in English media (may have missed it).

Ipsos overview deck: Global Views on Immigration and the Refugee Crisis:

Beaucoup a été écrit sur la fermeture relative des Québécois, mais quelle est l’attitude des Canadiens face à l’immigration et aux réfugiés ? Et comment les Canadiens se comparent-ils aux nationaux d’autres pays ? Coup d’oeil sur un sondage réalisé cet été par Ipsos obtenu par La Presse.

ÉCONOMIE ET SERVICES PUBLICS

Sur les « immigrants », les Canadiens ont des sentiments partagés. Au total, 38 % des personnes sondées croient que leur apport est positif, 30 % pensent l’inverse. Sur leur apport d’un point de vue économique et culturel, les réserves sont un peu moindres : 43 % pensent que l’arrivée des « immigrants » sert bien l’économie et 48 % estiment que ces nouveaux venus rendent le pays « plus intéressant ». Par ailleurs, quatre répondants canadiens sur dix disent que l’immigration « transforme le pays d’une façon qui ne [leur] plaît pas » et la moitié des personnes interviewées aux quatre coins du Canada estiment que cela met de la pression sur nos services publics.

EN QUÊTE DE PROTECTION OU D’OPPORTUNITÉS ÉCONOMIQUES ?

Pas moins de 41 % des Canadiens considèrent que la plupart des réfugiés qui arrivent à nos frontières n’en sont pas vraiment « et qu’ils viennent surtout ici pour des raisons économiques ». Une courte majorité des personnes sondées (52 %) pense que parmi les réfugiés « se trouvent des terroristes qui prétendent être des réfugiés pour pouvoir entrer au pays et y amener la violence et la destruction ». Les réfugiés finissent-ils par s’intégrer ? Oui, croient 54 % des répondants canadiens.

LES QUÉBÉCOIS MOINS OUVERTS

Selon ce sondage Ipsos, 35 % des Canadiens pensent qu’il y a trop d’« immigrants » au pays. À la fin de 2016, selon un sondage CROP, 46 % des Québécois pensaient de même et croyaient que « cela menace la pureté du Québec ». « De façon générale, de sondage en sondage, on constate que les Québécois sont de 6 à 12 points moins ouverts que les autres Canadiens », note Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos.

Ce sondage Ipsos tend à le démontrer aussi : 49 % des Québécois disent que l’immigration transforme le Canada d’une façon qui leur déplaît (comparativement à 37 % dans le reste du Canada) ; 43 % des répondants estiment qu’il y a « trop d’immigrants », alors que cette proportion est de 32 % dans le reste du Canada. À noter cependant que ce sous-ensemble québécois étant nettement plus petit, la précision de ces données statistiques est moindre et que ces chiffres ne servent qu’à illustrer des tendances générales*.

LES CANADIENS PARMI LES PLUS OUVERTS

Alors que les Canadiens ne sont pas particulièrement ouverts, ils le sont tout de même beaucoup plus que les gens des autres pays. À la question : « Diriez-vous que l’immigration a un impact positif ou négatif sur votre pays ? », seuls trois pays se montrent plus positifs que les Canadiens. Il s’agit d’un étonnant palmarès : les Saoudiens sont les plus positifs face à l’immigration, suivis des Indiens et des Britanniques. Mais le tableau le plus intéressant, c’est ce tableau croisé d’Ipsos qui souligne que « les pays qui reçoivent une plus grande proportion d’immigrants ont tendance à avoir une meilleure opinion d’eux ».

FERMETURE DES FRONTIÈRES

De tous les répondants sondés aux quatre coins du monde, les Canadiens comptent parmi ceux qui ont le moins tendance à penser qu’il faut totalement fermer les frontières aux réfugiés. À cette question, seuls les répondants japonais, mexicains et péruviens se montrent plus ouverts que les Canadiens, tandis que les Turcs, les Hongrois, les Indiens et les Italiens se montrent les plus favorables à une fermeture des frontières.

DES RÉALITÉS NATIONALES PARTICULIÈRES

À propos de certains tableaux qui peuvent paraître surprenants, Sébastien Dallaire, vice-président d’Ipsos, relève que les réponses des gens sondés sont évidemment teintées de leur réalité nationale. Ainsi, les Turcs, qui semblent particulièrement fermés, ont vu affluer chez eux des millions de Syriens ces dernières années. À l’inverse, les Saoudiens comptent beaucoup sur la main-d’oeuvre étrangère. « Il est certains que certains pays se comparent mieux entre eux – le Canada avec ceux de l’Europe de l’Ouest, par exemple », note M. Dallaire.

via Sondage: les Canadiens partagés quant aux bienfaits de l’immigration | Louise Leduc | National

Canadians divided on granting entry to asylum seekers from U.S., [Nanos] poll finds

Somewhat surprised that public opinion is so divided, given that concern over “queue jumping” and irregular arrivals tends to mean less confidence in Canada’s ability to manage immigration:

More than 12,000 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada at a single unofficial crossing point along the Quebec-United States border this year, surpassing the province’s expectations for all of 2017.

The numbers come as a new survey shows that Canadians are equally divided over whether the country should welcome asylum seekers from the United States or close its borders to them. A Nanos poll found that more than one-third of Canadians – 37 per cent – say Canada should welcome asylum seekers from the United States, while the same percentage of respondents think Canada should close its borders; 26 per cent were unsure.

“There’s very few times that Canadians are so evenly divided on an issue,” pollster Nik Nanos said.

“This is a recipe for a continued and prolonged debate about what to do when people show up at the Canadian border and ask for asylum.”

Source: Canadians divided on granting entry to asylum seekers from U.S., poll finds – The Globe and Mail

Chris Selley: Most Canadians support ‘values screening’ — which is neither surprising nor concerning

Good observations by Selley:

Of course we can’t empirically test for violent tendencies, misogyny and indolence. There are many good practical reasons not to pursue these policies. The consensus among bien-pensant campaign watchers is that this is nothing more than a populist “dog whistle” appeal to nativists and xenophobes who believe immigrants are more likely to be violent, misogynist and indolent.

But most Canadians aren’t watching the campaign at all, and couldn’t pick Leitch out of a lineup. If you ask them whether Canada should screen immigrants for objectively undesirable traits, then of course most are going to say yes. It’s absurd to hold that up as evidence of a surge in anti-immigrant sentiment, especially when the poll in question provides plenty of evidence to the contrary: 78 per cent think immigration makes Canada a better place to live or makes little difference; 83 per cent think we have much to learn from other cultures; 79 per cent have no desire to see a Trump-style figure in Canadian politics.

If you were inclined to worry about anti-immigrant sentiment, there’s plenty you could latch on to in this 61-page poll that’s far more disquieting than support for “values screening.” But that’s the genius of a wedge issue like this: it provokes a level of outrage and condemnation that to those not following closely would seem unhinged, which in turn makes the policy and the candidate seem all the more reasonable by comparison.

“Leitch’s proposal to screen every immigrant and visitor is nothing but Donald Trump’s executive order, disguised as Canadian values, and crafted to keep Muslims out of Canada,” leadership candidate Deepak Obhrai said in a statement last week. He suggested it could incite racists to murder, such as in Kansas last month.

I’m disgusted by Leitch’s campaign and even I think that’s crazy. But more to the point, it won’t help. Fighting populism with hyperbole is like fighting fire with kerosene, and it’s strange how few anti-populists seem to realize this. If Leitch’s proposal weren’t surrounded by a bunch of exploding heads and people screaming “Trump! TRUMP!” at her, it would just be one silly, unpractical and unnecessary idea among dozens in play in this campaign.

At times Leitch’s campaign has seemed less like an actual leadership bid and more like a clinical trial of Trump-brand populism in the Canadian body politic. Perhaps it will yield useful data for its architects to use with a less terrible candidate in future. But moderate Conservatives and others arguing in good faith against her really need to up their anti-populist game. Leitch is an intensely unlikable and uninspiring campaign presence who will probably lose. But some day a populist candidate with an ounce of sincerity and charisma might come along with some truly dangerous ideas.

Source: Chris Selley: Most Canadians support ‘values screening’ — which is neither surprising nor concerning | National Post

Andrew Coyne: Politicians need to forget about polls and do the right thing

Great column by Coyne “rather trust the data:”

Liberals used to take a dim view of this sort of perception-based decision-making. When the Harper government claimed it didn’t matter if the official statistics showed crime rates falling to their lowest levels in decades, because people felt as if crime was rising, Liberals rightly scoffed. Now a similar fact-free feeling — the middle class is getting nowhere — is the foundation of their whole economic platform.

Liberals are by no means the only ones playing this game. Rather than answer questions raised by her signature proposal to subject every refugee, immigrant or tourist to a quiz on their belief in “Canadian values” — questions such as why this is needed, what it would accomplish, and what it would cost — Kellie Leitch refers to polls showing sizeable majorities of Canadians support the idea.

Likewise, those raising the alarm over Motion 103, unable to answer how a parliamentary motion with no legal force or effect could restrict free speech, have lately taken to citing polling data showing a majority of Canadians with varying concerns about the motion.

It’s easy enough to gin up a poll in support of just about anything, of course, depending on how you ask the question. The people waving them about today are in many cases the same ones who not long ago were railing ago about all the pollsters who failed to call Donald Trump’s victory (in fact, they called the vote to within a percentage point: Clinton beat him by two points, instead of the three points in the consensus forecast).

But let’s suppose these polls are genuine reflections of current public opinion. That’s a good answer to the question: what does the public think on these issues? It’s no answer at all to the question: are they right to think so? Yet that is how they are invoked: if that’s how the public feels, it must be true.

Skeptics are challenged, in tones of indignation: what, so you’re saying that millions of Canadians … are wrong?

Well, yes. What of it?

“Millions of people” are quite capable of believing things that aren’t true, particularly on matters to which they have given very little thought and with which they have little personal experience. The political science literature is filled with examples of people cheerfully offering their opinions to pollsters on entirely fictional events and people. As Will Rogers used to say, “there’s lots of things that everybody knows that just ain’t so.”

Climate skeptics rightly make the point that the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion on global warming is not enough, in itself, to prove it is right. Science is not a popularity contest: throughout history, individuals have stood against conventional opinion, and been vindicated, But let 1,340 randomly selected Canadians have their dinner interrupted to answer a question from a telemarketer about a subject they’ve barely heard of, and suddenly it’s gospel.

Experts, it is true, can sometimes be mistaken. But if experts can get it wrong, the public is at least as capable of it. And yet these days we are enjoined to reflexively reject the former, and just as reflexively to believe the latter. Perhaps we should rather trust the data.

A quarter of Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll shows – Politics – CBC News

While I do not find these results all that surprising (but the headline could have been written “75 percent don’t want”) rather than focusing on the negative.

Angus Reid polling tends to be more negative on these issues than Environics and Ekos .

This does however reinforce the need for the government to be attentive to these concerns, even if they are more part of the Conservative than Liberal base (as some of the CPC leadership campaign strategies and opposition to M-103 indicate):

A significant minority of Canadians say Canada’s 2017 refugee target of 40,000 is too high and one in four Canadians wants the Liberal government to impose its own Trump-style travel ban.

Those are just two of the findings in a new Angus Reid poll that looked at Canadian’s attitudes towards the federal government’s handling of refugees.

Overall, 47 per cent of Canadians surveyed said Canada is taking in the right number of refugees. But 11 per cent say 40,000 is too low and Canada should take in more, while 41 per cent say the 2017 target is too high and that we should not be taking in anymore refugees.

Shachi Kurl, executive director of Angus Reid, told CBC News that “41 per cent is not the majority voice but it is a significant segment of the population that is actually saying our targets for 2017 are too high and that, I think, adds to a level of anxiety for those folks.”

“Certainly in terms of that ‘too many, too few’ debate, a lot more people think it’s too many than too few,” she said.

The survey also asked Canadians about the federal government’s decision not to alter its own immigration policy to match that of U.S. President Donald Trump’s after he rolled out his travel ban.

Some 57 per cent of Canadians said the federal government made the right call in not following Trump down the rabbit hole, while 18 per cent said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should have chose to take in more refugees.

But the number that is perhaps the most interesting is that 25 per cent of Canadians say Canada should have adopted its own temporary travel ban similar to the U.S. policy.

“We tend to, when we are looking a numbers, look at the majority view, but the fact that one in four Canadians are of the mind that we should be looking to our own travel ban is significant and is part of a red flag that is starting to emerge in terms of refugee policy,” said Kurl.

Working hard to fit in

When it comes to whether the government did a good job of resettling refugees, 61 per cent said they either strongly (12 per cent) or moderately (49 per cent) agree that it had. But some 39 per cent of people either moderately (22 per cent) or strongly (17 per cent) disagreed.

Kurl said those surveyed are also split over how well refugees are integrating into Canadian society, and how enthusiastically Canadians are welcoming new arrivals.

A slim majority of (54 per cent) say refugees do not make enough of an effort to fit into mainstream society, while 46 per cent say that they do try hard to fit in.

When the responses are broken down across age groups, it’s revealed that the younger the person, the more likely they are to say that refugees are working hard to fit into Canadian society.

For example, 62 per cent of those in the 18-24 age range say refugees are making enough of an effort to fit in, but in the 25-34 age range that drops to 47 per cent.

There is a slight spike among 35-44 year olds where 54 per cent of those asked said refugees are working hard to fit in, but for those who are 45 and older, only one in four said the same thing.

Source: A quarter of Canadians want Trump-style travel ban, poll shows – Politics – CBC News