On September 3, NoJets TO posted a media release that takes issue with the Ipsos Reid 2014 Public Opinion Survey – Toronto Port Authority Tracking Study. It quotes highly esteemed market research expert Allan Bowditch.
Allan Bowditch is
- a fellow of the Market Research Society, CEO and chairman of Martin Hamblin GfK, a leading International market research company for many years,
- recipient of a lifetime achievement award in market research from the PBIRG, a not-for-profit industry association dedicated to the advancement of global healthcare marketing research, business intelligence, and strategic planning in theory and practice
- recipient of a special award for contribution to market research at EPhMRA, described as “the hub for excellence in research thinking to empower healthcare market researchers to provide consultancy to the business.”
Mr. Bowditch calls certain questions loaded and says that others are leading. He also says they don’t conform to standards set out by the code of conduct of the Market Research Society.” Mr. Bowditch notes, “You cannot extol the virtues of something and them ask opinions of it.”
The TPA conducts a regular survey before its annual general meeting, Last year’s and this year’s polls include leading questions on the planned Island Airport expansion and introduction of jet aircraft.
“It is clearly leading and likely to affect the attitudes of respondents to how the questions about the economic impact of the airport are worded,” Bowditch, a fellow of the Market Research Society, continued. “The Port Authority’s questionnaire is flawed in key critical areas.”
It appears Mr. Bowditch didn’t have the opportunity to comment on weighting, the practice of attributing percentages to different groups of respondents in order to claim that a survey represents the larger group. The Ipsos Reid survey 2014 Ipsos Tables on airport noise is a case in point.
The Base:All respondents row shows show 300 respondents south of Queen St. were asked about noise but their answers were treated as if only 49 counted, 251 didn’t. On the other hand, the 75 North York respondents’ opinions were valued as if the number was 175. It’s not rocket science to understand that the 175 (mostly pretend) respondents aren’t bothered by island airport noise and their opinion far outweighs that of the 49.
Interestingly, Darrell Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs, in a YouTube series meant to educate media on polling manipulation explains loaded words, leading questions and weighting.
Equally interesting, he doesn’t mention ethics.
Sadly, electronic media like Yahoo News mindlessly reproduce the port authority’s and the Ipsos Reid’s media releases without informing themselves and their readers.