The Vector Blog
- How to sell the basic income … January 2019 *new*
Anxiety over the future of work isn't new. In the early 19th century, the rioting Luddites in Nottingham destroyed the textile machines that were replacing them. After manufacturers installed the first assembly-line robots, in a 1979 book, The Collapse of Work, British union leader Clive Jenkins forecast "tidal waves of technological unemployment." The job-killing potential of new technology has revived interest in having governments guarantee everyone a basic income. Read the article
- Gun Control Polls … November 2018
Canadians feel banning handguns will make them safer. But has banning ever ended what it intends to prohibit? Every misdemeanor or crime, from double-parking to murder, defies a ban. Why ban guns when you already ban shooting people? Can anything reduce gun violence? The U.S. has more mass shootings than any nation, but it may have found a way to prevent them. Read the article
- Free the Millennials! … June 2018
Advertisers and pollsters call them Millennials, the 9 million Canadians born between 1980 and 2000. Adults who are 18 to 38 are the biggest cohort in the population. Their numbers guarantee they'll be influential. Suppose you are a politician who wants to charm Millennials. Millennial workers have a unique economic pain that governments can solve. More than older workers, Millennial employees are captives to their employers. The reason is the non-compete contract, which makes employees promise that if they quit they won't work for their employer's competitors for a certain length of time. Listen to radio interview
- Indigenous Issues On Trial March 2018
Does the acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer on trial for shooting Colten Boushie mean "a breaking point in the already frayed thread of trust between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people"? How can Canadians who support Indigenous Canadians make Indigenous issues urgent for non- Indigenous people?. Listen to radio interview:
- Defeating Doug Ford … April 2018
How to defeat Doug Ford in the next Ontario provincial election in June 2018? The Liberals' biggest obstacle is that the voters want change, not policy. To win, the other parties need to change the message to a referendum on the unpopular Doug Ford and remind voters what Conservative governments do. Ford's opponents should close the sale by asking voters to "fight for what you've got — don't let him take it away." Fight to protect smaller classes in public schools, free college tuition for low-income families, and no-cost prescription drugs for kids.
- Love my job, but if you hear of anything… 2017
Surveys on job satisfaction are misleading. They understate the true level of employee discontent. Employers appear to have created great working conditions because unhappy employees have left for more rewarding careers. They turn up as happy workers in other workplaces.
- Why Vote When You Can Poll For Less 2015
Last year 61 per cent of eligible Toronto voters voted in the municipal election. In 2010, 51 per cent turned out; in 2006, just 39 per cent. Because a scientific survey speaks for all the voters it's a more authentic voice of the people than an election or referendum, where millions don't voice an opinion at all.
Should we demolish the Gardiner Expressway? Expand Billy Bishop Airport to accommodate passenger jets?
Let's poll on it.
- Solving Rush Hour 2015
In a Nanos poll as the Toronto mayoral campaigns accelerated last August, 49% named gridlock or transit as the Toronto's most important issue. No other problem came close. The only way to reduce congestion is to make driving unnecessary.
- Who's afraid of Islamic State? 2015
Before entering the Parliament buildings on October 22, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier guarding the nearby National War Memorial. Two days earlier in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montréal, two soldiers were run over by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a local man the police believe had jihadist sympathies. He was shot and killed by the police. Did the two attacks make Canadians more anxious? Yes. More bellicose? No.
- Those useless political attack ads 2015
If ads don't work, why are the parties buying so many? Like other advertisers, political strategists see their opponents advertising and feel they need to compete or risk having their message drowned.
- What will become of the post office? 2014
Reinventing Canada Post will be a struggle without a sympathetic government and
far-sighted corporate execs. But instead of trying to rally the people to an old idea, there's a better chance of mobilizing the public with a new one.
- Do Pictures Bias Polls? 2012
Every polltaker knows the influence of changes in the wording of survey questions. But opinion researchers have not drawn attention to the influence of photos and illustrations in surveys. Pictures persuade.
- How the Left enables the Right's anti-tax agenda 2012
One of the Right wing's greatest achievements has been the demonization of taxes. The Right's anti-tax language is devastating — "job-killing taxes," for example. The Right's success in framing taxes as a "burden" or tax "load" that requires "tax relief" stifles debate about which taxes are effective and which are not. The labour economist Hugh Mackenzie has appealed for "an adult conversation" about taxes. Good luck with that.
- Modify that policy to win 2012
In less than a generation Canadians have gone from foes to fans of marijuana. Pot reformers have repositioned marijuana. Repositioning worked for beer and marijuana, but how about the values and causes in the hearts of Canada's Left? With the energized Right targeting the whole progressive agenda, repositioning is urgent.
- Dissing the union advantage 2011
For many years unions in America, and Canada, too, have bragged about the union advantage, the higher pay and better benefits union members enjoy compared with non-union employees in comparable jobs.
What the unions said and what the public heard are not the same, however.
- Windows on the Future: Scenarios in Market Research
The forecasting technique called scenarios opens our eyes to possibilities, organizes the unpredictable, and converts uncertainty from a liability to an asset. In this do-it-yourself kit of corporate renovation, you do not ask whether something will happen but what you would do if it did happen.
to NDPers: Don't drop “New” - discard “Party”(2009)
In a test conducted August 6-9 by Harris/Decima, the name
Democratic Party cost the NDP support. A new name is an
opportunity to get non-NDP voters to reconsider the party
without the risk of losing the party’s current supporters.
those lost jobs: How to talk about the economy now (2009)
Words matter. When jobs are “lost” or prices
“rise” no one’s responsible or accountable.
Jobs aren't like your gloves or umbrella - you don't lose
them on the bus or forget them at the restaurant.
Election Myths (2006)
Several myths gained popularity during Canada's recent federal
election. But the polls tell the real story.
Canadians Support the Troops? (2006)
Just where does the country stand on Canada’s military
mission in Afghanistan?
The latest polls show signs of buyer’s remorse as
people who once bought into the war change their mind.
to Unionize Wal-Mart (2005)
Polls identify new strategies and hooks that unions could
use to organize workplaces such as giant retailers.
the Gays Won (2004)
Gay rights campaigners know advertising's hidden secret.
You don't need it. Word of mouth - free advertising in other
words - matters more. If union members came out the way
gays did, they would win equivalent advances.
Cynical Canadian (2004)
Canadians are cynics because they believe some of the country’s
biggest professions and institutions are rife with liars.
The point is that without a strategy to disarm cynics, change
are the Poor Still with Us? (2004)
People on the political left try to turn the public’s
attention to poverty by citing the official Statistics Canada
figure – 20%. The polls show there’s a better
we have Some Privacy?(2004)
Privacy is arguably the most abused human right. People
assert they have the right to be left alone, yet opinion
research shows Canadians would readily trade away privacy
for a feeling of security.
Iraqis will pay for 9/11 (2003)
Public opinion is the most powerful force in the world.
Even as American bombs drop awesome might on Iraq, it’s
American public opinion that concedes George Bush’s
authority to pursue the war.