The Vector Blog

  • Why the Greenbelt scandal won't ruin Ford -
    Oct 7, 2023 (new)
    Some pundits and reporters covering politics are certain the Greenbelt scandal has damaged Premier Doug Ford and ruined the Progressive Conservatives' chances to win a third straight election. The controversy, however, is unlikely to inflict permanent damage on the premier and the PC government because voters aren't shocked by skullduggery in politics. They expect it. Read the article
  • Why the Green Party fails to attract climate-concerned voters -
    May 13, 2023
    For half a century Canadians have told polls they worry about the environment. In 1970, in a Gallup poll, 63 per cent thought "the dangers of pollution" were "very serious." In 1989, pollster Angus Reid asked the public, "Would you support a political party that made protection of the environment its primary objective?" Yet, wherever the Green Party runs, in federal or provincial elections, its support dramatically lags the voters' avowed concern for the environment. Read the article
  • Ontario politics: Did the PCs really win union members' votes? -
    November 4, 2022
    After Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives won the June 2 provincial election in Ontario, campaign strategists and journalists agreed that union members in the private sector were critical to the Conservatives' victory. But something was missing from the praise for the PCs' strategy: evidence. There is, however, something about union members that can influence elections. They are more likely to vote than non-union workers. Read the article
  • How will we know when we've reconciled? - September 29, 2022
    The federal government announced late last year it would spend $40 billion to reform the child welfare system on First Nations reserves and compensate children and families for harm they suffered from the system. Polls, however, show reconciliation is a long way off. Read the article
  • 100 Vote-Getting Ideas - April 7, 2022
    For two decades The Vector Poll™ has put opinion and market research to use to trigger ideas for leaders, candidates, communicators and advertisers. Here are some of the new election-ready policies and plans our polling led us to uncover, reading the public's mind. Read the article
  • Convincing the Vaccine Objectors - October 15, 2021
    Rather than call Delta a new kind of Covid, experts called it a "variant" and a grim threat to the "immunocompromised." Throughout the pandemic infectious disease specialists from hospitals and universities have used arcane words instead of simple, more inclusive language that might sway the vaccine-wary. In April, the Vector™ Poll surveyed vaccine resisters across the country. Only 43% said they trust their premiers for accurate information about Covid. Just 40% believe "government experts in public health." But 70% trust nurses. Read the article
  • With Limited Vaccines, The Public Weighs Who's First - February 10, 2021
    So far it has been easy for health officials and politicians to explain how they are doling out the scarce COVID-19 vaccines. By giving vaccines first to health care workers and long-term care residents, health officials have public opinion at their back. But as vaccine supplies improve, handling the pandemic could get more complicated. Read the article
  • Public Opinion Polling on the Covid-19 Vaccine - January 25, 2021
    A look at who Canadians believe should be prioritized to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The question posed is: "Now that vaccines to protect people from getting Covid-19 are being approved, but are in limited supply, please indicate what priority you think each of the following groups should be given." Find out here
  • Nothing's Wrong With The Polls - January 10, 2021
    Most polls leading up to the recent U.S. election nailed Joe Biden's share of the vote almost to the decimal point. But Trump's bigger share in the election than in the polls led to this headline on the CBC website: "How the polls got it wrong — again." It's the pundits, however, not the polls, who got it wrong. Read the article
  • Police and Racism
    Caught on video: Help — It's the police!
    Millions watched the black American George Floyd die under the knee of a white police officer on May 25. Not for the first time, racism was caught on video. Why is this time different? Having a tarnished brand, Canada's police now have a diluted reservoir of goodwill with the public. As a result, police chiefs, unions and rank-and-file officers will have less say in the future of policing. They ignored the opinion trends. Read the article
  • Thinking Like a Gig Worker: A Vector Poll™ case study
    Why it matters to think like a gig worker. One in four Canadians have worked in the gig economy in the past year. Think of gig workers as a potentially large, untapped market. For instance, organizers for unions should consider… Read the article
  • Voting with Their Feet: How to Boost Voter Turnout … September, 2019
    Voter turnouts are generally higher incountries with proportional representation. But Canada doesn't have to wait for proportional representation to get more people to vote. Nearly seven in 10 eligible voters turned out in 2015 (68.5%), the largest turnout since the 1993 election. But why did eight million voters (31.5%) choose to opt out? Read the article
  • How to sell the basic income … January 2019
    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.
  • Memo 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.
  • About 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.
  • Debunking Election Myths (2006)
    Several myths gained popularity during Canada's recent federal election. But the polls tell the real story.
  • Do 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.
  • How to Unionize Wal-Mart (2005)
    Polls identify new strategies and hooks that unions could use to organize workplaces such as giant retailers.
  • How 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.
  • The 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 can’t happen.
  • Why 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 way.
  • Can 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.
  • Why 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.

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