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Friday, December 10, 2010

Interesting Speculation on Seat Projections in Alberta

The norm in politics is a What If World for the most part.  Politics is hardly a science but it lends itself to analysis.  This is the most "fun" when applied to the political fortunes of the various parties and players. We have an great example of just such a What-If scenario done by Duncan at Albertavote.ca .

This analysis is speculation and based on the 2008 election results and the findings of the recent Environics poll.  That poll  put the PCs and the Wildrose Alliance in a statistical dead heat for overall voter support.  However, as Duncan points out, "all politics are local" so how does this support translate into seats in the various
constituencies?  Here aggregates and averages become almost meaningless.

What a critical thinking must also appreciate in such an analysis is it is entirely hypothetical since voter intentions are pretty much meaningless between elections.  Those who suffer in such polls say the only poll that counts is the one on election day.  That is mostly true but humans are strange creatures and we get persuaded by the influence of others, conventional wisdom and we love to hear and make up stories.  These between election polls feed those curious aspects of our species.

These polls create a sense of "perceived reality" that is influential to some degree or more.  Narratives get told, impressions get formed and new "truths" emerge from those inputs as they impact on our values and form our beliefs.  Is is the attempt of the political players to frame the narratives, control the impressions and speak the new "truths"is where the spin doctors come in.  Give Graham Thomson a read to see how that works.

All this leads me to think we need more critical thinking citizens with some serious media literacy skills and a capacity to cut through the spin and get a sense of what is really happening in the hearts and minds of people when the see these polls.

I have tried to put some of my sense of the realism into my analysis of the Environics poll implications here and here.  Hope you find all this information helpful in getting a better understanding of the facts and their implications - but understand it is all hypothetical.  You are reading poetry that needs interpretation, not a recipe that will provide you with a predetermined result.

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