Tuesday, December 04, 2007

On value for money

If there's one thing Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have made abundantly clear, it’s that they don’t give a tinker’s damm about polls and don’t you forget it, they’re people of action. Rrrarrrr.

* "We don't make decisions in our governments based on polls," Harper said.

* "This party will not take its position based on public opinion polls. We will not take a stand based on focus groups. We will not take a stand based on phone-in shows or householder surveys or any other vagaries of public opinion.” (Stephen Harper)

* Certainly if we've learned anything, this prime minister doesn't govern by polls..." (Jay Hill on Stephen Harper)

Given their fairly firm position on polling, and their refusal to be guided by it, this news today was quite interesting:

Under Stephen Harper's Conservatives, the federal government spent more money on polling and focus groups last year than in any other since it began tracking the total costs of public opinion surveys.

More than $31 million was spent sampling opinions in 2006-07, the first full fiscal year under a Tory government, according to a Public Works and Government Services Canada report.

The Tories out-spent all the previous Liberal governments on public opinion research.

Hmm, interesting that. Also interesting:
The Privy Council Office - the prime minister's department - spent more than $1.3 million on public opinion research, more than quadrupling the figure posted by Privy Council Office in 2004-05, and putting the government nerve centre the fourth-ranked department in polling spending.

Given that we all know This Prime Minister doesn’t govern by polls, I have to ask isn’t that kind of a waste of $31 million?

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rabbit said...

In 2004-5 the total for polling was $29.1 million under Paul Martin.

This is about the same as 2005-6's $31.4 after inflation, and considerably more as a percentage of GNP.

Burton, Formerly Kingston said...

Make up our minds BCer, He does care what Canadians think and never listens to Canadians or he does.

Gayle said...

Kingston - this is actually about the fact he is a liar.

Not that most of us are surprised by that.

burlivespipe said...

And then Fortier tries to back-pedal from this, HINTING that all polling and focus grouping is on hold... but wait! A real official from his dept now suggests well, it isn't officially on hold. Apparently they still want to poll people on their New Year's resolutions...

Jeff said...


Make up our minds BCer, He does care what Canadians think and never listens to Canadians or he does.

I'm pointing out the contradiction in Harper's actions/views. It's up to him to clarify, not to me. I can't speak on his behalf.


In 2004-5 the total for polling was $29.1 million under Paul Martin.

And the Cons mocked him mercilessly for being poll obsessed. The point though, and I think it's a salient one, is that PM the former PM never made a show about how he thought polls were crap and he didn't listen to them. Indeed, if anything he was poll obsessed. Now, Steve Harper did mock polls and tells us still he doesn't listen to then, and yet he has increased government polling. So I just wonder, if he doesn't listen to polls, why is he spending more on polling? It's weird, no?