Friday, May 07, 2010

Frank Graves and the Continuing Culture War

Poll for CBC not "viewer-inspired", but Liberal-inspired

If anyone in Canada still had questions about whether or not Frank Graves is using his work at EKOS to further the culture war that he recommended to the Liberal Party, a recent poll presented on the CBC should have the answer.

Graves and the CBC described the poll as "viewer inspired". The individual who proposed the question, a woman by the name of Mary Pynenburg, is in actuality a former Liberal Party candidate.

The abstract describing the results of the "viewer-inspired" poll is entitled "Women See It Differently". It suggests that Canadians want to see more women involved in politics, and that women are even more likely to think so than men.

The results aren't all that surprising. Moreover, on their own the results would be entirely controversial. There's good reason to want more women involved in politics.

But when one compares the poll results to figures related to women's participation in politics, the matter becomes more transparent.

Currently, the Conservatives have 23 women in their Parliamentary caucus. It's the most women of any caucus in the House of Commons, but the smallest proportion, at 16%. The Liberal Party has 19 women in its caucus, accounting for 25% of its MPs. The NDP caucus is 32% women with 12, and the Bloc Quebecois 31% with 15.

These numbers improve slightly for the Tories when the matter becomes the question of women candidates. In the 2008 election, the Conservatives fielded 63 female candidates (20% of their total). The Liberals fielded more women with 113 (31%). The NDP fielded 104 (34%), the Bloc 20 (27%).

So while many Canadians would rightly agree that more women could stand to be involved in politics, it becomes clear that the EKOS poll in question was largely devised as a means of aggravating a cultural conflict.

Never mind that in the most recent election the Conservatives were most successful at electing women. Suddenly, poll results like this could be used to justify conservative reluctance to mandate that a certain portion of Tory candidates be women, regardless of whether or not a better a particualr riding has a better candidate to offer.

Graves, for his own part, insists that he had no such thing in mind.

“I had no idea whatsoever who submitted the viewer-inspired question,” Graves explained. “And I didn’t select it. I have never heard of Mary Pynenburg before last night. … The question that we asked was framed according to the best methodological standards and neither the question nor the analysis or reporting revealed any bias.”

The problem for Mr Graves is that, after his cultural warrior fantasies became public knowledge, noone believes him. Nor should they.

Frank Graves is utterly transparent. Until he resigns from EKOS, so will that firm.


  1. If he did not select the person, who did? Did the CBC make the mistake of randomly picking her name out of the hat?

    In the Fall the CBC had to apologize for using another Liberal standing in line for the H1N1 shot.

    Just curious how the CBC seem to have resources available for specific sensationalist hit pieces.

    The drop off of those "extra" body bags allleged being blamed on the CPC on a Sunday to a closed Federal department.

    Just curious who is responsible, ordering the National broadcaster to chase these specific stories.

  2. Ekos had an interesting poll by talking about gender this week many of us ignored the cosmopolitan vs rural vote. Toronto in 2008 had 20 pt lead for Lib, Ekos polled CPC ahead. I don't remember ever seeing a tie or CPC ahead in Toronto.


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