Center for Excellence in Project Execution - Media Engagement and Networking Snapshot
OPINION POLLS AND CAMPAIGN TEAMS’ RECALIBRATION 23 Aug 2016
In any election, the worst thing that can happen to a candidate is a smug campaign team and the irrational acolytes (who lose their sense of rationality under the overpowering effect of servility). By-products of smugness are quite often over-confidence and illogical self-assuredness. Over-confidence, for instance, could trigger the assumption that if a particular party has been doing well in a certain area, state or region, it will continue to do so.
All of the above gets exacerbated if the campaign team tunes itself to only the subservient media outlets and to its fawning ‘courtiers’.
You might say, let’s talk specifics and not in general terms. Sure!
Let’s take the example of recent opinion polling in Pennsylvania conducted by Center of Excellence in Project Execution. Pennsylvania is generally considered a battleground state, although it has voted Democratic in the last six elections.
In the opinion polling mentioned above, the Republican candidate was found to be leading by more than 5 percentage points. This outcome of the opinion poll may have come as a hugely disturbing news to the Clinton camp as well to its acolytes, while the poll result may have come as a pleasant surprise for the Trump team.
So, what should the campaign team of either candidate do in view of such a polling result? Let’s start with Hillary Clinton’s campaign team.
If the Clinton campaign consists of real smart folks, they will take cognizance of the poll result (i.e., Trump is surging) and immediately take action to check the ground reality through its own channels using honest, independent and reliable sources (and not from the self-serving, fawning media outlets and the hangers-ons). A smart campaign team would review the variance, if any, between the opinion poll and the information collected through its own honest, reliable sources and then plan on re-calibrating the campaign, especially, given the sizeable chunk of undecided voters found in the above-cited opinion polling of State of Pennsylvania.
However, if the Clinton campaign team consists of mediocre and less than competent elements, their knee-jerk response could be to get their surrogates and/or sycophantic acolytes to discredit the poll, and relapse in to a cocoon of make-believe world of smugness thinking that everything is hunky dory since the fawning media outlets and the cringing acolytes would suppress the consternation causing opinion poll result. Such an attitude of the campaign team can be disastrous for the candidate, i.e., Hillary Clinton.
What should the Trump campaign do in view of the opinion poll results?
If the Trump campaign team consists of mediocre folks, they may get euphoric and reckless and in the process may commit gaffes which may prove costly for them.
However, if the Trump campaign is made up of smart people, they would look at the aspects that are seemingly working for them and accentuate them to further to solidify their gains.
Living in echo-chambers can spell doom for a candidate and his/her campaign team. An unexpected opinion poll outcome should be viewed as a potential wake-up call to make calibrations. Re-calibrations can potentially win back the voters where a candidate is reported to be trailing, or, consolidate the voters where the candidate is found to be winning. A campaign team which understands this simple rudiment of winning an election, succeeds eventually!
- Parth Mukherjee, Expert Principal, Center for Excellence in Project Execution
POLLING UPDATE (FAQ)
Why is a Management Consulting Firm specializing in Oil/Gas/Resources getting involved in Polling? Should it not be left to regular Polling companies?
Response: As long as a firm is knowledgeable in Statistics and methodology of conducting the poll, along with strong control on the randomness of the sample set, any one can conduct a poll. This is an endeavor to show that our consulting firm has the capability to conduct surveys while sticking to an unbiased approach. nothing is more important to this firm than honesty and ethics.
Is this Poll reliable?
Response: The question is not whether the poll is reliable, but reliable for what purpose. The poll, in our opinion, is a good leading indicator. People should not get confused with a low margin of error associated with many polls, or use a favourable result of a poll to tout the worthiness of any specific candidate. There is no guarantee that a poll coming up with +/-1% MOE is a more accurate predictor of the final voting result either. That is why, in our poll, we actually calculated the MOE of 7.1% to make it clear upfront the characteristics of the polling result. We wanted to be upfront with our numbers and real MOE because honesty and ethics are very important to us. Sometimes people try to read too much into a poll when all it is, is a snapshot in time of a dynamic and complex system.
Are you associated with any political campaign?
Response: Of course not! As declared in the Press Release, this is an independent, unaffiliated firm with no links of any kind with any political group or party. the poll results of this specific poll indicate winds blowing in Donald trump's favour. if we do another survey in another battleground state and the results indicate Hillary Clinton, those numbers would be reported in exactly the same manner. the intent is to separate fact from opinion/subjectivity/fiction, and our endeavor is a step in that direction.
Do you receive funding from any political campaign or group?
Response: Our source of funding is our own internal marketing budget. We are attempting to demonstrate our firm's capability to possible future clients who may like to retain the services of this company in Strategy & Management consulting roles.
Why conduct a poll in US Presidential Elections when your firm is HQ in Canada?
Response: USA is the largest trading partner for Canada. We felt there is a need for more independent and unaffiliated polling surveys to cut through the noise and get closer to the ground reality. often times, the mainstream media is struggling to maintain equal and unbiased coverage of issues with respect to each candidate. this election is important to Canada as well, hence our endeavor to tread uncharted waters to fill a need. This poll may disagree with other polls, and it is not unusual for polls to contradict one another. Based on the structured approach and control weighting applied to this poll, we feel the poll does what it is supposed to i.e. provide leading indicators.
Why do you have such a high margin of error?
RESPONSE: While 1000 registered voters were contacted, many of the responses which came back were either: Not entered within the robo-survey but were call backs, responses were not entered within the choices provided among others. For astute statisticians, they will decipher that the MOE is based on the commensurate sample size for which the responses were actually considered valid within the framework and therefore could be counted in the final tally.
The margin of error should be +/- 3.1 % for the 1000 sample size. This is still not convincing.
RESPONSE: Based on response to Question 6, a statistician will understand the reason of the high error. as indicated in the press release upfront, the MOE of 7.1% should decrease with subsequent polling. one of the key lookouts on a poll validity is if the margin of error was reported honestly or not. in the case of the Pennsylvania poll, we reported the high error% upfront.
The numbers don't add up. I performed a cross-tab calculation check with the top line numbers.
RESPONSE: First of all, there is a tendency in the current environment for some people to discredit any new data quickly. Unfortunately, often in the desire to get "quick" answers, various simplifying assumptions are made by people trying to verify the data which end up with those individuals reaching wrong conclusions. There will always be reason to doubt some new data or theory, and unfortunately that is the reality with polling results as well.
Will you continue to do more polling in an Independent and Unaffiliated capacity?
RESPONSE: Based on the level of interest and response, we would like to continue conducting unbiased and independent polling in Pennsylvania and other key Battleground states. However, since we are independent and unaffiliated, along with being new in this crowded field, our future plans are also constrained by the limited marketing and research budget. Along with useful feedback, we are also cognizant of the emotional state of voters in the USA, which can generate a lot of positive & negative interest. we will re-evaluate our strategy based on the various types of interest and whether it aligns with the firms business objectives.
Will you conduct an Independent and Unaffiliated National Presidential Poll?
RESPONSE: We feel that to conduct such a poll would require significant resources to achieve the level of sample reliability and precision we hold as our standard. We are operating on a limited budget and this is something which would be outside the scope of our current capability.
Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX) FORAY IN TO OPINION POLLING ON US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2016
US presidential election this year is a keenly watched event throughout the world – and with great interest in Canada, if not more, since US happens to be its largest trading partner.
Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX), a management consulting company, is making a foray into opinion polling in this year’s presidential election – as an Independent, Unaffiliated source – to feel the pulse of the voters, especially in the key battleground states.
Both the Democratic and the Republican candidates have differing views on trade, energy, international cooperation among other issues. Just as people keenly anticipate the Fed’s movement on interest rates in the US, similarly people world over would like to anticipate the likely policy trajectories depending upon who eventually wins.
The opinion polling attempts to provide an unbiased, unaffiliated leading indicator to the general public who want to be pro-active in terms of their planning – planning for new conversations, planning for new policies, planning for new ventures and so on which could be potentially impacted by international events, such as, the US presidential election.
Who eventually wins will be known only on November 8. But, in the meantime, the opinion polling and analysis may encourage all the interested parties to put their thinking caps on and get ready for some far-reaching new dynamics in the biggest economy of the world!
AN OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
TRUMP LEADS CLINTON by 5+ POINTS in the KEY BATTLEGROUND STATE of PENNSYLVANIA
PRESS RELEASE AUG 20, 2016 19:00 MDT
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has surged to a 5-point lead over democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania as per a latest poll.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, August 20, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has surged to a 5-point lead over democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania as per the poll conducted by CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution, on Friday (19th Aug 2016).
Trump leads Clinton 41.9 percent to 36.5 percent, with 21.5 percent voters undecided. Trump’s lead is just inside the margin of error and marks the first time that the Republican candidate is catching up in the traditional stronghold state of the democratic party.
"With the undecided voters holding the key which way the state eventually goes in November, both the campaign teams will be tweaking their ground games to win over this key demographic" - Parth Mukherjee, Expert Principal, CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution. "One of the reasons of Trump's surge is attributable to increasing support from the women" - added Mukherjee.
PARTH MUKHERJEE, EXPERT PRINCIPAL
The survey contacted around 1,000 registered voters. Results are estimated to be accurate within 7.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. According to CEPEX analysis, the error percentage is high due to the results obtained from just one day of polling. Subsequent polling would be required to reduce the error percentage.
While it is noteworthy that Trump is making headway in this battleground state, the undecided voters hold the key to the eventual outcome on Nov 8.
“With the undecided voters holding the key which way the state eventually goes in November, both the campaign teams should be tweaking their ground games to win over this key demographic” – Parth Mukherjee, Expert Principal, CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution.
“One of the reasons of Trump’s surge is attributable to seemingly strong support from the women” – added Mukherjee.
CEPEX Center for Excellence in Project Execution will continue to conduct independent polls in the various states leading up to the presidential election this November.
CEPEX- Center for Excellence in Project Execution, a Management Consulting firm, is conducting opinion polling and analysis on the US Presidential Election 2016 as an Independent Unaffiliated source.
Source: CEPEX (Center for Excellence in Project Execution)
How the Survey was Conducted
Nature of the Sample: Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX) Pennsylvania Poll dated August 19, 2016
This survey of 1000 adults was conducted on August 19th, 2016 by Center for Excellence in Project Execution (CEPEX), an Unaffiliated Independent Management Consulting group. The survey is designed to use a scientific method to provide results which are as much as possible representative of the actual voter population with minimal distortion of results.
Adults 18 years of age and older registered voters residing in the state of Pennsylvania were contacted on landline numbers and interviewed in English using robo-call interviewers. Landline telephone numbers were randomly selected based upon a list of registered voters from throughout the state of Pennsylvania from reputable suppliers of random phone numbers to opinion research companies. Samples generated are as close to truly random as possible. The phone numbers were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population.
The questions asked during the Robo-call survey was kept extremely simple to minimize any distortion to the response due to: Framing of the questions , communication issues, distractions and the consequent impact on the interpretation and response. The questions asked were as follows: "Who will you vote for in November Presidential Elections?- Press 1 for Donald Trump. Press 2 for Hillary Clinton. Press 3 for Neither."
After the interviews were completed, the sample was balanced based on the 2014 Pennsylvania Census with weighting factors only for gender. This survey excluded the various counteracting variable factors to provide a more representative ground reality without complicating it with the said factors. These variable factors, inter alia consist of: In-State / Out-of-State migration, transients, people without landlines or cell phones, racial demographic representation at the polling booth. Another counter-acting set of variables is turnout: among young people, people who have never voted before, increased/decreased turnouts compared to previous elections. These factors are in a state of continual flux at this dynamic stage of the election process. It is not feasible to accurately include the impact of these factors without introducing unintended distortion in the outcome.
Results are statistically significant within ±7.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.