Things You Can Learn from a Survey

I just fielded a call from Ipsos-Reid, a large and reputable polling firm. The subject was Canada’s "diplomatic and development" role in Afghanistan. The sponsor of the survey was the Federal Government. It began by asking what aspects of the media’s coverage I was aware of. Then it went on to ask about how I felt about the role, conveniently ignoring anything to do with the military’s current combat operations. Then it asked if I agreed or disagreed with various aspects of our non-military activities. After going through all of these items, it asked again how I felt about the overall role (still restricted to diplomacy and development, of course).

The repetition of the question is fascinating. You expect that really what’s being measured here is this question: "If we keep telling Canadians about all the good things, will they change their opinion to support the mission, conveniently ignoring the occasional body bag (which we’ll hide by blocking the media from showing them)?"

But that’s not the reason for this entry… (more…)