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Alain Giguère

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Quebecers in favour of secularism and a more restricted immigration

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 11-27-18 at 5:02 p.m.

A majority of Quebecers support François Legault's proposals to ban public servants in position of authority from wearing visible religious symbols and to reduce the yearly number of immigrants received by Quebec.

Click here for detailed survey results – FRENCH ONLY

The pollsters’ mea-culpa?

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 10-02-18 at 2:53 p.m.

Many will no doubt tell us that we, the pollsters, got it wrong, and we will have to accept their verdict.

In our defence, we can always cite the particularly low voter turnout (66% versus 71% in 2014), the fact that Liberal supporters stayed home, and so forth ... which wouldn't be entirely untrue.

But could we really have predicted such an unpredictable about-face? Polls are snapshots taken at a specific time and especially in a specific context. You have to be wary of their predictive value. A few days later, by the time voters arrive at the ballot box, the dynamics can be very different.

We are forced to trust what people tell us. Perhaps they do not always reveal their true feelings.

Former Quebec premier Robert Bourassa coined a now historic expression, "la prime à l'urne" (the ballot-box effect), arguing that Liberal voters were more discreet with polling firms; that they were reluctant to reveal their true voting intentions.

When Bourassa coined this expression, it was "cool" to vote for the Parti Québécois - a young, liberating, trendy, Montreal (but not elitist) party. In contrast to this image of the PQ, the Liberal Party was perceived as more "conservative." People were somewhat embarrassed to admit in a poll that they were voting Liberal. I am not saying that people outright lie to us, but some tell us that they are undecided while others act differently in the privacy of the voting booth.

In such a context, political analysts in Quebec have always criticized us for underestimating the Liberal support. Even until recently, they were advising us to allocate 50% of our undecideds to the Liberals in our distribution process in order to account for this anticipated boost at the ballot box. Imagine where we would be if we had done that for this last campaign!

However, if the fact that a party is perceived as "conservative" makes voters slightly embarrassed to admit that they will vote for it and pollsters consequently underestimate the support for that party, the CAQ may well have borne the brunt of this trend in this campaign.

In my last text for L'actualité and my blog, I pointed out that CAQ supporters clearly display a certain degree of ethnic intolerance. This party has forged an image of ethnic intolerance (remember the burkini ban proposed by Nathalie Roy, who was re-elected last night). One shouldn't forget that the campaign focused largely on immigration and that the CAQ has certainly appeared intolerant on this subject.

This party is undoubtedly perceived as a right wing, conservative party. In Quebec, such conservatism may be circumspect yet freely expressed in the privacy of the voting booth.

In hindsight, we can now conclude that the about-face at the ballot box, the so-called prime à l'urne, led pollsters to underestimate the CAQ support and overestimate the Liberal support, while properly estimating support for the two other parties.

The polling industry will assuredly be pondering these results but, at this point, it is not entirely clear how to proceed.

The solution for properly allocating "discreet" and undecided voters in this new context is not obvious. To have correctly predicted last night's election results would have required manipulations that are difficult to imagine!

CROP has invested in artificial intelligence to better predict consumer behaviour. But we do so by merging transactional data with attitudinal and declarative data. In the case of an election poll, however, our only data source is what people tell us, and we are forced to rely solely on that.

This election has changed things. We will have to be very creative in the coming years to get around what appears to be a new boost at the ballot box!

Alain Giguère
President, CROP Inc.

Controversy surrounding a CROP survey for AIMIA

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 04-03-18 at 2:41 p.m.

An unfortunate media and PR storm involving a CROP survey for AIMIA, Aeroplan's parent company, erupted last Thursday, forcing Aeroplan to apologize to its members.

As President of CROP, I feel it is my duty to respond to the misinformation surrounding this controversy.

The tempest began when an Aeroplan member took one of our surveys on the values of Canadian consumers and citizens and was "horrified" by a few of the questions we asked. She expressed her displeasure on Facebook and Twitter, and things quickly escalated from there.

A major part of our work is to understand the trends in the personal values of consumers and citizens. Experience has taught us that people's values are a much more reliable indicator of their choices of products, services and brands than their gender, age group or income, although we factor in these variables too. What upset this particular Aeroplan member were a few questions about personal values.

Even if the questions seem objectionable at first glance, they are used to measure fundamental societal issues that brands, institutions and society at large need to take into account when making important decisions. Furthermore, we do warn our survey respondents that they may find certain questions shocking and explain that their purpose is solely to help us understand people's personal values.

The first four statements in the table below are the specific questions that upset the complainant, along with the proportion of Canadians who agreed with these statements this year and a decade earlier. Balance is very important to us. That is why the last two statements in the table, also from the same survey, express the exact opposite sentiments and act as a counterbalance to the first four.

Our survey results indicate that Canadian society is in turmoil: neo-conservative values are on the rise while, at the same time, a push for self-expression running counter to traditional values is sharply rising too.

I believe that society needs to monitor these phenomena. Brands, companies and institutions have an obligation to understand where their stakeholders stand on such issues.

Our society seems to be in the process of fracturing. Some people feel that society is changing way too fast, prompting them to retrench, to seek comfort in traditional values. Others revel in the unprecedented possibilities for self-expression and fulfillment.

Brands, companies and institutions must keep up with these trends to ensure that their advertising, communications and social engagement policies are appropriate. Their future depends on their ability to engage their stakeholders in the best way possible, to share and express their values. To do so, they need to know them inside and out, warts and all!

CROP's goal is to understand how the values of Canadian consumers and citizens are evolving using the best means at our disposal. To do this, we have been asking probing and sometimes provocative questions for more than 50 years. Nevertheless, we are very sorry if our recent survey questions have offended some people. That was certainly not our intention.

Alain Giguère
President, CROP Inc.
April 3rd, 2018

Study on public services in Quebec

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 12-20-17 at 2:24 p.m.

Published on La Presse+, here’s a summary of a study on public services in Quebec conducted by CROP for GESTION, HEC Montréal’s magazine (French only).


13% of the Canadian population ostensibly belong to the LGBT communities

Categories: CROP in the news

Posted on 08-10-17 at 6:07 p.m.

Foundation Jasmin Roy released the results of our large pan-Canadian survey on LGBT communities. Read it in the media! Survey results can be accessed @ http://fondationjasminroy.org

Click on these links for more details:

Click here for the article in CBC.ca

Click here for the article in Toronto Star

Click here for the article in CTV

Click here for the article in INFO News