(Illustrations by Martin PM)
The Primed for the polls approach
Primed for the polls looks at indecision as a phenomenon worthy of interest in and of itself instead of treating it as an obstacle to predicting results. The objective of the site is not to predict election results (Too Close To Call and Qc125 already do a good job of it), but to see what we can learn about voters by taking a closer look at polls.
This approach is no better or worse than building projection models, it’s just different. It isn’t meant to reach the same goals.
The Primed for the polls approach reflects the outlook of an organizer who never had the luxury of private polling or focus groups to better understand her voters. It therefore seeks to milk public polling to extract as much information as possible to identify the people who could be convinced to vote for a given party.
I’m an Election Nerd™: I use a VPN to watch results pour in in foreign elections in countries for which I don’t even understand the language (I’m looking at you, Netherlands!). I was born in Palo Alto and bred in Montréal, lived in England for 2½ years and dutifully listen to Pod Save America, the FiveThirtyEight Political Podcast, the Slate Political Gabfest, and the NPR Politics Podcast.
(During the 2016 presidential election, I tuned in to The Pollsters as well.)
For 12 years, I was involved in progressive politics in Québec, first with the Union des forces progressistes, which merged to form the current Quebec Solidaire. When I retired in 2016, I was in charge of elections at QS. I’ve also worked for the Green Party of Canada and the city-level party Projet Montréal.
I earn a living as a freelance data analyst, translator and proofreader. I also lead a secret life as a book historian.
I’m a graphic novelist and cartoonist who specializes in comic reporting and non-fiction. When I’m not producing popular science content, I enjoy tackling sociopolitical topics in comic or graphic-novel form. Here’s a sample of the sociopolitical reporting I published in recent years: Le Bonheur en transition, in Nouveau Projet; Le Temps du renouveau, 1967: la visite du général de Gaulle au Québec, and Le Caribou voleur de jobs, in Planches magazine.
Despite my love-hate relationship with first-past-the-post, it’s the voting system I know and understand best. It comes as no surprise: on top of keeping a close eye on all provincial elections in Quebec and federal elections in Canada, I’ve been involved in party politics from 2003 to 2015, first with the Union des forces progressistes and then with Quebec Solidaire. I played an active role in five campaigns —in Montreal, in the Eastern Townships and in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region— and led two of them.
Putting up signs, phone banking, door-to-door canvassing, communications, flyering, managing volunteers… I’m well-versed in all aspects of the ground game! It’s a part of campaigns that evolves with technology, but is underrepresented or badly analyzed in the mainstream media. And it can be the deciding factor in close races.
Despite my past involvement, I’ve never been a huge fan of party lines. For the last three years, I’ve moved away from party politics to be able to cast a cold and more detached eye over it.