Are Polls Obsolete? Boosting Trust, Accuracy and Data Quality in Survey Research

MRIA’s January Seminar 2021 created and hosted by Arundati Dandapani kicked off to a big success!

Check out the prelude to the discussions with our founder in this exclusive video highlight with the first and only video podcast on the state of the industry at the 26-year-strong running Research Business Daily Report (RBDR).

Hear more of Arundati’s post-event reflections with Brian Lamar and Brian Peterson on this Intellicast podcast.

January Seminar: Are Polls Obsolete? Boosting Trust, Accuracy and Data Quality in Survey Research

Date: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Time: 9 AM – 1 PM EST

Click here for the full Conference Video

Click here for Conference Booklet

Click for Downloadable Programme Booklet

What: A 4-hour seminar with keynote presentations and panel discussions in a Zoom-style environment.

About: The polling industry comes under attack for errors of estimation (e.g., “wrong predictions”) in major global events like elections, but even nationally and in the provinces. A cross-section of Canadian and global pollsters and research leaders will dissect the public’s perceptions of polling in times of accelerated technological, demographic, socioeconomic, psychological and political change in a major pandemic.

Questions they will cover in their presentations and discussions:

  • How important is the accuracy of predictions in polls?
  • Have trust, data quality, and polling accuracy declined in recent years and by how much?
  • What is the power and place of predictions in research and analytics?
  • How are pollsters dealing with biases and errors of estimation?
  • What do today’s perceptions of polling mean for disruption, innovation, and reinvention in the marketing research and public opinion research profession?

Thank you to our event sponsors: Remesh

Media sponsors: Quirk’s


9 am- MRIA CIO Arundati Dandapani Welcome

Keynote/s followed by discussion

9:05 am – 11:05 am – Session 1 – Setting the context for polling

A brief overview of the history of sampling for surveys and run-up to present-day polling with implications for Canadian politics and society. Are there international influences or examples we are mimicking or mirroring and what does this mean for marketing research?

Christopher Adams, University of Manitoba, “Sampling, polling, reliability and elections.”

Claire Durand, Université de Montréal, “2020 and beyond: What do we know about mode effects? Where are we heading?”

Quito Maggi, Mainstreet Research, “How polling affects politics, and how politics affects polling – lessons from the Trump era.”

Christian Bourque, Leger, “Beyond mode. How the changing landscape in American society may affect polling everywhere.”

11:05 am – 11:30 am – Session 2 – Sampling, data quality, and errors of estimation

Why has data quality become a hot-button topic and what implications has this had on polls?

Brian Lamar, EMI Research Solutions, “How online sample selection can affect accuracy in polling.”

Melanie Courtright, Insights Association, “Layers of Bias.”

Paul Neto, Measure Protocol, “From the other side. The case for trust, transparency and privacy.”

11:30 am – 12 pm – MRIA Informational Session Breaks – Learn about CMRP, Corporate Gold Seal from active members and our Quirk’s Partnership offerings

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm – Session 3 – Perceptions of polling: brand implications and corporate reputation

What are the prevailing perceptions of polls and have these changed over time and how? What is the exact problem and what are the roots of the problem? What can research practitioners do to rebuild/boost trust in the industry and where can they build alliances with other major stakeholders in society?

Marc Zwelling, The Vector Poll, “The brand problems of the market and opinion research business.”

Amelia Burke-Garcia, NORC at the University of Chicago, “Building communities of support for polling in the 21st century.”

12:30 pm – 1 pm – Session 4 – Future of polling

Looking into the crystal ball of polls. Will the meaning of sampling expand/change? Will our reliance on and interaction with tech / artificial intelligence impact how we poll and benchmark polls.

Erin Kelly, Advanced Symbolics, “Great Polling Starts with Great Methodology.”

André Turcotte, Navigator and Eli Yufest, George Brown College, Navigator, “Polling of tomorrow.”

1:00 pm – 1:05 pm CIO Arundati Dandapani conclusion / Vote of thanks

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