NEWS29 November 2012

MRIA censures Campaign Research over Cotler calls

North America

CANADA — Campaign Research, the pollster behind a voter identification survey that suggested a Liberal MP was about to resign, has been censured by the complaints panel of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA).

The panel concluded that Campaign Research had “likely diminished public confidence in the marketing research industry” because of the work it conducted on behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada. The work was called “reprehensible” by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Campaign Research itself wasn’t named in the voter identification project – instead calls referred to a division of the company, Campaign Support, which was set up to conduct telemarketing activities.

However, when the calls were complained about in parliament by Irwin Cotler, the MP who was the subject of the resignation rumours, Campaign Research principal Nectarious Kouvalis used his company’s MRIA Gold Seal status to defend against accusations in the media that the firm was a “push pollster” – and referred only to Campaign Research, not Campaign Support.

Since the complaints were raised in December, Campaign Research took the step of separating Campaign Support from the polling business and establishing it as an independent legal entity. “This was an important step and one to be commended,” the MRIA complaints panel said.

However, its finding was that Campaign Research had violated principle two of the MRIA Code of Conduct and Good Practice, which relates to upholding public confidence, and responsibilities one and six, relating to public confidence and avoiding confusion in public statements.