More on the Angus Reid/Toronto Star poll on Those Ads!(tm)

Hey, remember how ITQ was wondering just how Angus Reid was able to come up with those numbers on the reaction to the  “Just Visiting” campaign and Ignatieff’s Youtube response?

After disclosing their voting intention, respondents to this survey were divided into three groups. The first group observed one of the television ads that the Conservative Party has launched targeting Ignatieff, the second group was shown the same ad and the response that Ignatieff posted on YouTube, and the third group was not exposed to any ads or videos.

The momentum score for Harper among respondents who saw the ad is -40 (10% improved, 50% worsened), and the prime minister posts similar numbers among those who saw the ad and the video (9% improved, 52% worsened) and those who were not exposed directly to either the ad or the video (7% improved, 49% worsened).

The momentum score for Ignatieff among respondents who saw the ad is -18 (24% improved, 42% worsened). However, the opposition leader bridges the gap with those who also saw his YouTube video (29% improved, 31% worsened) and is even among those who did not see the ad or the video (28% improved, 28% worsened). […] – English Ad – French Ad – English Video – French Video

Anyway, now that ITQ  has been almost thoroughly decrankified thanks to the subsequent release of the full results by both Angus Reid and Ekos — which, by the way, really is “massive”, not to mention fascinating in its own right, and probably deserves a post of its own (hint, hint, Colleague Wells) — our thoughts, as promised, after the jump:

Okay, so from what I can see — full disclosure: ITQ is not an expert pollingologist, and is pretty much just winging it on this —  the net effect of the ads, at least according to this sample, is a modest net loss for the Conservatives – or, more specifically, for Stephen Harper.

According to Angus Reid’s findings, the negative response amongst those who just saw his party’s ads, and not the Ignatieff response, is actually eight points higher than that of Ignatieff. Throw the Youtube response into the mix, and it’s 52 to 31. What’s more, if accurate — more on that in a bit — the positive numbers should actually be more distressing for the Conservatives, as far as the return on their ad buy investment so far: Ignatieff’s positive score is actually fourteen points higher than Harper’s amongst those who didn’t watch his response: 24% to 10% for the prime minister, compared to 29% to 9% for those who did.

But are these results applicable to the Canadian population at large? That’s a hard question to answer, really, because in the above scenario, respondents were reacting in real time, after being explicitly directed to watch the ads. Would they have the same effect when viewed in the wild — over beers with friends, while fretting over one’s investment portfolio or facing down a stack of unpaid bills? What about over time — do Ignatieff’s words make more of an impression the first time or the hundredth time that one hears them?

ITQ has no idea — see above re: lack of expertise in opinion research theory and methodology — but suspects that, given the environmental variables — what would be the subconscious impact of an anti-Ignatieff ad that popped up in the middle of a playoff game, say, versus watching it while on the phone with a pollster? — it doesn’t really do much to predict what the long term effect — positive, negative or ultimately irrelevant — of the Just Visiting campaign may turn out to be.