Polls for the four upcoming federal by-elections on Nov. 25 suggest that the Liberals will hold on to their two seats and pick up a third from the Conservatives in formerly hostile territory. But just how reliable are these by-election polls?
The only firm brave enough to venture into the world of by-election polling in the last few years has been Forum Research, and this campaign is no different. The firm has been active in all federal and most major provincial by-elections over the last two years, and has a generally decent record. But in the most recent set of five Ontario by-elections this past summer, the winner was accurately identified in only three of the ridings, and in one of those the expected vote tallies were off the mark by a significant degree.