Once again, Voice election polling proved accurate in terms of the final outcome, and reasonably accurate as to vote distribution among the candidates.

Over five weeks, the newspaper conducted an online tracking poll, inviting readers who lived in Ward 1 to tell us who they would vote for if the election were held that week. Candidate Wayne Olson started strong on Aug. 5, dipped a bit by Aug. 19, then continued an upward trajectory through the last online poll on Sept. 9, finishing at 41%. In our exit poll, conducted during the first advance voting day on Sept. 3, Olson led the pack with 57%.

In the final official tally, Olson won the election with 58% of the vote.

Even more accurate was the polling for James Federico. The second-place finisher ended the online poll at 26%, the exit poll at 26%, and in the official tally garnered 25% of the vote.

Polling vs. actual results for the rest of the field were mixed, although accurately predicted single-digit finishes for all of the remaining candidates, with Colleen Kenyon coming last both online and in reality.

There was a glaring exception to the polls’ accuracy: Steven Soos. In online polling Soos finished at 21%, and in the exit poll came away with 14%, theoretically placing him third overall. In reality, Soos garnered just 6% of the vote, with Wally Braun ending up in third at 8%.

In fact, the Soos results were problematic from the start of polling in early August. The Voice takes precautions to detect attempts to game the system, and actively weeds out obvious shots at doing so. We noticed immediately what appeared to be out-of-area votes for Soos, which steadily increased in number through the duration of the polling. Votes were recorded from US and European IP addresses, among other signs of attempted rigging. We eliminated roughly half of Soos’ votes before tabulating poll results each week, but could not be entirely sure about the validity of some of the rest, opting to leave them in.

Reached for comment after the election, Soos said that he had no idea who may have been behind the effort.

“As you know, I have a fairly large social media following, which could have played a part,” said Soos. “All I can really say is that I am glad those votes were disqualified, and accept the results of the by-election. Councillor Olson won by a very large margin, and it just goes to show that the only poll that matters is the one on election day.”

 

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