Premiering October 17, 2020,

TVO Original Margin of Error

– a Compelling Story of How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Science of Polling and Prediction


Trailer and Press materials available at:


September 24, 2020, Toronto – Open Door Co. and TVO are thrilled to announce the world broadcast and online premiere of TVO Original Margin of Error, October 17, 2020 at 9 pm ET on TVO and

The documentary will be premiering as part of a special TVO 50th Anniversary Telethon.

Directed by veteran director, Peter Gombos, and produced by Tom Powers (Political Blind Date), Margin of Error investigates a new artificial intelligence or “AI” method that is shaking up the landscape of traditional political polling. For decades, polls relied on phone calls and surveys as the dominant way to predict elections, but recent high-profile failures have exposed doubts about polling’s methods and its reliability. Can AI overcome those weaknesses and more accurately forecast public opinion?  With AI still in its infancy, Margin of Error explores compelling examples of how a Canadian technology start-up is leading the way in predicting outcomes for complicated and important world events.  What are the implications and what do they mean for society?

“You have to wonder how honest people are answering opinion polls, especially when it comes to politics. What do they really think when they don’t have to fess up to a stranger? That’s where Artificial Intelligence (AI) could indeed have an edge”, says Jane Jankovic, TVO’s executive producer of documentaries.  “As this TVO Original documentary shows, AI doesn’t have to ask you anything. It can get everything it needs to predict your vote by analyzing information and data publicly available through the internet. The answers are already out there.”

“As we approach perhaps the most consequential of elections, Margin of Error takes a deep dive into the promise and dangers of using AI in predicting elections. With high profile “misses” like the Brexit and Trump elections, traditional polling faces a credibility gap. The timing for this film could not be better,” said Open Door’s Executive Producer, Tom Powers.

With the 2019 Canadian federal election as its backdrop, TVO Original Margin of Error puts “Polly,” the algorithm of a small Ottawa-based start-up Advanced Symbolics, to the test. Can this AI draw on vast amounts of social media data to predict the vote in this election more accurately than the pollsters? What do the answers mean for the future of polling and politics?

On October 17, 2020, at 9 pm ET, TVO Original Margin of Error will be broadcast on TVO. It will then be available to stream across Canada on and TVO’s Youtube Channel. It will also rebroadcast on TVO on October 18, 2020 at 10:30 pm ET and October 20, 2020 at 10 pm ET.


About Open Door Co.

Open Door Co. is in the business of producing and creating “Content That Matters”

for broadcasters that include HBO, A&E, Sundance, CBC/Doc, TVO, Bell Media, Corus/Shaw,

SVT, SBS, NHK and Discovery, among others. Launched in 2005 by Executive Producer Tom Powers, the company is currently in production on Season 5 of the TVO hit documentary series Political Blind Date. Other credits include feature documentaries Cracked Not Broken for HBO, Black Nation for SVT, Pure Intentions for CBC and docuseries Intervention Canada (67×1) for A&E and Blue Ant Media.


About TVO

Since 1970, TVO has existed to ignite the potential in everyone through the power of learning. Through impactful digital education products, in-depth current affairs, thought-provoking TVO Original documentaries, and award-winning TVOkids content, we prepare Ontarians for success in school and life. As we mark our 50th year, TVO’s ongoing evolution as a modern digital learning and media organization prepares us to serve Ontarians for generations to come. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, and is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. For more information, visit and


Media Contact: Cynthia Amsden, Roundstone Communications,