Friday, December 4, 2009

New PEI Provincial Poll

Completing their rounds of the Atlantic Provinces, Corporate Research Associates has released a new poll of the smallest province in the country.The Liberals under Premier Robert Ghiz have a very comfortable lead, but are actually down five points from where they were in an August poll. They've lost that ground to the Progressive Conservatives, up four points, and currently with an interim leader.

The Island New Democrats are up three points, and the Greens are down two.

Now, PEI is not given a lot of media coverage in the rest of the country. So I don't know much about it. I know I have some PEI readers, though, so if you want to chime in with your views on politics on the Island, please do!


  1. Eric - Innovative Research (another BC Polling company) has released a 600 sample size BC poll, which includes BC federal and provincial voting intentions (after undecideds factored out):

    BC Federal:

    CPC - 40%
    Lib - 24%
    NDP - 24%
    Green - 13%

    BC Provincial:

    NDP - 35%
    Lib - 31%
    PC - 19%
    Green - 15%

  2. There's something wonky about those numbers on their report. Adding them all up, including the "Other" gives you 90% for the federal and 95% for the provincial.

    I've sent them an email asking about it. I won't include these results without a better idea of what the numbers mean.

  3. Someone from Innovative Research has responded and has filled in the blanks. Will post about the poll soon.

  4. It's been several years since I've lived on PEI, but, as many friends and family still reside there, I try to follow the news from back home. This is the perspective of one who follows the news, but is not in the middle of it, so take my words with a grain of salt, I suppose. If I'm inaccurate or any of my information is incomplete, I'd certainly welcome correction!

    Hopefully this isn't too tedious, but to understand the situation there, we have to go back 20 years.
    Robert Ghiz is, of course, the son of popular PEI premier Joe Ghiz, who distinguished himself on the national stage during Meech Lake, held a plebiscite on the issue of a Fixed Link to the mainland, and who, I believe, was the first provincial leader of non-European descent in Canada. In short, he was something to talk about. PEI isn't used to being talked about, so to have a leader who garnered attention was fantastic.

    Ghiz Sr. was followed by Catherine Callbeck, the first woman to be elected Premier in Canada in 1993. Unfortunely, her government was unpopular: they broke a contract with public sector employees and rolled back their wages (I think this might have been happening elsewhere in Canada at the time, but that fact would have been cold comfort to the employees in question, I imagine) and they forced municipal amalgamations. She left the party leadership before the next election, handed over the reigns to Keith Milligan, who was subsequently trounced by Pat Binns.

    Premier Binns went on to lead from 1996 - 2007; in all that time, the most that can be said about him was that the sky didn't fall. He was certainly a nice man, and maybe his government didn't boast enough about their accomplishments, but it's hard to point to any specific accomplishment during that time, except for creation of a provincial recycling and composting program. Other than that, he really just kept the ship afloat.

    Binns sought a fourth term in 2007, but the populous seemed tired with the Conservatives. There didn't seem to be any real election issue, just a sense of restlessness. Tourism had been tanking since 9/11, so the economy was souring, and that may have played a part. The bigger influence in my mind, though, was who the Liberal leader was, and (this is cynical, I know), but whose son he was. It seems to me the ghost of Joe Ghiz, and the possible return of the days when things seemed to be happening in PEI, was the biggest influence in the election of 2007.

    Naturally, then, there were very high hopes for Ghiz Jr. Unfortunately, from talking to friends and family back home, the feeling on the street seems to be one of buyers' remorse. This has been a bad year for his government. There has been the PNP scandal, (this post is long enough; if you are interested: ) and the closure of several rural schools (one friend of mine described his actions as 'destroying rural PEI.')

    However, this poll directly contradicts what i would have expected! I suspect, however, that this has less to do with the Premier's leadership, and more to do with the PC's leadership, or lack thereof. Olive Crane has been the interim leader since Binns resigned after losing the 2007 election. Once an permanent leader is elected next year, I'd be interested to see if polls don't dramatically swing to the favor of the PC's. Who knows, though, maybe Ghiz will live up to expectations and turn things around.

    One further thing to note. I'm always surprised by how deeply partisan PEI political opinions are, given that the two parties have essentially the same politics. It's really hard to tell the parties apart in terms of political philosophy. When you're a small province with little money to throw around, I guess no one can afford to either cut taxes or create big social programs; just aim for the middle and hope for the best.

    That's my take on what's happening. Thanks for the poll!

  5. Excellent summary, thank you!

  6. A bit late to the comments, but on the subject of the Ghiz government, the numbers make sense to me (my screen name, of course, would tell you a bit about my affiliation, so we'll get that out of the way). He's been polling in the mid-60s/mid-50s since he came into office.

    I do agree with the above poster that the PCs' lack of a permanent leader mutes the value of the current polling. We'll have to wait until next year to see who they'll pick before the next election will come more clearly into focus.

    However, I'd dispute the idea that the Ghiz government is unpopular. PNP (which, as far as scandals go, is one shared with the previous government) has been a persistent problem, but low-level. Its dragged on, but hasn't gone anywhere interesting (we rarely ever get the exciting scandals in Canada), and hasn't really affected his numbers that much. Theoretically could be used to better effect whenever they get a leader, but I'd be doubtful.

    The rural schools thing is a total non-issue. A very vocal minority of affected individuals in the Eastern School District complained about it, but a strong and silent majority didn't care.


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