Friday, September 17, 2010

Elizabeth May and Gary Lunn neck-and-neck?

Back on September 3, the Victoria Times-Colonist reported on a poll taken by McAllister Opinion Research for the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. Most important is to remember that this poll was commissioned by the Green Party. Does that mean it is unreliable? Not necessarily. But just something to keep in mind because if McAllister reported something bad for the Greens the Greens wouldn't have released it to the wider media. So this might be the last time we hear from McAllister.

However, the poll is interesting because we rarely get to see polls from individual ridings. And on election night, the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands will be watched very closely as it is where party leader Elizabeth May will be running against Conservative minister Gary Lunn. The Greens have changed their strategy to one of Elect-Elizabeth, so a lot of things will be riding on what happens in Saanich-Gulf Islands.So, according to this poll the race is really one between the Conservatives and the Greens. Gary Lunn got 34% support in this poll, while May was at 32%. And when you take into account the margin-of-error, this is a virtual tie.

The Liberals, who will be represented by Renee Hetherington, and the New Democrats, who will be represented by Edith Loring-Kuhanga, were tied at 17%.

An interesting sidebar: Lunn will be running against three women.

Obviously, this poll is terrific news for the Greens. If this level of support held firm into an election campaign, it really would be a coin toss. And May in the House of Commons, whether or not she has any greater role than your average independent, will change things.

But let's look at this poll in the context of past elections. At 34%, Gary Lunn would be at his lowest level of support since 2004, when he was first elected under the Conservative banner. And it is a drop of nine points from last year.

For the Greens, who do have some history here as they were at 17% in the 2004 election, this is a big jump from the 11% the party had in 2008. Part of that increase in support could be coming from the Conservatives, but with a 22-point drop in Liberal support from the 2008 election, almost exactly the gain the Greens are seeing in this poll, we have to believe that most of it is coming from the Liberals.

It certainly isn't coming from the NDP, who were at only 6% in 2008. But, recall that this was the candidate who dropped out of the election because of some unseemly photos. There is a history of NDP support here (over 20% in both the 2004 and 2006 elections), so this 17% is not some sort of huge gain for the party.

Anyway you slice it, this is a fascinating poll and an important one for Ms. May's leadership. Many people criticized her for running in Nova Scotia, a province with little Green history, back in 2008. And others criticized her for choosing Saanich-Gulf Islands, as it was another so-so riding for the Greens that would put her up against a cabinet minister. If the riding was represented by a back-bencher, voters would have less to lose and would be, perhaps, more willing to take a chance on the Green leader. And then there is the whole issue of the leadership contest that was supposed to happen but was vetoed by the party at the urging of the party leader.

This poll vindicates her, at least a little.

Hopefully we will get another poll for this riding in the future. But even if we don't, this will continue to be a riding to watch.

Thanks to a commenter who forward me to this poll, also done for the Greens. It's a little older and has some odd findings, but confirms that the race is pretty close.

28 comments:

  1. Interesting. A quick Google search shows that another poll for SGI, also commissioned by the Greens about two weeks earlier by another pollster, showed a different result.

    L - 37%

    C - 25%

    G - 19%

    N - 19%

    http://www.greenpartystrategy.com/articles/good-news-may-can-win

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  2. Ooh, that one is juicy. But it actually showed a much closer race when people were asked which candidate they would support:

    http://www.greenpartystrategy.ca/articles/saanich-gulf-islands-poll

    Those two questions are oddly irreconcilable.

    As that is starting to get pretty old, I'll just add it to the above post.

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  3. The big issue with these polls that can't be resolved without knowing their methodology is whether they made any attempt to screen for likely voters.

    30% of the residents of Saanich-Gulf Islands didn't vote in the last election.

    Facts:

    1) Green support is highest amongst those who are under 25.

    2) Those who are under 25 are the LEAST likely to show up to vote.

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  4. The Green Party released a poll about Central Nova just prior to Election Day in 2008. She wound up with more or less what the poll said she would get, but Peter MacKay got considerably more.

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  5. Ahh the Shadow spinmeister appears !!


    Sadly he can't shake Dimitri !!

    Actually I hope May wins. Then she will be reduced to an Independent and thus never appear on national TV !!

    A bonus IMO

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  6. Ahh the Shadow spinmeister appears !!
    We'll miss him when he gets his old job back in the PMO. Unless he's made head of the CRTC.

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  7. Peter those two points I raised are very important. They are hardly "spin".

    The first point comes from the crosstabs of any EKOS poll, where they list party support by age.

    The second point comes from figures provided in a turnout report done by elections Canada.

    You can look up the info yourself if you like.

    Its a big grain of salt to take with any polls on this race.


    As for media attention, Elizabeth May would be on camera CONSTANTLY if elected.

    Every time an issue came up she would be asked her party's position on it and how she planned to vote.

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  8. Shadow:

    "I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Stephen Harper, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.
    "

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shadow the CPC mantra:

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.

    "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

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  10. Hi, I am new to this and I would just like to give my two cents on this story. The first thing I would like to do is talk about the Green Party and then about Elizabeth May.

    The problem with the Green Party as a whole is they are seen as a protest party and nothing more. The sooner the Greens get rid of Elizabeth May and go find a leader that wants to find a place in the spectrum that is better in terms of getting votes the Greens will be stuck in this position for their leader and for their party. As far as Elizabeth May's chances in this riding I say that most likely Gary Lunn retains his seat. I am usually a person that likes to switch between the Liberal party and the Conservative party so I feel it is important to be neutral on this subject.

    One other thing is I picked my name because I feel that a third option is necessary in Canadian politics. I have been on other forums and I tell people that some kind of third party is needed and a party like a Centrist Democratic Party or even the Green party would need to be red tory and help attract votes from people who are conservative-minded liberals and moderate conservatives. That is the direction I believe the Greens should head in. I think getting Georges Laraque in the fold was the right thing to do.
    As far as the Green party is concerned they are seen as environmental and can never be truly considered as a good third option. That is why I brought up the issue of a party called the Centrist Democratic Party as a party of unifying Conservative Liberals and Moderate Conservatives. It is not an idea to make the two main parties weaker but to make them more centrist and to make them adapt to pressure. Also, it would attract more people into politics and then people would not have to feel the need of just staying with their parties and they would have a reason to switch.

    Thank you and I hope my comment has generated a lot of discussion and I look forward to hearing from all of you.

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  11. I'd just assume Gary Lunn won if it means keeping Elizabeth May and the Greens our of the HoC, while I don't mind her or the party having a 5th party will just be annoying.

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  12. "Every time an issue came up she would be asked her party's position on it and how she planned to vote."

    But with only one or two seats they are NOT a party as far as the House is concerned !!

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  13. Peter,

    One or two = 12.

    But that still doesn't get you to twelve, unless you happen to be doing budget forecasting for this Conservative government...

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  14. "But with only one or two seats they are NOT a party as far as the House is concerned !!"

    Peter I got to say one thing and this is actually something I would like others to comment about and that is what did the Reform Party do to get a lot of support? Also, I assume many of you might say that the Reform Party had one thing that the current Green Party does not to get past a possible one or two seats that will give the party at least a chance to speak in the debates but not party status and that is they had grassroots support and that means they had the means to get people out to vote and to basically make people understand what the party stood for on certain issues.

    The Green Party needs to use the same tactics and I agree to be a strong party; the party has to be centrist and focus on being a replacement for the old Progressive Conservative Party. By doing this, the party will be successful and eventually people will begin to take notice. The only problem is being fifth in the House of Commons out of five parties is pretty hard a position to get out of and for people to notice you. The only advantage they have is they are not separatist and they can say we are not the NDP and portray themselves as a third centrist, fiscally conservative, socially progressive alternative. That can be an advantage but the only time that will happen is when the party gets a seat not by someone switching but by actually winning a seat.

    Lastly, the final thing I would like to clear up is something Elizabeth May seems to know a lot about and that is she seems to think Harper may want to divide Canadians so much as to make them not vote anymore and shrink the electorate to the point where almost no one votes and therefore guarantees Harper a majority. There are other things that she thinks he may be planning. It is all in this article. Here you go:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/lawrence-martin/the-greens-funky-leader-sees-a-harper-election-plot/article1709159/

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  15. These polls aren't the first ones that show Elizabeth May neck-and-neck with Gary Lunn. This is an interesting situation given Lunn's 13 years of visibility and incumbency. It's Elizabeth's riding to win or lose.

    After 13 years, Lunn should have knocked on every door multiple times. Every voter capable of fogging a mirror should at least be aware of him. Stated differently, he's maxed out his potential.

    By contrast, Elizabeth is still new to SGI voters. You can wince at what this means about our electorate, but she's still an unknown to a large part of the riding. Put differently, she's in a horse race with Lunn even though she hasn't tapped her full base.

    The May challenge is to become known: to ID the Green vote and get it out on election day. She hasn't come near to canvassing every house yet. If she does, she will inform, identify and mobilize the necessary vote. If she doesn't, the odds against her go way up. Gary Lunn will have identified every Tory vote years ago.

    It's all in the execution. The votes are there, but have to be nurtured.

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  16. Shadow: Those who are under 25 are the LEAST likely to show up to vote.

    Thought for the day: a contributing factor may be that under-25s don't vote Tory. Therefore, they aren't being dragged out by the most effective machine in Canadian politics.

    If this is a significant factor, Canadian democracy will benefit from the maturing of the Green party. A strong predictor of lifelong voting patterns is whether a person votes in their first two eligible elections. Early Green mobilization of young supporters will build lifelong habits of voting.

    Apathy is boring.

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  17. Peter:

    "I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Stephen Harper, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away."

    As a favour do you think you could post the full poem. I remember this from high school and always liked it. Please post it without alteration. I'm serious not being funny.

    Thanks,

    Earl

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  18. I can't believe anyone still supports the Green Party after they demonstrated that they can't be trusted even to follow their own rules.

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  19. Centrist Party:

    I like your premise. That is why I've advocated the merger of the two large parties to form a party of the centre. That would result in the reformation of the Reform party and a strengthening of both the NDP and Green parties as fringe members of both parties moved to new alternatives.

    Eventually the electorate would look for an alternative on either the left or right but that alternative would have moved closer to the centre or they would not be an alternative.

    We need a true party of the centre that will be honest with the electorate.

    Earl

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  20. For Earl:

    I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    Percy Bysshe Shelley » Ozymandias

    ReplyDelete
  21. "
    Peter I got to say one thing and this is actually something I would like others to comment about and that is what did the Reform Party do to get a lot of support?"

    Simple, they come from Alberta so they were guaranteed a large number of seats to form a party in the House. They also got support in other Western provinces as well.

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  22. much as peter wants to minimize the west, The reform party capitalized on popular support or rather dissent.

    A bunch of things came into place for them. The Quebec caucus of the PC breaking away, Kim Campbell running a less than ineffectual campaign. Mulroney's abandoning of fiscal conservative principles. Chretien's Gun control... and failure to deliver on promises like GST.

    There was a whole lot of stuff that people (out west especially) became annoyed with in the PC party. It really was a break off of a large chuck of the PC due to popular dissent. And a motivated group who capitalized on more dislike for Chretien's missteps (that was the polite term,... but it was more of "screw the west we'll take the rest") with the rural community.

    Through Trudeau, Chretien and Martin the west felt quite marginalized, and so the liberal party (and it's legacy), simply weren't an option for many people.

    So the choice was simple. The Tories who abandoned you.... or the Canadian version of the grassroots popular Tea Party movement.

    The grassroots approach made the reform party very formidable. Money, volunteer hours, and popular opposition coupled with some high ideals like a triple E senate, reducing the size of government and giving people their money back..

    Harper, tho he still maintains some of the popular ideals like killing the (useless) gun registry, and an elected senate, etc.... has done as Mulroney has, and embraced several more centrist policy's.

    He is not yet in the position as Campbell was... partly because people remember the evolution required handing political adversary's... (specifically the ones they wanted out) 3 easy majorities. The second part is that Harper still retains alot of loyalty for leading the reform/pc's together out of the political wilderness and into government even if it is only a minority. It is still quite an accomplishment. Just as Manning's reform party was.

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  23. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/city-votes/toronto-mayoral-race-is-rob-fords-to-lose-poll-of-decided-voters-says/article1713899/

    Toronto mayoral poll

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  24. or the Canadian version of the grassroots popular Tea Party movement.

    No Barcs I don't minimise the West. What I said is that's the reason Reform did so well so fast.

    Wasn't a criticism just a factual statement. Get used to it !

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  25. Peter:

    A sincere thank you for posting the poem!

    Regards,

    Earl.

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  26. "A sincere thank you for posting the poem!
    "

    My pleasure Earl. Remember when I first saw it in High School and the impression it made.

    NB you'll note all I had done was change the characters name.

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  27. A note to Volkov 5 months later...

    I recently managed to get hold of the tabs for the McAllister poll.

    The numbers reported are screened for likely voters. And the results are weighted by the 6 CSDs, accounting for gender and age as well as population distribution within the riding. Not only that, the weights are all well below 3.0, a sign that they did their callbacks. Pretty meticulous work. Things may have changed since (I'm hoping), but I can't find any fault in the poll.

    ReplyDelete

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