Thursday, March 24, 2011

Atlantic Canadian provincial polls, Dexter in trouble

Earlier this month, Corporate Research Associates released their quarterly polls for Atlantic Canada. As we wait for the federal campaign to start in earnest, and for the polls to start rolling in, now is a good time to check-in on the provincial situations on the East Coast.

We'll start with Newfoundland & Labrador, which will be heading into an election in the fall.
Compared to Corporate Research Associates' last poll (and you can find all of the Atlantic Canadian polls at that link), the Progressive Conservatives have dropped only two points and still lead with 73%. That's merely a statistical wobble.

The Liberals are up two points to 18%, while the New Democrats are steady at 8%. The Greens, who are not a recognized party in Newfoundland & Labrador, are still being poll by CRA and had 1%. These numbers generally line-up with the recent Telelink poll, also conducted in February.

I don't project any changes from my last projection for Newfoundland & Labrador: 46 seats for the Progressive Conservatives, and one apiece for the Liberals and New Democrats.

If there is some small glimmer of hope for the opposition, it is that the popularity of Kathy Dunderdale has fallen by eight points to "only" 64%. Yvonne Jones of the Liberals is up eight points to 18%, while 5% (-3) of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians think Lorraine Michaels of the NDP would be the best Premier. Another 12% aren't sure, but do note that all three party leaders are women.

It looks pretty clear that the Progressive Conservatives will have no problem being re-elected by year's end.

Next up is the other island province, Prince Edward Island. They, too, will be headed to the polls in the fall. Note that this poll has a huge number of undecided: 45%.
Nevertheless, the governing Liberals are up nine points to 62%, while the Progressive Conservatives are down nine points to 25%.

The Island New Democrats are up seven points to 11%, while the Greens are down six to 2%.

Wiping out the Progressive Conservatives, I project the Liberals would sweep all 27 seats with this poll. People on islands tend to make decisions en masse, I guess. There's no room for error!

Robert Ghiz is the best man to be Premier for 46% of Prince Edward Islanders, ahead of Olive Crane of the PCs, who is down 10 points to only 19%. James Rodd of the NDP is up one point to 3%, while Sharon Labchuk of the Greens is down four to 2%. Another 9% said "none of the above".

Next we move to New Brunswick, which elected the Progressive Conservatives to a majority government back in September. Though the party's shine is starting to wear off, they are still in control of the situation.
The Progressive Conservatives have dropped three points in New Brunswick to 58%, but still hold a massive lead over the Liberals. They are at 27%, up two points.

The New Democrats, who have a new leader in Dominic Cardy, dropped two points to 8%. The Greens are up to to 6%.

Unchanged from my last projection for New Brunswick, the Progressive Conservatives would sweep all but two seats in the province if another election was held. But note that the undecided in this poll stands at 37%.

Current premier David Alward is the best man for the job for 42% of New Brunswickers, down three points. The phantom next leader of the Liberal Party stands at 16%, while the NDP and Greens are both unchanged at 6% and 5%, respectively. Cardy was not leader when this poll was taken, having been named leader on March 2.

Finally, on to the province with the only interesting political race: Nova Scotia. When we last heard from CRA, NDP Premier Darrell Dexter had enough support to give him a minority government.
That appears to be no longer the case, as the New Democrats have fallen four points to 34% in the province. The Liberals, with a four point gain, are now in the lead with 35%, while the Progressive Conservatives are steady at 26%.

The Greens take 4% of the vote, unchanged, with 45% being undecided (another huge result).

That's a close race, and it is even closer when the seats are tallied. Down five from last time, I project the New Democrats win 20 seats with these numbers, the same amount as the Liberals, who are up four. The PCs, the kingmakers, win 12 seats. What would happen in such a situation is beyond me, but if the Liberals win the popular vote I imagine the NDP might allow them to try to form a government. Do I smell a coalition?

Liberal leader Stephen McNeil is considered the best man to be premier, at 26% (-1). Dexter has dropped eight points to 23%, while Jamie Baillie of the PCs is at 13% (-4). Green Party leader John Percy is at 2%, down two. None-of-the-aboves is at 8%.

The outcomes of the two elections on the Atlantic coast this fall are virtually assured, the only question being how badly the opposition performs. New Brunswick has a new government, and its voters won't be heading back to the polls until 2014, while Nova Scotia is still two or three years away from a provincial election. That is plenty of time for Dexter to turn things around and Alward to mess it up, but in Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island, the opposition has little time left.


  1. As far as Nova Scotia goes, we have had this exact same situation happen in the 1998 election. The Liberals and the NDP each had 19 seats with the PC's having 14. There was no formal coalition but the PC's supported the Liberals which allowed them to go for a year as a minority government. Probably something like that would happen again since the Liberals are much closer traditionally to the Tories then the NDP are. Also considering the NDP were the ones that swept the Tories from power I can't see them too happy to support them.

  2. To point out, the parties having the same amount of seats has happened before in Nova Scotia - in 1998.

    The Liberals won 19 seats and the NDP won 19 seats, with the Conservatives on 14. Because the Liberals were already in government, however, they got the support of the PCs (for a whole year) and the NDP kept out of power.

    If that situation happened in the CRA poll, I suspect the Conservatives wouldn't be keen on supporting the NDP, who would continue to govern unless brought down by a confidence vote. Which would put McNeil and the Liberals in power with PC support. But, who knows how the wind blows then...

  3. Is there any reason you changed which colour blue you were using for the PCs partway through that article? And then you did it again?

    Probably not, but I thought it warranted mentioning.

  4. Ira,

    I've used different colours in an attempt to get them closer to the colours generally used by the party in each province. Some I've been more careful, others less.

  5. Éric - That makes sense, actually.

    When the Canadian Alliance was founded, there was much discussion of what colours to use in the logo. One version of the logo was actually Teal and Raspberry, but the party executive thought using more typical colours would make it easier for the media to repdocue the logo and thus not muddy the brand identity. So it became blue and green.

  6. Poot Kathy, when Danny was premier you weren't projecting that one Liberal seat. :(

  7. New Ipsos Reid poll:

  8. If the IR poll is in any way accurate it looks like the ABC campaign has petered out.

  9. hmmm 19 pt lead in IR... and Ekos..... well it's after 9 pm eastern so between them and the CBC; they seem to have missed the supper news and seemingly buried it (again). What will be the excuse this time?

    Anyone want to bet against it being a gain for the tories this week??

  10. Frank Graves said on Twitter they pushed it back a day in order to catch more of this week's turmoil, which seems a sensible idea.

  11. If nothing else, I think this shows Atlantic provinces need proportional representation so one won't party can't come away with virtually every seat. That's just electing a new dictator every four years. For context, I live in Newfoundland.

  12. "it looks like the ABC campaign has petered out."

    I see what you did there.


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