Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wall still holds huge lead in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is an enigma, at least from a polling perspective. Even Prince Edward Island, with a population smaller than that of Regina, is polled more often than Saskatchewan. But out of the mists of the prairies comes a new Saskatchewan poll, demonstrating in part why so little polling is conducted in the province outside of an election.
The poll, conducted by Insightrix Research a month ago and released yesterday, shows that Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party has the support of 58.2% of decided voters. The New Democrats have the support of 30.8% of decided voters.

This is virtually unchanged from Insightrix's last poll conducted in April 2010. Since then, the Saskatchewan Party has dropped 0.2 points while the NDP is up 2.1 points. In other words, in a poll of this size, there has been no change whatsoever.

But the Liberals are in a bit of trouble, standing at 4.2% and behind the Greens, who are at 5% support in this online panel poll.

Insightrix also reports the 1% of voters who would spoil their ballots, something not recorded as a percentage of the vote share in an election. Removing the spoiled ballots bumps the Saskatchewan Party up to 58.8%, the NDP to 31.1%, and the Greens to 5.1%. Seeing as this is standard practice in other polling firms, I will be recording the poll's results as such in the chart below and in the projection in the right hand column.

Speaking of which, the seat projection model for Saskatchewan is almost complete. It is close enough to completion that I can use it for this poll.

With the results of this poll only, the Saskatchewan Party wins 43 seats and another majority government. The New Democrats are reduced to 15 seats, while the Liberals and Greens are shut out of the legislature.

The Saskatchewan Party wins five seats in Regina, seven in Saskatoon, and 31 in the rest of Saskatchewan.

The New Democrats win six seats in Regina, five in Saskatoon, and four in the rest of Saskatchewan.

The rural/urban divide is plainly obvious in this projection. The NDP and the Saskatchewan Party run a close race in the province's two largest cities, but outside of those cities it is a Saskatchewan Party romp. And, in fact, two of the NDP's four seat wins outside of the major urban centres come from minor urban centres like Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.

The numbers have moved so little in the last 15 months that it seems unlikely they would move any more in the next three months. Of course, the campaign trail has its own set of surprises but Brad Wall is a popular premier and the province is doing well, so it would seem that his re-election is as much of a sure thing as exists in politics.


  1. I'm a big fan of Brad Wall; I think he's been really good for Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is the only jurisdiction in the developed world that didn't have a recession in 2008-2009. Saskatchewan people have good reason to be happy with their government.

    If there's a surprise here, it's that Dwain Lingenfelter hasn't yet managed to drive away the NDP's support.

  2. If Saskatchewan avoided a recession in 2008 - it would have been mostly because of 16 years of good NDP management of the economy up to 2007 - given that when Wall came in, he spent the first year sitting back and doing nothing and watching the price of potash rise.

  3. NDP "management" of the economy was responsible for Sask's anemic growth and dwindling population.

    Economies are not meant to be "managed".

    Without a doubt Wall's tax, regulatory, and fiscal policies have increased growth in the province.

    However, as DL rightly points out, its the growth in the value of potash (as well as hydrocarbon E&D) that are the primary movers of growth in the province - not some unique wizardry of Mr. Wall.

    Let's not worship the man and let's certainly not suggest tham he could replace Harper as leader of the federal party.

    (Some people say such ridiculous things, the only thing that was more silly was the notion of Jean Charest!! taking over one day.)

  4. I'm going to have to second DL on this one. I live in Regina, and although I don't have any ill will towards Wall, it would be a little ridiculous to give him the credit for uptick in oil prices, potash prices etc. over the past 6 years. Note I wrote 6, because SK has been booming since '05, when Calvert was Premier. Mark my words, in 4 years the NDP will have a leader who is as young or younger than Wall, less grumpy and boomer-ish than Lingenfelter. When the NDP presents a leader with vision, a positive attitude and looks young more family friendly than Wall, there will be a real race. Much like how Wall played the role against an old looking Calvert, in 2015, Wall will be the old (hair transplanted) dog on the street.

    Until such time, it is smooth sailing for a well liked Premier who is coasting off royalty decisions made by Lorne Calvert.

  5. Readers may be interested in my preview of November's provincial election, focusing on the battleground ridings - I basically conclude that the NDP have a huge mountain to climb, even if the polls turn around for them. There are only 7 Sask Party ridings that look flippable, even on a good day for the NDP.

    Read the whole thing, "Can the NDP win back Saskatchewan?" over at The Numbers Guy blog.

  6. The Sask Party have linked themselves inexorably to the Riders and were hoping for a big season this year, but the Riders are tanking, which means Saskatchewan electorate will be a little more lucid than usual and less likely to drunkenly throw their vote Wall's way. They won't vote NDP, they just won't vote. This won't deny Wall a second majority, just not quite as big of a popular vote and may cost 1 or 2 seats he would have otherwise picked up. I think the 'Leg is currently 38-20; I don't see this changing by more than 2 seats either way. I can't believe it's been four years--Brad Wall has actually made no impression on me at all! I think it's just his thing to put it on cruise, let the resource royalties roll in, keep his nose clean and go federal in 2015.

    AW, Regina

  7. The numbers have moved so little in the last 15 months that it seems unlikely they would move any more in the next three months.

    Could you not have said the same thing about federal vote-intent numbers in Quebec in the 15 months leading up to April 2011?

  8. After the last provincial election, there were several Environics polls of provincial voting intention in Saskatchewan. Then Environics stopped polling. About a year later came the first Insightrix poll. Both the Environics polls and the Insightrix polls were fairly consistent and stable - but the Environics polls tended to show the NDP 6-8 points higher than the later Insightrix polls.

    Without in any way suggesting deliberate bias, I am moved to wonder if the sampling methodology could partly explain the discrepancy.

    (Attempted to sing in with Google ID but it wouldn't work.)


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