Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New poll boosts Newfoundland & Labrador NDP

A pleasant surprise appeared yesterday morning, when MarketQuest Omnifacts Research released a new poll for the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election, the first of the campaign.

MQO appears to be a newcomer, at least under this name. From what I can tell, this is a successor organization of Omnifacts Bristol, which we last heard from in the 2006 New Brunswick election. They actually did a good job of calling that result.

The poll finds that Kathy Dunderdale's governing Progressive Conservatives lead the pack with 53%, a result very similar to the Corporate Research Associates' latest poll. The New Democrats followed with 29%, an excellent result for them and, again, within the margin of error of the CRA poll. The Liberals followed in third with only 18% support.

On leadership, Dunderdale came out on top with 64% saying she would be the best premier. Lorraine Michael of the NDP was well behind with 22% while Kevin Aylward of the Liberals was at 14%.

Being the first poll of the campaign, this MQO Research survey takes up an enormous portion of the new projection for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Progressive Conservatives are projected to take 53% of the vote, down eight points from the September 1 projection. The New Democrats take 28.7%, up 11 points, while the Liberals take 18%, down 3.1 points.

This results in the Progressive Conservatives winning 40 seats, the Liberals four, and the New Democrats four. I believe that because of their having more of the popular vote the NDP would likely be called upon to form the Official Opposition, a first in their history.

It isn't a given, however. Parliamentary precedent exists that would bolster the cases of both the NDP and the Liberals. Being the incumbent Official Opposition, the Liberals may be called upon to stay in that role. It would appear to be up to the discretion of the Speaker.

The two seat gains for the New Democrats come in the Avalon and Burin region and the main part of the island. This gives the NDP one seat in each of the four regions.

Note, though, that current projections are based on parties running candidates in the same ridings as they did in 2007. The New Democrats are slated to run more candidates than they did in 2007, but I have to wait for the official candidate list before having the projection's list of candidates match the real one exactly.

Since the first projection on August 31, this has been a slow leak of seats from the PCs to the Liberals and now the NDP.

There are not a lot of projected close races, but the PCs and Liberals are each leading in two of them, the NDP in one. The PCs trail in three close races and the Liberals in two.
This puts the Progressive Conservative range at between 38 and 43 seats, the Liberal range at between 2 and 6 seats, and the New Democratic range at between 3 and 4 seats. In other words, the race for second is still up for grabs

Having MQO Research active is great news for Newfoundland and Labrador polling, as that means we could have as many as three firms conducting polls during the campaign. I imagine the Corporate Research Associates will weigh in at least once, and NTV has been doing polls with Telelink of late. Hopefully we'll hear from all three of these firms soon.


  1. Eric,

    I realize this isn’t exactly the right thread, but in looking at an Atlantic province poll I got curious about something. I have not noticed any new seat projections on 308 for New Brunswick since you did the Atlantic Provinces on June 8. CRA released a poll for NB in the first week of September.
    Given that the PC are down 15 pts and the Liberals are up 14 pts in that poll, I would be interested in seeing a new seat projection on these numbers if there is one. Perhaps I’ve overlooked it, if so could you please link.

  2. Anonymous 09:30,

    No, you have it right. I haven't gotten around to it. I triage polls according to how important it is that I cover them (i.e., if an election is going on right now or is about to, federal, and then by largest province) and so NB and NS have fallen by the wayside.

    I may have time to get to them eventually, but they will lose their relevance soon. Sorry!

  3. The NDP's support is concentrated in St.Johns

  4. Probably, yes.

    The projection reflects that. On average, it's the best region for the party in the projection.

    Don't forget, though, that St. John's is also one of the best regions for the PCs. They won't go so easily.

  5. I thought incumbency would determine who gets to be Official Opposition in the event of a tie between opposition parties. It looks like it usually is, though not necessarily, based on this:

  6. Yes, it is a little murky. The 1996 incumbency precedent, was not following an election. Since it was the same parliament that was sitting, sticking with the incumbent Official Opposition makes more sense.

    The Alberta example is more along the lines of what I am thinking. If an election ended up this way, with the NDP and Liberals tied at four seats but with the NDP having so much more popular support, I imagine it would be decided to award the Official Opposition status to the NDP. It isn't a given, though, that's true.

    I'll edit the post a little to reflect this ambiguity.

  7. Ridingbyriding
    seeing there are know polls showing regional results how exactly would you know that? Just because the NDP did well in St. John's in the federal election doesn't mean it will translate exactly the same way in the provincial election, which if you look at previous elections you'd probably know that.

  8. Precedent for who forms the official opposition in the case of a tie of seats would be the Liberals. Both federally and in New Brunswick speakers have ruled that if their is a tie in seats between second place parties, the official opposition designation goes to the party that held the office previously.

    However, these rulings were made during the life of a legislature due to floor crossings and/or by-election results. This would be the first time (in my knowledge) that a speaker would be called to rule on a tie following a general election.

  9. I dont have "proof" but the "word on the street" is that the NDP support is concentrated in the Capital, and the Liberal support is concentrated in rural areas - to the point that even if the Liberals took the exact same share of vote, they could take an additional riding or two, and to the point that if the NDP did take 30% of the vote, I'd not be surprised to see them win all the seats in the city, along with unseating Dunderdale.

    But alas, I have no proof, and my past experience has been that mathematical projections for provinces with less than 2M people are not as reliable as ones for the "big 4", so I'm not willing to put up an official projection either.

  10. On the topic of when that next Manitoba poll finally comes out...

    In the 2007 election there were only two polls (Probe, Angus Reid) and both came 3-5 days before election day. Previous elections had only one Probe poll. If that pattern holds for his election, we're still one week away from the next poll (though I hope I'm wrong about that!).

  11. If you are still giving any weight to polls from May, you're doing it wrong.

  12. Thank you for that sage piece of wisdom, Anonymous. I'll be sure to read your research paper on the matter as soon as it's published.

    The CRA poll from May is included in the projection, though because of its age it has a weighting of 0.4% of the total projection. A total of 98.2% of the current NL projection is due to the MQO poll.

    Oh, and politeness? You're doing it wrong.

  13. Eric, I suggest you just stop giving airtime to these people who only post to criticize you, and don't have the courage to do it under a name.

    If someone is making a considered and thoughtful critique, that is one thing, but if they are just posting abuse, I don't see what good it serves for you to post it.

  14. You're probably right about that.

  15. I know the Grand-Falls Windsor seat is an outlier because the Liberal that ran last time was disbarred by his party before the election because of some false allegations he made before the election but it was too late to take him off the ballot.

    I also agree with the fact that all the NDP Support is in St. Johns, specifically Quidi-Vidi and St. John's South.


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