Thursday, September 29, 2011

PCs gain, but Liberals still poised for near sweep in PEI

The Charlottetown Guardian, which covers PEI like the morning dew, put out a new poll this morning for the provincial election scheduled to take place on the island on October 3rd.

The poll, conducted over the telephone by the Corporate Research Associates between September 23 and 27 and surveying 700 Prince Edward Islanders (amazingly, one of, if not the, largest samples ever taken in PEI), finds that the governing Liberals lead with 53%, down six points since CRA's pre-campaign poll conducted in August. The Progressive Conservatives are up five to 36%, while the NDP is down two and the Greens are up two to 5% apiece.

This is probably the only poll that will be released for PEI in this campaign. Thankfully, CRA nailed it in 2007 so let's hope they do so again this time around.
Being the only poll released during the campaign, it takes up virtually all of the projection. Accordingly, the Liberals are now projected to take 53.1% of the vote, with the Progressive Conservatives following at 36.1%.

The New Democrats and Greens are tied at 5% each.

Since the last projection of September 7, the Liberals have dropped 5.6 points while the Tories have picked up five. The New Democrats have slipped 3.7 points while the Greens are up 2.1.

If you look at the monthly provincial polling chart in the right-hand column, you'll see that movement is almost completely limited to vote swapping between the Liberals and Tories on the one hand, and between the NDP and the Greens on the other. It seems that in PEI the vast majority of the population switches between the two governing options, while a small minority can't decide for which fringe party they will cast their vote. In this election, the New Democrats are fielding fewer candidates than the Greens, so the odds that they will finish fourth in the popular vote again are decent.

 There are no seat changes in the projection, with the Tories still winning their lone seat in the eastern part of the island (Kings County). If they are to win a second or third seat, it will happen there.

Whereas in the last projection the Liberal range included a sweep of all 27 seats, the Tory gain has given them a chance of winning two seats.

This puts the Liberal range at between 25 and 26 seats, while the Progressive Conservatives could win one or two seats. A complete Liberal sweep seems unlikely at this stage.

Final projections for Prince Edward Island will be posted Monday morning. As I don't expect any other polls to be released, they will not be any different from today's. However, as I was partly burned by the polls in the 2011 federal campaign, I am going to present some other possible scenarios on Monday taking into account past polling error.

According to what I have read in the Winnipeg Free Press, a Probe Research poll for Manitoba should be revealed tomorrow. So check here in the morning for the latest (and likely last) projections for that province.


  1. I got closer on the NDP-Bloc numbers than anyone last time around because I said screw the polls, and wet with my gut. It's a gutsy move, but it can tell you things polls can't. My gut tells me the Island Party will be taking at least a full 1% if not 2% of the vote. It also tells me that there's still a chance for a sweep, and that PEI, like usual, will produce results that don't follow the math. IE the Tories may well win a single riding, some random riding where they were down by 20 points last time.

  2. I'm not sure how your (or my) gut can tell us things polls can't. But I agree that PEI being so small means the projection is more likely to have errors. But it is what it is.

  3. Generally, it's about how the undecideds break. A lot of that is intangible, "feelings" kinda stuff. Look at Layton in 2011. At the time of the debates, people said Harper won both debates. In hindsight, it was clear that the debates were a key moment for Layton shifting the tide. The numbers, however, did not support that, and only looking back can we see very minor number changes that signified something larger. For example: my gut tells me that the NDP has momentum in Ontario, but I don't have a single number to back it up.

    My gut was right in 2011. Then again one of us still has a working website, and it's not me, so make of that what you will.

  4. When is the next Forum Research poll on the Ontario election coming out? I got a riding specific robo-call from them on Tuesday afternoon. Asked me if the election was called that day who I would vote for, using local riding candidate names. Asked for second choice party too. Also asked if I was 18 or over on election day, my gender and my age range. That was it.

  5. You can't base a projection on intangibles like gut feelings. Those aren't objectively quantifiable.

  6. because everything in life is objectively quantifiable? ;)

  7. No, not everything in life in objectively quantifiable. But you can't base a mathematical projection model on something that isn't objectively quantifiable. Once you start putting a finger on the scale, you may as well just say that this is what you think will happen and not claim to be projecting results from a model.

  8. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.

  9. Yeah, I got a riding specific robo call from forum today in Sault Ste. Marie as well.

  10. What the heck is McGuinty doing these past few days? I agree with what Jason Lietaer wrote in the Huffington Post: "you can't sell the dual messages of stability and panicked activity".

    His campaign was going so well up until this weekend, but that power plant, the somewhat nervous debate performance, the new jobs plan a week before election... none of them fatal by themselves, but it's starting to look more and more like a narrative of panic. He'd better get the message under control quickly and explain himself or we'll have a PC majority after all.


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