Friday, October 28, 2011

Wall still on track for huge majority in Saskatchewan

After weeks and weeks of silence, two polls were released in the last 24 hours for the provincial campaign in Saskatchewan, hot on the heels of Tuesday's leaders' debate.

The online poll by Saskatchewan-based Insightrix Research found that Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party is still well in the lead with 60% support of decided voters. The New Democrats trail well behind with 33.3%, while the Greens are in third with 3%. The Liberals, who are only running nine candidates in Saskatchewan's 58 ridings, ended up with 2.8% of the vote. In order to get that vote share, the Liberals would have to average between 15% and 20% in their nine ridings, which is highly unlikely.

Only about 29% of Saskatchewanians watched part or all of the debate, but of those fully 53.7% said Brad Wall did a better job. Only 13.9% said the NDP's Dwain Lingenfelter did better.

Forum Research also weighed in with a similar result. It found Saskatchewan Party support at 66%, with the New Democrats at 30%. The Greens came in at 3% while 1% of respondents said they would vote Liberal.

The Saskatchewan Party led in all regions, with the closest races being in Regina (61% to 35% for the NDP) and Saskatoon (65% to 30% for the NDP). The edge that the SP has in the other rural parts of Saskatchewan is roughly 40 points.

On who would make the best premier, Brad Wall took 69% to Lingenfelter's 24%.
Adding these two polls to the projection, the Saskatchewan Party is now projected to take 65.0% of the vote, with the New Democrats taking 31.4%. The Greens are projected to be at 3% support.

Since the last projection of September 9, this is a gain of 3.3 points for the SP and a gain of 2.9 points for the New Democrats. The Greens are down one point, while the Liberals lose most of the 5.4% of the vote they were projected to have with a full slate of candidates.

The New Democrats have picked up one seat since the last projection in southern Saskatchewan.

For the Saskatchewan election, I've pegged the ranges at including ridings with a projected margin of 7% or less. This 7% is twice the average margin of error at the riding level from the PEI and Manitoba elections, the two I've worked through all the numbers for so far.

With this margin in mind, the Saskatchewan Party is comfortably leading in all of its 43 projected seat wins. It is trailing the New Democrats by 7% or less in eight ridings, however, meaning the Saskatchewan Party's range is between 43 and 51 seats. The NDP's range is between seven and 15 seats.

In other words, very little has changed since the campaign began. Indeed, very little has changed in the last 12 months in Saskatchewan. That Brad Wall will win the election is a foregone conclusion. The only question at this point is how big or small the NDP opposition will be.

It is quite striking that the provincial Liberals are only running nine candidates. The SP, NDP, and Greens are all running full slates. The Liberals ran a full slate in 2007 and ran full slates in elections prior. Nine candidates puts it in league with the Saskatchewan Progressive Conservatives (five candidates) and the Western Independence Party (two candidates). It makes the Saskatchewan Liberals a fringe party.

I imagine that we will have some other polls out before the election on November 7, as Sigma and Praxis have yet to report. But it doesn't seem like there will be much divergence in the results heading into next Monday's vote.