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.


  1. As you say, the outcome is already known. How close the SP gets to 51 seats will be determined by voter turnout, I believe. As you say, there are likely to be some very close races in the cities. Does the forgone conclusion mean that SP voters stay home, to the detriment of several of their candidates? Or do NDP voters - very unhappy with Lingenfelter - decide to skip this one, handing the SP several urban seats long-held by the Orange machine?


  2. Now that Wall has risked stirring the STF with his school year after-Labour Day announcement, we'll see how much impact the wrath of teachers and sympathetic parents wil have in close ridings.

    I happen to know that the NDP has somehow come into possession of a list of all teachers in the province and is lobbying them hard with letters sent to their homes reminding them of their alleged mistreatment by the Sask Party government.

  3. With that vote margin I'm surprised you're projecting that many seats for the NDP. Their support must be very efficiently distributed.

  4. Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if the result is closer to the upper SP range.

  5. There are still several tight races in the cities. I think the least it will be is SP 43-NDP 15.

    Roger Pedackter

  6. Ira, the NDP gotv machine in Saskatchewan is very strong. Makes the Harper tories look like amateur hour. Very well organized, and very motivated.

    Just like anti C-68 voters there is plenty of anti-bill 80(working to balance unions with worker rights) signs up.

    An yes, their vote is very efficient. Of 38 seats the SP won, only 7 were under 50%.... and many were over 60 and even 70%.
    (My riding was 76-16-5-3, the second widest margin.) But that is the rurals. The NDP support is concentrated in the cities, and especially Regina the seat of government. Most of their wins came in the 50% range.

    Save for a (very) few close seats in the city... Many of the ridings in sask won't change hands with even a 10 point swing.

    The unions, As steve alluded to are strongly NDP. But he is wrong, they are motivated (this is where much of the gotv machine comes from.) A quick announcement about moving the start of the school year 3 days later until after labour day long weekend isn't gonna change any of that.

    Nor is it going to sway "sympathetic people". Many people have asked for it to happen. And it already exists that way in atleast 1 school division. The "hot button" part of it is the NDP (oops I mean the union) claiming that there was no consultation.

    That is a fact in many campaign promises. The only real surprise is that the SP tossed it out there after the platform and the debates already happened.

  7. The biggest hot button issue that has come up is spending. And more specifically how to pay for it.

    Lingenfelter and the NDP want to double the royalty take from potash. They claim that the royalty rate is 5 cents on the dollar.

    Which technically is correct. the ROYALTY rate is 5 cents on the dollar. The other taxes that come into it amount to approximately 1/3 of income.

    The problem the NDP faces with this is they were in government the last time that rates were set. As business likes long term stability the Calvert NDP offered up a reduced rate in return for massive investment expanding current mines. (one of the few things the Calvert NDP can be commended for) What happened after is that investment boomed in the 10's of billions.

    And now in Brad Wall's words, Lingenfelter is trying to unilaterally change the "contract" with years left on it.

    At the end of the expansions the accelerated capitalization credits end. And the government take after royalties and taxes are figured in will be approximately 45 cents on the dollar of mined potash (not to mention all the extra jobs with the expansion... and over the years of building it).

    Personally I care very little about what the "royalty rate" is. It isn't the whole amount the government takes in on what can be considered "our resources". It's what the total is that is important. In the past 5 years that has averaged over 2 billion. In the next decade when the expansions finish it will be closer to averaging 4-5 billion/year.

    But I don't believe changing it in the middle of the investment is a good idea. Just ask Steady Eddie what happens when a company thinks you are squeezing them too hard. Oil is another resource that has boomed in Saskatchewan in recent years. And Alberta tweaking their rates up is a large part of it.

  8. I've been talking to some people on the ground in Regina. They think that Regina Dewdney and Regina Walsh Acres will both be very close and depend on the GOTV machines. (I noticed that you have them both as 10+ point victories one for each side)

    I was also told that the NDP leader has been door knocking... in is own riding on 3 separate occasions.

    That worries me alot about the NDP strength. Harry Van Mulligen was a pretty popular minister. and he won Regina Douglas Park by 30% and then 20% in the last 2 go rounds.

    Shortly after winning the leadership, and while still in the honeymoon there was a by election. The SP picked up most of the liberal vote (liberals didn't contest that by election, and won't contest that seat this general election. The rest went to the green's. That left an 8% gap.

    Mr. Marchuk and his team have been working very hard. And the SP seems to have allocated additional resources that they haven't in other places. I expect a very strong challenge there. I am thinking ther is a 35-40% chance that Mr. Lingenfelter loses his own seat.

    All that said. The polls you have say that the NDP is at 30%. I think that can guarantee you that they will top 35% on polling night. The Gotv machine and the motivation is that strong, even under the most unpopular NDP leader ever.

    That's roughly where they scored last election, maybe a bit on the low side.

    That is a problem.

    That means that every single liberal voter (outside of the few seats they are contesting... and a good portion of voters there too). moved to the Sask party.

    The greens are up 1.5% to 3%
    The Liberals are at 1-3%??but only contesting 9/58 seats.
    NDP gets 35 (by my reckoning of the poll number)

    That leaves the Saskparty at 60%. 10 points higher than the last election.

    2003 was the worst defeat the NDP (popular vote) the NDP has suffered in the last 70 years. The polls (even with me suggesting that the NDP gotv will net them an extra 5% this year) say that this election will be even worse.

    I think anything over 13 seats is going to be considered a win. Especially if the leader keeps his. And the biggest election speculation should be whether Mr. Lingenfelter stays on as leader after the worst defeat ever, begs the oil patch to take him back as an executive, or retires from work altogether (he is 62 this year).

    P.S. I think you should also look at and possibly reconsider the Cumberland riding. I know the NDP has held it by 40% for, well for recent and long term memory. But Ms. Beatty resigned, I think even before the house sat in order to run federally. With only 2/3 of the voter participation of the general election, the SP took more actual votes (not just %) than any non-ndp has taken in that riding in several decades. I have no doubt it will stay NDP, But I don't think a 40% margin will stick this go'round.


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