Friday, November 4, 2011

Saskatchewan Party leads by 40, possible Ottawa reverberations

Saskatchewan will be voting on Monday and the polls indicate Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party will be re-elected. But will the results in the Prairie province have any reverberations in Ottawa?

Though Saskatchewan has only 14 seats in the House of Commons, it could be an important battleground in 2015.

If the next federal election becomes a showdown between the Conservatives and the New Democrats, Saskatchewan will be one of the provinces the NDP will be targeting for gains.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post website here.

Also out today is a new poll by Praxis Analytics for the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and the Regina Leader-Post.

I won't be doing an update for the Saskatchewan projection today. It will go up on Sunday, and I'll do a final projection on Monday, the day of the vote. But we can look at the poll in the meantime.
Praxis was last in the field between August 23 and September 5. They use both online and telephone methods to compile their data.

Since that poll, the Saskatchewan Party has picked up 3.3 points and now leads with an amazing 66.7% of the vote. The New Democrats are up 0.3 points to only 26.4%, while the Greens are up 2.2 points to 5.2%.

The Liberals, who are only running nine candidates in this election, have accordingly dropped about five points. It appears that their support has split pretty evenly between the Saskatchewan Party and the Greens. I would have expected the NDP to pick up some of that support, but according to the poll the New Democrats are a party more people would specifically not vote for than the Saskatchewan Party.

These are, undoubtedly, dispiriting numbers for the New Democrats. With the other polls that have come out in this campaign, the NDP has been at or over 30%, and you have to think that is a psychological barrier they'd like to be over on election night.

I imagine turnout will be an important factor. It was pretty good in 2007 at about 76%, but that was an election in which the NDP government was defeated. Now, with the Sask. Party holding an insurmountable lead, people might not be very motivated to go out and vote. Will voters take the Sask. Party win for granted and stay home? And if so, will that benefit the obvious winner or the underdog?

Using the results from the Praxis Analytics poll only, ThreeHundredEight projects the Saskatchewan Party will win 51 seats on Monday night, with the New Democrats only winning seven.

But this is not the "official" projection. As mentioned, check back for that on Monday.

If this ends up being the result, this will be the NDP's worst performance in its history since its first election in 1934 under the CCF banner. For the Saskatchewan Party, it would be double what they won in their first election in 1999 and the highest proportion of seats that the conservative option has ever taken in Saskatchewan. The Progressive Conservatives won 55 seats in a 64-seat legislature in 1982, the equivalent of 50 seats in a 58-seat legislature.

That the Saskatchewan Party will win a crushing majority victory on Monday night is obvious, but the fate of the NDP is still up in the air. The potential for a catastrophe exists, but there is also a good chance that the NDP will hold firm in their strongholds and manage to elect over 10 MLAs. This will be the big question on election night.


  1. Goaltender Interference04 November, 2011 10:59

    With a 40% lead in the polls, the Sask Party is in the range of the 1987 New Brunswick Liberals and the 2001 BC Liberals, ie., it's a fluke if the opposition wins any seats at all.

    If the Sask NDP wins 7 of 51 seats despite losing by 40 points, they should break out the expensive champagne and fireworks.

  2. Um, Oct 21-31 is 11 days.

    The last 10 days of October is Oct 22-31.

  3. I believe that the NDP will still pull off at least 11-13 seats Monday.

    The NDP vote is very efficient, and concentrated in a few diehard ridings in the inner cities, and the North.

    That 40 point lead for the SaskParty will mostly be wasted in the rural ridings and re-electing incumbents.

    A noteworthy quote from the poll states that 62% of voters exiting the polls in 2007 thought they had voted SaskParty. It turns out the popular vote for the Saskies was only 50.9%.

    If the results show Lingenfelter going down Monday night, get out your rainjackets, Dippers!

    If the NDP holds Coronation Park, Douglas Park, and the Battlefords, break out the expensive champagne, indeed.

    16 NDP seats will be a massive victory. Half that will be a massive blowout.

  4. Ira,

    Yes, that's right. For some reason this morning, I assumed that the person writing the report would make the assumption that 31-21=10.

    I'll just confirm with Praxis what the dates were.

  5. Do you count the old liberal supports as part of the 'conservative option'?

  6. I'm really curious to see what turnout is like. In many of the urban, contested ridings, turnout was very high in 2007 (above 90% in some ridings). This year, Elections Saskatchewan has seen a very large increase in the use of Advance Polling. In my riding, they ran 2 Advance Poll locations for days 3-10pm. I expect there will be significantly more advance ballots cast in my riding than in 2007. I think this will favour the incumbent, SaskParty candidate (who captured a larger portion of advance ballots than his opponent last time) - but I could be wrong.

    I tend to think this high usage of Advance polls will mitigate an overall drop in turnout province-wide.

  7. Calivancouver, no. I used that wording because of the replacement of the PCs by the Sask. Party.

  8. Ira, turns out I was right.

  9. saskparty didn't replace the PC, they replaced the liberals and the PC.

    The Saskparty was formed by 4 PC's and 5 liberals. They later won a by-election and went into the 99 election with 10 seats and came out with 25 seats (and won the popular vote).

    While the PC's were put on hiatus for a couple elections, the liberals continued to run candidates.

    The liberals have won only 3 seats in the subsequent 3 elections, the pc's none

    Those 3 liberals joined with the NDP to form a majority in '99. (the NDP was 1 seat short). That was the last time the liberals won a seat, most of their support bled to the NDP in 03 on fear of the SP... and flooded to the SP in 07...and now '11.

    This election, the pc's running 5, the liberals only 9.

  10. Why would you expect any of the Liberal vote to move to the NDP? This is Saskatchewan. What is interesting is that any of the Liberal vote moved Green. The second choice of most provincial Liberals has always been the conservative option, in my experience.

  11. Barcs, yes, I know SP's history. Until the Liberals' descent into fringe party status in this election, I'd say that while the SP was formed by Liberals and PC it really was the replacement for the PCs. Liberal support in the 1999 and 2003 elections was not much different from the ones that came before it.

  12. Yeah, I can see how one could argue that.

    But I still don't agree.

    I think that the liberals were essentially wiped out with the ascension of the Devine tories.

    When the scandals hit, the tories were wiped out. And I think that the liberals were on their way back to being the non-ndp alternative.

    When you look at this chart of election results, you can see that the NDP is relatively static near 40% through several decades.

    The non-NDP vote has been largely PC or Liberal... with a small number of years where they both have some support.

    In Sask it really is an AB choice most of the time rather than ABC.

  13. Sask is a lot like BC in its political alignment; the "free market" parties, aka the PCs and the Liberals, shared most of the same electorate. Up until the mid-70's the Liberals were the dominate free market/conservative option, and then Devine's Tories took their place. Then they collapsed, allowed the Liberals a brief respite, until someone got the smart idea to unify the free market parties against the NDP - aka the Sask Party, because it was pretty clear there was a vote split between them that allowed the NDP easier victories in what is essentially a free-market/conservative province.

    That's what you'll notice that once the Sask Party was formed, elections became competitive with close results (29-25-4 in 1999, 30-28 in 2003), until Wall took over and catapulted the Sask Party ahead on the back of a weak Liberal vote.

    I almost guarantee you that the remaining 9% of Liberal voters from 2007 have melted towards the Sask Party mostly. They just share the same voters, and one is too weak to matter so the other gobbles it all up.


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