Friday, June 8, 2012

NDP drops in Nova Scotia, PCs lead in New Brunswick

The Corporate Research Associates' much anticipated Atlantic Quarterly was released yesterday, with poll results for the four Atlantic provinces. In the two largest provinces, and those scheduled to go to the polls next, the New Democrats have taken a step backwards over the last few months. In one that is of little consequence, in the other it puts the government at risk.
The next election in Nova Scotia is expected for the spring, as Darrell Dexter tries to get a second mandate after winning the 2009 vote. But his NDP is losing support, as it has dropped nine points since CRA's last set of polls in February. The NDP still leads, however, with 35%. But their lead has been reduced by 15 points, as the Liberals are up six to 33%.

The Progressive Conservatives are also up, gaining three points to reach 28%. The three parties are bunched up, making for a potentially close election next year. The Greens were up one point to 4%.

The news improves for the Liberals when you look at the Best Premier numbers: Stephen McNeil tops that poll with 27% (+6), while Dexter stands at 23% (-6). That puts him narrowly ahead of PC leader Jamie Baillie, who is seen as the best option for premier by 21% of Nova Scotians.

Satisfaction in Dexter's government has also fallen, by seven points to 41%. Overall, this is the worst set of numbers for the Nova Scotia NDP in over a year. With another year to go before the province voters, Dexter will have to turn things around.

But things could be worse for him. With this small lead, the New Democrats would likely still win the election by taking 28 seats. The Liberals and would capture 13 and the Tories 11.

Note: An earlier version of this post had the Liberals and Tories tied with 12 seats each.

The NDP is helped by its dominance in Halifax, where it wins 14 seats to four for the Liberals. They also win the majority of the seats in Fundy and central regions, taking seven to the Tories' four.

Cape Breton is more evenly divided, with the PCs taking three, the Liberals four, and the NDP two, while the Valley and the South Shore splits with five apiece for the NDP and the Liberals and four for the Tories.

But this is a very difficult game for Dexter to play. Though his vote efficiency is better, and so inflates his lead in the polls, he is near the tipping point. Seven of the seats that go to the NDP in the projection are won by 5% or less, meaning that the NDP could be easily reduced to a very shaky minority.

The Premier of New Brunswick is facing no such problem, as David Alward's Progressive Conservatives are still comfortably ahead of the leaderless Liberals.
Alward's Tories have slipped only one point since February, and lead with 44% support. The Liberals are up one point to 32%, while the New Democrats are down three points to 19%. The Greens are up two to 5%.

Though Alward's 14-point edge from 2010 has been reduced slightly to 12 points, he is nevertheless well in control of the situation in the province. His personal numbers are up, as he is seen as the best option for premier by 37% of New Brunswickers, an increase of six points. A hypothetical Liberal leader is unchanged at 17%, while Dominic Cardy of the NDP is up one point to 12%. Satisfaction with the Alward government sits at 45%, down two points since February.

All in all, with a margin of error of almost five points, it seems that New Brunswick is holding pretty steady. Undoubtedly things could be shaken up when the Liberals choose their next leader, but there doesn't seem to be a saviour among the candidates just yet.

With these numbers, Alward would be re-elected to a majority government with 38 seats, with the Liberals taking 13 and the New Democrats winning four - up from the zero they currently hold in the legislature.

The Progressive Conservatives win the majority of the seats in every region of the province except the northeast, where they win five to the Liberals' six and the NDP's two. They win nine seats in the southwest (Saint John), nine in the central part of the province (Fredericton), seven in the northwest, and eight in the southeast (Moncton).

The Liberals take six in the southeast and one in the southwest, while the NDP wins their two other seats in Saint John.

While it doesn't change the complexion of the government, this poll does change the complexion of the opposition. The N.B. New Democrats have never won more than a single seat in a general election - winning four would be remarkable. Cardy will be gunning for the party's first seat in the legislature since the 2003 election in Rothesay, where a by-election is scheduled for the end of the month. The odds are stacked against him, but the NDP is doing well in the Saint John region so anything could happen.

20 comments:

  1. No Newfoundland and PEI again?

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  2. I'm amused that Nanos released its May poll results the day after you did your May polling summary. Do you think Nik reads here?

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  3. Does the Nova Scotia seat projection numbers take into account the seat changes during the 6 by-elections, the floor crossing, and a member being removed from the NDP Caucus? With projecting 12 for the Liberals, that is currently one less than they have in the Legislature and yet their popular vote grew from 27% in the 2009 election to 33% in the poll.

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    1. Thanks for the question. For some reason, the model took into account three of the six by-elections. Perhaps I had stopped mid-way and forgot to finish!

      After re-calculating, as you can see in the post above, I have the Liberals at 13 and the PCs at 11.

      Casey's floor-crossing is taken into account. Not the removal of the NDP member, in those cases the model always assumes the party runs a new candidate in the riding and the independent doesn't run again. These things are revised once the official candidate lists are released during campaigns.

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  4. Why is Dexter so unpopular? General government malaise or is something more specific happening in Nova Scotia? Scandal?

    Was surprised when I saw him canonized as Canada's least popular Premier in the last week. I would have pegged that honour on Christi Clark or McGuinty before Dexter. I bet they are both very happy that Dexter's name appeared in the headline.

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    1. I believe Dexter is unpopular because he has basically renegged on the promises of the NDP, instead, implementing the usual pro-business policies that the other parties are wedded to. People wanted change from the NDP but got the same ol'...

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    2. In addition to chimurenga's comment: the NDP has raised taxes including the HST, electricity rates are going up (NS Power is a quasi-private quasi-public enterprise but, the rates are regulated by the Province), the on-going MLA spending scandal has not entirely disappeared and although NDP members are not implicated it reflects badly on any politician who has sat in the House over the past 20 years. Finally a number of local irritants have emerged such as cutting funding for the Yarmouth ferry, roads etc...

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  5. Did you NB projection take into consideration the Environics poll in the city of Saint John last month that had the NDP in first place?

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    1. No, the projection was based on CRA's numbers.

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  6. I very much appreciate this website! Have you ever thought about starting your own website? Perhaps something like one of my favourite american election websites electoral-vote.com?

    I would happily donate some money if this was made possible, because you do quite an excellent job at tracking polls!

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    1. ?

      This is my website.

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    2. Sorry, I was a bit tired when I wrote this :P

      But, I was meaning more of like a separate website from blogspot.

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    3. I'm planning to move the site over to threehundredeight.com this summer (I own the URL, it forwards to blogspot) but there won't be any changes, just the URL. Having the site on the blogspot address doesn't change anything.

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    4. Not threehundredeight.com, Eric? Where is your Canadian pride? ;)

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    5. I assume you meant .ca. If .com is good enough for the Globe, the Star, and the Post, it is good enough for me!

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  7. Eric,

    I assume your projection is based on the current electoral boundaries not the recommeded boundaries of the Electoral Boundary Commission interim report. I am correct?

    I think this an interesting side note as the Commission wants to retain the 4 special ridings for minorities; Preston, Clare, Argyle and Richmond but, Dexter has indicated he wants all ridings roughly equal in population with variances no greater than 25% of the provincial average.

    If Dexter gets his way the incumbents may face a far tougher fight. Clare and Argyle in particular may well become toss ups if they don't merge outright. Preston will become a less safe NDP seat and Richmond may well see itself merged probably hurting Samson's chances for re-election. Dexter's choice is partly philosophical rep. by pop. however, the ridings tend to re-elect incumbents for long stretches and are less competitive. Currently 2 are held by the Liberals, 1 Tory and 1 NDP so in any re-districting the NDP would likely benefit or at least improve their odds.

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    1. Yes, the boundaries are those from the last election.

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  8. Preston is currently a Liberals seat not NDP

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    1. Right you are DL. Thanks for the correction.

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