Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Eight months later, little change in Saskatchewan

On June 20, Insightrix released a new poll on the voting intentions of Saskatchewanians. It suggests that little has changed since the November 2011 election, and that means the Saskatchewan Party is still well ahead of its competitors.
Insightrix reported that the Saskatchewan Party has the support of 60.8% of voters, compared to 29.4% for the NDP, 4.3% for the Greens, 2.8% for the Liberals, and 1.2% for other parties. They also reported that 1.5% would spoil their ballot, something that is not recorded as part of the overall vote share in elections. Removing that last bit from the equation, we get the Saskatchewan Party at 62% and the New Democrats at 30%, with no major change for the Greens, Liberals, or others.

Since the election, that represents a two point drop for both the Sask. Party and the New Democrats, with the Greens up one and the Liberals up two. These are insignificant shifts, and for the Liberals much depends on how many candidates they run. They only ran nine out of 58 in the last election and took 0.6% of the vote. On a full slate that would have meant around 4% support, suggesting that they have also not budged very much.

These marginal changes would result in no seat shifts, as the Saskatchewan Party would hold on to their 49 seats and the New Democrats would retain their nine.

Brad Wall remains a very popular politician in Saskatchewan, as his approval rating stands at 67.5%. That is down only a small amount compared to the 69.1% he scored in an Insightrix poll from November. It is noteworthy, though, that his "strongly approve" numbers have slipped by seven points, from 39.6% to 32.8%. This might be something to keep an eye on in future reports from Insightrix.

Nevertheless, this still gives him a wider lead over the NDP's interim leader than his Saskatchewan Party has over the New Democrats. John Nilson has an approval rating of 32.2%, though almost 37% of Saskatchewanians "don't know" what they think of Nilson. This is not very important, however, as the Saskatchewan NDP will be choosing its next leader in March and Nilson will not be a candidate.

Steady as she goes in Saskatchewan, then. Wall is a very well-liked premier of a prosperous province, and that makes him a potentially strong candidate to be the eventual successor to Stephen Harper as leader of the Conservative Party. He will only be 54 by the 2019 federal election - plenty of time for him to win one more mandate for his party in Saskatchewan, pass along the premiership to another person, and brush up on his French.

29 comments:

  1. Any reason to think Harper will be around until 2019? He's been leader either Alliance or the Conservative Party since 2002 and has been PM since 2006, so 2015 might be the logical time for him to step down (since he'd have been PM for 9 years, well over the historical average (which is, admittedly, low because of all of the PMs who served like four months at the end of someone else's mandate).

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    1. I can see Harper staying until 2015 and then bowing out in 2017 or 2018 or so, but I suppose it is possible he might step down before 2015. I think that's very unlikely, though. He's still relatively young.

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    2. I think Harper will stay in as long as he possibly can. He's always had a stubborn streak, so the more that the public and the media chatter about him "stepping down" the more likely he'll just hang on all the tighter in response.

      If Harper leads the Conservatives to a solid defeat in a general election, then I think he will depart. But unless that happens, how often has he voluntarily ceded any portion of his power to someone else?

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    3. Harper will compete in 2015. By 2019 it's anyone's guess but, certainly Harper may still be around. Macdonald was the leader of the Conservative party for nearly 40 years when he fought his last campagin, Laurier was leader for over 30, Mackenzie King close to 30.

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    4. Macdonald also spent about 20 years trying to retire, but was unable to find a suitable replacement. It didn't help that his natural successor in the late period, John Thompson, was a convert to Catholicism, and thus seen as completely unacceptable in Ontario (he eventually became PM anyway, and probably would have won reelection in 1896 had he not died suddenly in London immediately after been sworn into the imperial Privy Council. Of course, Thompson also spent much of his time in politics thinking about when he might be able to retire...

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  2. Why is it that conservative parties in Canada seem to love naming themselves after the regions that they contest? (Saskatchewan Party, Yukon Party, Wildrose Party, etc.)

    It strikes me as a means to imply that they have a monopoly on local ties, patriotism and populism, without backing that up with actual substance.

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    1. In the case of the Saskatchewan Party, it was more about finding a neutral name that both Conservative and Liberal supporters could rally around. A feel good name without any ideological implications suits that well.

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    2. I think it's part of the nationalist ideology that is more commonly associated with centre-right and right-wing parties across Canada. In Quebec, as it is the contrary (centre-left and left-wing parties are more nationalist and separatist), it's the Parti Québécois that is named after the province.

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  3. You mean like the Parti Quebecois?

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  4. If the Sask Party is this popular, maybe they will be a political dynasty, like the Alberta PCs.

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  5. Except that not many provinces haven't had a party so named.

    Quebec Solidare, Parti Quebecois, Labrador party, Canadian Action Party, Alberta Party (post wild rose start when they joined with Renew Alberta)

    All paragons of the conservative movement.. *rolls eyes*

    Then there is the populist, put us first parties like newfoundland and labrador first party, nova scotia party.... etc etc.


    Like most of the Left wing view of the mythology of the Right..... your opinion has very little basis in fact. (Belief without substance if you will). In actual fact, all parts of the spectrum do it, some of the parties have actually succeeded, others not.

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  6. Keep in mind that no provincial premier has ever become PM.

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    1. What about Sir Charles Tupper and Sir David Sparrow Thompson?

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    2. Ooops- that should be Sir John Sparrow David Thompson.

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    3. Thompson wasn't actually PM of Nova Scotia—he was Attorney General in the Holmes government, and would almost certainly have replaced him if the Conservatives had been reelected in 1882, but as they were not he never formally took up the position.

      Tupper is right, though—he was PM for a few months in 1896 before losing to Laurier. I think the aphorism was originally "no provincial premier has ever been *elected* PM", but it has slowly morphed into the inaccurate version because everyone forgets about Tupper.

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    4. Charles,

      The NS House of Assembly lists Thompson as premier for about two months and for that reason his portrait is hung inside the Legislative chamber as is Tupper. By contrast Borden's portrait hangs beside the entrance to the chamber.

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  7. The origins of the New Democrats may have originated in Saskatchewan, it would be a very long time till the NDP form government provincially in that province. Baring huge missteps the Sask Party would likely at least three or four majorities, before anything changes in that province.

    Federally the NDP may pick up a few more seats in that province in future elections, but there is not much the NDP can do without compromising their ideology. The NDP does not need to do that either because they can garner their main support in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, while picking up a couple seats in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

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    1. The current federal boundaries in Saskatchewan (which SK NDP MP's at the time supported, ironically enough), really do the party no favours, since there is no riding in the province located entirely within either of the major cities. Possibly the new boundaries will change this; if so, the NDP could certainly gain a few seats in SK without much effort.

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  8. While Brad Wall might be appealing to the Tories as a future leader, there are a couple of difficulties there. His total lack of fluency in French is one factor, but his adherence to a pacifist religion may also be relevant. Wall adheres to the Mennonite Brethren branch of Christianity, and it would be difficult to harmonize Wall's religious views with the PM's responsibility for the military. Mennonites are also rather more bold about distancing themselves from members who depart from church convictions than, say, Catholics, who despite being doctrinally opposed to abortion have done absolutely nothing to censure the proudly pro-choice Thomas Mulcair.

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    1. FYI, Richard Nixon was a Quaker and they are the ultimate pacifist "peace church" yet he was a vicious war-monger

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  9. The Saskatchewan Party grew out of the corruption of the previous Progressive Conservative government of Grant Devine which was tossed out on their ear in 1991. The rats deserted the sinking ship and formed the Saskatchewan Party. 20 years later the convicted criminals are mostly gone but the moneyed conservatives supporting the old party are now supporting the new one without the baggage of the old corrupt PC's name.

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    1. The saskparty was formed in 97 by 5 liberals and 4 tory sitting mla's. (along with assorted organizers). Neither had done well in the 95 election against the NDP.

      The liberals continue to contest elections. But were decimated following an election that saw the Saskparty win the popular vote. 1 seat short of a majority the NDP was the senior in a coalition with the 3 liberals (each of whom received a cabinet seat). The liberals have not won a seat since they folded into the NDP rather than keep them honest.

      The PC's bounced back and forth between running paper candidates and actually campaigning. The haven't fielded a full slate since.


      As for "moneyed", atleast the saskparty supporters donate to a cause of their choice. The last time the NDP needed money to campaign... SGEU voted to take 26% more in dues from members whether they support or not. 2 million to "increase the amount of public advertising and promotion we do in response to the Brad Wall government's political agenda"... ...stolen for political purposes because collectivism states you must force everyone to "donate" before you should do it yourself.

      The NDP and its Moneyed union thugs are far more corrupted than a just 13 mp's stealing 850,000 from expense accounts more than 2 decades ago.

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    2. Your union bashing diatribe really has nothing to do with the origin of the Saskatchewan party. A little sensitive about the "corruption " adjective it would seem.

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    3. Also - a little facetious. If you look at the annual returns (public on the elections.sk.ca website) you'll see that the donations to the NDP from the SGEU were in fact $0, while donations to the Sask Party from large corporate donors (such as those opposing rent control in a province where the rent has increased 40% in 3 years) were just over $3,000,000. So yes, 'moneyed' would be a fairly accurate description of their supporters.

      And did you actually say 'just 13 MPs stealing $850,000' like that's not a big deal? That was more than a third of the caucus, and nearly a 6th of the then-budget, when the province was almost bankrupt. I'd say that's a bit of a big deal - especially since our own Mr. Wall was a staffer for that government.

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  10. Every religion is supposed to be pacifist.

    However, nobody gives two hoots about his religious beliefs at all. I bet if you asked Brad Wall tomorrow if he supports the Canadian Forces, you'd get a resounding yes!

    That being said, I think viewing Brad Wall as a potential Tory leader in the future is just about the most premature thing I've heard in a while.

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    1. I absolutely agree on it being premature. But it is also not the first time I have heard the media salivating over "maybe maybe it might happen." Post the aborted Potash corp takeover it happened too.

      I don't know why it comes up. I have never seen any national ambitions from him. He, like most provincial premiers has very little national visibility. He is for all intents and purposes focused on the task at hand.

      I doubt it will happen at all.

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    2. Actually Hurtin Albetan, the SaskParty does support the CAF. A few years ago they directed all government vehicles be decorated with a support-our-troops yellow ribbon. I'm actually one of those people who beleives Harper may step down before 2015, especially if the CPC falters in the polls. If that happens, Wall still might have the oompf to go for the big job. Whether he wants it or not, I don't know. As for how many majorities the Wall government might have, well that depends on circumstances. The SaskParty is a populist party. It does popular things. However, that doesn't always mean those things are the best for the province. As long as the economy booms along in Saskabush, they'll probably reap the benefit, but when they dip, and they will, then goodbye SaskParty goodwill,and hello NDP saviours.

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  11. Here's my troll suggestion:

    Brad Wall for LPC Leader.

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    1. That will destroy any chances for the NDP and Tories in SK.

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