Thursday, September 20, 2012

Liberals move ahead in Nova Scotia

Earlier this month, the Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates released their quarterly polling for the four Atlantic provinces. With Nova Scotia on track for an election as early as next year, the results in this province are particularly important - especially since they show the incumbent New Democrats in trouble.
The Corporate Research Associates were last in the field between May 7 and June 4, and since then the Nova Scotia Liberals picked up eight points to lead with 41% support, well ahead of the New Democrats. They were down four points to 31%.

The Progressive Conservatives, at 22%, slipped six points and the Greens were up one point to 5%.

That is a big change in Nova Scotia, as Darrell Dexter's New Democrats have been leading since early 2011. Now is certainly not the time for the NDP to fall behind with an election around the corner.

The New Democrats' drop is within the margin of error, however. The increases and decreases of the Liberals and Tories are not, suggesting that Stephen McNeil is picking the pockets of Jamie Baillie in particular.

McNeil is, by far, the leader seen by Nova Scotians as the best person to be premier. He has 35% support on that score, a gain of eight points. Dexter is unchanged at 23% while Baillie is down four points to 17%. If we just look at the Best Premier numbers as a share of the total (removing the undecideds and "none of the aboves"), we see McNeil at 45%, Dexter at 29%, and Baillie at 22%. In other words, McNeil is a net positive for his party while Dexter is not.

Satisfaction with the New Democratic government is down four points to 37%, with the number of people saying they are "mostly satisfied" decreasing. Dissatisfaction is up two points to 54%, but more importantly it is the number of people who are "completely dissatisfied" that increased, rather than those who are just mostly dissatisfied.
In terms of seats - and using the old electoral map, as a new one is going to be released in the coming weeks - the Liberals would win half of them in the legislature with 26, while the New Democrats would win 21 and the Progressive Conservatives five. If Stephen McNeil could convince an NDP or PC MLA to become Speaker, he would have a workable majority government.

The Liberals win seats in every part of the province, taking 10 in the Halifax Regional Municipality, eight in the Annapolis Valley and on the South Shore, five in Cape Breton, and three around the Bay of Fundy and in central Nova Scotia. The New Democrats win eight in Halifax, seven in Fundy/Central, four in the Valley and the South Shore, and two in Cape Breton.

The Tories are shut out of the HRM, but win two in Cape Breton, two in the Valley and the South Shore, and one in the Fundy/Central region.

This is a close enough result that the Liberals could easily win an outright majority, especially with Stephen McNeil's personal numbers besting Dexter's by such a considerable amount. But it is still a very close race, at least in terms of seats. The current map appears to give the New Democrats more resilience than they might deserve considering they trail the Liberals by ten points. It will be interesting to see how the new map changes things, if it all.

25 comments:

  1. Interesting point to make about NS politics: In Cape Breton, incumbency reigns supreme:

    2006 vote %'s : PC 42.6, Lib 29.8, NDP 25.6
    2009 vote %'s : PC 28.3, Lib 29.6, NDP 40.2

    Not a seat changed hands. 4 PC, 3 Lib, 2 NDP.
    In the last 3 elections, exactly 1 seat has changed hands in CB when the incumbent was running under a party banner.

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  2. I've seen the new map's numbers and run them through - they give Dexter and the NDP a better base. More seats in the Halifax region.

    However, with this poll and the proposed boundaries, I have 27 Lib, 19 NDP, and 5 PC. Might just be my projection, but that 10-point gap is a big one to overcome.

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    1. It is my understanding that the NS map has not been finalized yet.

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    2. Isn't there a big fight over whether or not to keep special ridings for Black communities and Acadian communities? I wonder who benefits in terms of seats from this fight.

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    3. http://junkiepolitico.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/nova-scotias-proposed-provincial-riding-changes-boost-ndp-fortunes/

      Its only the proposed boundaries that came out of the report in July (that link here: http://nselectoralboundaries.ca/publications/Rev-Elect-Boundaries-EN.pdf) this guy tranposed all the results. Maybe not finalized but this is what they were working off of.

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  3. Eric is correct. There is a tentative map out, but a final report is still forthcoming.

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  5. I was wondering if you are going to look at the new federal boundaries for NS as you did some of the other provinces?

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    1. No, the transposition of the proposed boundaries has been completed elsewhere so there was no reason to continue the province-by-province analysis.

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    2. Do you have the link where I could find that?

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  6. Eric, What would be the riding liberals be getting in Cape Breton in your projections? I know they are safe in Glace Bay, Cape Breton south and Richmond.

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    1. Victoria-The Lakes and Inverness are the other ones.

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    2. Liberal might take Cape Breton Centre.

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  7. Dexter is attempting to prove (as if we need further proof, following the Bob Rae fiasco of 1990-1995) that when an NDP government behaves like a Liberal or Conservative one, they are doomed.

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    1. What's interesting is that that hasn't been the case in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I agree with you though... the NDP gets trapped between governing badly and pissing off their base pretty often it seems...

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    2. The Saskatchewan NDP was a progressive option (under Tommy Douglas) that devolved into a dynastic party... but I think their adoption of mainstream corporatist (i.e. centrist) policies (à la Tony Blair's 'Third Way') under Romanow and Calvert also contributed to their demise. I have no explanation for Manitoba... a weird fish, indeed. The continued popularity of the NDP in Manitoba can only be explained, I think, by concluding that the NDP has been an establishment party (equivalent to a Liberal Party, say) for some time. In both Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the NDP is NDP in name only, at this point, and no one expects anything better from them than they would from a Liberal Party (or similar).

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    3. You're probably right. Neither of those parties are running on change in the same way. And Tommy Douglas did in fact live up to expectations.

      I wonder if part of the prairie NDP's suspect might be the strength of their rural-agricultural wing. Farmers are also business people, and I suspect having a strong contingent of businesspeople in their ranks probably helps both manage expectations and govern in a more economically responsible way. And like you said, once you become the status quo, no one expects change from you.

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  8. This is based on one poll, a year out before the election. It does not take into account ground game, candidates etc. This is the same site that predicted during the last Federal election Peter MacKay would lose Central Nova by double digits. He went on to win with over 56% of the vote with the NDP gaining only 27%. I for one will not listen to folks in Ontario tell me what is taking place in Nova Scotia.

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    1. This is not a prediction or a forecast, this is a report on a poll by a Halifax-based polling firm and an estimation of seats based on the poll's results.

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  9. Music to my ears! This province has been without the steady hand of a Liberal government for FAR too long. (Well, 1 second is too long)

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  10. I think as a Northern Nova Scotian. Anitgonish will turf the NDP out going back to an old habit the Liberals. Pictou Centre the NDP will lose because of the sitting MLA stonewalling of Maritime Steel Workers in regards to affording the new ownership a credit line. The margin of victory for pictou centre was only about 100 votes and there is a 1000 name petition of mad Unionized people demanding financing for the plant with work orders. The Tories will return if the Liberals run a creditable candidate again. Jamie Bailie opposed a new provincial jail in the riding shooting himself in the foot for the three Pictou county riding. Pictou East will go back to the Tories from the NDP as the sitting MLA has had terrible office staff representing him . Pictou West will remain in Charlie Parkers hands as he has generally been a great MLA. Word on the street is get rid of the NDP government entirely so people in NS will vote for that purpose for the party they believe will turf the dippers out.

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  11. How can you use that one poll to predict how many seats each party will get in a particular region? They didn't sample by region.

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    1. I used the province-wide swing to determine the seats. I merely broke the results down by region.

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  12. Let this be a reminder of what the federal NDP will become if they form government. Canadians will have to choose very wisely in the next election. The NDP is tempting now, but what will become of them in a couple of years?

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