Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wall, Dunderdale book-end the premiers table again

Angus-Reid released its ratings of Canada's premiers (with the exception of Prince Edward Island) this morning, showing that once again Brad Wall of Saskatchewan remains, by far, the most popular premier in Canada. Though his numbers are impressive, they could be a lot worse and he would still be near the top. The poll suggests that most Canadians disapprove of their premiers, with only two of the nine boasting disapproval ratings lower than 50%.

Wall's approval rating was virtually unchanged from Angus-Reid's last report in September. It stands at 66% with just 27% disapproval.

Second on the list is newcomer Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia. As this poll was conducted at the beginning of December, McNeil had only been on the job for two months. Coming off a landslide victory, his 57% approval rating is not much of a surprise. That represents a gain of six points over his last rating as opposition leader, with the gain coming primarily from undecideds (dropping to 14% from 20%).

Only Wall and McNeil could be considered popular premiers. Their approval ratings are high and their disapproval ratings are low. If an election were held today, both would easily win a majority government.

There are two other premiers with approval ratings that put them in a position to win re-election, though neither could be considered popular. The first is Christy Clark of British Columbia, who managed an approval rating of 42%. Her disapproval rating, however, stands at 51%. This has not changed much from where it was in September, but her approval rating has dropped in two consecutive polls since June.

The other premier with an approval rating high enough to have good reason to hope for re-election is Kathleen Wynne of Ontario. That rating sits at 35%, with her disapproval at 50%. Excluding the undecideds, that gives her an approval rating of 41% among decided respondents, enough to win an election. But momentum is going in the wrong direction for her. Her approval rating is down four points from September and eight points from May. Her disapproval rating has increased by 13 points since March.

The next tier of premiers are those are are competitive but still at risk. Topping that list is Pauline Marois of Quebec, with an approval rating of 32%. That is down seven points since September, but higher than where it was in June. Her disapproval rating increased by six points to 62%, but with an approval rating of 34% among decideds she stands a shot at re-election.

That would be harder for Alison Redford of Alberta and David Alward of New Brunswick. Redford's approval rating dropped three points to 31%, while her disapproval rating was up six points to 63%. Alward also managed 31% approval, though that was a gain of four points. His disapproval rating was virtually unchanged at 57%.

The last tier of premiers are those who are in deep trouble. The first is Greg Selinger of Manitoba, with an approval rating of just 28% and a disapproval rating of 62%. Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador scores at the bottom of the list with an approval rating of only 24% and a disapproval rating of 69%, the worst in the country. Though her approval rating has increased by four points since September, her numbers are still worse than they were in June.

Unfortunately, Angus-Reid did not release any numbers for opposition or third-party leaders, as they have done in the past. I have asked whether this information could be made available, and will post here if it emerges. Update: Angus-Reid did not ask for anything but the premiers' approval ratings, so nothing for the opposition leaders will be forthcoming. This is another indication that the firm is moving away from free political poll releases.

When taking into account the premiers' net ratings (approval minus disapproval), the order of the leaders does not change drastically. Alward, with a relatively higher undecided proportion, jumps ahead of Marois and Redford to place fifth instead of eighth.

But only Wall and McNeil have positive ratings: +39 for Wall and +29 for McNeil. That is a drop of four points for Wall but an increase of eight for McNeil since September.

Three other premiers improved their net ratings since September. Both Alward and Dunderdale improved theirs by five points while Selinger's ticked upwards by one. But in all three cases, these may simply be bounce-backs from particularly low numbers.

Clark's net rating has worsened by four points, but she remains third on the list of overall net approval. Redford's score has worsened by nine points, while Wynne and Marois have seen theirs tumble by 10 and 13 points, respectively.

Overall, the Canadians' opinions of their premiers has worsened. Disapproval ratings increased by an average of 1.8 points in the nine provinces polled, while approval ratings dropped by an average of 0.2 points. For the three premiers likely to face the electorate in 2014 (Alward, Wynne, and Marois) that could be very bad news.

60 comments:

  1. Big change from this time last year for Clark isn't it.

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    1. Is that a big change? Was Clark ever particularly popular?

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    2. Clark's approval was only 31% in December 2012, and as low as 28% in August 2012. In December 2011, however, she had an approval rating of 40%.

      Dom

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    3. Ira - See what Dom said. Additionally, according to that poll she's one of the most popular premiers in Canada right now. Cheers.

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    4. Interesting that the same Angus Reid "opt-in" online panel from BC, the day before the May, 2013 BC election showed this:

      Christy Clark:

      Approval: 34%
      Disapproval: 58%
      Net: - 24%

      http://www.angusreidglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013.05.13_Politics_BC.pdf

      And that the BC NDP would also win the BC election by 8%. Actually, the BC Libs won same by 5% - a 13% reversal.

      And the BC Libs went on to win an even increased majority government over 2009.

      Today:

      Approval: 42%
      Disapproval: 51%
      Net: -9%

      What that tells me is that if a BC election was held today, the BC Libs would increase their 2013 landslide from 50 seats to perhaps 60 - 65 seats.

      FWIW, I consider the "opt-in" online panels of both ARS and Ipsos as polling junk. (Both showed a 8% BC NDP win the day before the May, 2013 election). Tells me that those that "opt-in" into these online panels for prizes are not reflective of the general population as a whole, esp. in ("Bring Cash") BC.

      Give me a CATI telephone poll from Nanos federally or Mustel in BC and then I will pay more attention to the actual polling results. The rest of the national pollsters just spew out numerical junk IMHO, relatively speaking.

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    5. The telephone and IVR polls done during the campaign were generally similar to what AR and IR were showing at the time, so I'm not sure that they would have put out anything but marginally different results than AR and IR if they polled on May 13.

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    6. For the record the BC Liberals won exactly the same number of seats in 2009 and 2013; 49. The NDP lost a seat; 2009 35, 2013 34.

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    7. Eric, between the 2009 and 2013 BC elections, Ipsos switched over from telephone CATI to "opt-in" online panels akin to ARS. Ipsos' CATI polls typically mirrored the results of Mustel's CATI polls for the previous decade abeit Mustel sat the BC May, '13 election out.

      More importantly, Kyle Braid, BC Ipsos head, stated in an interview after the BC election that they also performed a telephone CATI poll during the election but never released those results. Braid stated that the CATI results "were completely different" from the opt-in online panels results. I suspect that same showed at least a dead heat, if the Libs not slightly ahead.

      Forum and Ekos don't have much of a BC provincial track record and I have never had much faith in their IVR or "robo-polls"

      As far as I am concerned, opt-in online panels and robo polls should be heavily discounted for their actual results. The only thing useful from these polls are "trends" therein.

      The proverbial "canary in the coal mine" during the BC election campaign was the Kamloops and Prince George riding polls conducted by Oracle research. While Oracle is basically a no-name, their riding poll of SGI showing an E. May win during the 2011 election were virtually bang-on so I gave them some credibility.

      And the Prince George and Kamloops riding polls were also telephone CATI polls with a combined 600 sample size for each city - showing the Libs somewhat comfortably in the lead in both. The BC NDP has never won a BC election without obtaining seats in both of those cities. Ergo, that told me something was out of whack with the provincial ARS and Ipsos polls.

      When the Victoria Times Colonist commissioned Oracle Research for province-wide results, their CATI poll showed the NDP leading by only 4% and they were in the field 7 - 9 days prior to e-day.

      More importantly, the Oracle poll showed a very large 24% undecided factor. Following the campaign closely, and the apparent momentum in the Libs favour over the last 10+ days (Clark attracting twice the crowds as Dix at the same campaign stops, etc.) it was not too hard to discern that 24% breaking in favour of the Libs.

      To recap, I don't put much stock into opt-in online panel polls or IVR (robo-polls). Hopefully, Mustel will poll during the 2017 campaign again with their telephone CATI polls.

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    8. Where did Braid state that about a CATI poll done by Ipsos?

      The Oracle/TC poll did show the closer result, but it was within the MOE of the other polls. In retrospect it LOOKS like they were onto something, but we can't know for certain.

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    9. Eric, after 8 months or so, my memory faded a bit so I stand corrected. Ipsos did not perform a CATI telephone poll during the election. But Braid's post-election referenced comment is still apropos:

      "Braid said ... when Ipsos switched from telephone polling to online polling a few years ago, the online results didn't "match up" with phone results."

      That was in reference to their long-term BC provincial polls. Admittedly, was tough again locating that interview.

      http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/06/21/Pollster-Kyle-Braid/

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  2. I'd point out too by the way that 32% approval is plenty for Marois to win re-election. She got less than that in 2012 after all.

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    1. Ryan,

      In theory it is possible as the last election proved however, remember the other side of the equation; 62% disapprove. The 32% approval equals government theory only lasts so long as the 62% of people who disapprove split their vote between the CAQ and PLQ. Quebec is unique and 32% would garner the PQ more seats than in many other provinces but, I think Marois will keep the champagne on ice at least for now.

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    2. As Bede said, Marois' 32% will only get her reelected if there's a spectacular vote split like last election, which I believe is unlikely. In 2012 there was a perfect storm of unforgiving urge to punish Charest personally after a long but tired tenure, combined with an admittedly strong campaign by the CAQ which made it the de facto beneficiary of the formerly Liberal anti-Charest vote. But the "thwart-the-PQ-at-any-cost" sentiment is also always very strong in Quebec, and now that the Liberals have a seemingly respectable and capable new leader, I expect former supporters will likely flock back come crunch time.

      The big question is whether the PQ's gamble that it can fight and win the next election solely on the Charter issue will pay off. At this point the data seem to indicate it may be a miscalculation, as evidenced by Marois' approval dropping from 39% in Sep to 32% in Dec despite the Charter remaining front and centre in the headlines and public support for it holding steady around the mid-40%. Personally, I think the longer this drags on, the more voters will realize that this is indeed the only thing the PQ has to offer, while its record on a whole bunch of other equally or more important issues is very mediocre.

      Dom

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    3. It's not just a vote split though. The electoral map is inherently more favourable to the PQ than the other parties too. She may not even have to win the popular vote.

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    4. True that. Éric had a seat projection based on a poll not too long ago where they ended up winning a majority with only 34% support, in spite of the Liberals getting 38%!

      Dom

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    5. "The electoral map is inherently more favourable to the PQ" -- yes and no. Nonfrancophones are concentrated in a small number of ridings. But outside those ridings, there aren't huge ideological divisions based on region (except Beauce which is two ridings).

      So, if a party other than the PQ wins the francophone vote (even by a little bit), the PQ will win very few seats because it doesn't have any particularly strong regional base -- witness the PQ's terrible seat counts in 1971, 1973, 1985 and 1989 and the Bloc meltdown in 2011.

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    6. Goaltender - Just because a map is favourable to a party doesn't mean it will give them a miracle lol. The Liberals beat the PQ by 17% in 1985. Things would be pretty fricken scary if the PQ could win with that.

      That doesn't change the fact that in a relatively close election the PQ's vote distribution will tip the balance in their favour.

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  3. On a marginally related note, I wonder if Forum will dare risk another venture into by-election territory with the just-announced ones in Ontario. Seems like so far they've covered all federal and Ontario-provincial by-elections since 2011.

    Dom

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    1. Yes, we shall see. Both are likely to be close races, though, so plenty of scope for error.

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    2. Here's our answer, Éric:

      http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/01/17/tories_lead_in_thornhill_and_niagara_falls_poll_suggests.html

      Dom

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    3. Yes but both riding's are known as Tory "strongholds" so the only real surprise is if Hudak loses one or both.

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    4. Neither is a Tory stronghold. The Liberals are the incumbent in Niagara Falls, and Thornhill has been very close in recent elections.

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    5. Well that contradicts what I've heard on CBC radio !!

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    6. Perhaps they were referring to the by-elections that will eventually be held in Alberta, to replace two retiring Conservative MPs. Those certainly are strongholds.

      If they called the two Ontario by-elections Tory strongholds, then that is pretty inaccurate since the Liberals held one of them.

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    7. Thornhill has long Liberal roots at least federally. There also exists a sizable Jewish population that usually votes LIberal. Importantly however, that was not the case federally in 2008, 2011 when Peter Kent won by a convincing margin.

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    8. I think in fact they were referring to some polls done in the sidings pre election call.

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    9. No polls have been released for the riding before today.

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  4. I'd color Marois with a lighter shade of blue so as to make the distinction between conservatives and the Parti Québecois. The difference in political philosophies is rather important.

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    1. That is the colour I use for the PQ as it most closely matches the colour in their logo. You are certainly right that there is a distinction, but I prefer to keep things aesthetically consistent.

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  5. The current polling drought is becoming positively maddening. Angus Reid seemingly out of the game, nothing from Abacus since October, Forum uncharacteristically skipping out last month, and Nanos tantalizing us with their weekly "party power index" numbers but withholding their ballot question results. I tell ya, these are trying times for polling addicts. ;)

    Dom

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    1. If you go through the nanos documentation, somewhere about 2/3 of the way down is the first choice ballot question.... But they don't calculate the undecided, it is left separate, so you need to estimate a likely voter model

      http://assets.nationalnewswatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Nanos-jan-15.pdf

      29 lib, 27 tory, 20 ndp, 4 green, 1 bloc = 81/100....

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    2. Barcs, take another look; I'm pretty sure those are the results of the "best Prime Minister" question.

      Dom

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    3. Hmmm it appears you are right. I shall have to read the fine print more often :/

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  6. Brad's numbers going down. From what I am hearing in Health, rural issues and a huge Debt I expect to see his #'s keep going down.

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    1. Not sure where you get your information from.

      Crown debt is up a little, yes. But that is a function of actually working on (re)building the infrastructure they use. It needed some work after years of neglect.

      General debt on the books of the government (not crowns) is still down to about 1/2 of what it was when he took office. There was no stimulus here to ruin our financial position.

      As for the health issues in the rurals... in the rurals the Sask party mp's were often elected with more than 70% of the vote. And that is partially because of the rural health problems. We remember there is only one premier who ever closed rural hospitals en mass. And, Mr. Lingenfelter, the man who was Mr. Rommanow's deputy premier at the time was handed their worst election defeat since their formation more than 75 years ago.

      I am worried not at all about Mr. Wall's numbers. And barring a disaster sinking most of north america into the ocean... you can bet that come november '15 he will be easily reelected.

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    2. Wall hasn't really doe much as Premier. He has stayed the sound fiscal course established by his predecessor. That he hasn't screwed that up is laudable, and he's worthy of praise for that, but he hasn't made much other progress.

      Now, he's certainly the right man for the job in Saskatchewan today, given that the opposition, in the last election, called for province-wide wage controls (to ensure fairness), but he's far from the conservative saviour that he's perceived to be.

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    3. Romanow's finance minister was the fiscal conservative. Calvert and his... not so much.

      And much of the perceived fiscal prudence that the ndp displayed in their last few years was just not doing stuff so they could do some of the stuff they wanted. Or draining the crowns to pay for it rather than putting money back into their infrastructure (this is why crown debt has increased even as the general debt was cut in half).

      Wall is a pretty soft conservative, but he has redirected money from alot of ndp pet projects (and scandals) towards the basics like our crumbling roads and infrastructure.

      Rommanow fixed our provinces finances way back when. I'll give him that for sure. Especially as Martin was downloading costs to the provinces.

      Devine is responsible for alot of the resource revenues and prosperity we have today. But he overspent to get alot of things going (and a bunch of waste) as did all governments of all stripes in that era.

      But Wall's immediate predecessor Mr. Calvert? He coasted and spent. He did little. He was Obama on a smaller scale without his one major accomplishment the healthcare program.

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  7. Nanos is bloody useless I wish they would drop their garbage party power index and release real numbers. Every time I listen to Nanos it makes me shake my head, really.... He claims party x is up, party y is down, like its some monumental shift, when the change is 1-3% on his power index....

    What does that even signify. Was this change related to peoples second choices, was it because the leader is a little more popular this week...How does he weight those 4 questions in his power analysis? and I wonder if you mash 4 questions together as Nanos does what does that do to the statistical analysis in calculating party power....I realize there is an amount of uncertainty with each question, when you do a mash up together as a power value, is the uncertainty additive? Forgive me my statistical prowess is weak....but I am curious

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    1. With Nanos, even the question of preference for Prime Minister is unnecessrily complicated :

      "Of the current federal political
      party leaders, could you please rank your
      top two current local preferences for
      Prime Minister?"

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    2. What is a "local preference for Prime Minister"? :/

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    3. Yes, that had me scratching my head, too...

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    4. "local preference for prime minister"? can mean either: Who would you wish to be PM or Is there someone locally (presumably not a federal leader) who you would like to see be PM?

      I think Nanos is trying to answer two distinct questions at the same time-this makes little sense to me but, Perhaps there is some logic to it that I am not aware of or can not see.

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    5. There's a really good dogcatcher here my little suburb. If Nanos calls I'll give him as my local preference for Prime Minister.

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    6. Time to move to Vancouver Ryan, better quality of dogcatchers here on the West Side!

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  8. And if you want to see bad numbers wait till Hudak takes Ontario !

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    1. So have you finally given up on the OLP? Does your comment imply the Tories are destined to win the next election?

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  9. The thing which we all fail to understand is the variation in the country and it's affect on politics.

    As an example what flies good in Halifax is quite often viewed as a disaster in Vancouver and variations across the country. Toronto saysYes, Montreal says No or vice versa.

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    1. Peter,

      Generally speaking political or social cleavages in Canada have been (or are) based on language, ethnicity, religion not geography. Thus, we saw the Tories win a majority of seats in All English speaking regions of Canada in 2011.

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    2. Actually I think you are incorrect. First there are obviously far more English riding's than French.

      Second if you look at an East-West split you will see another difference.

      Sometimes simplification doesn't work bede.

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    3. Peter,

      I am afraid you are incorrect; the Tories won a majority of seats in BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and teh Atlantic. If we look at popular vote the Tories garnered 45% in BC, 44% in Ontario, 44% in New Brunswick, 41% in PEI. That is remarkable consistency. where is the East-West split in those numbers? secondly, if you look at major events in Canadian history; WWI, WWII, debate on the constitution, one most certainly does see a linguistic divide not a regional divide.

      Peter, I would appreciate if your comments toward me were more polite. I take offence when you call me "Canbede". I view your last line as an attack; "Sometimes simplification doesn't work bede". Frankly, if you are incapable in carrying polite conversation then I think it is time you take a break from this blog and preferably politics in general. At this point you are hurting the Liberal Party.

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    4. I'm with Peter on this. Your simplification doesn't explain the 1990s at all.

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    5. Ryan

      See if you can convince bede that percent of vote has no connection to the number of English or French ridings ??

      Also that simply because some person/party wins an election doesn't mean they are right just that they did a better sales job.

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    6. Ryan,

      The linguistic divide perfectly explains the 1990's: English Canada's priority was fiscal responsibility and voted for Reform who campaigned to reduce the deficit and a Liberal party that at the time was fiscally conservative and bent on eliminating the deficit. Quebec by contrast was focused on nationalism and pursued a second referendum. It was only after the referendum failed that the term "winning conditions" was applied to Quebec sovereignty.

      Peter,

      The fact there are more English than French electoral districts is not relevant to assessing whether or not cultural divides exist. Most citizens in French ridings hold different priorities compared with the priorities among in English constituencies. I would like you to explain why the number of ridings is relevant in assessing an English-French divide in this country?

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    7. " I would like you to explain why the number of ridings is relevant in assessing an English-French divide in this country?"

      Because you used the vote results as a response to my point and twisted the post to say that I was incorrect.
      But what you put here simply proves me correct.

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    8. If you are correct Peter then where is the evidence to back up your point of regional division in politics? If a regional division existed wouldn't we see that cleavage in national results?

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    9. -29 C 8 AM

      No Bede it won't show any more than your numbers of votes indicate the actual number of seats.

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    10. The numbers indicating the popular vote show the Tories win a majority of seats in those provinces.

      So once again, can you substantiate your claim or is it simply a hypothesis yet to be tested?

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    11. How about you substantiating it for a change.?? So far you have failed.

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    12. I think that's enough, no more please.

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  10. Suddenly the picture here has changed.

    Dunderdale has resigned effective Friday.

    Can't say I'm sorry to see her go !!

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