Monday, April 27, 2015

Liberals favoured in closer PEI race

Prince Edward Island is holding its provincial election on May 4, a day before the vote occurs in Alberta. The PEI campaign has been over-shadowed by the dramatics in the West in polling as well.

The most recent poll (and if the 2011 campaign is any indication, perhaps the last poll) was commissioned by The Guardian and published on Saturday. It comes from the Corporate Research Associates, and shows Wade MacLauchlan's Liberals in a good position to be re-elected.

But at 44%, the Liberals' margin over the Progressive Conservatives has been reduced. The party has fallen 14 points since CRA last polled between February 9-28, though that was before Rob Lantz was named the Tories' new leader.

The PCs were up nine points to 35%, followed by the New Democrats at 15% (+3) and the Greens at 6% (+2).

Of the total sample, 13% was undecided (another 6% refused to answer or said they would not vote).

That 44% is the lowest the PEI Liberals have managed since August 2013, and it is just the third poll since the 2011 election to put the party below 45%. They captured 51% of the vote in October 2011.

For the PCs, this is their best poll since that election, when they took 40%.

The New Democrats appear to have halted their decline, after dropping over six consecutive quarterly polls from 32% in August 2013.

Is MacLauchlan the problem? Probably not. With 38% saying he would make the best premier, that puts him better or equal to where Robert Ghiz stood between June 2012 and February 2014.

It is instead the performance of Lantz, who with 28% jumped 18 points over interim leader Steven Myers's numbers, and is the highest any leader of the PCs has managed since before the 2011 election.

By contrast, the 10% that Mike Redmond scored as leader of the NDP was his worst.

Another poll emerged out of Prince Edward Island recently, coming from Abingdon Research. A B.C.-based firm that works mostly with conservative parties (but says it has no clients in PEI), the poll was passed over by the media. The results are broadly similar to what CRA found.

It put the Liberals at 43%, followed by the Tories at 27%, the NDP at 18%, and the Greens at 12%. The combined score for the parties that were not represented in the legislature (30%) is extraordinarily high.

One big asterisk for this poll is that it was conducted online. PEI is a small province, and building a representative panel for it has got to be tricky.

I have not developed a complete model for the PEI election, due to the province's history of having very little polling. But a generic swing model, taking into account each of the two polls' margin of error (hypothetical, in the case of Abingdon), gives us an idea of what to expect.

It gives us a Liberal majority, though one that could potentially be won by the skin of MacLauchlan's teeth. But that is at the extreme of CRA's margin of error, which puts the two parties virtually in a tie.

With CRA's poll, the Liberals would win between 14 and 24 seats, enough to secure another majority government. The Tories would win between three and 13 seats, setting them up for a slightly better performance than they had in 2011.

Abingdon gives the Liberals a more comfortable edge, with the closest seat count being 19 for the Liberals and eight for the PCs.

Neither poll shows the NDP or Greens with enough strength to win a seat, on paper at least. If the NDP does end up near 18%, I imagine Redmond could secure his seat. The same goes for Peter Bevan-Baker of the Greens, particularly if they take 12% of the vote. New Brunswickers recently showed that a Green leader can be elected even if the party finishes in fourth place, so PEI could do the same.

Barring a dramatic turn in fortunes brought on by the upcoming leaders debates, the Liberals look like they will be returned with a majority government. But there are not a lot of voters that need to be swung in PEI, so hold off on your bets.

34 comments:

  1. You have to love when a close race means a plausible result of 0 seats for the opposition.

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  2. What is even more amazing is the sample size of the polls. I thought to myself: "511" is an odd sample size".

    Then, I realised 511 equals .5 of 1% of the population of PEI which is an enormous sample.

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    1. Though the population size actually does not affect the accuracy of a sample (for things like MOE). Except in extreme cases, where you could say, sample everyone. Then you have the population and not the sample.

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  3. Eric .... been a while since you posted on 308 on the Federal polls. We have had a budget, a budget by Ontario and you have added a couple of polls to your federal forecast

    The latest of the polls is a tiny IVR poll by Forum n=977 that somehow almost has as much weight as the EKOS n=3850.??

    You chose to include the Nanos poll which did not ask the clear question of who would you vote for in an election held today but rather rank the top 2 parties.

    If you would have left Nanos out (Nanos is doing a rolling poll but did not previously publish the top-ranked party info that they had gathered) the CPC would have a statistical valid lead over the Liberals.

    Even with the 32-31 lead of the CPC over the Liberal is note worthy when compared to the 38-30 Liberal lead you were calculating and posting 6 months ago.

    an article about how the polls are indicating the Liberal party is in in free fall (as indicated by the polls) might be warranted? Has any other federal opposition party ever fallen so far and so fast oustside of an election campaign?

    In 2011 election campaign Liberals and/or the Bloc Q dropped as much and the 1993 PCs as well, but that was after the election was called.

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    1. PEI and Alberta are having an election next week, and take priority.

      I write weekly articles for the CBC about federal polls, I consider it part of my body of work.

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    2. Nanos's differing methodology strengthens the projection, rather than weakening it.

      The Forum poll happened over two days rather than the 6 EKOS took, so its data is significantly newer.

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    3. Interesting result in that PEI poll ??

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    4. Also nanos is releasing (just recently?) the first choice ballot question/results so your statement about them not is incorrect.

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    5. BCVR, perhaps the reason that Eric is not always dropping everything else to muse about this "free fall" of the Liberal party you so love to exaggerate is that he is running a polling website, not a ax-grinding business.

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    6. One of Eric's recent articles on CBC did discuss the decline in Liberal poll numbers in quite a bit of detail.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-s-liberals-lose-lead-to-tories-for-1st-time-in-2-years-1.3032586

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    7. That's correct Ryan but Nanos was showing the same thing. Since then there has been a resurgence in Liberal support as displayed by Nanos weekly polling.

      Now the Tories are third just behind the NDP and well back of the Liberals.

      So all we can say right now is that a state of flux exists !!

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    8. Nanos seems to be an outlier right now. Nanos has a very good track record, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but the reality is all other pollsters are showing a decline to parity or below parity with the Conservatives.

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    9. It's important to keep in mind the differing methodologies, as well. Nanos uses live callers and no prompts. Letting people choose from a list sometimes produces very different results from not offering them a list at all.

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  4. Half of PEI isn't online, so I wouldn't go by the polls much. It's going to be close!

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    1. As of 2012, 80% of PEI used home internet access.

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  5. I missed this CROP federal poll of Quebec, published on 25 April :

    http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/politique/politique-canadienne/201504/24/01-4864316-sondage-crop-la-presse-trudeau-en-baisse-au-quebec.php?utm_categorieinterne=trafficdrivers&utm_contenuinterne=cyberpresse_meme_auteur_4864316_article_POS2

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  6. As of April 28 Nanos has the Liberals way ahead nationally so a win in PEI isn't unexpected.

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    1. Peter,

      Those are not polling numbers but, Nanos' amorphous PartyPowerIndex. Nanos makes the numbers look like they come from polling but, are an aggregate compiled from a number of questions including best PM, 1st and second preference etc...

      Also while the Liberals are ahead by 5.5 points-that is juxtaposed by the Tories stopping a six week slide on the index.

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    2. bede you seem to think I care ?? Anything that hurts the Tories works for me ! And Cameron is dead meat to !!

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    3. Poor spelling hurts Liberals Peter!

      Cameron is almost assured to remain PM. Miliband is a disaster, Labour's Ignatiev, Miliband has lost Scotland! Such a result would have been inconceivable not so long ago. Nate Silver predicts the Tories will win a plurality and the way things are going for Labour a Conservative majority is not out of the question or at least a second Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition.

      You should care about what you write Peter, because by stating: "the Liberals way ahead nationally" you are being disingenuous as well as factually incorrect! You are actually hurting the Liberals as you give them a false sense of security. Hardly matters I agree Trudeau has already lost or rather Harper has already won the election!

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  7. and Boom there goes Nanos.

    In his rolling poll released April 22 with 4 week rolling poll ending April 17 and n=834 nanos publishes the First Ranked Choice

    " For those parties you would consider voting for federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences?"

    A week later he decides not to publish this in his weekly poll release.

    Why was this not released for this poll? What is the criteria that Nanos uses to release his poll information?

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    1. Whether CTV paid for it, I suspect.

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    2. I don't think so. Those numbers go out weekly to Nanos's paying subscribers. He once in awhile decides to release some numbers to the wider public. I imagine it is more out of interest than anything else, to change up his appearances on PowerPlay.

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  8. Éric,

    Just a little fun: with polls in Great Britain showing the Liberal Democrats in big trouble, I predict another Conservative minority -- this time being propped up by the UKIP. Maybe my gut is full of it. We'll find out soon enough.

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    1. The Lib Dems seem to think that's a possibility. They're actively warning voters against a "Bluekip" coalition.

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    2. UKIP's votes are too dispersed. They're slated for a Kim Campbell result - lots of votes and virtually no seats. The Lib Dems should be able to hang on to 20-30.

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    3. UKIP has little chance of winning enough seats to prop up the Tories; maybe with Unionists from Northern Ireland a majority could be eeked out but, looking like a hung parliament unless Cameron gets a last minute boost.

      On the plus side Miliband is looking more and more hopeless, at this stage of the game he is likely loosing the Labour party votes by the day. Labour will be expelled from Scotland and without those automatic 40+ M.P.s have no chance of winning a majority and a very small chance of winning a plurality.

      It is beginning to look like 1974 all over again!

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    4. UKIP will do well to win three seats, I think (Clacton, East Ham, South Thanet). Anything beyond that would require unexpected local weakness from a major party.

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    5. Not East Ham. Thurrock. I meant Thurrock.

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    6. The problem with UKIP is their local organisation is weak. They only hold 360 councillors out of 20,000+. with a big enough swing it doesn't matter but, they've stagnated in the mid-teens in the polls.

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  9. What would be interesting is if it ends up with the PC's and Libs tied and the Greens win their leaders seat (as per the Green Party poll that was released). We could have a minority situation with the Green Party holding the balance of power which would be a first. Given the poll was done pre-debate and Elizabeth May is there to help today I think his chances of winning are very good.

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  10. That new Abacus poll is interesting, because it marks the first time since Mar 2013 that the Tories have lead in three consecutive published polls (across all pollsters).

    These three polls have been from EKOS, Forum, and Abacus, which really do run the gamut of bias. Forum consistently has the highest Liberal numbers. EKOS tends to overvalue the Greens, but undervalue both Liberals and Tories. And Abacus used to be the contracted pollster for Sun News.

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  11. Will28 April, 2015 15:04
    BCVR, perhaps the reason that Eric is not always dropping everything else to muse about this "free fall" of the Liberal party you so love to exaggerate is that he is running a polling website, not a ax-grinding business.


    Carl Szczerski28 April, 2015 17:56
    +1 to Will

    To this I say 5 comments on the PEI article 6 comments on the British election and 22 and counting comments on Canadian Federal election. (On a site that is named for the Canadian Federal election)

    By the way the latest Abacus poll just adds to the Liberals being in free fall.

    Another 2 months following the trend they are on the Liberals might be looking for a new leader for the October election.

    Maybe they can have Mr. Garneau as the Liberal representative at the debates rather than just Ms. May.

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