Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NDP gains, Liberals drop in Atlantic Canada

The latest polling from the Corporate Research Associates shows that the New Democrats have made impressive gains in Atlantic Canada over the last few months, with big increases in each of the region's four provinces. The gains have come primarily at the expense of the Liberals, but that party is nevertheless on track to win a majority of the region's seats.

The Liberals led in the region-wide poll with 43% support, a steep drop from the 56% that CRA pegged the Liberals to be at in February.

The New Democrats were up 15 points to 29%, while the Conservatives were down two points to 24%. The Greens were unchanged at 4%.

Undecideds, would-not-votes, and non-responses totaled 41%. While that might seem very high, note that CRA does not ask a follow-up 'leaning' question outside of an election campaign, contrary to what most other pollsters do.

Justin Trudeau scored highest on who would make the best prime minister with 36%, followed by Thomas Mulcair at 22% and Stephen Harper at 19%. After taking out the undecideds, these numbers are virtually identical to party support, and the shift for each of the leaders mirrors that for their respective parties.

What is most interesting about CRA's polling is that it allows us to look at the party standings in each of the region's four provinces.

The results were generally uniform, with the Liberals leading in all four provinces with between 40% and 47%. The NDP placed second in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia (where the margin was smallest), and Prince Edward Island. The Conservatives were second only in New Brunswick.

Compared to CRA's last poll, and taking into account the margin of error, the shift in voting intentions was generally uniform throughout the region. New Brunswick bucked the trend, though, with the Liberals sliding only a little and the Conservatives dropping quite a bit more than they did elsewhere in Atlantic Canada.

The drama comes when we compare these numbers to the 2011 election. The NDP is almost back to where it was in 2011, up two points from that score in Nova Scotia (to 32% in CRA's polling) and 11 points in PEI (to 26%), and down three points in both Newfoundland and Labrador (to 30%) and New Brunswick (to 26%).

The Liberals, however, have taken a huge chunk of the vote away from the Conservatives, even in light of this more recent drop. The party is up four points over its 2011 performance in PEI (to 45%), nine point in Newfoundland and Labrador (to 47%), 12 points in Nova Scotia (to 41%), and 17 points in New Brunswick (to 40%).

The Conservatives have dropped six points in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2011 (to 22%), 14 points in Nova Scotia (to 23%), 16 points in New Brunswick (to 28%), and 21 points in Prince Edward Island (to 20%). Those are some huge shifts in support in four years.

In terms of seats, the Liberals would take the lion's share. They'd win five in New Brunswick, six in Nova Scotia, all four in PEI, and five in Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 20. The New Democrats and Conservatives would each win six seats. Three of them would come for the NDP in Nova Scotia, two in Newfoundland and Labrador, and one in New Brunswick. The Conservatives would win four seats in New Brunswick and two in Nova Scotia.

The shift in voting intentions since February is too large to be a blip (click on CRA's PDF for the comically enormous swing in their tracking chart). And other polls have shown the NDP on the uptick in Atlantic Canada and the Liberals slipping, as shown by the polling averages chart below (before the inclusion of the CRA poll).

Polling averages before inclusion of CRA poll
That the Conservatives are on track for a drubbing in Atlantic Canada seems clear, as they have been struggling in the region for most of the last four years. They will put up a tough fight in a limited number of ridings, however.

The real question is whether the movement between the Liberals and NDP is part of a trend or just a new reality. Will the NDP continue to climb until the two parties pass each other, or will the Liberals retain their double-digit lead?

39 comments:

  1. Where does the projection put the parties in Central Nova using CRA's Nova Scotia numbers?

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    1. It would still go to the Tories. Would need a major local effect to oust them there, one that the model is unlikely to replicate.

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    2. Who would come in second?

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    3. I have the CPC also, by more than 20%. Same as Éric, I don't think any model can show anything else unless local polls show otherwise.

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    4. LPC is second in my model (by about 3-4% IIRC, but I don't have the numbers in front of me).

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  2. And the CPC crashes further minus Mackay !!

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    1. I expect the decline caused Mackay's departure, rather than the other way around.

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  3. Do you factor regional polls like this one into your overall analysis and projections?

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  4. I think the NDP would need to be closer to 40% support in NS to win Central Nova. At this point I think it's quite likely that they'll retain their current seats, though I'd be pretty guarded about any gains. I guess we'll see in the fall.

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  5. With the CRA numbers, my model gives:

    18 LPC
    8 CPC
    6 NDP

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  6. What do you mean by "Compared to CRA's poll" at the start of eighth paragraph?

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    1. I meant their last poll. I've edited.

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  7. Does anyone know if there's been any polls done on specific riding like Central Nova? Would the different political parties be in the field after Peter MacKay's announcement. and how much weight to you give to internal party polling?

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  8. I'm amazed that even 22% of Newfoundlanders gave the tories a thought. I suspect this might be a result of a slight bit of confusion regarding our own PC government on the way out with an election November 30th.

    Either way, I'm predicting 4 Liberal wins and 3 NDP for the province.
    Coast of Bays—Central—Isles of Notre Dame will go to Scott Simms,
    St John's South—Mt Pearl and St John's East go to NDP Ryan Cleary and Jack Harris respectively,
    Liberal Judy Foote will take Bonavista—Burin—Trinity,
    notoriously unpopular MP Gerry Byrne is jumping to provincial politics so I say NDP take Long Range Mountains,
    That leaves Labrador, which while Liberal Yvonne Jones is very popular is able to flip to the NDP (Tories aren't even close to taking it) and Avalon, which may go to Conservative Ches Crosbie or Liberal Ken McDonald

    Eric, have you given Ches Crosbie the star bonus? He's one of the richest men in the province, a successful lawyer and son of legendary John Crosbie. That is certainly a riding to watch

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  9. Aggregated polling trendlines strongly suggest voting intentions are building momentum with Tom Mulcair and the New Democrats.

    It's safe to say, at this point, people intend to change their Federal government: the desire to move on... to move forward, seems more apparent with each passing week.

    *Duceppe's offer? ...the never-ending "Dance of
    Duelling Nations".
    *Harper's offer? ...an autocat that mails pre-election cheques to our Superbox.
    *Mulcair's offer? ...bearded-wisdom behind daycare, infrastructure and economy.
    *Trudeau's offer? ...a neophyte that will get back to us, closer to the Election, with specific platitudes.

    Pick one.
    May the best country win:)

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    1. "It's safe to say, at this point, people intend to change their Federal government: the desire to move on... to move forward, seems more apparent with each passing week."

      Yes it does and yet some on here can't see the forest for the trees. Everything this Govt is touching seems to be failing yet they keep on supporting it. Sad but their lesson is approaching !!

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    2. Fresh Orange - You made them all sound awful, so that's probably about right.

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    3. Ira,

      I'm starting to think your issue with Mulcair is the beard, facial hair shouldn't be a detraction to good policy.

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    4. Actually, in this case it was the daycare. I don't approve of large-scale government-funded daycare. Clearly we need some daycare spots available, and I like the idea of parents not necessarily having to carry the full cost of that daycare. But I'm wary of any system that will implicitly encourage the use of daycare, because that's an unnecessary level of social engineering. I would like enough daycare spots available to serve current needs. If a new program, however, distorted the market and created extra demand, then we're just spending extra money on daycare we didn't need to spend.

      Daycare should work like healthcare - there should be rationing of a limited supply.

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    5. Quebec's daycare program hasn't resulted in scads of people flocking to take advantage. It's addressed a demonstrable public need, and done so quite well, though they lowballed the price initially. I agree with your concern about excessive social engineering, but I don't think the NDP's proposed daycare plan qualifies as that.

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    6. None of the NDP policies do anything close to Social Engineering, and in as far as I understand them the policies either promote a more just and equal Canada or are there because Canada needs them.

      Though I would love to debate any particular policy that is obvious Social Engineering.

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    7. I'm more concerned with Canada being fair than it being just or equal. I have yet to find a meaningful definition of justice, in fact. I've been looking for years.

      And equality can mean many different things. It is often used to describe programs which seem to me to promote inequality quite explicitly.

      But, all that really matters is the details of the programs themselves, not the motives behind them. I don't really care what government programs are supposed to achieve; I care what they actually achieve.

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  10. The riding to watch in Nova Scotia is Cumberland-Colchester which is currently held by Conservative Scott Armstrong. He is up against the former Conservative party MP, Bill Casey who was forced out of the Tory caucus and sat as an independent until winning re-election as an independent. He is running for the Liberals and is quite likely to win the seat. He is extremely popular. The Tories are obviously worried as the polls are showing the riding in a statistical tie and Harper and his wife have both been to the riding in recent weeks.

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  11. It is easy for a voter to voice his displeasure over a phone or online. The harder thing is to get that voter to actually vote on the election. Therefore, we should all remember that these are voting intentions. Even if polls in October suggest these results, the actual election results may be significantly different. I think that the voter turnout will prove pivotal for the Conservatives - they will be counting on a low turnout, knowing that their "core" supporters are more likely to vote. Personally, I think the Conservative support is slightly underestimated, even with the incumbency bonus.

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    1. I think pollsters understand that phenomenon and adjust their numbers accordingly. Pollsters have been doing well in the last few provincial elections.

      The Conservatives were never really that strong in Atlantic Canada to begin with. These numbers seem realistic when looking at the overall trend.

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    2. That leads me to wonder about something Surat ? What would happen if a voter could vote over the net rather than go to the voting place ??

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    3. I remember that same talk during the Alberta election... Conservative turnout was indeed critical, it won them two or three more seats.

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    4. @ Big Jay
      Perhaps the pollsters did adjust well. But the Alberta 2012 and BC 2013 elections are still fresh on my mind. I think the federal election is hard to predict. And I still think the Conservative support is underestimated (in 2011, the pollsters all said to expect another minority). Of course this is not 2011, but counting the Cons out at this stage is a foolish idea.

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    5. @ Peter Meldrum
      This is certainly an idea that has crossed many minds in the past. Online voting is tempting since it can boost turnout. But I have a problem with security - hacking and fraud mainly.

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    6. I agree there are potential problems but I think they are relatively easy to handle successfully so I would like to see at least a trial run.

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    7. I like having a barrier to voting (like having to travel to the polling station to do it). People who are insufficiently interested or engaged are motivated serve only to add noise to the signal.

      If our objective is to elect the candidates who actually have popular support, we should want those disinterested people to vote less, not more.

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    8. I like the idea of voting being a sort of 'community' event that you have to actively participate in. You feel a sense of civic duty when you trek out to the polls to cast a ballot. Not so much when you do it in your pyjamas at home.

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    9. @Surat Jalaov
      I don't think it's Conservative support that is widely underestimated, I think it is their ground game. They consistently poll well in an older demographic - one that votes religiously - and they have a very sophisticated GOTV machine. That factor is especially evident when they're up against a surging but relatively inexperienced opponent, as was the case with Wild Rose in 2012. This advantage can turn an election with a 8- or 10-point gap, but it fails to deliver when an anti-incumbent sentiment is stronger, as in Alberta 2015. There is a strong anti-incumbent movement nationally at present - it remains to be seen whether it will similarly overwhelm the well-oiled Conservative election machine.

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  12. NDP numbers have improved, but they need to improve their ground game with quality candidates. Not sure if they found somebody to replace their sole New Brunswick MP Yvon Godin.

    I wonder if enough time has passed that Nova Scotia MLAs in Dexter's government can run for the federal NDP. It happened in Ontario where former government MPPs made the transition to federal politics.

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  13. Today's Forum polling news

    Harper’s approval tumbles
    Prime Minister Harper has the approval of just more than one quarter of voters
    (28%), down from one third two weeks ago (33%) and his net favourable score
    (approve minus disapprove) is an abysmal -34, down from -27 last time. These are
    the lowest approval ratings we have recorded for this Prime Minister.

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  14. Don't count the conservatives out yet. If the conservatives are underestimated by just 2% (historic average underestimation of a united conservative front), and this is taken away from the NDP, the Conservatives are again on top. This, combined with the fact that most political attack ads to this point have been focused on Harper & Trudeau, shows less stability for the NDP than one would think. Once the ads & media catch up with Mulcair's flaws (let's face it - everyone has them), we will once again see a political three horse race. With the left being split, Harper stands a good chance of pushing his way through the centre, into his fourth mandate. Never underestimate the Conservatives.

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    1. And the ads showing Harper's flaws won't hurt him? It is Harper's enormous flaws that are driving his leadership numbers into the toilet. He will be very lucky to get a minority.

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  15. your back! was starting to get the shakes. .

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