Thursday, July 2, 2015

Liberals still lead in Newfoundland and Labrador, NDP making gains

If the Liberals are looking for some good news on the polling front, Newfoundland and Labrador is probably the best place to look. The latest poll from Abacus Data for VOCM shows the federal (and provincial) Liberals are still well in front in the province, the only one the party won in the 2011 federal election.

It means that most of the contests in Newfoundland and Labrador should be easy enough to call, with the exception of one. As far as political drama goes on the Rock, it could all be limited to the battle for St. John's South - Mount Pearl.

The Liberals led in this poll with 53% support, down five points since Abacus Data's last poll of February 17-25.

The New Democrats leap-frogged the Conservatives into second place, jumping 12 points to 28%. The Tories fell eight points to 15%.

Another 3% said they would vote for another party (recall that in 2011 the Greens fell just short of 1% in this province), while 14% were undecided.

The trend has been a very positive one for the New Democrats, who were at just 13% in Newfoundland and Labrador in Abacus's poll of July-August 2014. The Conservatives have been on a consistent slide since then, down 12 points overall. That the Liberals are down just one point from that poll one year ago suggests the recent decrease is, in relative terms, very modest.

What isn't modest is the increase that Thomas Mulcair has experienced in the province. In February, just 28% of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians said they had a positive impression of the NDP leader. That has jumped 15 points to 43%, putting him in a tie with Justin Trudeau (down three points). But Mulcair's negative rating, at 14%, is a third less than Trudeau's 21%.

The two are miles ahead of Stephen Harper, though. Only 14% have a positive impression of the Prime Minister, while 69% have a negative one. And that latter score is up five points since February. The Conservatives don't stand much of a chance anywhere in the province.

The regional results demonstrate that quite clearly. The Conservatives did no better than 21%, in eastern Newfoundland, and that put them 46 points behind the Liberals. The New Democrats, trailing by at least 34 points outside of the Avalon Peninsula and St. John's, are also not in the running outside of the capital, where they experienced a significant boost since the February poll.

And that pretty much sums up much of the race in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Liberals look very safe in Labrador and in the three ridings west of the Avalon Peninsula (which is pretty much how Abacus divided up its poll).

With the province wide numbers, and looking at the seat projection model, the Liberals would likely win Avalon quite comfortably by some 20 points. St. John's East should still be a landslide for the NDP's Jack Harris (50-60 points).

St. John's South - Mount Pearl is where it is interesting. The model gives the Liberals the slight edge, at 43% for Seamus O'Regan to 40% for the NDP's incumbent MP Ryan Cleary. But that is a tiny advantage considering the margin of error of the Abacus poll itself and the margin of error of the seat projection model. It means the riding is a legitimate toss-up, and the only game in town.

Having a Ball, ball in Ball's court, a whole new Ball game, etc.

There will be another election in Newfoundland and Labrador this year, the provincial one scheduled for November 30. Abacus polled this race too, and found virtually identical numbers to the federal contest. The provincial Liberals scored 53% as well, with the governing Progressive Conservatives slightly more popular than their federal cousins at 21%, and the provincial NDP slightly less popular than their federal brothers and sisters at 25%.

The provincial regional results were also very similar to those at the federal level.

But the breakdown of how voters feel about the three provincial leaders is worth a closer look.

Dwight Ball of the Liberals is the most popular leader, with the highest positive rating at 44% and the lowest negative rating at 16%. That is a slight worsening from his scores in February, but within the margin of error.

Earle McCurdy of the NDP also has some good numbers, particularly for such a new leader. His 36% positive rating is better than Premier Paul Davis, and his 19% negative rating is quite low.

At first glance, the numbers for Davis aren't so bad. His negative rating is far lower than Harper's, and a good 38% of people still have a firm opinion of him to form. His positive rating, at 32%, is not so far behind the others.

But the trend lines are bad. His positive rating has held steady, but his negative rating has ballooned from 11% in February. All of the people who have formed a new opinion of Davis over the last few months have formed a negative one. That is not what you want heading into an election.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians may not be giving Davis much of a chance. Fully two-thirds think the Liberals will win in November, and 63% agree that the Liberals are 'ready to be government'. That contrasts sharply to the 37% who say the same about the NDP, but a strong showing in October's federal election may have an impact. It could be an interesting election yet!


  1. As long as the Harpers Cons are losing do we care who ??

    1. Why do leftists assume everyone else on the internet is a leftist?

    2. Those of us who retain our sanity!

  2. I've used ThreeHundredEight's projected poll numbers in my website to help Canadians realize the importance of ridings:
    Thanks! :)

  3. I'm happy to see that transit tax was defeated in Greater Vancouver.

    Chalk one up for citizens recognising that their local governments need to use the money they have more efficiently, rather than asking for more.

    1. Chalk one up for short-sighted penny pinching. To "use the money they have more efficiently" they'd need to cut completely capital expenditures on housing, parks, community facilities, transportation, and utilities (81.7% of the capital budget). There was a well structured plan on the economic benefits resulting from the tax, but there is no comparison to doing it through "efficiencies". It's just like the fallacies of Rob Ford.

    2. " It's just like the fallacies of Rob Ford."

      No it's typical Conservative fallacies !

    3. When I lived in Vancouver (for 12 years), I was repeatedly asked to vote on borrowing. Vancouver needs permission to borrow money program by program.

      And I always voted against it, not because I didn't think the program was worthwhile (I honestly never even checked what the money was for), but because I knew they were already spending at least that much of stuff they didn't need.

      Did you know that Vancouver has an entire extra level of government just for parks?

      Vancouver irresponsibly ran up massive amounts of debt as a result of the Olympics. They need to deal with that before they raise people's taxes or borrow any more money.

      Burnaby and Surrey are both better run cities.

    4. Burnaby and Surrery are both part of the Metro Vancouver that voted this down. Blindly voting no on an ideological basic is like saying we are struggling to pay our mortgage, so we won't fix the ice jamming in the gutters.

  4. One thing worth noting in the Abacus federal poll in NL is that respondents still expected the Liberals to win the election nationally by a very wide margin - as i recall 42% expect the Liberals to win 21% expect the CPC to win and 19% expect the NDP to its worth considering what happens to vote intention in NL if we get into October and the NDP is clearly consistently ahead of the Liberals in the polls and it becomes apparent that there is little or no chance of the liberals forming a government. i wonder how many people planning to vote Liberal in rural NL start to have second thoughts when it dawns on them that they will NOT be electing a government MP and that voting liberal will NOT mean that their roads will magically get paved faster...just something to consider

    1. Family history/tradition and voting behaviour can be averse to change.

      In the face of the flourish of vigorus opinion-making and perception-shaping yet to come, there is reason to expect the Liberal / NDP voter-intention gap to close.
      This developement could be the continuance of the trend already underway.

      If the federal NDP voter-intention holds and grows, Nfld. / Labrador folks will be torn between old behaviour and a new choice/action.

      DL, you make a valid point: what will develope here when perception meets reality.

      My view sides with stubborn political tradition: the Lib / NDP gap will close, yet the Libs. will prevail in Nfld. and Labrador as voters choose to stay with third party federal representation.

    2. Eric what's up with allowing the CPC haters like Peter free reign?

    3. We have just as many right-wing boosters who are out to lunch here, so turnabout is fair play. And Last I checked having on opinion isn't counter to being involved.

      If you're going to start moaning and banning about CPC hate then I can ask for bans over left-wing hate and posters who out right lie.

  5. I'm not suggesting that the NDP is suddenly going to sweep all of Newfoundland...more that the gap would narrow further which would cement Ryan Cleary's hold on St. John South-Mount Pearl and possibly blow the contest in Avalon wide open...the other four seats are likely to stay liberal no matter what - though its worth noting that the NDP had had flash in the pan wins and near wins in the past in west coast NL (1978-79), Bonavista-Trinity-Conception (near win in 1997), Grand falls White Bay Labrador (near win in 1979)...when all is said and done I expect NL will end up being 5 Libs and 2 NDP - with an outside chance of it flipping to 4-3

  6. It isn't surprising in the least that Earle McCurdy is doing well. The NDP were moribund at 9% when Earle took office.

    He's very, very well known and respected in NFLD as a powerful union boss and former head of the Food, Fisheries and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) and led the union through the toughest years of the 1992 cod moratorium and resigned in fall of last year.

    Earle can certainly produce a strong showing for the New Democrats. Long live Earle.

  7. That new federal EKOS poll is interesting, I think, because of the Green number. EKOS has typically shown very strong results for the Green party, and now it has them down under 7%.

    Perhaps Green support outside of Vancouver Island is moving to the other parties?

    1. I think that Greens support is moving back to the NDP on Vancouver Island as well. In my riding (Victoria), a few weeks ago it seemed like it was a straight three-way race between the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens. Now, from talking to people I know, it seems as though its going to be a blow-out for the NDP. Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke looks to be an easy hold for the NDP (Although the Conservatives are campaigning very strongly here), and they now seem competitive in May's riding, believe or not, even without a candidate. Every other seat on the Island seems like its going to go NDP, with the sole exception of John Duncan in Courtenay-Alberni (And even then, the NDP taking him out is almost likely)

  8. Notley's approval in Alberta has plummeted...Wildrose has taken over....wonder if the drop in NDP support in Alberta will affect Mulcair's numbers federally.

    1. I doubt it. The rest of Canada saw the election result, but they don't follow the polls.

      I expected Alberta to turn to WR eventually once they saw how the NDP would govern, but I figured the NDP had a year or so before that happened.

    2. Alberta has not 'turned to the Wild Rose', Ira.

      This poll represents little more than the first in a long line of polling aggregation.

      Expect many different polling results over 48 months or more; n'est ce pas?

    3. It's barely been a month and already you're predicting the end of the NDP in Alberta? I know you right-wing boosters are looking of any excuse to tare down the NDP but really this is just sad.

      There are four year to go before the next Alberta election maybe you should keep take a wait and see approach and save your energy

    4. Harper needs to focus on his collapsing federal numbers not the provincial numbers.

      The Liberals seem to have stopped the bleeding and are now statistically tied with the
      floundering Conservatives who are over 12 points back from their majority achievement in 2011.


      Stephen Harper has the steady approval of 3-in-10 (31% this week, 30% last week) and his net score is an abysmal -30.

    5. And when we add in the depressing economic numbers it will get worse !

    6. I didn't say Alberta had "turned to the Wild Rose" - I said I expected them to, but not yet.

  9. Actually Notley's personal approval is still well over 50% - to people in the rest of Canada all that matter is that they saw an unpopular long-in-the-tooth Conservative government get crushed by the NDP and cemented the NDP's image as the party that can kill of Conservative governments. Within Alberta the NDP was never looking at more than 5 or 6 ridings - all in Edmonton where the NDP is still extremely popular. If we want to talk about the impact of provincial governments on the federal election, the bigger problem is for the Liberals since there are EXTREMELY unpopular Liberal governments in Ontario, BC, Quebec and now New Brunswick...and the McNeil government in NS is also seeing its numbers collapse

  10. The recent decision by the Conservatives to reject Ches Crosby, son of former Conservative cabinet minister, John Crosby, begs asking whether the Harper government has given up trying to win a seat any wheres in Newfoundland.
    Crosbie had a very good chance of winning the seat after the Liberal Scott Andrews was forced to sit as an independent after a scandal.
    Crosbie was probably the only one who had a real chance to win a Tory seat and now that is all gone for no good reason.
    With blunders like that, it begs the question of what else is happening in the party across the country?
    If the Harper Conservatives continue on this path they will not only fall into third place behind the NDP and Liberals but may well have to fight the Bloc for third
    party status.
    It happened once before it could happen again.

    1. Crosbie seemed like a good candidate. If Harper really rejected the nomination because Crosbie did an impresssion of him (comedically slaying Mike Duffy) for charity, then that does not speak well of Harper's judgment, political or otherwise.

      Turning the Mike Duffy story into anything other than what it is would be a terrific play for the Tories.

    2. It's much more likely that Ches, like his father before him, would be an independant and outspoken voice — and a voice for Newfoundland would be irritating to Harper, if not a downright threat. Not to mention corrupt senator David Wells' interference and Ches is currently in a class-action lawsuit regarding thousands of people regarding Residential schools.

      Remember, the TRC did not evaluate Newfoundland and Labrador. NL gets screwed YET again.

      I really hope Ches runs as an independent. Hell, I hope his 84 year old father runs. For that matter, I hope the old federal PC party is resurrected.

    3. More likely, they rejected him because he's expected to the lead lawyer for NFLD aboriginals in this September's court proceedings to address compensation that they, unlike other Canadian first nation's people, have not received. Harper is totally against their claims as his position is Newfoundland was not a part of the Confederation until 1949.

  11. Folks, it is a long way to the election. While certain trends are unlikely to slow (NDP growth in Northern Canada), the major population centres are still up for grabs, and that's where the vast majority of the seats are.

    While I personally think the Conservatives are going to loose a lot of seats, I could easily be wrong.

  12. " begs the question...what else is happening in the (Conservative) party across the country?"
    It is safe to say Harper's Conservative Party government is imploding under the wieght of its' unpopular leader and his fascist-style, autocratic governance.

    Take note of recent resignations of key insiders: Cabinet Ministers. They made their decisions based on what they know, going forward.

    PM Harper will now face this election - alone.

    Pierre Polievre, Harper's most loyal apologist,
    will fail to spin the Conservative Party's government out of this re-election cycle.


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