Monday, September 06, 2010

New CRA/TJ poll looks good for PCs

A new poll on Friday means some big changes for my predictions. No fewer than 9 seats are affected.

First, the poll analysis...

My biggest pet peeve is when pollsters don't state the margin of error for the sub-samples that they break out.

Here is the meat on the CRA poll, with those margins.

Decided vote (sample of 646)
PC 42%
Lib 41%
NDP 10%
Green 4%
MOE +/- 3.9%

Decided and leaning vote (sample of 1065)
PC 26%
Lib 25%
NDP 6%
Green 2%
Won't vote/refused 14%
Undecided 25%
MOE +/- 3.0%

Decided and leaning by region*

"Northern NB" (sample of 367)
PC 26%
Lib 26%
NDP 6%
Green 1%
Won't vote/refused 13%
Undecided 27%
MOE +/- 5.1%

"Southern NB" (sample of 462)
PC 26%
Lib 24%
NDP 7%
Green 2%
Won't vote/refused 13%
Undecided 25%
MOE +/- 4.6%

"Moncton and area" (sample of 236)
PC 26%
Lib 25%
NDP 5%
Green 4%
Won't vote/refused 16%
Undecided 24%
MOE +/- 6.4%

* these regions are not defined by the pollster or the newspaper. For the purposes of this analysis I will assume that the north is approximately Victoria, Madawaska, Restigouche, Gloucester and Northumberland counties, the south is Kings, Queens, Saint John, Charlotte, York, Sunbury and Carleton counties and Greater Moncton is Kent, Westmorland and Albert counties. The number of ridings for each group is equivalent to the relevant proportion of the total sample that CRA has assigned to the regions.

What is probably the most interesting thing about this poll is that the voter preferences are relatively even across the province. I think that many people would have assumed the Liberals and particularly the NDP would be stronger in the north, but that is not the case.

The best way to give these results some context is to compare them by region to the results in 2006, here goes... These tables show the 2006 results and then takes the won't votes and undecideds out of the sample:

 2006CRA/TJ poll

 2006CRA/TJ poll

 2006CRA/TJ poll

Things look very good for the PCs to make gains in the north, with the NDP splitting the vote with the Liberals, and the Tories holding their 2006 vote there. Now, the Liberals won most of their ridings up there by healthy margins, so the split won't allow a big PC wave (unless it worsens), however it should make for an interesting result on the close seats.

In the south (Greater Fredericton and Greater Saint John), the Tories are down from 2006 but within the margin, while the Liberals are down by a statistically significant amount.

In Greater Moncton, the Liberals are holding their 2006 vote, while the Tories are well off of their vote - this was to be expected with Bernard Lord off of the ballot and won't really affect my predictions there.

The result is 9 prediction changes all in the PCs favour.

Madawaska-les-Lacs: from leans PC -> safe PC
This seat would always have been a long shot for the Liberals. Without a huge sweep of the north, this seat is almost certainly out of reach for them so I am moving it to safe PC.

Restigouche-la-Vallée: from leans Liberal -> tossup
The PC candidate is very strong, and is the younger sister of still-popular former MP Bernard Valcourt. All things being equal, I would give Liberal Burt Paulin the slight edge, but with the Liberals down 6 points from their 2006 result, it belongs in the toss up category.

Bathurst: from leans Liberal -> tossup
I have received a lot of emails from readers suggesting that this seat is definitely in play and that Nancy McKay may be able to make the third time the charm. That advice combined with the poll result pushes it into the toss up column.

Tracadie-Sheila: from toss up -> leans PC
Several readers have written to indicate what I also thought to be true - that Roger Duguay has made a big mistake by choosing this riding to run in. If he had run in Miramichi Bay-Neguac and taken votes from the Liberal he would have won. But here even if he takes all of the Liberal votes, he would still be well short of victory. The poll showing that the PC vote is holding to its 2006 levels in the north makes a Duguay victory and a possible Liberal victory (by sneaking up the middle) less and less likely.

Miramichi Centre: from toss up -> leans PC
This was the only seat on the Miramichi to go PC in 1982 (to that time, the best PC result ever). It still remains the most PC-leaning seat in the area.

Saint John-Fundy: from toss up -> leans PC
This should be, on paper, a safe PC seat any time. But the Liberals have won it in 5 of the last 6 elections on vote splits and the strength of Stuart Jamieson's candidacy. Jamieson has retired, but the Liberal to replace was his choice and is a strong candidate. Notwithstanding all of that, if the PCs are to pick up any seats in Greater Saint John, this is almost certainly the first one to fall.

Fredericton-Nashwaaksis: from toss up -> leans PC
In a traditionally Tory city, this is the traditionally strongest seat. Having gone COR in 1991, it clearly is a ("small c") conservative-leaning riding. It was also a bit of a nail biter in 2006 as compared to the other Fredericton-area ridings.

Grand Lake-Gagetown: from toss up -> leans PC
The Liberals barely hung on in this new riding in 2006, after a massive blowout in the old Grand Lake riding in 2003. There best hope here is that PANB leader Kris Austin splits the vote with the Tories, but based on this poll showing the PCs doing relatively better in the south/central regions of the province than last time, ridings like this that lack an incumbent and were close anyway have to be moved to leans PC.

York: from toss up -> leans PC
This is a traditional swing district and it bears watching, but with the Tories up in this region of the province and Urquhart now having the benefit of incumbency, I'll put it in the leans Tory column.

Projection summary - PCs have a slight edge:

Liberals: 23 (15 safe + 8 lean)
Conservatives: 24 (12 safe + 12 lean)
Toss up: 8


beausoleil1 said...

Well, well what can a week do! My totl numbers are the same as yours: PC: 24(13 safe & 11 lean), Libs: 23(15 safe & 8 lean) & Toss-Up 8. This means they are still 27 seats on the battle front. However, I still have differences on 15 ridings: Dalhousie-Rest. East & Moncton East are Safe Lib; Miramichi-Bay du Vin, Dieppe Centre-Lewis. & Grand Falls-Drm.-St. And. are Lean Libs. Nepisiguit is Leans Lib., Tracadie-Sheila is still Toss-Up. Mir. bay-neguac is Leans PC, Mir. Centre is Safe PC, Southwest Mir. is Leans PC, Rogersville-Kouch. is still Toss-Up, Moncton-west is Leans Lib. Moncton-North is Leans PC. St. John-Fundy is still Toss-Up. York is still Toss-Up. Out of your 9 changes, I agree with 5 of the changes but in essence the 4 others could sway me as time passes except for Miramichi-Centre. They are still 11 other ridings that I have different sources & knowledge that lead me to different predictions. Your regional breakdown i believe is fairly close. My regional breakdown is North: Liberal leading by 3 seats with 4 Toss-Up, Moncton: PC's lead by 1 seat. South: PC's lead by 2 with 4 Toss-Up.

DL said...

"Several readers have written to indicate what I also thought to be true - that Roger Duguay has made a big mistake by choosing this riding to run in. If he had run in Miramichi Bay-Neguac and taken votes from the Liberal he would have won."

Can I give a possible explanation for the choice of ridings? The thing about Miramichi May-Neguac is that it is a riding that only two-thirds francophone and one third is anglophone. When Duguay ran there last time, he won the francophone parts of the riding but was annihilated in the anglo areas. I think the Duguay decided to run in Tracadie-Sheila because he has a lot of roots there are well and it is also just about the most francophone riding in NB being literally 99% French. If he can do as well there as he did in the French part of Miramichi-Neguac - he will win easily. But its hard to win with 35% of the vote totally against you right from the get-go.

beausoleil1 said...

You are right DL. Roger Duguay won 6 polls of the francophone side of the riding of Miramichi Bay-Neguac and came in second in about 6 other polls. However his 1750+ votes will by more than two thirds go to the young and well liked new PC candidate Serge Robichaud. These voters will not vote(and did not the last time) for the veteran Carmel Robichaud who has lost considerable support in the riding because of her poor performance and demotion from a inner cabinet post to backbencher/deputy speaker.

daniel said...

I'm not sure why DL thinks that Duguay's francophone background would immediately make him unpalatable to the anglophones in Miramichi Bay-Neguac; they sure don't have a problem voting for Madame Carmel Robichaud.

daniel said...

Speaking of the Miramichi, I headed up there this weekend. If the number of lawn signs is any indication, the Liberals are going to get curb-stomped in Southwest Miramichi and in Miramichi Centre - continuing the Miramichi tradition of turning violently against every cabinet minister who has represented them in the past two decades.

DL said...

I'm not trying to imply that Duguay is necessarily "unpalatable" to anglophones - but its a simple fact that in 2006 he did very well in the francophone areas of Miramichi-Neguac - and got almost no votes at all in the anglophone areas. I wasn't there so I can't say why that would have been. So, all things being equal, if the guy has a lot of roots and connections in both ridings - why not run in a riding that is totally francophone rather than in one where one third of the riding is a dead zone?

James said...

What are the 'toss up' ridings in your analysis?

beausoleil1 said...

It is because Roger Duguay was a past Catholic priest in those northern francophone communities in Miramichi Bay-Neguac riding and was very popular. He just wasn't known to the anglophone communities of the lower end of the riding. It really didn't have anything to do with anglophone/francophone issue! As for Tracadie-Sheila, he was also a a parrish priest there and also has roots.

Daniel you are right on about Southwest Miramichi and Miramichi-Centre. The pendulum has swung and it's over for the Liberals there.

onthewatch said...

I don't know where your getting your info but your dead wrong on your Miramichi Center prediction, I drove around the riding today it's a sea of red and white the talk of the riding is John Foran is a man of the people and he's going back in very strong take that to the bank

onthewatch said...

Daniell you must have been in (joke) seriously though She's all red and white in Miramichi Center cant speak for south west miramichi but John Foran is as safe as a liberal seat your gonna get.