Monday, September 20, 2010

A wealth of new data

There is a whole lot of new data to chew on today. The latest CRA/TJ daily tracking poll, a new CRA poll from Acadie-Nouvelle/Radio-Canada/CBC, two new ridng polls by CRA/TJ, and several other CRA/TJ riding polls since our last update.

We've now seen 8 of the promised 10 riding polls, with Miramichi Centre to come tomorrow and another mystery riding some time after that.

Before I get into the polling results, I will briefly explain why I prefer to use "decided+leaning" voters whenever possible, as opposed to just decided voters. Most pollsters ask two vote intentions questions when they are polling elections. First, they ask who people intend to support. Then they ask those who claim to be undecided if they are leaning toward a particular party. This is done because for a variety of reasons, people may have their mind made up but they don't want to say so. The result is a clearer picture of the true results, and a truer picture of the number of undecideds. For some reason, CRA has always ignored this practice and instead asks only the first question resulting in undecided numbers always in the the 35+ range. This election season they have often relesed the answers to the first question, and the answers to the combined first and second question. When available, I will always use the latter.

An article that explains this phenomenon in detail (as it relates to polling party identification in the United States) can be found in here. Other benefits of asking the second (leaners) question include eliminating phenomena like the UK's "Shy Tory Factor" (when voters have decided to vote for a party that is not fashionable but don't want to admit it) and "Flora Syndrome" (when voters aren't going to vote for a party/candidate that is fashionable but want to say they are anyway).

With that behind us, let's recap the riding polls and see what impact they have on our projections.

Grand Lake-Gagetown: Lib 34, PC 34, PANB 23, Green 2*, NDP 1* (Sept. 8-9)
Current projection: Leans PC. No need to revise this one. While the poll shows a tie, it also showed that when asked for their second choice, the Liberals placed third. Another gut analysis to this one is that it will be hard for PANB to get out their vote, so their number will likely slip on election day (a common phenomenon for minor parties) and my expectation is their vote would split in the PCs' favour.
Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak: PC 41, Lib 37, Green 11, NDP 10 (Sept. 9-10)
Current projection: Toss up. No need to revise this one. While the polls shows a PC edge, with the Green and NDP vote high, there is room for it to collapse likely in the Liberals' favour. That would likely even the race up making it too close to call.
Caraquet: Lib 57, PC 31, NDP 8, Green 3 (Sept. 10-11)
Current projection: Safe Liberal. No need to revise this one (for obvious reasons).
Restigouche-la-Vallée: PC 53, Lib 40, NDP 5, Green 2 (Sept. 11-13)
Current projection: Toss up. While the Restigouche West portion of this riding has a history of strongly favouring incumbents (this was the Tories' best seat in the Liberal sweep of 1987, and one of the Liberals' best in the PC landslide of 1999), this is a significant lead for the PCs and it seems quite obvious that this one should go into at least the leans PC column.
Quispamsis: Lib 47, PC 38, NDP 5*, Green 3* (Sept. 13-14)
Current projection: Toss up. This is a fairly signifcant lead for the Liberals, but it is in single digits with a poll with a relatively large margin of error. It moves to leans Liberal but could easily slip back to toss up in the future.
Saint John Harbour: Lib 39, PC 24, NDP 24, Green 5*, Ind 2* (Sept. 12-14)
Current projection: Safe Liberal. While a result of 39% should be very disappointing for the Liberals, on a three-way split it isn't bad. And with them 15 points ahead of both of their competitors this remains in the safe column.
Moncton North: Lib 45, PC 34, NDP 12, Green 8, PANB 2 (Sept. 15-16)
Current projection: Leans PC. This poll result a surprise to me, having just moved Moncton North into the leans PC column. I will move it to leans Liberal though it is on the cusp of safe Liberal.
Dieppe Centre-Lewisville: Lib 45, PC 36, NDP 11, Green 8 (Sept. 15-16)
Current projection: Safe Liberal. As this is in the single digits of a poll with a relatively large margin of error, I will shift it to leans Liberal.
* results with an asterisk are for minor parties which include only decided voters as the decided+leaning numbers for smaller parties those ridings was not included in the Telegraph-Journal's reporting.

With respect to the provice-wide polls at our disposal, I have chosen to ignore the CRA/TJ tracking poll. It has a sample of 700 people from Sept. 12-18. The CRA/AN/RC/CBC poll is by the sample pollster (therefore using the same or similar methodology), has a larger sample of 1055, was done over a shorter period and was just as recent. This poll also (unlike the tracker) has regional breakdowns. It breaks into the same three regions (North, South and Moncton and area), as the first day of the CRA/TJ tracking poll when they had a bigger sample and provided regional breakdowns.

The result of today's poll is PC 34%, Lib 29%, NDP 9%, Green 5%, PANB 0% with 17% truly undecided and 6% refusing to say or not intending to vote. With the latter categories factored out the result is PC 44%, Lib 38%, NDP 12%, Green 6%, PANB 0%.

For analysis let's first take a look, by region, at that the 2006 results, the results of the CRA/TJ poll and the results of the CRA/AN/RC/CBC poll. To compare apples to apples, I will be using the decided and leaning voters (per above) with the undecideds and non-voters factored out. To your right is the table from today's Acadie-Nouvelle showing regional results with the undecideds and non-voters included.

North
2006CRA/TJ poll
(Aug. 26 - Sep. 1)
CRA/AN/RC/CBC poll
(Sep. 15-18)
PC444441
Lib504441
NDP51010


South
2006CRA/TJ poll
(Aug. 26 - Sep. 1)
CRA/AN/RC/CBC poll
(Sep. 15-18)
PC474349
Lib473931
NDP61110


Moncton
2006CRA/TJ poll
(Aug. 26 - Sep. 1)
CRA/AN/RC/CBC poll
(Sep. 15-18)
PC534335
Lib444442
NDP3816


The most interesting result of these numbers is in the Greater Moncton region where the Liberal support has held since the last poll, while the PC support has dropped significantly in favour of the NDP. My instincts suggest that this means that among francophones in this region, the anti-Liberal vote is shifting to the NDP from the PCs. However, as the NDP is not focussing on the region and has little political infrastucture here they won't be able to turn out that vote so some of it will shift back to the PCs and some of those voters will just not go to the polls. In this region, the PCs are down 8 points from their standing just a few weeks ago and 18 points from the last election.

A more significant development (though it is more to be expected so not quite as interesting) is the Liberal collapse in "southern New Brunswick". We have polls from three urban/suburban ridings and one rural riding near Fredericton suggesting that the Liberals are holding their own, so this may be more symptomatic of Liberal support collapsing in ridings that the PCs already hold, but it is impossible for the Liberals to gain seats on a 49-31 spread, and very unlikely that they won't lose some seats as well. In this region, the Liberals are down 8 points from their standing just a few weeks ago and 16 points from the last election.

One might assume that these two regions would largely cancel each other out with gains and losses in each being offset by opposite shifts in the other region. To some extent that is true, but the bad news for the Liberals is that that south region is much larger than the Greater Moncton region.

That brings us to northern New Brunswick. Here, the Liberals are down 9 points from 2006, while the PCs are down 3 from 2006. Both are down 3 from the last poll in late August. This continues to bode relatively well for the NDP who need to be taking votes from both parties in order to win seats up there. However, the NDP may now regret not putting a greater focus on the Moncton region where the francophone vote held by the Conservatives under Lord seems to have shifted to the NDP even without their working that demographic.

I would therefore make the following adjustments.

The North (Victoria, Madawaska, Restigouche, Gloucester and Northumberland counties)

Victoria-Tobique - leans Liberal to toss up
At this stage in the game, with a PC lead of 49-31 in our closest proxy for anglophone New Brunswick, it is hard to put a rural anglophone seat in the Liberal column. If this were any other riding it would be down as leans (or even safe) PC, but because it survived the 1999 PC landslide, I think it should remain a toss up for now.

Restigouche-la-Vallée - toss up to leans PC
The reader feedback was pushing me in this direction anyway but, per the poll above, this obviously belongs on the PC side of the ledger.

Dalhousie-Restigouche East - leans Liberal to toss up
I'm receiving persistent reader feedback that this is more of a race than I suspect in my gut. I will tentatively move it into the "toss up" category until I can learn more.

Bathurst - toss up to leans PC
With the Liberal vote well down from the 2006 election, it is likely that this seat witnessing the third battle in a row between Liberal Brian Kenny and PC Nancy McKay is in play. The last two elections in this traditional Liberal stronghold were nail-biters, we should expect this election to be no different.

(This brings the standings in the "north" - as seemingly defined by CRA - to PC 7, Lib 7, NDP 2, toss up 2.)

The South (Kings, Queens, Saint John, Charlotte, York, Sunbury and Carleton counties)

Quispamsis - toss up to leans Liberal
The poll done by CRA for the TJ in this riding shows Mary Schryer with a relatively comfortable lead of 9 points.

Rothesay - leans PC to safe PC
With an 18 point led in the south, it is impossible to imagine this seat falling out of Tory hands in this election cycle.

Saint John Portland - leans PC to safe PC
With an 18 point led in the south, it is impossible to imagine this seat falling out of Tory hands in this election cycle.

Charlotte-the-Isles - safe Liberal to leans Liberal
The promise by the Conservatives to eliminate tolls on the Grand Manan ferry would seem to suggest that they believe they have a chance in this riding, even though for the most part it has been held for the Liberals since 1978. However, with an 18 point lead for the PCs in the south, it is hard to imagine that there are any truly "safe" Liberal seats here.

York - leans PC to safe PC
With an 18 point led in the south, it is impossible to imagine this seat falling out of Tory hands in this election cycle.

York North - leans PC to safe PC
With an 18 point led in the south, it is impossible to imagine this seat falling out of Tory hands in this election cycle.

(This brings the standings in the "south" - as seemingly defined by CRA - to PC 15, Lib 7, toss up 1.)

Greater Moncton (Kent, Westmorland and Albert counties)

Kent South - safe PC to leans PC
While this is traditionally a relatively reliable seat for the Conservatives and Claude Williams has proved his mettle, unless the Liberals are making major inroads into ridings like Riverview, Albert, Petitcodiac and Moncton Crescent this seat needs to be downgraded to explain the 18 point drop for the Tories versus their 2006 result.

Tantramar - leans PC to toss up
While this is has been a reliable seat for the Conservatives since 1999, unless the Liberals are making major inroads into ridings like Riverview, Albert, Petitcodiac and Moncton Crescent this seat needs to be downgraded to explain the 18 point drop for the Tories versus their 2006 result. It has traditionally (1978-1987 and in the 1998 by-election) been a bit of swing district with with all three parties being in contention.

Dieppe Centre-Lewisville safe Liberal to leans Liberal
The CRA/TJ poll in this riding showed the Liberals leading by 9 points. That keeps it in their column, but a single digit lead in a poll with a relatively high margin of error is not "safe."

Moncton North - leans PC to leans Liberal
The CRA/TJ poll in this riding shows the Liberals ahead by double digits. It belongs in the Liberal column.

(This brings the standings in the "Moncton area" - as seemingly defined by CRA - to PC 6, Lib 6, toss up 2.)




Projection summary - with lots of changes below the surface, our top level numbers are unchanged - PC 28 to Lib 20. However, 3 more seats are in the PCs' safe column and 1 less are in the Liberals'.:

Conservatives: 28 (16 safe + 12 lean)
Liberals: 20 (9 safe + 11 lean)
NDP: 2 (0 safe + 2 lean)
Toss up: 5

1 comment:

beausoleil1 said...

We are getting closer everytime! However, Fred. Ft. Naswaak is still to me Leans Lib.(will the 3rd parties hinder the Liberals, still not sure!), Victoria-Tobique is still Leans Lib.(this would be a great victory for the PC's if they carry the day!), Dalhousie-Restigouche East is still leans Lib.(the southern part of the riding will carry the moment here for the Liberals) & Tantramar is still Leans PC(I admit that the momentum has lost steam for PC here but i don't see the other parties making gains!). Also both Tracadie-Sheila, Nepisiguit & Rogersville-Kouchibouguac(the first two the NDP are in the race but time may be against them and the second one is still based on two excellent contenders) are still Toss-Up along with Miramichi-Bay du Vin(although this week could determine the fate and it might easily goe back to Leans Lib.) and Miramichi Bay-Neguac is still Leans PC(this could also be determined this week it goes to Toss-Up) . This means it's PC=30, Lib.=20 & Toss-up=5. I'm also very surpised with both Moncton-North & Grand Lake-Gagetown situations. I would say that things are getting clearer but it is still a fight. Liberals are fighting back while PC's are avoiding policy entaglements. Greens are on a small surge while NDP is maintaining itself with good performances by it's leader during the debates.