28 February 2011

Provgov pollster seeds ground for bad news

Provincial government pollster Don Mills is in the Telegram on Monday getting people ready for yet a further decline in polling numbers for the province’s ruling Conservatives.

“[Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s popularity is] not going to be 75 per cent, I wouldn’t think,” he said. “To some extent, it will have nothing to do with Kathy Dunderdale at all. I think it’s just going to be people realizing that (Williams) was a pretty extraordinary personality that commanded support across party lines.”

As you can see, Mills wasn’t just contented to hint that the numbers would be down;  he also felt obliged to offer his opinion on the implications.  The basis for his opinion won’t ever be found in any of his polling numbers.  They are – like his seat projections in 2007 – based on something else.

Mills is talking about personality popularity – or even name recognition – but neither of those are directly connected to ballot results.  Danny Williams personal popularity soared after 2005 but in the 2007 general election, the Conservatives garnered the same share of eligible vote they had in 2003. 

A recent poll by NTV/Telelink puts the Conservatives under Kathy Dunderdale as the choice of  44% of eligible vote.  That continues a steady decline registered by Corporate Research over the third and fourth quarters of 2010.  If the implication of Mills’ comments are borne out, CRA’s poll that is just clueing up should confirm the NTV/Telelink numbers.

- srbp -


Ursula said...

This very thing happens every time a Pope dies and the Catholic church has to proclaim a new one .

The only trouble here is that Williams didn't leave a suitable "SUCCESSOR".

Edward Hollett said...

Not sure I buy the analogy, Ursula. ;-)

Basically the popularity numbers are bullsh*t. They are a sideshow to generate headlines and rank right up their with "satisfaction."

You can tell by looking at the party support numbers. The two don't correspond. What you can see over the past six months is a fairly consistent drop in Tory party support that is shifting to the UND.

The Tories have gone from 61 in August 2010 to around 44 now on a slide that started BEFORE Danny left.

Things are basically in a state of flux right now. What happens over the next three months can make a difference one way or the other.

Wm. Murphy said...

What happens over the next three months can make a difference one way or the other

Sounds like a Liberal majority Ed. I guess it will depend on how things go during the next three months to see whether Ms. Jones becomes Premier of the Province.

Edward Hollett said...

Always such limited thinking, Murph. Who says that's the only outcome?

If Dunderdale continues to slide, her Tory colleagues might bump her off and substitute someone potentially better. Remember: she's only there as a stop-gap or expedient. If the party were to drop another amount by May similar to the past two quarters you'd suddenly have the party at a lower point that 2003 or 2007.

Lots of things can happen.

Brad Cabana said...

Ed, it's interesting to watch the internal disintegration of the prov PC's. Did you catch the BC Liberal leadership race? An outsider who came in, without one caucus supporter, and won becoming instant Premier without a seat. Some have argued that her win will cause the Party to fracture. Perhaps. However, the BC Libs and their previous leader were below Mulroney's final pop numbers I believe. Ms Clark at least gives them a chance at renewal if the rest of her Party will buy in. What were their options - same old same old and get killed at the polls?
The opposite seems to have played out here. The prov PC's close ranks to deny the outsider, put in place an insider, and watch their numbers fall. I agree with you that their numbers were going down in the William's era, but what a way to excellerate it. Everything happens for a reason, and I am happy to be with the Party I believe will step up and do things for the people here that make a difference. Really looking forward to the battle!

Ursula said...

Brad , am I correct in saying that the Liberals are greatly lacking in a war chest ?

Is there any monetary backing for them here in the province ?

Steve said...

Edward Hollett said...

Thanks Steve, for confirming my suspicion that this was the year I'd have to tighten up the comments policy around here.

As much as I have pushed against any restrictions, comment moderation is now in effect.

Edward Hollett said...

Brad, I am not sure I'd attribute the continued slide to Dunderdale alone. It may be part of a general realignment of political support. It may have bottomed out.

That's why I'd point to May as the period when we'll next see polling numbers that will give a sense of any trends.

Note that the ex-Tory support didn't go to one of the other parties but headed off to the UND category.

You also have to note that, as near as I can recall, in CRA's polling there is no apparent correlation between leader choice, satisfaction and party choice. Certainly, if there is a correlation it isn't very strong.

Williams typically ran way out in front of his party and his popularity could stay rock solid while party support migrated up and down somewhat. Certainly in the past year he stayed very popular but his party lost support.