12 September 2008

Another poll shows the NL starting numbers

Corporate Research Associates released results today of questions posed to a sample of voters in Newfoundland and Labrador in August and the results confirm, in some respects, the picture of the electorate drawn by the recent NTV/Telelink survey.

When asked to indicate which party they would vote for in a federal election, 43% of decided respondents said Liberal, 35% said Conservative, 20% said NDP and one percent indicated they would vote for the Green Party.

Thirty-nine (39) percent were undecided, would not vote or refused to answer. The survey of 402 residents of Newfoundland and Labrador was conducted between August 12 and August 28, 2008.  It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

The table shows how the numbers line up with the results of the 2006 general election and the NTV poll. The table should not be read as reflecting a trend.  The Telelink and CRA surveys are sufficiently close together in time so that the results confirm each other. 


2006 GE

Aug 08

Sept 08









New Democratic Party












MoE (95%CL)

+/- 4.9%

+/- 3.3%


As indicated in an earlier post, based on the polling data and an analysis of historic voting trends, this breakout would suggest that the four ridings that went Liberal in the last election would remain Liberal but with high margins of victory.  The three ridings held previously by the Conservatives would be potentially tight races.

At least one media report in Newfoundland and Labrador noted that two thirds of decided respondents would not be voting Conservative.  This is not unusual in federal politics in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a majority typically vote for a party other than Conservative. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians typically vote anything but Conservative.

One interesting result from the NTV survey - not covered by the CRA poll - is the feeling by almost two thirds of respondents that the ABC campaign is harming federal-provincial relations.

This is hardly surprising given that the provincial government has been repeatedly claiming that the province is being punished for the Family Feud between the federal and Provincial Conservatives.

As well, there has long been a perception in local politics that districts should side with the perceived winner in an election or risk not receiving road paving, school and hospital construction or other public spending.  The power of pork in traditional politics both federally and provincially remains strong.  A party would not have to threaten this in order for the perception to exist and for it to influence voting behaviour.

As well, while it may not be documented, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that some voters approach voting choice as a lottery in which one must be on the winning side or risk "losing" ones vote.

All of that can have an impact on voting results, especially if the races on the Avalon peninsula indeed are tight. Voters may switch between now and polling day based on perceptions of the national campaign.

Not surprisingly, at least one federal Conservative candidate - Craig Westcott  - has used the argument in several media interviews that the province needs to have an elected representative in the federal cabinet.  Both Westcott and Avalon incumbent Fabian manning have also referred to the need to get past the current wrangling  between the provincial and federal governments in the best interests of the province.  This was not implicitly threatening but reflected - at least by the words and tone - an effort to point at the political benefit of supporting the party which currently leading in the polls and which many observers believe will form another minority government.