01 October 2008

A tight race in Avalon? Dream on, baby

NTV and Telelink released a poll on Tuesday on the race in the federal riding of Avalon.

NTV touted it as showing a tight race, with the Conservative incumbent and Liberal challenger separated by only the margin of error for the poll.

Take a look at the undecided in the poll and you can forget about tight races.


Yes, 40 percent of the people surveyed said they were undecided. That's 15 percentage points higher than Fabian Manning got and he's in the lead;  his nearest challenger - Liberal Scott Andrews - racked up something around 21%.

Then look at the satisfaction number for the incumbent, Fabian Manning.  Fifty-one percent said they were satisfied with his performance as member of parliament.

Then recall that Fabian Manning has been on the receiving end of a huge amount of attention as the only incumbent Conservative running in this election. The entire rhetorical weight of the Family Feud sat on his shoulders at one time and even though the Premier has backed off somewhat, there's evidently no love loss between the two.

And everyone knows that.

With all the anything but Conservative messaging out there, anyone who has made a clear choice shouldn't feel the least problem in telling the world that they intend to vote Liberal, New Democrat or even that they won't vote.

The large undecided vote in Avalon is most likely comprised of a large group of Manning voters who are simply uncomfortable with saying publicly what they could reasonably perceive as being an unpopular choice.  In some instances, they might even think that expressing their choice that might invite even more pressure against their guy than he's already felt.

Here's another clue:  when asked about the impact of the ABC campaign on their choice, people who selected a non-Conservative choice (i.e. the Liberals and New Democrats) overwhelmingly indicated (66%) that ABC had no impact on their choice.

That leads your humble e-scribbler to conclude that those Grit and Dipper votes were pretty much shored up any way.

Now it is entirely possible that the 40% undecided contains a huge number of people who just won't vote. That still likely works more in Manning's favour than against him.

As a last point, note that Telelink doesn't probe undecideds to determine any leanings or why they are undecided.  That means any detailed analysis  - including this post - is difficult and any comments are conjecture.

Still, you'd have to believe an awful lot of things to believe that the race in Avalon is actually tight.