03 June 2009

NS election: Undecideds double in two weeks

The number of undecided voters in the Nova Scotia general election doubled in the second half of May compared to first half, according to two polls from Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates.

In a poll taken in early May only 17% of respondents were undecided or weren’t planning to vote.  In the second poll, 33% of respondents were undecided. 

The second poll covered a larger sample (834) than the first poll (627). The first poll was conducted from May 7 to May 16.  The second poll as conducted between May 18 and May 30.  CRA reports the margin of error for both polls as 3.9% for the first poll and 3.4% for the second, 19 times out of 20.

Support for the front running New Democrats dropped from 30.7% to 29.5%.  Liberal support dropped from 25.7% to 18.8% and Progressive Conservative support dropped from 23.2% to 17.4%.

Interpretation of the poll in conventional media relies on dealing only with decided voters. Thus, CBC concludes that “support for the NDP has risen sharply to 44 per cent from 37 per cent” while ignoring the change in undecideds.

There is no indication that Corporate Research Associates probes undecideds in the two polls, completed as part of CRA’s quarterly omnibus polling in Atlantic  Canada.