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 -