07 March 2011

Tories at 44.5%, UND at 39%: government pollster #nlpoli #cdnpoli

Double-down Update:

  • CRA's issued a correction that its UND category was 23% as shown in the table not 39% shown in the text.  That's one mother of a typo and therefore that's worth a whole new post, coming later.
  • CBC apparently piggybacked on this one and has some specific questions of its own coming later on Monday evening.  That would warrant a separate post on its own.
  • New post:  “Dunderdale boosts Tory support from last Williams poll

Original Post begins...

Support for the ruling provincial Conservatives under Kathy Dunderdale is at 44.5% compared to 61% last August under Danny Williams according to a Corporate Research Associates quarterly poll released on Monday.  The results match almost exactly with a recent NTV/Telelink poll that put support for the province’s Tories at 44.3%.

Undecided, including those who refused to answer and those who do not plan to vote is at 39%, up eight percentage points from CRA’s November 2010 poll.  NTV/Telelink reported 37.9% of its respondents didn’t know how they might vote, wouldn’t state a preference or indicated they would not vote.

And that’s where the real story is for these polling numbers.  According to CRA’s polls, support for the provincial Conservatives started to slide during the last three months of Danny Williams’ leadership.  His abrupt departure didn’t stop the slide.

What’s worse, the margin of error for this poll is 4.9%.  That means there is a possible variation in those numbers of almost 10 percentage points.  Given that the Tory and UND number is less than 10% is it possible that more people are undecided or won’t state a preference than are actually indicating they will vote for the provincial Conservatives.

There are problems with the way CRA presents its figures.  For example, they show party choice for decided voters.  This is highly misleading as can be seen in the party vote numbers. The obvious decline in Tory support vanishes completely because of the way CRA reports its figures.

Still, if you look at the numbers, understand what you are seeing, and can check them against a second set of figures like NTV/Telelink, the results can be dramatically different than what you will see reported by conventional media.

These poll results from two different firms don’t  mean the Tories will lose the next general election.  What they do show is an electorate which is sufficiently uncomfortable that they will not state a clear support for the ruling party.  The fall general election could be up for grabs, depending on what the Conservatives and the opposition parties do over the next three to seven months.

- srbp -