05 July 2012

Hole-spotting: the Environics Poll Results #nlpoli

By now you have likely heard it all.

remaincalm-01In one corner are the raft of people trying to dismiss the Environics poll as an outlier, an aberration, the logical result of a tough political month. 

Nothing to sweat.

Real Chip Diller kinda stuff.

In the other corner, there are the New Democrats who are so effercited they are like the dog who caught the car.

Well, here’s another take for you.

For starters, let’s get the numbers in the correct context.  Yes, they came from a poll conducted at the end of a horrendous month for the Conservatives.  But regular readers know that June wasn’t just because of bad stuff happening, it’s because the Tories handled things badly.  They have huge comms problems and that ties to some serious problems with basic political management.

All that explains the general downward trend that even CRA couldn’t help but pick up.  June was just an especially sucky month when the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight decided to go for howitzers aimed at their own team rather than zip guns.

Second: you have to compare the right poll results.  People who think this is a blip are people who are trying to compare the CRA torqued numbers (only decideds) to Environics’ straight result.  Environics looks way out of whack.  PCs look like they dropped from 49% to 35%.

Environics results for the Tories are bang-on what CRA found, if you  take out the CRA torque.

Third:  The big difference is in the Liberal and NDP numbers.  CRA had them, respectively at 23 and 13 compared to Environics 38 and 26.

You can likely explain that variance in at least a couple of ways.  Environics may have probed the undecideds to detect leaning.  Either that or a whole bunch of undecideds for CRA came out of the closet and made hard choices for the NDP and the Liberals.

Fourth:  The big take-away for the opposition parties is really very simple: public opinion shifts.  If you actively stand up for something, like-minded people will agree with you.  Bill 29 wasn’t just about the Tories frigging things up.  The Liberals and the NDP didn’t just oppose.  They stood for something.

They can shift public opinion to their favour, if they try.  And that leads to…

Fifth:  Crap or get off the pot.

The New Democrats are more likely to capitalize on these results than the Liberals.  The Dippers are energised and want to form government.  They just need to get some back-room experience so they can capitalize on their opinion poll successes.

The Liberals, on the other hand,  still have too many people dominating the party who are either not sure if they are punched or bored or who support the Tories in one way or another.  Think Muskrat Falls, especially, where the leader-designate  thinks that we need more of the style that got us into the current mess.

And what isn’t that bunch is a bunch who think they can recover by wandering around hold a bunch of meetings and writing on sticky notes.  Liberal recovery got more results from a few weeks of action than from any string of sticky-note ideas.

Sixth:  the Tories need to realise they have a problem and deal with it. 

It’s that hole thing.

For those who missed it last month, the downward trending can translate to seat counts.

And for those who really missed the Environics numbers or just can’t see the picture, take a look at the seat projections labradore generated:  NDP 18,  Tories 16, Liberals 12, with two that were too close to call.  Votes are like oil prices.  They don’t only go one way, namely the way you want them to go.  Sometimes they go the opposite.

Here’s what the seat map would look like, incidentally:


Metro Sin Jawns would be totally orange except for Mount Pearl North and Paradise and Paradise would be marginal.