11 September 2012

The sum of all fears #nlpoli

Kathy Dunderdale says that it is gratifying to have the support of the majority of the people of the province, as recent polls show, according to the Premier.

In another corner, former natural resources minister Shawn Skinner thinks it is great that the Conservatives have the support of six in 10 of the people surveyed.  He was referring to the responses in a recent Corporate Research Associates poll asking people whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the current government’s performance.

Shawn and Kathy missed some rather important things.

If you only look at the numbers in an individual poll, you can miss important details.

Some people will talk about trends over time, from poll to poll.  The trend for party choice and leader is definitely downward for the Conservatives. The rate of change is also steep. That’s never good.

Satisfaction has been dropping too.  Where it was 76% a year ago, it was 58% in August.

But still good as Skinner said.

Yeah, well, not really.

A few months ago, labradore looked at the numbers from CRA, Angus Reid, and Environics using a simple technique.  He took the satisfaction numbers and subtracted the dissatisfaction so that he could see what the net was. It’s another way of looking at trends and it is a simple idea to grasp:  the bigger the remainder the better – as long as the remainder is positive.  Once the net is negative then you really have a political problem.

In the latest version, he separates out the CRA results (dark green) from the Angus Reid numbers (light green). 

The net satisfaction for CRA is 25% but look at where it used to be in November 2010 just before Kathy Dunderdale took over.  Yeah.  85% or thereabouts.  A net change of 60 points in less than two years.  Those numbers Skinner doted on don’t look so cool now, do they?