12 March 2013

Tories below 30 #nlpoli

By now you’d be living in a cave if you hadn’t heard any news of the latest Corporate Research Associates poll.

The NDP are slightly ahead of the Tories and both are about 10 percentage points ahead of the Liberals.  More people want Lorraine Michael as Premier than want Kathy Dunderdale.  And a majority are unsatisfied with the government.

Now this is an historic set of poll results as Don Martin tweeted to tease people about the release on Monday morning.  The release doesn’t make any reference to that, preferring instead just reporting the results blandly.  By contrast, Mills hyped the living crap out of poll results a few years ago that hit historic highs. 

The Poll Results

CRA distorts its results by showing only a share of decided for the party choice numbers.  Pull the crap out and here’s what the CRA poll results look like  from May 2011 to date.

CRA Q1-13

Let’s make a few observations about the trending shown by these results.

First thing to note:  this latest dip is just part of a very long slide the Tories have been experiencing for a very long time.  The Tories have been on a big slide downward for quite a long time now.  There may be some current disquiet with the Tories over the budget in the latest number but don’t read too much into that.  The Tories have a much bigger problem.

Second,  the NDP have been climbing over the same time period.  Note that the CRA numbers flat line for the NDP through the middle of last year.  That looks really suspicious and we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Third, the Liberals are hanging around the same basic point around 15% for the past year or so.  A bit up and a bit down but, basically, it’s flat line.

Fourth, note that the undecided (black) appears to be dropping off since last August. 

The Party Responses

Check the CBC online story.  It includes the Premier’s scrum from Monday morning.  The Telegram story also has the poll results in an earlier version.

The CRA torque – results as share of decideds – has a curious effect on the Tories and the Liberals.  Both seem lulled by a completely false sense of security.  Both the Tories and the Liberals remain positive because CRA reports their numbers as much higher than they actually are, even in CRA’s untorqued results.

Kathy Dunderdale told reporters she isn’t surprised by the results.  That’s encouraging given that no one else was surprised by them either. 

She tried to pass it off as being related to the current budget issues.  Dunderdale’s interpretation is the essence of spin. She knows the Tories have been sliding for three years.

Lorraine Michael is happy and showing it.  NTV’s Mike Connors tweeted on Monday that “she is seeking candidates who are cabinet material.”  That’s bordering on cocky for Michael

Dwight Ball warned voters to look hard at the NDP.  In a news release, Ball said:

“This is truly a three party race,” said Ball. “The NDP are an unknown anomaly and the people of this province need to ask themselves what an NDP party will do for this province. Are they really the best choice to take over a turbulent fiscal situation with no experience as a party in power?”

Ball’s comments are weak and completely ineffective.  That’s not surprising: the Liberals are in third place because they are consistently weak and ineffective. 

Here’s the difference in the two opposition parties.  Ball is asking a lame rhetorical question at the end of that quote.  If the NDP continues to track higher, they’ll be telling the Tories to get out of the way and make room for a party the people support.

Compare and Contrast

Remember that bizarre period in the middle of 2003 where CRA shows the NDP with the same level of support every quarter?

Well, compare that to the monthly MQO poll results, released this past January.

MQO shows the NDP passing the Tories, peaking at around 45%.  The Tories dropped to 25%.In December the Tories shot up again, likely around the time of Muskrat Falls, but then they dropped in January.

Now the CRA result for the NDP is really suspicious.   You just don’t see those kinds of numbers poll after poll over such a long period.  You wouldn’t expect to see it given that the NDP and Liberal flat lines in the CRA poll coincide with a time when the opposition parties were pounding the government over Bill 29.  CRA shows a shift to the “undecideds”

You’d expect to see some change in poll numbers for the parties if for no other reason than that’s what MQO shows.  The broad trending for MQO and CRA are similar for the Tories, even if the numbers don’t match exactly.  In August, CRA and MQO are actually about 20 percentage points apart on their NDP numbers. In November they look to be about 10 points apart.  That’s gigantic. 

Then CRA finds a sudden shift  to a particular opposition party just this past month.

Plausible but something just doesn’t look right.