31 October 2013

Liberals gain from NDP crisis. Tories no change. #nlpoli

The headline is as dramatic as NTV could make it:

Leadership crisis sends NDP tumbling to third place in NTV/MQO poll

The numbers looked bad for the Dippers:  Grits at 52% of decideds.  Tories at 29% and the NDP in the basement at 18%.

Then you take a closer look and you see something else entirely.

Taking out the Distortion

First of all, let’s take out the distortion caused by presenting the party choice as a share of decided.  Fully 32% didn’t chose a party and that’s a lot of people.  Leaving out valid choices doesn’t help you understand what public opinion is.

On top of that, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.89% but odds are that is for the poll as originally presented.  As CRA has been acknowledging recently, their “decideds” version is actually a smaller part of the sample and so the margin of error goes up by about one percentage point.  That means you are looking at a range for each party response in this poll of not almost 10 percentage points (roughly five up or down) but of about 12 points – six up or six down.

Restate the results as a share of all responses and you get:



All responses
















So yeah, the NDP are in third place but without any broader context to this, you can’t tell much from these numbers.  The NTV story talks about the NDP result tumbling but since they don’t actually have another set of numbers to compare you cannot truthfully talk about a climb, a tumble or anything else.

The Trending

So let’s do that comparison and see what happens.

We have the CRA poll results from August that used basically the same method of data collection.  We don’t know much else about the latest poll because neither NTV nor MQO have released the information. 

Still that’s enough for us to work with and compare the NTV and CRA polls on the same basis, that is, with the results as a share of all responses.  Note that these numbers might be off by a percentage point or so due to rounding by the pollsters and then the rounding when SRBP recalculated the numbers.

We’ll carry on, though, because basically this stuff is so rough in the first place, we are not going to be so wildly off to make a difference. 

Now you can see something really interesting.

Response MQO
22-26 Oct
08-31 Aug
Liberal 35 29
NDP 12 22
Conservative 19 19
UND 32 29
Total 100 100

The NDP did drop.  That’s hardly surprising under the circumstances. If both these polls are accurate, then the Dippers lost about 10 points over the past few months. 

Look at where the other differences are:

  • The Undecideds have gone up by three points.
  • The Liberals gained six points.
  • The Conservatives are in exactly the same spot.

The Tories have been running a total feel-good, here’s money for everyone campaign since September.  They have been tweeting and re-tweeting the thoughts of Chairman Kathy at an absurdly high rate.  Even with the NDP imploding, all of that did not make one single shred of difference to the Conservatives. 

As it appears, the unhappy former NDP supporters went one third to the Undecided camp and two thirds to the Liberals.  That’s pretty much how SRBP assessed it on Wednesday.  The Conservatives still have huge problems and the Liberals are the ones to pick up gains.

The NDP Leadership

NTV didn’t include the text of Mike Connors’ report in their online story but they did post the video.  You’ll see that NTV also asked a couple of questions about the letter and the demand for Lorraine Michael’s resignation. 

The NTV/MQO poll respondents overwhelmingly rejected the idea that Michael should resign.  Nineteen percent agreed that Michael should resign while 63% said she shouldn’t  Only 18% didn’t have an answer.

Since only 12% of the poll respondents supported the NDP and 32% were undecided, those numbers essentially opposing the caucus or expressing support for Lorraine Michael show a disconnect between Lorraine and the party.  Too bad NTV and MQO didn’t probe that a bit deeper.