06 March 2014

The Satisfaction Delusion #nlpoli

You’ll hear Conservatives, Corporate Research Associates, and some commentators play up the fact that public satisfaction with the governing Conservatives has gone up in CRA’s most recent quarterly poll.

That’s wonderful but that poll and a couple of bucks will get you a nice hot coffee at Tim’s.  Other than that,  the satisfaction numbers don”t mean much.

Just to give you a starting point, here are the Conservatives’ satisfaction numbers since the last general election in October 2011.

conservative satisfaction

On the face of it, these numbers appear to mean something.  You can see satisfaction dropping down through the middle of last year.  Then it climbs in the last part of 2013 and again in 2014.

Curiously, though, government policies and government actions stayed pretty much the same through all this polling. There isn’t anything that obviously changed recently.  The government stopped talking about budget restraint a while ago.  Maybe that was it. otherwise there’s nothing in particular that has changed that would seem to have caused the shift in satisfaction

Some people have attributed the change from November 2013 to February 2014 entirely to Kathy Dunderdale’s resignation in January.  That might be true, but it doesn;t explain why the satisfaction has been trending upward since the middle of 2013.  People were apparently already getting more satisfied with the provincial government led by Kathy Dunderdale back then.


Plus it’s even more curious that the satisfaction numbers are rebounding but the Conservatives are still not the party the respondents to the poll want running the province.

That’s the thing that the Conservatives should really watch out for.

Take a trip back in time, if you will,  to the years just before the Conservatives took power.  Between 2001 and 2003, the public liked the Liberals under Roger Grimes.  Even in the last poll CRA took before the 2003 general election,  respondents were generally happy with the way the Liberals were running things.


Except for a dip in May 2001, more than half of all poll respondents were satisfied with the Liberals in government.  Look at the numbers.  Lower than the Tories these days maybe but consistently above 50%.

Lots of Liberals used to point the CRA satisfaction numbers and smile.  Lots of Conservatives are smiling these days at the rebound in Conservative satisfaction numbers.

The Liberals went to the polls in 2003 with great satisfaction numbers.

And lost.

The results from the CRA satisfaction question might mean something, but they don’t mean what CRA,  the Conservatives and some commentators seem to think.