15 April 2014

The Virginia Waters Come-Back Myth #nlpoli

Danny Williams said it.

Tom Marshall said it.

In the Virginia Waters by-election the Conservatives were trailing by 15 percentage points and managed to come back and tie it up in the matter of a couple of weeks.

Marshall embellished the story in his most recent interview with David Cochrane.  Supposedly the Conservatives were trailing from the start and some unknown people expected the Conservatives to lose the Virginia Waters by-election.

The Conservatives claim they came from behind to tie it up but there is no objective evidence that the claim is true.

The only poll we have available publicly came the day after Kathy Dunderdale resigned.  A small political consulting firm in Toronto did a telephone poll of the district the night Dunderdale packed it in.  The results showed the Conservatives and Liberals were tied at 27 percent.  The New Democrats were in third place at seven percent.  Thirty-nine percent were undecided.

In early March,  labradore did yet another one of his seat projections based on current polls results.  He was fortunate to have both the Corporate Research Associates poll and the one specifically aimed at Virginia Waters.

As you can see from the inset in the picture at right,  Virginia Waters was marked in grey.  That means it was one of the seats in and around St. John’s that the different seat forecast models didn’t agree on an outcome.

In other words, the forecast models couldn’t give either party a clear trend in Virginia Waters.  The Conservatives weren’t behind according to the poll results and anyone familiar with polling couldn’t firmly and reliably predict a result in Virginia Waters.

The final result looked exactly like the pre-writ poll.  The Liberals and Conservatives were almost dead even and the New Democrats were somewhat behind.  Given the intensity of the campaigning by both the Liberals and the Conservatives,  it looks like the two parties were evenly matched all along.  The Liberals won but the whole thing could have just as easily gone the other way.

So basically, if you look at all the available evidence,  the idea that the Conservatives were behind and valiantly came back to tie up the race is just sheer nonsense. It wouldn’t be the first time Williams made up a story that caught on through sheer repetition, not truthfulness. 

In this case, though, we have clear evidence that contradicts the Conservative version of events.

The come-back is just another myth.