16 October 2015

Dead heat = dead meat #nlpoli

As the federal election winds down to the last day,  the result is likely going to be nothing any of the pundits expected.

Okay, the election isn;t winding down for the parties.  For them, it is winding up tighter than tighter, but for everyone else we are coming down to the end of things.

Anyway,  even for the folks who will be working this weekend without much sleep,  things now do not look anything like they looked at the start. more than two months ago.

At the start it looked like we’d see a replay if 2011.  We’d have five Liberal seats and two New Democrats. 

St. John’s South – Mount Pearl

A new poll by MQO for NTV shows how radically different things have turned.  Incumbent Ryan Cleary is running four points behind Liberal challenger Seamus O’Regan.

It’s less than the poll’s margin of error but look at it this way:  in 2011,  Cleary won the riding  47% to 28%..  If the Liberals and the NDP are in a dead heat,  Ryan Cleary is dead meat.

Cleary should be 10 points ahead.  Incumbency counts for a lot even if the inveterate slogan-spouter has been – to be generous – an uneven performer over the past four years.  You’d really expect the NDP to be ahead given O’Regan’s weak start to the campaign.  Instead of 10 points ahead, Cleary is four points behind.  All of the support Cleary has bled has gone to O’Regan.  There are a couple of factors likely driving that.

Nationally, the Liberals are doing far better now than they were. Poll after poll shows the Liberals ahead.  Regionally, Liberal support has grown throughout Atlantic Canada.

You can see that in the rest of the NTV.MQO poll. Asked to pick their preferred Prime Minister, 44% of voters in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl picked Justin Trudeau while 27 picked Thomas Mulcair  That means that eight percent of of Cleary voters actually want another party to form government. 8as prime minister. 

Another factor in the shift may be due to O’Regan’s performance in public debates.  In the CBC debate, for example,  Cleary was basically good for spouting prepared lines and slogans. Any time the discussion got to the point where Cleary needed something beyond a quip or prepared line, he came up short.  O’Regan, by contrast could handle the entire discussion.

If that MQO poll is right,  you should brace yourself for a final result in St. John’s South-Mount Pearl that more closely reflects the federal leader choice numbers in tat MQO poll than the Cleary versus O’Regan number.