26 November 2015

Abacus poll confirms massive Liberal lead #nlpoli

Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador awoke Thursday to a massive sucking noise as amateur pundits, media commentators, and newsrooms across the province realised they’d read way too much into a single poll on Wednesday.

A new Abacus Data poll shows the Liberal are actually on track to sweep the entire House of Assembly.  The results contradict a lone poll by  Forum Research that had the Conservative miraculously closing the gap with the Liberals.

Never happened, as it turned out.  Every other poll taken during the campaign lines with the latest Abacus poll.  What’s more  the behaviour of the Tory and Dipper campaigns confirms what serious political watchers already knew:  Paul Davis and Earle McCurdy are desperately trying to save the furniture in the face of a potential Liberal tsunami.

The latest Abacus results are only two points or less off their poll at the start of the game and fall well within the polls’ margin of error.  For all practical purposes, the Abacus poll shows no change whatsoever.  The Liberals have the support of 64% of decided and leaning respondents with the Conservatives at 22% and the NDP at 13%.

The poll is also a repudiation of the Tory, Grit, and media strategy that took aim at the Liberals in an attempt to create a climate of fear among voters at an impending Liberal victory.  politician and commentary alike have accused the Liberals of lying to voters and of secretly planning massive layoffs in the public sector.

Deputy premier Steve Kent said Wednesday he had shat his pants – figuratively if not literally – as Liberal campaign staffers supposedly rifled through mailboxes to eliminate his campaign literature from voters’ homes. 

In back-to-back editorials,  the province’s major daily singled out the Liberals for attack over its election budget figures and the prospect of a lop-sided victory.  Bad for democracy the paper harrumphed alongside some academics and the province’s New Democrats.  They expressed no similar concerns in 2007 when the provincial Conservatives won all but four seats in the provincial legislature.  And despite references recently to “excesses” by the Conservatives after 2007,  the local media were remarkably silent on any of them.

Among the worst abuses was the 2008 expropriation bill that abused private property and legal rights in the province.s  The provincial commentariat has limited its criticism of that episode to the accidental expropriation of an environmental cesspool.

The provincial Conservatives originally intended to leave the cesspool with a company they assumed as part of their plan would go bankrupt and would therefore be unable to address the considerable environmental problems at the site.  When they discovered the error, the Conservatives considered trying to unexpropriate the environmental mess  but later claimed credit for the mistake in a deceptively worded e-mail.

Some in the news media and politicians have since tried to lay blame for the mistake on the opposition Liberals for failing to detect the error in a bill the Conservatives deliberately rushed through the House in a matter of a few hours..

Monday night’s election coverage should be fun as all the conventional media commentariat try to come to grips with an election whose results they apparently don’t understand.

For those interested in the SRBP take on things, tune into Rogers TV election night coverage on Out of the Fog, with Erin Sully.  Your humble e-scribbler will be offering election night analysis along with MUN political science professor Stephen Tomblin.