26 April 2016

MQO poll shows big Liberal slide #nlpoli

Just for the fun of comparison, here's the CRA polling results for a year covering the last time the provincial government saw a change of party and the new crowd introduced a killer budget no one expected.

The Conservatives dropped from 55 points in November 2003 to 33 points in May of the next year.

They only climbed out of the hole by abandoning their austerity program and launching a costly jihad against Ottawa.

Delivering a bad budget is one thing.  Delivering a bad budget very badly is something else entirely.

That's why, As bad as the polling numbers are for the Liberals in MQO's April 2016 poll, there is nothing in it that's surprising to anyone paying attention to local politics.

Okay to be really accurate,  there will be a few people who will be in the dumps - mainly Dwight Ball and his key advisers - but everyone else could have seen this coming since before the last election. You cannot repeatedly walk on rakes and not suffer for it at some time.  The Liberals didn't give voters a reason to vote for them,  to connect with them, and so their support in November 2015 was, as the saying goes, a mile wide and an inch deep.

The thing we now have to wonder is what Ball and his crew will do.

Just to put it in a proper context,  let's compare the MQO numbers with the CRA numbers for all three parties.  Allowing for variations in the polls themselves,  this is as decent a comparison you can get of apples to apples using the responses offered, not as a share of "decideds".  You can also go back and think of those 2003 numbers in comparison.

Liberal support fell from roughly 48 points in January to 24 in the recent MQO poll.  That drop is roughly what happened to the Conservatives in 2003 and early 2004.

The Conservatives climbed two points while the NDP doubled and then a bit, going from eight to 19 points. The largest number of respondents - 37% - had no opinion or said they would not vote. That's very different from the situation in 2003-2004.  The Liberals had a solid position in second place, peaking roughly half again as high as the Tories currently are.

The bulk of the former Liberal choice looks like it split between the NDP and the UND about equally. That's significant for the Conservatives, especially.  It also reinforces the point that the Liberals won't do much better if they try and lay off thousands of public servants come the fall.  Most of them work in the metro area where the NDP has a base. These tax increases might be all the Liberals got to do in an effort to staunch the financial bleeding left from Conservative mismanagement over the past decade.  Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Longest Budget in History might go the way of Ross Reid's program review.