17 December 2018

A spring election now seems more likely #nlpoli

Here's the local poll tracker, now that the final party choice poll of the year is in.  (CRA Q4 Omnibus)

It's every party choice poll by any firm (less a couple of outliers)  all converted, where necessary, to show the results as a share of all choice.

Undecideds are a valid option in the SRBP world.

You can see that the Liberals are still roughly where they were in the middle of the year:  hovering just under 30%.  In this latest poll they are about seven points ahead of the Progressive Conservatives, which is to say they are really not in a very comfortable spot.   They are a minor swing away from being in a bad spot.

The PCs, meanwhile, have been on a slide since the first of the year and they just rebounded slightly.  But given that the rebound is less than the margin of error for all these polls,  they really haven't to any amount worth speaking of.
The NDP are a dismal, distant, and decidedly irrelevant third.

There will be a provincial general election in 2019.

Based on these poll results and barring any change,  we should expect to see an election in the spring.

The Liberals are ahead well enough to carry them into an election.  They have more money in the bank and so far the Conservatives have been completely lacklustre, despite a strong showing by new leader Ches Crosbie at the start of his leadership.

John Gushue over at the CBC put a brave face on it this weekend.  Crosbie faces a "big challenge."  And that "by all rights, Crosbie should be seeing evidence that the ship is turning."  The rights Gushue is apparently talking about have been the two issues that Crosbie and the PCs have been hammering away relentlessly.   One is the the fact that Dwight Ball transferred Carla Foote from her old job as head of communications for the provincial government over to The Rooms.  That's what happened, basically but neither Crosbie nor the CBC seem to have figured out how the provincial government works.  The other is Crosbie's morphing, and still unsubstantiated accusation that there is some sort of corruption in the cannabis business.  Crosbie cannot settle on a narrative  - he is now on his second version of what is supposedly going on after the first one got blown away by the facts - and while Crosbie and the local media have been digging away, they have been unable to unearth a few grams of substance.

You can disagree with that characterisation all you want and feel free to do so.  Just note that Crosbie is so obsessed by these two issues that he actually devoted the first day after the largest oil spill in the province's history to his hobby horses rather than the oil spill.  There were easily three or four major angles Crosbie could have hammered at from the lack of adequate oversight by the offshore board to the complete lack of transparency by the companies and the the regulator to the lackadaisical "emergency" response from government and company communications.

So describe the hobby-horses how you will. What you cannot deny is that after relentless pounding away at these issues  day after day for months,  the poll results in the table above show that support for the Liberals has gone up slightly as has support for Crosbie's PCs.  Normally, if an opposition is scoring points,  the government goes *down* in the polls.   In this case,  Crosbie actually boosted Liberal standing.

Gushue does get this point and makes it in his own way but John's desire to appear balanced, rather than sharp and right,  leads to him to put too optimistic a face on things.  The election is coming sooner rather than later.  Where Gushue sees upwards of eight to 12 months to sort themselves out,  the provincial Tories may likely have only eight to 12 weeks until they are face-and-eyes into a general election.  They will need many candidates soon, as well as many bucks,  and many buckets of luck.

What we are talking about here is when the election seems most likely to come.  Think spring rather than fall.  What happens *in* the general election is another matter.  We should have some insight into what that might look like with the next MQO regional poll numbers early in the new year.