Monday, April 26, 2010

A word about the Harris Decima Poll

Despite the signs that Dipperdoom is upon us, or some individual's perceived connection between the NDP rise and the Lib Dem rise in Britain, the HD poll tells us less than one (well, who am I kidding - Jack) would like.

I say this because the HD poll's largest swing for the NDP comes from Manitoba/Saskatchewan (Saskitoba, as Kady O'Malley likes to say), where the NDP jumps up 9 points to 31% of voters, while the Conservatives stay ahead, but severely down, with 39%. And I don't think I need to remind everyone of the rather funny results we get from Saskitoba sometimes, due to the lower number of people surveyed.

That isn't to say the NDP rises in BC and Ontario aren't noteworthy either - but they are only 2-point swings each. That's a hefty amount in two of the country's largest provinces, but it isn't enough to bump the NDP up 3% nationally.

And consider this as well: in BC, the HST issue has really ripped a hole in the BC Liberal government of Gordon Campbell, and that likewise is hurting both the federal Liberals and the Conservatives, who support the legislation. However, the NDP don't seem to be the main benefactors, as the Greens instead rise three points in the province into a competitive 18%, compared to the NDP's two-point rise to 31%, not too outside of their historical results in the province.

If I was a betting man, I'd throw my money in with the explanation that the combined NDP and Green rise is a protest vote coming to fruition in the most politically volatile province at the moment. That's not helpful to the NDP, because it probably won't translate to actual seats or true support in the end.

What about Ontario? Politically, Ontario is probably at a crossroads in terms of NDP support. With a progressive, city-based Ontarian leader, yet with a good portion of the Ontario caucus coming from rural, union-backed Northern Ontario ridings, I can see how it would make for a tricky situation, especially if issues like the gun registry come up. While I don't think the gun registry makes for a big issue in this particular poll, it could be a factor, and the NDP's vagueness on the issue would probably help with that, especially against the Liberal's firm stance on it. Just throwing it out there.

Or it could just be that margin of error. The entire poll has some pretty big numbers: 6.9% for Saskitoba, 3.8% for Ontario, 6.2% for BC, etc. Though the 3-point gain nationally is outside of the 2.2% margin of error, if it was simply a 0.8% rise.. well, I wouldn't get to excited.

Now, I'm not saying the NDP isn't experiencing some sort of rise. They could be. And it certainly looks like the Conservatives are falling back as well, and that's something being supported by other polls, including Ekos and Ipsos Reid. But, for all the shock and awe of this poll, when you get right down too it, it's not as big as it seems.

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