Friday, November 4, 2011

First Post-Three-Peat Poll

Ontario News Watch has an Innovative Research poll that puts all parties within statistical margin of errors of the October 6th result, but Dalton McGuinty's Liberals have edged up ever so slightly, from the 37.6% of the election to 39%. The Hudak PCs are down from 35.4% to 34%, and the Horwath NDP are exactly where they were with 23% (they had 22.7% in the election).

In other words, same ol', same ol'.

One bit of polling, however, I have an issue with.
During the autumn election, the number of Ontarians who identified themselves as independent was higher than those who identified with any one of the other parties.  Fully 26 per cent called themselves "independent" voters. Usually, 20 per cent or less give themselves that designation.

The Liberals seem to be the main losers here. Only 25 per cent of those asked identified themselves as Liberals, down from well over 30% in the last two campaigns, according to Mr. Lyle.

Just behind at 24 per cent were the Progressive Conservatives, and 16 per cent identified with the New Democratic Party.
This is such a useless bit of polling. Canadians as a general rule don't associate themselves with any particular party. We don't have party registration here. Voting patterns are too hilariously fluid for this to ever happen, as evident by the last two decades of parties rising and falling. Don't tell me "20% of voters call themselves 'independents'" - it's meaningless. It's voodoo.

1 comment:

  1. On the contrary: asking "thinking of Ontario/federal/etc politics, which party do you normally feel closest to" (the traditional "Party ID" question) is one of the oldest questions in political polling. It's also asked in the Canadian Election Study.

    What changed circa 1990 (Meech/Charlottetown era) is that more people started answering none-of-the-above (NOTA). This mirrored a pattern seen around the world, documented in Neil Nevitte's book "The Decline of Deference".

    In times past, Party ID predicted a fair bit of the voting intention. Nowadays, it's where the independents go that can be more determinative of an election's outcome.

    However, the Conservatives have been increasing their Party ID numbers federally, according to a number of the exit polls, and thus they had a solid lock on 30-35-40% of the population in May. Add in the switchers (whoever's theory about where they came from you accept), and that was enough for their majority.

    Historically the Liberal Party's "Party ID" was a big part of driving their support nationally. Where is it provincially these days? That's what this question was designed to find out. I'm inferring from the story that Liberal Party ID is down provincially in Ontario, but that McGuinty still won over a significant chunk of the NOTA folks, based on non-likability of the blue team's alternative.

    This is the kind of stuff that matters strategically a lot, in fact.