I was wasting time at work tonight when I happened upon a funny circumstance that is probably not too well known, and it concerns the politics of PEI.
The thing I came across was the fact that the 27 provincial ridings confirm perfectly to the four federal ridings; so perfectly, in fact, that their poll districts are the exact same as what their federal ridings use. There is roughly 10-20 federal poll districts in each provincial electoral district, and this is how they've made up their ridings.
That's useful because I was pondering over another thing recently - the *possible* rise of the provincial New Democrats on the Island. Its never been a very large force in the province and has only held one seat, for one term, in its entire history.
Part of the problem is that the PEI NDP don't run candidates in every district. In 2011, they only ran in 14 of 27 ridings. The provincial Greens ran in 22 of 27, which meant that the NDP ended up fourth no matter what they did, with a total of 3.2% of the total vote province-wide, maybe averaging 5% in each riding they ran in. The final CRA poll had pegged the NDP at 5% province wide, so there was an obvious missed opportunity - though I doubt they would've won any ridings anyways, but at least they wouldn't have ended up fourth at a time when the NDP were surging nationally.
Then we come to the most recent CRA poll, which has given the provincial NDP a whopping 18% of the vote, the highest I've ever seen them at. This comes at a time when the NDP are doing well in the Atlantic region overall (except maybe in Nova Scotia), and there seems to be dissatisfaction with Robert Ghiz's Liberal government.
This is probably not support that will hold in the long term - people seem more infatuated with the concept of the NDP in the province, rather than actual support (NDP leader James Rodd's polling has doubled, but only to 12%). Its soft and squishy vote that doesn't want to seem to go to the Opposition PCs. That doesn't mean we can't have fun with it, though.
Luckily, that 18% in the CRA poll is fairly similar to what the federal NDP managed in May 2011, 15.4%. That result put the NDP in contention for the federal riding of Charlottetown, with 25.1% to the winning Liberal's (Sean Casey's) 39.5% and the runner-up Conservative with 32.7%. So I decided to transpose the federal NDP's results on to the provincial scene in the five Charlottetown ridings only, and see what happened and what a competitive PEI NDP might look like.
36.6% Lib, 33.9% Con, 27.1% NDP (Federal)
53.9% Lib, 37.2% PC, 4.5% NDP (Provincial)
34.4% Lib, 31.9% Con, 30.5% NDP
61.8% Lib, 27.2% PC, 6.2% Grn, 4.8% NDP
36.9% Lib, 36.2% NDP, 23.8% Con
51.1% Lib, 26.9% PC, 12.9% Grn, 8.2% NDP
41.0% Lib, 28.3% NDP, 27.7% Con
52.3% Lib, 29.9% PC, 10.2% Grn, 7.5% NDP
44.0% Lib, 31.8% Con, 22.0% NDP
52.0% Lib, 33.0% PC, 10.1% NDP
Quite a difference, eh? Its interesting to see how well the NDP do in these Charlottetown ridings, yet they're completely dead outside of the capital. What this may say about the next PEI election, at least if trends hold, is fascinating to me; we know where the NDP's long-term base will be, at the very least. But this depends on them running candidates as well, which is not necessarily a guarantee. Here's a map to compliment the above results: