Thursday, March 7, 2013

CRA Atlantic Polls - Liberals Movin' On Up in NS and PEI

Corporate Research Associates has released their quarterly reports for the four Atlantic Canada provinces, though only released polls for Nova Scotia and PEI yesterday. Both show good news for the Liberals out that way, as I suspect (or, well, hope) the New Brunswick and Newfoundland polls will. But for now, let's take a look at these two polls, especially PEI where the situation is hilarious - especially given the history of my co-blogger Teddy.

Anyways, lets start with Nova Scotia, mostly because I have an up-to-date projection system for it.

CRA Poll (Nova Scotia Provincial - Feb. 7-Mar. 3, 2013)
NS Liberal Party: 39% (-2%) - 23 seats
New Democratric: 32% (+3%) - 19 seats
Prog. Conservative: 24% (-3%) - 9 seats
Green Party: 5% (+2%)

The news is generally good for our fellow Liberals out in Nova Scotia, as Darrell Dexter's groundbreaking and disappointing NDP government continues to fall behind in popularity. NS Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil and his party have been the ones to benefit from the NDP's fall from grace, with the Progressive Conservatives continuing to be stuck in the low-to-mid-20's.

McNeil remains the most popular option for Premier at 26%, though this is down rather heavily from 33% he earned in November 2012. Dexter sits at 21% (also down) and PC Leader Jim Baillie sits at 20% (up 3%). "Don't know" grew to 23%.

So while, yes, everything's rosy for the Liberals right now, it doesn't mean they're in the clear. McNeil needs to ensure that he keeps his image up as Premier-in-waiting, and hounds the Dexter government for every single little issue that's come up during its tenure. I've heard there is a lot of material to work from.

Moving on to Prince Edward Island!

CRA Poll (PEI Provincial - Feb. 11-Mar. 2, 2013)
PEI Liberal Party: 51% (+6%) - 22 seats
New Democratic: 26% (+4%) - 5 seats
Prog. Conservative: 16% (-12%)
Green Party: 7% (+2%)

In case you weren't aware, Teddy (aka Nick Boragina) ran for the PEI NDP a few elections ago, when that part was nothing. Now, they're forming the Official Opposition!?

To explain why this odd situation exists is easy, and it requires a quick read of a post that Teddy had up awhile back. The PCs have basically imploded due to infighting over who gets to lead what. I don't think the situation has quite resolved itself yet either. Islanders thus need to find alternatives, and they've apparently found on in the usually useless Island New Democrats, led by rookie leader Mike Redmond.

Even among the "Best Premier" question, Redmond crushes supposed PC Leader Steven Meyers, with 18% preferring Redmond as Premier to 7% for Meyers. 37% prefer current Liberal Premier Robert Ghiz, 5% Peter Bevan-Baker of the Greens.

Awhile back I covered the Island NDP's chances of winning in Charlottetown, which were pretty good considering. Using a quick mock-up projection, based on these numbers the five seats the NDP would win are Charlottetown-Brighton (Ghiz's riding), Charlottetown-Lewis Point, Charlottetown-Victoria Park, Stratford-Kinlock, and York-Oyster Bed (where 2011 leader James Rodd ran).

Now, there is something of a caveat. The margin of error in this poll is +5.6%, or 95% confidence. That's a strong number, don't get me wrong, but it could mean that CRA hit an orange patch in their survey. However, given events, I'm inclined to believe it.

Aside from losing his seat, this is great news for Robert Ghiz. The Liberals haven't been sailing through the calmest of waters lately, but it seems Islanders aren't abandoning the party for the PCs, who are in much worse shape. The question becomes whether or not the NDP will be a threat in the future. The next election isn't until 2015, there is a lot of time for Redmond to organize and fundraise - but, the PCs also have lots of time to make a comeback, once they get their leadership issues sorted out. Remains to be seen, but I suspect that the PEI Liberals aren't too worried right now. The PCs are smoldering, and the NDP are untested. These aren't formidable opponents.


  1. what is your thoughts on the rising NDP in Atlantic Canada first in NS, then NFLD, next PEI?

    1. Personally, I think its about time. Atlantic Canada is an area that would seemingly work well for the NDP's ideological base - low-income, dependent on a strong central government (ostensibly to dole our cash to them), and with a tradition of blue-collar occupations and small farmers. These are groups that the NDP has traditionally done better among, though "farmers" has been less and less a good occupation for them to target over the years, at least in Western Canada.

      However, tradition is strong in Atlantic Canada and voters are hard-pressed to shift away from the parties their parents voted for. The NDP growth only really started in the 1990's as Halifax grew into a proper city, and we've seen the other major urban centres - especially St. John's - start to follow the same pattern. The Liberals, meanwhile become more of a party of older rural folk (Newfoundland) or the francophone minority (witness New Brunswick and to an extent, Nova Scotia). In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, at least, they've been able to maintain something of a suburban base.

      So we'll see eventually what we see in the other provinces - the NDP dominate urban cores, the PCs will dominate rural areas and compete with the Liberals in the suburbs, while the latter struggles to hold on to traditional areas of support in the rural ridings that once voted based on religion or minority status.

      It's just Atlantic Canada coming into the norm of Canadian politics, which is truly no longer a two-party system like they had retained for the longest time.

      Thus, the same problem we Liberals face everywhere else will become the Atlantic Canadian Liberals problem - that is, how do we keep from becoming irrelevant. It will require keeping the NDP down as a viable option, or shifting the focus and ideology to represent rural interests. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

  2. Good polls for the opposition!

    As for the NDP forming the official opposition on PEI, that was always the plan :P There are about 4 or so seats the NDP could have won (old ridings, by our estimates) and we had 4 or so "really great potential candidates" lined up, but none of them wanted to run only to finish in 3rd.

    If one of the other parties is looking at only getting 1 or 2 seats, the NDP could indeed overtake them for the official opposition.

    As for Nova Scotia, good news for the opposition.