Friday, September 6, 2013

Provincial Trudeaumania?

At least at first blush, that is what it definitely seems like in the four Atlantic Canadian provinces, as noted yesterday by my co-blogger Teddy. The Liberals have moved into first place in every province, and more amazingly the NDP have moved into second place in every province. That leaves the Progressive Conservatives, who control the legislatures of New Brunswick and Newfoundland, in a poor third position everywhere.

In a sign of things to come as we ramp back up into the fall political season, here are the projections from each of these polls, which by the way are all done by Corporate Research Associates, and you can read them all in detail here. The comparisons are to the last CRA polls I covered in March, which you can see here for Newfoundland and New Brunswick, and here for Nova Scotia and PEI. Do note, however, that CRA put out polls in May/June as well that I didn't cover, so these comparisons are two quarters old.

New Brunswick
Liberal Party: 47% (+12%) - 42 seats (+18 seats)*
Prog. Conservative (inc): 23% (-9%) - 7 seats (-14 seats)*
New Democratic: 24% (-2%) - 6 seats (-4 seats)*
Green Party: 4% (-1%)
* - based on old seat distribution

Newfoundland & Labrador
Liberal Party: 41% (+19%) - 24 seats (+14 seats)
New Democratic: 33% (-6%) - 19 seats (+1 seat)
Prog. Conservative (inc): 26% (-12%) - 5 seats (-15 seats)

Nova Scotia
Liberal Party: 41% (+2%) - 22 seats (-1 seat)
New Democratic (inc): 31% (-1%) - 18 seats (-1 seat)
Prog. Conservative: 25% (+1%) - 11 seats (+2 seats)
Green Party: 3% (-2%)

Prince Edward Island
Liberal Party (inc): 42% (-9%) - 21 seats (-1 seat)
New Democratic: 32% (+6%) - 5 seats (=)
Prog. Conservative: 23% (+6%) - 1 seat (+1 seat)
Green Party: 3% (-4%)

These are obviously some pretty big changes in an area that most resisted change in the last few elections, giving the Liberals some of their best ridings in 2011, and being the last bastions of loyal Torys during the federal party's decline in the 1990's. Now we're seeing craziness that includes the NDP making major ground in three provinces they previously struggled to get over 10% of the voters in.

Is this shake-up simply a result of Trudeamania filtering down into the provinces? While it certainly can't hurt at this point, Trudeaumania alone cannot explain why the NDP is seeing a surge as well. Nor can simply attributing these numbers to the goings-on of the federal scene really work as well. What we're seeing here is probably the result of a confluence of events from both levels of government that have helped cause this quagmire.

Essentially, both of the incumbent Tory governments of Kathy Dunderdale and David Alward are feeling the sting of anti-incumbent feelings that we've seen bubble pretty consistently over the last few years, even if it doesn't always end up showing at the party when its needed (ahem, Ontario, BC, Alberta, etc.). I'm not a local so I can't comment directly, but Alward and Dunderdale do not seem to have really ingratiated themselves with the public, something not helped by their lack of charisma to begin with, as well as the association they have with Harper's government which is definitely unpopular in the region right now.

The NDP in both provinces is a strong protest vote option, and have probably gained the most from the PC collapse; the Liberals are roughly at traditional levels in both provinces, and haven't really gained much aside from their old base. The NL Liberals have also gotten some clear momentum recently, easily winning the by-election for Yvonne Jones' old seat, as well as having a former PC cabinet member from St. John's cross the floor, giving them 7 seats in the House.

In PEI, Robert Ghiz's Liberal government is braving a couple of scandals and were always bound to take a hit, but their main opposition is still in disarray. The PCs are having some leadership issues, and until something is sorted out, the tiny Island New Democrat outfit is going to be a good place to park votes for people unhappy with Ghiz. Whether they can actually keep that kind of support remains to be seen.

Finally, the PCs were already pretty weak in Nova Scotia, and Darrell Dexter's NDP government has proven itself fairly incompetent, thus allowing the Liberals to keep ahead of them without too much competition. These are good numbers for the Liberals, especially as they seem to be heading into an election any day now - and yes, I'll try to cover it the best I can.

But yeah, there is definitely a lot more going on behind these numbers than simply Trudeaumania. Its a complicated mess, but its a mess that seems to favour the Liberals right now. Lets keep it up!

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