NDP, Nova Scotia, politics, Rodney MacDonald

On Bluenose Polling…

Before yesterday’s first campaign debate, the Chronicle Herald released the results of Corporate Research Associates most recent quarterly political poll. This might well be the only poll we see during the Nova Scotia 2009 election campaign, so we should take note of the results. On voting intention, the result breakdown is this:

  • NDP – 37%
  • Lib – 31%
  • PC – 28%
  • Green – 3%
  • Other – 1%

There is little doubt now that Rodney MacDonald was right – it’s a two party race, unfortunately for him, his party is fading from the scene. Doubtless, the fact that the NDP are stronger in urban ridings rather than the overly-represented rural ones will produce a tighter seat total than the popular vote spread indicates, but the news is good for the provinical NDP and Liberals, who seem to be finally building under their new leader.

However, CRA did a curious thing with the undecided component of the vote – they combined it with the “don’t know”, “refused to answer”, and (shameful) “won’t vote” component of the vote, which together comprised 30% of the poll sample.  The curious thing about this is that they did not in fact lump all of these groups together in the poll, only in the press release. If you go to their website you will see that in fact only 17% of the poll sample is truly undecided.

Why would they do this? Would they do this because CRA would like to inflate the undecided vote to make the race seem tighter than it is? Hell, if 30% of the electorate is undecided, it’s anybody’s race, right?

Just sayin’…


13 thoughts on “On Bluenose Polling…

  1. There are lies, damn lies and then statistics. Unfortunately, any trained monkey can manipulate the results to make their case look more favourable. I would be curious to see if given the identical data how each party would present the results.

    If the CRA is trying to make the race seem tighter than it really is with “30% undecided”, could this result in a higher than normal voter turn-out or am I being overly optimistic about our apathetic society? I am thinking the latter, but one can always hope.


  2. I dunno Kev, a (slightly) lower turnout may be advantageous – I’m thinking a high percentage of NDP supporters are going to turn up to vote, simply because they see that there’s actually a chance of forming a government – in contrast, the diehard vote-Liberal (or Conservative)-no-matter-what might just look at the poll numbers and just decide to forgeddaboutit…


  3. Why should I trust any poll that Don Mills has anything to do with? He’s actively political, and his polls have been used to advance his personal political agenda—see: Commonwealth Games.

    I don’t trust CRA.


  4. Good point, Tim – I’d forgotten Don Mills’ greasy little fingers were pushing CRA’s buttons. I agree with Kevvyd’s initial assessment – they’re trying to make the race tighter than it actually is, since that’s the only way that Fiddleboy and the Legion of Dumb can convince people to vote for them…


  5. I don’t have much trust in polls either but Kev’s comment about voter turnout does raise a question. One that I hope someone here can answer for me. If the turnout is under 50% what is the possible effect on the election’s results? Assuming the NDP win, (and I’m hoping that they do) or any of the parties for that matter, can they really claim to have a mandate if they only have the backing of most of a minority within the population? Admittedly it doesn’t seem to have harmed the Harper government but at the time the Liberals were in no position to make an issue of it and the Bloc and NDP had nothing to gain from such a challenge. I think that a losing party, if they were bitter enough about the outcome, could make a case for an invalid election result under these circumstances. But I’m no constitutional lawyer. I’ll admit that my musings here could be completly offbase.

    I’m still not willing to rely on the Conservatives being good losers though. The fiddler has been trying to channel his inner Stephan Harper for some time now. The possibility of a do-over may be more than he and his party can resist.


  6. The sarcasm is strong with this one. They are apparently so proud of their efforts that they’ve left the webite up. I still think that the reprocussions from claiming a mandate from oh, let’s be generous and say a 40% voter turnout will be many and interesting. It’ll keep this blog going for awhile. It ought to cause some entertaining frothing at the mouth from the conservative camp too.


  7. There’s no precedence for a government to void election results based on voter turnout, but who really knows what power the Queen’s representative has?

    CRA and Don Mills are definitely in the bag for the Conservatives. That all they could do was try to portray a larger undecided vote is a grim statement for the fate of the Conservatives. Oh that someone else would poll Nova Scotia.


  8. I doubt that the Lieutenant-Governor would void the results for a low voter turnout – I’m not sure what the averages are for Provincial elections, but I’ve seen some pretty dismal returns for Municipal/School Board elections. That said, it won’t stop the losing parties from claiming some sort of illegitimacy, but let’s face it – electoral losers will always find some way of saying they was robbed – just google ‘Obama Birth Certificate’ if you want to see what the shallow end of the right-wing gene pool is up to….


  9. I don’t understand the argument, Dan. If the voter turnout is really low, it’s a failure of each the parties, isn’t it? If the NDP gets the most votes with a shitty turnout, it means that the Liberals and PCs were even less inspiring. They hardly have anything to complain about.


  10. You’re absolutely right, Tim – at least you would be if we were talking sane, rational human beings – but instead we’re dealing with politicians, where the first rule is spin, spin, spin. For example, let’s suppose the voter turnout is 70%, I know that’s probably a bit high, but bear with me. If the breakdown of that vote is the NDP 50%, and the Tories and Liberals tied at 25% apiece, you’d say that was a fairly resounding victory for the NDP, and you’d be right. However, that’s not the way the Tories, the Libs, and their pet media outlets like CTV and the National Post will spin it – they’ll spin the numbers to say that the NDP only have the consent of 35% of voters and are somehow tainted….


  11. Sadly, I think that we’ve become so accustomed to poor voter turnout that there will be no spin one way or another outside of maybe the blogosphere. The parties have done very little to attract voter interest, but I have a feeling that this was an intentional play by the Tories. If any party has done anything it’s the Liberals with their new leader. At least they appear to be trying.

    The likely fact is that the Tories chose now to fall in order to have an election at a time when fewer people are liable to come out because low turnout is what you want if you are a do-nothing incumbant.


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