Plenty O' Polls

I was taking a quick break from my toil and ended up stumbling onto this page from the Politics Canada website, which lists (amongst other things) national poll results from December '03 (ie, just after the CPC was formed) to date.

Now, I should say at the outset that I would much prefer if all parties, included my own, spent less time on tactics and poll-watching, and more time on telling us what sort of things they would do if they, you know, actually won the election.

But nevertheless, I still find it interesting to take a look at short- and long-term trends in public opinion. And the fact is, political parties, the media and other interested observers are going to pay attention to opinion polls and the "horserace" element of politics, like it or not. So, with that in mind ...

There are all sorts of comments that could be made, but for now (because work is waiting!), I'm just going to look at how the polls taken just prior to the '04 election reflected the eventual result.

What I thoought was interesting is that if you looked at the average of the 5 polls conducted just before the election was called on 23 May '04, the averages worked out to be as follows:

LPC: 38.2
CPC: 26.6
NDP: 16.2
BQ: 11.0
GPC: 5.0 (only included in 3 of those 5 pre-election polls)

Now look at the final results:

LPC: 36.7 (-1.5 points from the pre-election average)
CPC: 29.6 (+3.0)
NDP: (-0.5)
BQ: 12.4 (+1.4)
GPC: 4.3 (-0.7)

Some quick, back-of-the-envelope analysis:

1. Once again, the Libs dropped off from where they were at the start of the campaign.

2. The CPC actually did gain support; people sometimes forget that, because for a while there it looked like the Tories were actually going to win, and they obviously fell short.

2(a). Imagine (i) if the CPC had the time to go through the policy process so that they could come up with a detailed platfrom, and (ii) if the CPC had stayed on-message? As a CPCer I'm obviously biased, but I see room to grow, which will help attract & keep the soft Liberal voters who climbed onboard the CPC during the campaign, only to climb off again at the end.

3. Either Jack Layton isn't all that wonderful when it comes to campaigning, or the Libs were able (with CPC help, unfortunately) to scare would-be New Democrats back to Team Martin, or both. In fact, Jack et al should hope that the CPC's have a good campaign - because the Libs will lose votes on their right flank, and they won't be as able to haul wavering maybe-NDP'ers back into the Grit net.

4. There was a basic core group of Green voters who didn't really move anywhere during the campaign. The other parties, and I'm thinking particularly the NDP, should wonder what - if anything - can be done to capture that +/- 5%. It may be that the Greens are here to stay and may even grow; we'll need at least one more election to see if they can maintain that 5% level, especially if they don't win any seats.

More later.


At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you also looked at www.nodice.ca? It confirms this information since the last election.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

The Green Party numbers are impressive indeed. Never thought they'd meet their goals. But they did.


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