Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Polling in the Federal by-elections - could the CPC lose Calgary Centre?

Forum has come out with a second poll of the by-elections, here are the results.   My one major concern about all their polls has been the very large over sampling of the older population.   If I had the time I would try and work out what sort of impact this has on the polls and how it compares to the way people vote.

Victoria              Oct 26th Nov 12th change
Murray Rankin NDP        47%     47%      0
Donald Galloway Green    20%     26%     +6
Paul Summerville Liberal 16%     14%     -2
Dale Gann Conservative   16%     12%     -4
(sample size Oct 26th 295, Nov 12th 509)

Calgary Centre    Aug 14th Oct 26th Nov 12th change Oct-Nov 
Joan Crockatt Cons   44%      48%     32%        -16
Harvey Locke Liberal 21%      28%     30%        +2
Chris Turner Green   12%      11%     23%        +12
Dan Meades NDP       14%       8%     12%        +4
(sample size Aug 14th 250, Oct 26th 343, Nov 12th 354)

Durham            Oct 26th Nov 12th change
Erin O'Toole Cons    46%     42%     -4
Larry O'Connor NDP   24%     26%     +2
Grant Humes Liberal  20%     22%     +2
Virginia Ervin Green  6%      7%     +1
(sample size Oct 26th 379, Nov 12th 583)

I had not expected to see the race tighten up so much in Calgary Centre.   The growth is clearly for the Greens, but I do not think it is nearly enough to win.   Also this poll is once again a very small sample size.   The chances of having serious systemic flaws are high because of the demographic weighting that needs to be done to simulate the population.

Even with his large gain in support, Green Chris Turner is still clearly #3 in the race.   I do not see it as realistic that he could win.   The question then becomes can Harvey Locke win for the Liberals?   I think it will all come down to who decides to vote.   I presume that based on these polls all the Liberal effort is going to go into Calgary Centre.   The pressure to get NDP and Green voters to back Harvey Locke is going to go through the roof.

If you delve further into the poll, Chris Turner does lead among voters aged 35-54 and is tied with Locke and Crockatt in the 18-34.   Where Chris Turner suffers is among the older people where he is far behind the other two.   If the voter turn out were to reflect the actual demographics of the riding, I think the results would work in Turner's favour, though still not likely enough to win.

Durham is not changed much, a mild drop in CPC support and milder increase for the other parties.   The Greens remain a non issue in the riding.   Since the race is a clear win for the CPC, turn out is likely to be low.

In Victoria the NDP retain their commanding lead but what has changed is the race for second.   In October it really was a three way competition for second and now the poll shows that the Greens have as much support as the other two combined.   The larger sample size of 509 means the poll is less likely to be too far off the mark.

Turnout could make a big difference in Victoria.   It is possible that Liberal and CPC supporters stay home in higher than expected numbers and that the NDP does as well as they are expected in a riding they hold a commanding lead.   What could then make a difference is extra turn out from Green voters - it is not unreasonable for the Greens to possibly boost the turn out enough so that they come a stronger second.


James said...

I wouldn't rule out Turner in Calgary Centre just yet. No doubt, it will be tough for him to win, but the possibility is there. As a politically engaged resident of the riding, I have spoken to a number of people in the area. The buzz for Turner is astounding. The more I talk to people, the more people are getting excited about him as a candidate. By this, I mean people without a partisan bias really starting to strongly favour a specific candidate with excitement. The only other time I have seen something like this was with Nenshi winning the mayoral race. Obviously, a by-election gets much less press than most other elections. Turner's team has a lot of work to do to get more people interested in him as a candidate and get them out to vote. It is still a tough uphill battle for Turner, but it is most definitely possible.

Bernard said...

The problem in a by-election is turn out - to have a surprising win you really need to be able to get a large turn out of your supporters and few campaigns can do this. Turn out may be the Achilles heal for the CPC as their supporters may stay home.

However weak the data from the Forum poll, and there are reasons to take the results with a grain of salt, what people will see out of that poll is that Harvey Locke is the one to beat Joan Croackatt. People will be entranced by that small gap between the two of them in the poll and there will be an all out effort to get people to vote for the lesser of two evils and abandon their first choice.

For Chris Turner to win he needs a poll showing his support around 30%.