Wednesday, June 30, 2004

What Happened with the Polls

I have finished a full comparison of the polls to the preliminary results and can add a little to yesterday's posts.

There was indeed a shift to the Liberals at the end of the campaign. However, it was confined to Ontario and Quebec. Interestingly, there was a distinct migration from Conservative and NDP intentions in Quebec to the Liberals in addition a shift from the Bloc. The final impact meant that instead of the mid-20's the Liberals wound up at almost 34% in Quebec.

In Ontario when you compare just the last three polls (Reid, Ekos and L├ęger) you find the Liberals 6% higher on voting day, the Conservatives 3.2% lower and the NDP 2.2% lower. My guess is that many Liberals in Ontario became in effect shaken loose from their traditional loyalties by the combined impact of the McGuinty budget and the sponsorship scandal, but only focused on the federal choice and its implications in the last week. Learning from the polls and the published seat projections (which I think were close to the mark at the time despite all the silly criticism they are getting now), the Liberals in Ontario returned home for the reasons now being cited in the media.

In Quebec, I think the impact of the Landry statement was the difference in the late movement. It came simply from federalists who were upset that the Bloc and PQ would interpret Bloc success as a mandate for a renewed push on sovereignty.

All of the shift at the national level can be explained by the movement in Ontario and Quebec. The shifting around elsewhere is small and appears to me simply within the usual margin of error.

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