Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mid campaign polls and accidents

An Environics poll released on Christmas Eve noted, “…the federal election campaign has yet to have any noticeable effect on voter support.” Using that statement as my cue (and I do agree) I averaged all the polls taken since the beginning of the campaign including the daily SES (except for today’s release) and the Globe’s Strategic Counsel. This calculation does not take overall movement within the campaign into account, but then there has not been much, at least in aggregate.

I would say the ups and downs in the polls suggest there is some non-sampling error going on. For example, estimates of Liberal strength in Ontario have ranged between 37% and 47% although most readings are in the forties. In B.C. the range has been between 26% and 42% with most reading in the thirties.

Applying my seat forecaster to the overall average produces the following results: Liberals – 131, Conservatives – 87, NDP – 23, BQ – 67. For full details of the poll averages and seat numbers see here.

However, I began writing this post before the news of the RCMP investigation of the so-called Income Trust leak. I think this story is potentially quite damaging to the Liberals (even though I believe in the end the investigation won’t produce results). It plays into, and reinforces the Liberal corruption narrative promoted by the opposition. I think it more likely to be helpful to the Conservatives than the NDP (despite their role in producing the investigation) as the Tories have run with the corruption issue more strongly.

This is a campaign in search of a galvanizing moment. Is this it? Perhaps, but it is too soon to tell. It also comes in a week where the Liberals were afflicted by other ‘accidents’ in what has seemed an accident-prone campaign.

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