Thursday, May 17, 2007

Probe Poll - Manitoba Election Forecast

The poll out today has results, which when converted to seats using my forecast model, come close to replicating the results of the last election:
The numbers above represent the province-wide overall numbers produced by the pollsters. Probe also produced regional data including Winnipeg/Non-Winnipeg splits. I have created a separate model based on two regions (Winnipeg & Rural/North) - when I do the calculation using this independently generated model (the principles of the methodology are the same), it exactly replicates the outcome of the June 10, 2003 election.

This should not be surprising: the Winnipeg results in the Probe poll are almost exactly the same as the Winnipeg vote shares in 2003. Although the rural numbers in the poll report a significant shift from 2003, the fact is that most rural contests like most in the city are completely one-sided affairs, whether the constituency is voting NDP or Conservative. It takes a larger shift than reported by Probe research to change the outcome in rural areas according to my estimate.

Even in the City of Winnipeg the same pattern for the most part holds. To the extent there are marginals they are mostly urban but there are not many. Another feature of the pattern emerging from the 2003 election is that wide movements in the poll yield surprisingly limited seat shifts.

Nevertheless I don't really expect a truly identical result to emerge. There are typically a few idiosyncratic results that don't follow the overall pattern. For example, I would not be surprised to see former Tory MP Rick Borotsik win in Brandon West, although he would have to overcome an enormous margin to do so.

The poll does have a margin of error. However, if we take two points away from the NDP and give them to the Conservatives we still would move only one additional seat the Tories way. I have more confidence in the overall numbers than the regional - because they are sub-samples the margin of error is much higher.

Since 1969 Manitoba has been split along a northwest to southeast axis - in general, to the north and east, the NDP dominates while the Conservatives hold sway to the south and west. The Liberals have generally managed only to capture the odd seat in the city (with the notable exception of the 1988 election). This familiar pattern should still be highly visible on election night.

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