Monday, September 26, 2011

Manitoba polls point in the direction of an NDP win

Two polls with conflicting results were released in Manitoba today.  One was a phone poll by Viewpoints Research for CJOB, which reported 41% for the NDP, 32% for the PCs and 5% for the Liberals with 19% undecided.  This gives the NDP about 51% of the decided vote with the Tories at 40%.

By contrast another survey, an online poll by Environics, found the PCs in a narrow lead 45% to 42% over the NDP with the Liberals at 10%.  The clashing methodologies should be noted. Online polls have had some  real problems, so there is a need to be cautious in interpreting the results. UPDATE: TC goofed - the reference I made previously to real success in the U.S. was to interactive voice recognition polls.

Taken together, however, this polling data as well as earlier polls point in the direction of an NDP victory with a reduced majority.  Even in the Environics poll Selinger has a higher approval rating than opponent Huge McFadyen (54% approval compared to 44%). It must also be remembered that the NDP has a more efficiently distributed vote. Large majorities in the rural southwest "waste" more votes for the Conservatives than comparable NDP margins in the city, and the NDP controls the small population northern ridings.  TC estimates that the PCs likely need a four to five point lead to be certain of winning.

Liberal support is so weak that the party may well face a shutout (as TC noted on Saturday).  One can see on this map of the individual polls from the 2007 election results imposed on the new electoral boundaries that the Liberal polls in northwest Winnipeg are now split between Tyndall Park and the Maples, which should deliver both ridings to the NDP.  If Jon Gerrard loses River Heights that would give us a majority government for certain (even if the margin is narrow).

This is the last week of the campaign and we should still see polls from Angus Reid and Probe Research so there will be more information to consider before voting day.