While we have seen this before in 2013, the NDP has a lead in the polls. But there remain challenges with their vote distribution.
Some of the challenges of polling in any election cycle are to first get behind the horse race numbers but also to get a sense of what voter turnout will be. Further, it is imperative that pollsters improve their ability to triangulate diverse data sources to bring depth to the fundamentals of tracking voter intentions. During this writ period, experimenting with an online data collection platform (see note below*), Justason Marketing Intelligence and zinc tank have teamed up to offer regular insights on this Provincial Election. This is our first post on voter intentions. So what say the polls?
Based on the use of Google Surveys*, we have been conducting a host of one question polls of BC residents (Adults 18+) (April 18 to 20, 2017). And the findings have been intriguing. Based on the voting intentions of decided voters, going into the weekend just past, the NDP have a slight lead – 39% of decided voters indicating support for John Horgan’s party. The Liberals, are still attracting solid support with 36% of decided voters; with the Greens with a strong showing, yet well back at 19%. In an attempt to get at committed voters, we removed the 37% of those not eligible, with no interest or don’t vote – and this yields a likely starting point of 63% voter turnout. Please note, the “Other” was a coded open-end response.
Delving into the data leads to some revelations. Looking at gender, there are close levels of support for the NDP by both women and men. While men are indicating stronger support for the Liberals compared to women (39% versus 33%). Looking at age groups, while there is a slight decline with age, the NDP is garnering strong support across all age groups. For the Liberals, the opposite is true – their support increases with age, and significantly so with the critical 55 years+ voter demographic. Staying with the 55 years+ segment, it is here that the Liberals are performing better than the NDP.
Regionally, there are some interesting narratives within the data. First, as with other polls out there, we too found strong support for the Greens in Victoria/Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands – and are running second to the NDP in these areas. Other that these two areas, the NDP also are leading in the City of Vancouver. The Liberal have a solid lead in Northern BC (with the highest incidence or respondents indicating “Other” (mainly indicating “Conservative) as well). At this point, it looks like the key battleground areas will be the residual Greater Vancouver Region (Liberals 40% versus NDP 38%) and South/East BC (Liberals 39% versus NDP 42%). On first blush, this latter finding is surprising. South/East BC has traditionally been a Liberal stronghold. However, it is our sense that this may be the “Alberta Effect.” With pipeline issues likely at the forefront in this region for some time, and the centrist approach of Alberta’s NDP towards the resource sector, voters in the area may likely be thinking that having the BC NDP in power will be beneficial to their area’s economy and smooth the dialogue and serve the future of these two provinces better.
With the election just over two weeks away, parties will be focusing their attention and be deploying resources to swing ridings within these regions. While the direction for the Liberals is clear – the Greater Vancouver Region and South/East BC, and the Greens in Vancouver Island/Gulf Islands (with some upside in the City of Vancouver), the NDP has many challenges on where to focus in an attempt to reduce the doubts that affected them previous elections. Take note of the Liberals’ campaign machinery and where they are focused, and especially in areas where they can also benefit from vote splitting between the NDP and Greens.
It is worth noting that in the lead up to the election in 2013, pollsters were all predicting an NDP win, with a sizeable gap in support. At this stage, a couple weeks out, NDP appeared to have a solid lead on the Liberals. With the two major parties in a dead heat with two weeks to go, the Liberals may feel some comfort with their campaign plan given the efficiency and distribution of their vote.
Tomorrow: We delve into this latter perspective further, and look at the “social cue” on this election.
For more information, contact Barb Justason, 604.783.4165 or Brian F. Singh, 403.861.9462.
* THIS SURVEY WAS CONDUCTED VIA GOOGLE SURVEYS OVER (APRIL 18-20, 2017). GOOGLE SURVEYS USES A COMBINATION OF BAYESIAN, RIVER-SAMPLING METHODOLOGY ONLINE AND MOBILE AND TAPPING INTO GOOGLE COMMUNITIES TO YIELD A POPULATION REFLECTIVE SAMPLE OF BC’S POPULATION. HENCE, NO MARGIN OF ERROR IS REPORTED. OF NOTE, BC HAS A HIGH PENETRATION RATE OF MOBILE USAGE IN NORTH AMERICA, AND BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS EXCEEDS LAND LINE USAGE. GOOGLE SURVEYS CONTINUES TO BE RATED FAVOURABLY (RATED BY 538: B), AND WAS USED EXTENSIVELY BY BRIAN F. SINGH IN HIS WORK ON BRIAN BOWMAN’S SUCCESSFUL MAYORAL CAMPAIGN IN THE 2014 WINNIPEG MUNICIPAL ELECTION, AND DURING THE ALBERTA AND FEDERAL ELECTIONS IN 2015. GOOGLE SURVEYS IS BUT ONE METHODOLOGY IN A POLLSTERS TOOLKIT WHILE NOT DEFINITIVE (AS HAS BEEN WITNESSED WITH OTHER POLLING METHODS), IT PROVIDES QUALITY DIRECTIONAL DATA THAT IS ABLE TO STAND ON ITS OWN AND IN CONCERT WITH OTHER MODES OF DATA COLLECTION, AND WE CROSS VALIDATE ITS FINDINGS FROM OTHER POLLING FIRMS THAT USE OTHER FORMS OF TRADITIONAL POLLING.