"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Panic on the streets of Gambo

CRA got scooped on today's release of its NLpoli fieldwork for the month of May.

Here is what the notional-projection electoral map would look like in a general election where today's CRA vote-intent figures reflected actual popular support across the province. Dark colours indicate holds. Light red indicates notional Liberal pickups, while light blue indicates narrow PC holds. Notionally NDP seats (see below) are yellowy-orange. Grey indicates districts where the forecast models are in disagreement about the notional outcome. (Click to enlarge.)

The Liberals would take a minimum of 29 notional seats, and would be in contention in another nine being "tossup" districts where the seat-forecasting models are in disagreement with one another. Even without winning a single tossup seat, this is a solid majority of the House of Assembly's 48 chairs.

For the incumbent PCs, increasingly torn between pollyannatastic denial and desperation, if their Twitter feeds are anything to go on, only five districts would remain in their notional win column, though they would be in contention in the nine previously-mentioned "tossups". But even if all the tossup seats tilted Tory, the governing party would be reduced to an opposition of fourteen members, with only two MHAs west of Harbour Main... and that, assuming that the PC candidate who succeeds Tom Marshall in Humber East holds the seat for the Blue Team. If the Tories fail to win even half the tossup seats, the opposition Liberals would win a commanding majority government of thirty-something members.

The NDP would notionally hold five seats, the same number, though distributed differently, that they won on election night in 2011. However, one of those is St. John's North, where the incumbent MHA, having one for the orange team, just this week won re-nomination as a relatively newly-minted Liberal.

In fact — and this is a major caveat — across the board, the notional model does not take into account changes in affiliation since the last election. These districts are marked with asterixes. There have been quite a few:
  • In St. John's South, former PC Tom Osborne, after an interlude in self-imposed exile as an Independent member, is now a Liberal.
  • In Mount Pearl South, former PC Paul Lane has also donned a red uniform.
  • In St. John's North, as previously noted, former NDP MHA Dale Kirby will re-offer, this time as the newly-nominated Liberal candidate in the 2015 (14? 16?) general election.
  • In The Straits and White Bay North, former NDP MHA Chris Mitchelmore is a contestant in next week's Liberal nomination in that district.
  • In Virginia Waters, Liberal Cathy Bennett now holds the seat following the by-election to succeed former Premier Dunderdale.
  • In Carbonear–Harbour Grace, Liberal Sam Slade carried in last fall's by-election what was in 2011 the second-Toriest district in the province.
  • In Cartwright–L'anse au Clair, a purely academic change saw Liberal Lisa Dempster succeed Liberal Yvonne Jones.
Finally, just this week, Joan Shea resigned cabinet and the legislature, leaving a vacancy in the west coast district of St. George's–Stephenville East. This district has been a notional Liberal pickup seat in forecasts derived from public polls going back nearly 18 months, to early 2013. A by-election will have to be called here by August 1st, and held by the end of that month. The rumour mill is rife with delicious speculation about other impending vacancies from the government side of the aisle as well.

As with all poll projections, the overall seat-count result tends to be more accurate than the district-by-district count when the models are tested post-election. The errors in individual district forecasts tend to cancel one another out in the overall composition of the notionally-projected legislature.