Day 4 – Sun News/Abacus Data NS Election Tracking Poll – Liberals lead by 19

Detailed tables and analysis

With only two days until the Nova Scotia election, the NS Liberal Party leads the NDP by 19 points among committed and leaning voters according to the Sun News/Abacus Data NS tracking poll.

Overall, 31% of eligible voters said they plan or have voted for the Liberal Party (up 1), followed by the NDP at 19% (up 1), the PCs at 16% (down 1), and the Green Party at 1%.  Twenty-six percent of eligible voters say they are still undecided (down 3) while 7% of respondents have already voted but refused to identify who they voted for.  All observed changes are inside the margin of error for the survey.

Among committed and leaning voters, the Liberals lead with 46% (down 2), followed by the NDP at 28% (down 2), and the PCs at 25% (up 3).  The Green Party received 1% of the vote.  Compared with yesterday’s poll, the observed change is marginal and inside the margin of error for the survey.

The percentage of respondents reporting that they have already voted has not changed all week and remains at 15% among all eligible voters.

Nova Scotia Election Outlook

We took  Friday evening off from tracking and were back in the field yesterday.

Overall, there has been little movement in the key indicators.  The Liberals still lead by almost 20 points over the NDP and Stephen McNeil is the most popular leader.  However, the Liberal advantage on most the important issues remains small over the NDP and PC Party.

As we head into the final days of the campaign, the Liberals continue to look well positioned to win the election on Tuesday.  Along with the party’s lead on key indicators, the Liberals look good because the number of undecided voters have also dropped over the course of the past six days and the Liberal lead has not.  This indicates that as eligible voters make up their minds, they are just as likely to prefer the Liberals as those who had previously made up their minds.

Moreover, most eligible voters in Nova Scotia believe the Liberals will win the election.

Provincial Vote Intention

Overall, 31% of eligible voters said they plan or have voted for the Liberal Party (up 1), followed by the NDP at 19% (up 1), the PCs at 16% (down 1), and the Green Party at 1%.  Twenty-six percent of eligible voters say they are still undecided (down 3) while 7% of respondents have already voted but refused to identify who they voted for.  All observed changes are inside the margin of error for the survey.

Among committed and leaning voters, the Liberals lead with 46% (down 2), followed by the NDP at 28% (down 2), and the PCs at 25% (up 3).  The Green Party received 1% of the vote.  Compared with yesterday’s poll, the observed change is marginal and inside the margin of error for the survey

Slide1

Subgroup Analysis

Regionally, the NS Liberal continue to be strongest in the North and South Shore/Annapolis Valley  while running neck and neck with the Tories on Cape Breton.  In Halifax, the Liberals continue to hold a marginal lead over the NDP.

The  Liberal Party continues to lead among all demographic groups but the race has tightened somewhat among those aged 60 and over.

Among committed voters who voted NDP in 2009, 48% say they will vote NDP while  39% plan to vote Liberal.  Among all previous NDP voters, 13% are still undecided.

Does Dexter Deserve Re-Election?

A considerable majority of eligible voters in Nova Scotia continue to believe it is time for a change in the province while less the one in four eligible voters (224%) believe Darrell Dexter and the NDP deserve to be re-elected.

We have seen very little change in these numbers over the last five  days of polling.

Top Issue and Best Party to Manage Issue

Jobs and the economy, health care, education and taxes remain the most important issues facing Nova Scotia according to eligible voters in Nova Scotia.   These numbers have not much  throughout the final week of the campaign.

But we have seen a noticeable shift in which party voters who care about each issue think can best handle it.

Earlier this week, the Liberal Party had a clear advantage among voters who said that jobs and the economy and health care were the most important issues facing the province.

When we include last night’s tracking into the previous two day’s data, we find the Liberal advantage on those two issues is gone.  In fact, the NDP has taken a small marginal lead on best party to handle jobs or the economy (among those who reported health care as their top issue).

Furthermore, there remains a large number of voters who are undecided about which party can best handle the four most important issues.

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Most Trusted on the Economy

While the Liberal Party has lost its advantage among those who believe jobs and the economy are the top issues facing the province, the party still has a substantial lead among all eligible voters when they are asked which party they believe would be best able to handle the economic situation in Nova Scotia best.   Thirty-one percent of eligible voters selected the Liberal Party, followed by 21% who selected the NDP and 17% who selected the PC Party.  Twenty-two percent of respondents were unsure.

Best Premier

There was little change in perceptions about which party leader would make the best premier.

When respondents were asked which party leader they believed would make the best Premier, the results again mirrored the vote intention question.  Thirty-two percent of respondents selected Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil while 21% selected incumbent Premier and NDP Leader Darrell Dexter.  PC Leader Jamie Baillie was third at 17% among all eligible voters while 30% were unsure.

Slide3

 

Overall Party Leader Impressions

When it comes to overall impressions of the main party leaders in Nova Scotia, our tracking finds that Stephen McNeil’s personal numbers have not changed at all and he remains the most popular leader in the province..  A slight majority still have a positive impression of the Liberal Leader.

Our tracking has found a slight improvement in PC Leader Jamie Baillie’s numbers over the past few days.  Overall, 41% of eligible voters have a favour impression of the PC Leader while 34% have a negative impression.

Darrell Dexter remains a polarizing figure with 37% of eligible voters having a positive impression of the NDP leader while 46% have a negative impression.

Slide4

Likely Election Winner

Finally, respondents were asked which political party they believed would ultimately win the Nova Scotia provincial election.  A majority of voters continue to believe (58%) that the Liberal Party will win the election, up four points since Friday’s release, while only 12% felt the NDP will win.

Methodology

The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted October2 to October 5, 2013 among a provincial sample of 60 eligible voters in Nova Scotia.  Interviews were conducted in English and 5,540 telephone numbers were dialed.   Each evening up to and including Sunday October 6 (except for Friday evening), 200 to 250 interviews will be conducted with a random sample of eligible voters in Nova Scotia.   The results of the poll will be released on Battleground with David Akin on the Sun News Network each evening at 7pm AT / 6pm ET.

Likely voters were identified by creating a six-point scale based on seven questions about a respondents interest in politics, their intention to vote, whether they have voted already, and the attention they have paid to the election campaign. 

The data was statistically weighted according to the 2011 Census according to age, region, gender, and education.  The margin of error for this survey is + 4.1%, 19 times out of 20.  Note, the margin of error in subgroups with small sample sizes is much larger.

The survey was commissioned by the Sun News Network.  For more information about the poll’s methodology or the results, please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or at 613-232-2806.

David Coletto is CEO of Abacus Data and leads its Public Affairs research practice. He has a PhD from the University of Calgary and is an adjunct professor at Carleton University.  He’s an avid road cyclist.

Contact David Coletto:

T: 613-232-2806 x. 248

E: david@abacusdata.ca

W: http://www.abacusdata.ca

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