Final Poll – Sun News/Abacus Data NS Election Tracking Poll – Liberals lead by 19; Close Race for 2nd

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The final Sun News/Abacus Data poll of the 2013 Nova Scotia election finds that the Liberal Party well positioned to win on Tuesday October 8 while the NDP and Progressive Conservative Party are in a fight for second place.

Overall, 29% of eligible voters said they plan or have voted for the Liberal Party (down 2), followed by the PC Party at 18% (up 2), the NDP at 15% (down 4), and the Green Party at 1%.  Twenty-five percent of eligible voters say they are still undecided (down 1) while 11% 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% (unchanged), followed by the PC Party at 28% (up 3) and the NDP at 24% (down 4).  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.

Among likely voters, the Liberal Party continues to lead with 46% among committed likely voters followed by the PCs at 27% and the NDP at 26%.

20% of eligible voters surveyed said they had already voted in the election.

Nova Scotia Election Outlook

Our final tracking poll finds that Liberal Party has a comfortable lead among committed and likely voters and is likely going to win the Nova Scotia election if voter preferences do not change dramatically over the next 24 hours.

The real fight in the election is for second place.  Our latest numbers have the PC Party with a marginal lead over the NDP for second (28% vs. 24%) but tied among those most likely to vote.  Keeping in mind the margin of error for the survey, we are unable to forecast which party will the second most number of voters.

As always, the final results will depend on turnout and our polling cannot anticipate whether the NDP, PC Party, or Liberal Party will have a better Get Out The Vote operation. 

Provincial Vote Intention

Overall, 29% of eligible voters said they plan or have voted for the Liberal Party (down 2), followed by the PC Party at 18% (up 2), the NDP at 15% (down 4), and the Green Party at 1%.  Twenty-five percent of eligible voters say they are still undecided (down 1) while 11% 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.

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Among committed and leaning voters, the Liberals lead with 46% (unchanged), followed by the PC Party at 28% (up 3) and the NDP at 24% (down 4).  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.

Among likely voters, the Liberal Party continues to lead with 46% among committed likely voters followed by the PCs at 27% and the NDP at 26%.

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 have a 12-point 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, 49% say they will vote NDP while  35% plan to vote Liberal.  Among all previous NDP voters, 10% 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 (22%) 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 changed much  throughout the final week of the campaign except for health care which has increased by five points since the start of our tracking.

None of the three main parties have a clear advantage on the top two issues that voters care the most about.  Among those who identified either the economy or health care as their top issue, none of the parties have a substantial advantage when respondents are asked which party is best at dealing with the issue.

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When we look at all respondents and at all issues identified, we find that the Liberal Party has a slight advantage on issue position with 22% of all eligible voters saying the Liberal Party is best to handle the issue they care most about followed by the NDP 18% and the PC Party 16%.  A full 43% of respondents did not know which party could best handle the issue they cared most about.

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-two percent of eligible voters selected the Liberal Party, followed by 18% who selected the NDP and 17% who selected the PC Party.  Twenty-three 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-one percent of respondents selected Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil while 19% selected incumbent Premier and NDP Leader Darrell Dexter.  PC Leader Jamie Baillie was third at 18% among all eligible voters while 31% were unsure.

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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.

PC Leader Jamie Baillie’s personal numbers have not changed over the weekend with 41% of eligible voters having a favourable impression of the PC Leader while 33% have a negative impression.

Darrell Dexter remains a polarizing figure with 37% of eligible voters having a positive impression of the NDP leader while 47% have a negative impression.

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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 (59%) 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 October 3 to October 6, 2013 among a provincial sample of 600 eligible voters in Nova Scotia.  Interviews were conducted in English and 5,380 telephone numbers were dialed.   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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