|Projection Map #1|
We are now two weeks into the New Brunswick provincial election, since the writs dropped August 21, which marked the beginning of the campaign. This means that there are just two and a half weeks to go before New Brunswickers head to the polls on September 22. And, only this week have there been any polls released. Now that there has been some polls, I can finally do my first seat projection of the campaign.
Corporate Research Associates (CRA), Atlantic Canada's main pollster, released a poll on September 2nd showing the Opposition Liberal Party firmly in the lead at 48%. The governing Progressive Conservatives were in second, with 28%, and the NDP was at 17%. Forum Research also released a poll, a few days earlier, showing similar numbers; The Liberals were at 46%, the Tories at 31% and the NDP at 15%. Both of these polls were conducted before Labour Day, so there is the caveat of notoriously unreliable Summer polling, but the numbers are on par with CRA polls from the Spring.
Neither pollster provided for any regional or even linguistic breakdowns in their numbers, which will make individual seat projections a lot more of a crapshoot than in other provinces. For my first projection, I took an average of the two polls (weighted based on sample size), and plugged it into my projection model, which is based on the transposed 2010 election results. (See this post for the calculated transposed results of the 2010 election). I also made some minor tweaks to reflect which candidates will be on the ballot (the nomination period having ended), and I also made adjustments in three ridings based on circumstance:
* Tracadie-Sheila: I reduced the support for the NDP in this riding, because the party saw a larger-than-usual vote share in 2010 because their leader at the time ran in this riding. (I based my math on what the NDP should have received in this riding in 2010, if it saw the same swing as the rest of the province.)
* Fredericton West-Hanwell: Conversely, I raised the support for the NDP in this riding, because their leader is running in it. (I based my math on the increase that NDP leader Dominic Cardy saw when he ran in a by-election two years ago in Rothesay, compared to province-wide polling at the time.)
* Carleton-Victoria: In this riding, the Liberals suspended their candidate (Andrew Harvey) based on fraud charges. Because the nomination period is over, he will remain on the ballot. I have yet to come up with a very good math-based solution to base my projection in this riding, but for now, I weakened Harvey's candidacy based on a similar scenario that occurred in the federal election, where a Liberal candidate appeared on the ballot after losing the party's support due to scandal. Assuming most of his vote will go to the NDP, I increased the NDP's share in this riding accordingly, to compensate. I may want to tweak the numbers in this district in the future, as my model still shows the Liberals in second place.
As always, I will be making further adjustments to my model to reflect candidate strengths, and other factors in the coming weeks. But for now, my model shows a large Liberal majority government. According to my projection, the Liberals would win 38 of the 49 seats in the New Brunswick legislature. The Tories would win 10 seats (almost all of them in the socially conservative “Baptist belt” of southwestern New Brunswick), and the NDP would win one seat (Fredericton West-Hanwell, where Cardy is running). This would be a 25 seat increase for the Liberals, and 32 seat decrease for the Tories from the 2010 election. For the NDP, it would be their first seat won since 2003. For the Liberals, it would be their largest electoral victory since 1995, and it would be the worst defeat for the Tories since then. In that election, the Liberals won 48 of 55 seats, and won 52% of the vote to 31% for the PCs, a similar result to current polling.
Projected results by riding (ridings coloured by how they went in 2010, using transposed results):