New poll shows a slightly closer race. Maybe. Perhaps.

Readers of my two recent posts (here and here) on the Corporate Research Associates rolling poll for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald* should consider a new poll, commissioned by the right-wing Sun News Network, that shows a somewhat closer race than CRA’s eyebrow-raising results.


Sun headlined the 48-26-25 split, but it’s worth noting that when Abacus Data, the firm that conducted it, counted only respondents it deemed likely to vote, the numbers edged closer to the CRA results: 51-26-23. The likely voter sample included only 243 respondents, which yields a sampling error of ±6.4 percent, 19 times out of 20, somewhat higher than CRA’s. In short, the two polls are within each other’s margin of error.

Abacus showed the PCs nipping at the NDP’s heels, while CRA had them further back.

Although the Abacus sample was smaller than the seven day rolling average reported by CRA, all its calls were made on Monday and Tuesday, so it has the advantage of greater recency. This could be a sign the race is tightening; the Liberals still enjoy a commanding lead, but perhaps no longer a precedent-smashing one.

Abacus provided more detail than CRA about the questions it asked and the methodology it used.

Finally, Sun News announced that it had, commissioned Abacus to survey up to another 250 voters tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. That compares to the 90 or so voters CRA has been interviewing for the Chronicle-Herald. Unless the Herald ups CRA’s game, Sun-Abacus will have the authoritative poll going forward to election day.

At this point, I would summarize the difference between the two polls as a Liberal blowout (CRA) vs. a solid Liberal majority (Abacus). This could mean that some races thought to be tight in the early going—like Sydney-Whitney Pier, and Victoria-The Lakes—could still go either way. Or not. Because of the small numbers and the two companies’ different approaches to “likely” and “leaning” voters, the differences could be more apparent than real.

That’s enough bet-hedging from me for one night.

* I am pleased to note that the Chronicle-Herald, in a public spirited gesture, appears to be keeping much of its election related material, including the daily poll, outside its new paywall.