Sunday, September 14, 2008

"A clear pattern of mildly eroding Conservative support"

An interesting contrarian viewpoint to the widely spreading Conservatives are unstoppable story line:
We don't, however, agree with the conclusion that the Conservatives have escaped the first week of the 2008 election campaign "unscathed". Frankly, we think many of the polls are either out of date or done with insufficient sample sizes to detect what we have found to be a clear pattern of mildly eroding Conservative support. Based on a total sample of 4,975 cases allocated over the period Monday to Thursday of this week, our nightly tracking has shown Tory support drop from 39 per cent on Monday to 34 per cent Thursday.

Coupled with a mild strengthening of Liberal support from 24 per cent to 27 per cent over this same period, the net effect has been to narrow a formidable 15 point advantage (which was just in majority territory) to a much more modest 7 point advantage (which places the Conservatives back into minority territory). So, we do think that there has been a real but mild softening of Conservative support.

We have two observations. First, the Tory "surge" largely occurred in the immediate pre-writ period. (Actually, the more striking phenomenon was the Liberal decline in that immediate pre-writ period.) Second, over the first week of the campaign we speculate that the modest decline and narrowing of the advantage over the Liberals was an expression of the now familiar pattern of voters reconsidering their positions once confronted with the concrete possibility of a Conservative majority.
Pesky dissenting pollster! Doh!