Friday, October 16, 2020

On starting points

It's certainly been interesting to see Saskatchewan's local corporate media go out of its way to trample coverage of the leadership debate with a poll which was outdated from the moment it was released. And I'll have plenty more to point out about the coverage of the campaign generally.

But for now, let's start from the assumption that it's important to know where polling stood prior to the event most likely to change people's minds - and take a look at what that actually included.

In the week before the debate, two polls of voter intentions had been released. One showed the Sask Party ahead among decided voters, but the NDP cutting into a third of the margin of victory from the previous two elections; the other showed the NDP making up about a sixth of the ground needed to get back to even.

Obviously that's not where a party would want to be at this stage of the campaign. But the fact that the top-line numbers hadn't yet moved far enough doesn't represent a valid reason to presume they couldn't continue to move in the right direction. 

Meanwhile, CBC's Vote Compass has also been providing information about where people stand on specific issues (in a context where all of the polls show policy as a primary driver of voter intentions). And its survey of over 4,000 respondents shows majorities in favour of the NDP's positions on issues including class sizes, child care, safe consumption sites and an increased minimum wage.

In other words, it's not hard to see where the polling released to date shows ample room for the NDP to make up ground: both in the debate as the one event offering a direct contrast between the two main leaders and platforms, and in the prospect that people would shift their focus to issues where the NDP is offering what they want to see. (And that's aside from the reality that an election with two first-time leaders represents an obvious opportunity for public perceptions to change.)

Presumably, there will be additional polling on its way which will help us see exactly where the parties stand as people have had the opportunity to learn more about their options during the campaign. But the pre-debate starting point was already one which showed some progress and a ready opportunity for more - and there's every reason to keep pushing toward an NDP government, rather than accepting anybody's view that there's no point in trying.

[Edit: fixed typo.]

No comments:

Post a Comment