Taking a Closer Look at those “Undecideds”

In our final tracking poll released earlier this evening, we reported that 25% of the sample of eligible voters were undecided in their vote intentions and another 11% refused to identify the party they had already voted for.  This represents a large portion of the sample (36%, n=215) so I thought it was worth investigating a little into what these voters.

Are these voters truly undecided or are they simply not going to vote?  If these voters are mobilized, are they likely to vote for one party disproportionately?

The answer to these questions are: they may vote (they at least admit they plan to) and they are unlikely to swing disproportionately in favour of one party.

Overall, these voters have different priorities and mixed feelings about the political parties and the leaders.  The top two issues are health care and jobs and the economy but few have a sense about which party they believe can best handle the issue.

For these voters, Stephen McNeil has the most positive ratings but Jamie Baillie is not far behind.  Views on Darrell Dexter are more mixed with one third having a positive impression and one third having a negative impression.

On one hand, only 13% believe Darrell Dexter and the NDP deserves to be re-elected, while on the other hand, 47% do not know which party they trust most to handle the economic situation in Nova Scotia.

In short – there’s nothing in these numbers to suggest that a swing of undecideds will change the likely outcome of the election.

The only unknown remains turnout and the effectiveness of each of the party’s turnout operation.

Here’s some of the key findings:

  • Most are thinking about the election: 52% admit that they have given quite a lot of thought to the provincial election vs 45% who have given some or little thought to the election.
  • 20% having been following the election very closely while 52% have been following it fairly closely.
  • 83% say that they always vote, another 12% say they almost always vote.
  • 32% have already voted (they are included because they refused to say who they voted for).
  • Almost all of those who haven’t voted said they plan to vote in the election.
  • Top issues: Health 30%, jobs/economy 28%, youth leaving province 6%, taxes 6%, education 6%, government spending 5%
  • Which party can best handle issue: Don’t know 74%, NDP 11%, PC 6%, Liberal 4%
  • Views on Darrell Dexter – 32% positive, 33% negative, 34% unsure
  • Views on Stephen McNeil – 41% positive, 18% negative, 40% unsure
  • Views on Jamie Baillie – 36% positive, 18% negative, 45% unsure
  • Best Premier – McNeil 12%, Dexter 10%, Baillie 9%, unsure 9%
  • Does Dexter deserve re-election? Yes 13%, No, time for a change 61%, DK 26%
  • What party will win? Liberal 44%, PC 8%, NDP 7%, DK 42%
  • Party best to handle the economy: Liberal 15%, PC 11%, NDP 10%, None 17%, DK 47%
  • Party identification: Liberal 14%, PC 10%, NDP 6%, Other 7%, None 44%, DK 19%
  • Vote in 2009: Can’t remember 53%, NDP 19%, PC 12%, Liberal 10%, Did not vote 7%
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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