Our first election “back” is a Canadian one with the Nova Scotia Election 2021 results on their way after the August 17 poll.
Nova Scotia is the second province to vote this year. The first was nearby Newfoundland and Labrador, who staked the governing Liberals to a narrow majority in the face of numerous roadblocks with regards to casting and counting the ballots. The Yukon Territory – obviously not a province – also voted in 2021, but there, the Liberals lost their majority. Premier Sandy Silver relies on the NDP for supply.
There may yet be more electoral action in Canada following the 2021 Nova Scotia election. Canada as a whole may vote in the Fall, though that word could come any week now. Another territory, Nunavut, will also vote sometime around October.
Which way will Liberal fortunes go in Nova Scotia in 2021?
ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE: PC WINIt’s been a wild election night in Nova Scotia, and in defiance of (literally) all of the opinion polls, and our own predictions, the Progressive Conservatives have won the election. A majority is within the realm of possibility. The PCs are back in power after 12 years in opposition. Not a great night for us, a disastrous night for the pollsters, and the NS Liberals probably don’t feel too good, either. Full results to follow.
Nova Scotia Election 2021 Facts
Bits and Pieces of Info
2021 Nova Scotia Election Results
The legislature is increasing by four seats in this election to 55.
Results Review, August 18
CBC called Nova Scotia’s election result a “surprise” while CTV characterized it as an “upset.” Both seem to fit as Nova Scotians wake up with a Progressive Conservative majority government for the first time since John Hamm over 20 years ago.
This was a wide miss by the opinion polls, and also by us, who relied on opinion polls to guide many of the predictions. About the only thing we had all pegged right were the NDP, who remained somewhat level. Polling caught the start of the shift towards the PCs, but not enough, and too late.
Monday morning quarterbacking comes into play, because the first thing one will want to do after a shock election result is try to understand why it happened. The Liberal campaign was, in retrospect, a disaster. From booting a candidate over the content of her OnlyFans page, to Iain Rankin admitting to past DUIs, to the premier having a so-so debate performance and misstepping his way with protestors, big mistakes were made.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives stayed on-message and let the Liberals dig themselves a deeper hole. They laser-focused on health care, and scored points with voters.
There are lessons to be learned here for everyone. For us, less polling and more word-on-the-street. As for the Liberals, run a tighter ship, and maybe pick a leader with a little more seasoning and don’t get off-message. The Progressive Conservatives’ lesson is whatever we just did, keep doing it.
Nova Scotia Election 2021 Big Picture
Update Aug, 17, 2021
It’s Election Day, and the polls have tightened significantly. Both Mainstreet and Forum Research put the Liberals narrowly ahead of the Progressive Conservatives, by margins of two and three points, respectively. The net result could be a similar one to 2017: a razor-thin Liberal majority, though with more seats in the mix, that’s unclear. A week ago, we would have discounted the possibility of a minority government, but “minority government” has officially entered the chat and we’re potentially in for a very interesting election night.
Nova Scotia’s governing Liberals and their fresh new premier, Iain Rankin, entered the 2021 campaign at about the same place that Andrew Furey’s did in Newfoundland and Labrador: On track for a big win. The wheels did not come off the NL election until just before polling day. Should Rankin (and the province) get through the day itself, it should bear out that the Liberals have won a third-straight majority. It would be the first time in about 70 years for the Liberals to win more than just consecutive elections.
Indeed, the poll numbers for the Liberals are solid, though infrequent. Just one poll has been released since the writ drop, by Mainstreet Research, and it gave the Liberals a 12-point lead over the Progressive Conservatives. For purposes of comparison, the Liberals won the popular vote by less than four points in 2017, narrowly maintaining their majority.
LIB 42%, PC 30%, NDP 22%, GRN 4%Mainstreet Research Survey, Decided and Leaning Voters, July 21-22, 2021
However, prior to the writ drop, those poll numbers gave the Liberals leads in the 20s. If converted over to the province as a whole, that would mean an electoral wipeout. Like we said, we thought that was happening in Newfoundland and Labrador, until it didn’t. That does not change the fact that this is the Liberals’ election to lose in Nova Scotia. It’s up to them to make sure they don’t; keeping Covid in check would do wonders to that end.
For their part, the Progressive Conservatives are trying to make waves with promises, for example, of universal mental health care. The NDP is also talking health care, but also agenda points such as climate action. Their problem is that the Liberals under Rankin are making similarly aggressive pledges on health care and climate.
One would have to believe, taking into account the polling, the “Covid bounce” seen by a number of incumbent governments, and the course of the campaign’s issues, and this adds up to the Liberals favoured for re-election. Note that this so-called Covid bounce only applies to governments seen as doing well handling it. If, for example, Alberta had an election on August 17, it would probably not go well for Premier Jason Kenney, with his poll numbers low and the right splitting again. Rankin, still a very new premier, does not have these problems.