Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#TrumpWon the debate? Legitimate polls show otherwise

The hashtag #TrumpWon was trending on Twitter Tuesday. Partially boosted by sarcasm, it was fuelled primarily by Donald Trump, who was quick to claim he won Monday's debate by citing a slew of online polls that pegged him as the winner.

But there's a problem. None of the polls Trump has pointed to are actually legitimate polls. Instead, all of the scientific, real polls published so far have shown him to be the loser of the debate by significant margins.

In the world of public opinion research, the "online polls" that litter news websites are a plague. Whereas real surveys try to assemble representative samples of the population, these online polls are more of a gimmick or a game. Anyone can answer them. Often people can answer them multiple times. They can invite their friends, who likely think just like them, to answer the online polls on social media.

And then they can point to these completely unrepresentative and meaningless results as if they signal something important.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Crowded Ontario field could have big impact on Conservative leadership race

Add another name to the list. Andrew Scheer, former Speaker of the House of Commons and a sitting MP from Saskatchewan, is expected to make his candidacy for the Conservative Party leadership official today.

By the time the first debate is held in November, the number of contenders joining Scheer on the stage — including those now in the race, those about to make it official and those seriously mulling a bid — could number more than a dozen.

In addition to that crowded field, the rules of the leadership vote may help produce some unpredictable results, particularly when so many candidates are likely to hail from one province: Ontario.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Pollcast: Trump and Clinton finally face-off

On Monday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take part in the first presidential debate. The confrontation comes at a time when the polls are showing a tightening race.

And depending on who uses the platform best, the debate could set the tone for the remaining 46 days of this unpredictable campaign.

The debate will be held on Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Hosted by the NBC's Lester Holt, the 90-minute affair will tackle three topics: America's Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America.

To help set up the debate, Keith Boag, the CBC's senior reporter in Washington, D.C., joins me on the latest episode of the Pollcast.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Why high-profile candidates may be sitting out Conservative, NDP leadership races

The list of people who have declared they will not run for the leadership of the Conservative Party or the NDP is more illustrious than the list of contestants already in the race or mulling a bid. Could it be that some of these opt-outers already consider the 2019 federal election a lost cause?

On the Conservative side, former heirs apparent like Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney have decided they have better things to do than take over the party. Other leading figures within Stephen Harper's government, such as John Baird and James Moore, both now working in the private sector, have also said they will be sitting this one out.

Instead, a group of Conservative MPs with low name recognition have thrown their hats in the ring, while others with similarly limited profiles are expected to declare their intentions soon.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Donald Trump inches closer to White House as Hillary Clinton slides: polls

Not since a surge in the polls at the end of the Republican National Convention two months ago has Donald Trump been this close to winning the White House. But Trump has less margin for error than his Democratic rival, as his lead over Hillary Clinton in a number of swing states is slim.

According to the CBC's Presidential Poll Tracker, Clinton is currently averaging 44.7 per cent support among decided voters, compared with 42.8 per cent for Trump. The edge Clinton continues to hold over Trump has diminished rapidly — standing at well over six points in August and a little more than three points two weeks ago. That lead now sits at just 1.9 points.

While Clinton was already trending downward, the combined impact of her "deplorables" comment and her health issues surrounding a diagnosis of pneumonia may have contributed to her numbers dropping further. In polls conducted since her near collapse at a Sept. 11 commemoration, Clinton has averaged a lead of 1.3 points over Trump. Those same pollsters had her ahead by 2.2 points during the previous two weeks.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Naming and shaming hecklers in the House of Commons

"Order, please!"

On a sunny day in June, the noise on the floor of the House of Commons as MPs read out statements is like that of a busy cafeteria. In the gallery above sit a few dignitaries, tourists in shorts holding ear pieces to the sides of their sweating heads, a class of elementary school students on a field trip, and a handful of journalists.

The ear pieces are a necessity. Without them, it is impossible to hear what an MP on the floor is saying.

This is not something that comes through on television. The microphones placed on the desks of MPs do their jobs impressively well. The House of Commons is a very noisy place, even before question period gets started.

And then come the heckles. 

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Electoral reform could have big impact on Canada's smallest parties

When it comes to changing Canada's electoral system, who is standing up for the little guy?

The special committee on electoral reform will be hitting the road next week to hear directly from Canadians on changing the way they vote. The committee is made up of members from each of the five parties with representation in the House of Commons.

But there are a lot more parties in Canada than that.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Pollcast: The impact of Peter MacKay's decision not to run

The Conservative leadership race was shaken up this week when Peter MacKay, a former cabinet minister and the last leader of the federal Progressive Conservatives, decided he would stay out.

He would have been seen as the front runner had he decided instead to throw his hat into the ring. But now that both MacKay and Jason Kenney — who is running for the leadership of the Alberta PCs — have ruled out a bid, the leadership race has been blown wide open.

Back on the Pollcast with me this week to wade through the growing list of leadership candidates are Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy.

You can listen to this podcast here. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Conservative base solid, but growth needed to challenge Liberals

Conservatives holding their caucus retreat this week in Halifax can rest assured that, despite Justin Trudeau's soaring poll numbers, their base is solid. But while that base is strong enough to keep the party first in fundraising, the Conservatives will not take power again relying upon their base alone.

So that base must grow. But a Conservative leadership race without a household name in the running — particularly now that Peter MacKay has announced he will not throw his hat in the ring — will make that a challenge.

After capturing 31.9 per cent of the vote in last year's federal vote, the Conservatives have averaged 28.6 per cent support in polls conducted since. This matches where the party was polling for much of 2013 and 2014, when the Mike Duffy affair was eating into the Conservatives' numbers.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

NDP troubles continue 1 year after being government-in-waiting

The NDP's caucus retreat in Montreal this week comes at a time when the party is at its lowest level of public support in over a decade.

One year ago today, in the throes of the federal election campaign, the New Democrats were on pace to win. They were leading in the polls with about 32 per cent.

But since last year's vote, in which the NDP captured 19.7 per cent of ballots cast and was reduced to third-party status, the party has averaged just 13.7 per cent in the polls.

You can read the rest of this article here.