Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nanos Poll: 9.3-pt Conservative Lead

I hope everyone had a wonderful holidays, and while it seems Parliament won't be working for another two months, that doesn't mean the rest of us will stop working. Nanos has a "new" poll out. It is "new" because it was taken between December 10 and December 13 - more than two weeks ago. That puts the poll right smack dab in the middle of an EKOS and Angus-Reid poll, both of which were actually quite different. The results:The Conservatives are up (from the November 7-10 Nanos poll) 1.5 points nationally to 39.5%, while the Liberals are up 1.4 points to 30.2%. The NDP is up 0.8 to 18.7%, a very good result for them, while the Bloc is down 1.6 points to 7.7% and the Greens are down 1.9 points to 4%.

Really, all three parties major national parties can be happy with those numbers.

The Conservatives have a big lead in British Columbia, picking up 8 points to reach 43.2%. They are also up four points in the "Prairies", but are down three points in Ontario and have lost the lead there. They are up two in Quebec, and at 23.8% are riding high. They are down six in Atlantic Canada and have lost the lead, but the sample size in that region is tiny.

The Liberals picked up four points in Ontario and are leading (yes, leading) with 38.5%. They are also up three points in Quebec and are at 29.5%, very good, but down seven in Atlantic Canada. Very bad.

The NDP makes an unbelievable (literally) 14-point gain in Atlantic Canada, and lead with 35.6%.

The Bloc drops four points to 32.4% in Quebec.

But this poll looks very different from the EKOS and Angus-Reid polls taken at the same time. Let's look at how they compare at the national level, with Nanos first, EKOS second, and Angus-Reid third:

Conservatives - 39.5% / 35.9% / 36.0%
Liberals - 30.2% / 26.7% / 29.0%
New Democrats - 18.7% / 17.0% / 16.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 7.7% / 9.2% / 11.0%
Greens - 4.0% / 11.2% / 6.0%

AR and EKOS agreed on the Conservatives, but Nanos has them almost four points higher. The Liberal results have a variation of 3.5 points, while the NDP ranges from 16% to 18.7%. The Greens poll either at 4% or at nearly three times that much.

Perhaps, instead, we should look at relative change. How has the Nanos numbers changed from November to December as compared with changes to EKOS and Angus-Reid? Thankfully, EKOS and Angus-Reid both came out with polls taken at a similar time to Nanos back in November. So let's compare the growth or loss between November and December (Nanos first, then EKOS, then AR).

Conservatives - +1.5 / -0.7 / -2.0
Liberals - +1.4 / +0.1 / +6.0
New Democrats - +0.8 / +0.2 / -1.0
Bloc Quebecois - -1.6 / +0.4 / 0.0
Greens - -1.9 / 0.0 / -4.0

So, one of the biggest disparities between these three polls is in the Conservative numbers. Nanos has them showing considerable growth. Angus-Reid has them showing considerable loss. EKOS also has them down, but just a bit.

What they do agree on is Liberal growth, though EKOS and Nanos has them growing more modestly than Angus-Reid.

The NDP's numbers haven't changed enough to really come to a conclusion, and the Bloc's national numbers are meaningless. For the Greens, this shows they are showing losses between November and December.

Now, let's look at Ontario. First, the raw December numbers (same order):

Conservatives - 37.4% / 38.9% / 41.0%
Liberals - 38.5% / 31.1% / 34.0%
New Democrats - 16.6% / 17.2% / 17.0%
Greens - 7.5% / 12.7% / 7.0%

The Tory and NDP results are relatively close, but the Liberals ones are not. Clearly the Conservatives are around 38% to 39% and the NDP is at around 17%, but where the Liberals are - anyone's guess. The average result is 34.5%.

How about the change since November?

Conservatives - -2.3 / -0.3 / -2.0
Liberals - +3.3 / -2.7 / +5.0
New Democrats - -2.3 / +1.7 / +2.0
Greens - +1.4 / +1.1 / -6.0

So, the Conservatives seem to be sinking. Nanos and AR would argue the Liberals are growing quickly, but EKOS disagrees. It is difficult to pin point what is happening the NDP and Green numbers.

Quebec's raw December numbers:

Bloc Quebecois - 32.4% / 39.8% / 42.0%
Liberals - 29.5% / 22.7% / 25.0%
Conservatives - 23.8% / 16.9% / 17.0%
New Democrats - 12.1% / 10.1% / 8.0%
Greens - 2.3% / 10.4% / 5.0%

Nanos is at odds with the other pollsters for every party, while EKOS and Angus-Reid are much closer together.

Here are the changes since November:

Bloc Quebecois - -3.2 / +4.2 / 0.0
Liberals - +2.3 / +1.4 / +6.0
Conservatives - +1.6 / -4.8 / -2.0
New Democrats - +1.1 / -0.6 / -6.0
Greens - -1.6 / -0.2 / -2.0

So the Bloc is either showing growth or loss. Angus-Reid doesn't provide us with a useful third set of data, since they show no change. The Liberals, however, seem to be on the rise but the Tories are sinking for two of the three pollsters.

Comparing polls in this way shows how much of an inexact science it is. In this context, it is almost impossible to take anything concrete from individual polling results. The best picture we get comes from looking at all of them together.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Projections Retrospective

The year is coming to a close, and as I don't think I will be making another projection in 2009, I thought I'd take a look back at the projections I've made throughout 2009.

This is my first full year of making projections, and it is interesting how things progressed over the year. I'm looking forward to another year of projections in 2010, which will hopefully include some provincial projections (and elections). From what Michael Ignatieff has been saying in the press lately, it looks like we will not have an election in the coming year. But then again, we were absolutely certain to have one in 2009. So who knows anymore!

The chart below shows the projections I've made over the year, with one tick on the graph for every projection - a total of 55 over the year. That's an average of one projection every 6.6 days. While the trend line tracks every projection update, the numbers mark the status of each party at the first projection update of every month.If you take a quick glance at the opinion polling trends graph to your right, you'll see the projections more or less follow the same trends.

Let's start with the NDP. They've shown decline and growth, dropping as low as 19 around April. Things started to get better at the end of the summer and into the fall, and today the party is up to a projected 29 seats. So, we've seen a variation of 10 over the year.

The Bloc has been, as usual, rock steady. They've straddled the 50-seat mark, rising to 51 and dropping to 49, and back. That is what happens when they've managed to keep completely steady in the province.

The Liberals and the Conservatives more or less traded seats throughout the year. There was a period from the end of May to the middle of August where the two parties were neck-and-neck, and in the month of June the Liberals even had a small lead in seats. But the parties have not moved an inch, relatively speaking, since January 2008. The Conservatives are back to 140, plus or minus a handful of seats, while the Liberals are back to around 90, plus or minus a handful of seats.

Politically speaking, 2009 changed nothing when it comes to voting intentions. And I don't think the year has changed perceptions of the various parties either. Ignatieff is still considered an unknown because of the lack of policies the Liberals unfolded during the year, Harper is still seen the same way (not disliked, not liked), while the Bloc is still the choice of 2/5ths of Quebecers and has a stranglehold on the francophone vote. The NDP hasn't moved much either, but to their credit has managed to maintain most of the support that has pushed them to all-time highs since 2006.

What will 2010 bring? It sounds like it is going to be a boring year, politics-wise. It is possible parliament won't even sit until after the Olympics, and it is unlikely the Liberals will threaten to bring down the government after the thumping they received in the polls in September and October. That will leave the Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe to do what they did to Stephane Dion. What's old is new again.

So, what was your best and worst of politics in 2009? I'd love to see some of our regular contributors weigh in on this question - but with one caveat. In addition to your overall best and worst, I want one best from a party you do not support and one worst from a party you do!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Projection: 141 CPC, 88 LPC, 50 BQ, 29 NDP

So, a new projection. Only one seat change, but some significant indications of where the trends are headed.The Conservatives are now starting to show some fragility, and are down 0.1 points nationally. The Liberals continue to struggle, and are down 0.3 points and one seat. The NDP is doing better, up 0.1 points (to finally reach 16%) and one seat, while the Greens are up 0.2 points.

This puts the Conservatives at 141 seats, down two from their current standings. The Liberals are down to 88, still up from where they are right now in the House of Commons. The NDP is up to 29, but still down 8 from their current standing, while the Bloc is steady at 50 seats.

The last projection update showed some losses and gains for the Tories throughout the country, and this projection is no different. While this is nothing unexpected for any party, this does end the months of constant growth we saw since October. The biggest gain comes in Atlantic Canada, where the Conservatives are up 0.7 points to reach 32.3%. The party has also gained 0.4 points in the Prairies and is stable in Ontario. They've shown a tiny, 0.1 point loss in the North, and losses of 0.3 points and 0.4 points in Quebec and Alberta, respectively. The biggest loss comes in British Columbia, where the party is down 0.5 points. They're currently at 38.6% there.

The Liberals have also shown some ups and downs, but mostly downs. The biggest gain is in Alberta, 0.4 points, where the party is at 16.9%. They've also gained 0.2 points in British Columbia. They've lost 0.1 points in the North and 0.3 points in the Prairies. They're also down 0.4 points in Ontario and Quebec. The biggest loss is in Atlantic Canada, down 0.7 points to 36.2%.

The NDP is relatively stable throughout the country. They had their biggest gain in Atlantic Canada, 0.3 points, and currently stand at 25.0% in the region. They've also gained 0.2 points in British Columbia and 0.1 points in Ontario, Quebec, and the North. They are down 0.2 points in Alberta and the Prairies.

The Bloc had a good 10 days, and has gained 0.3 points in Quebec. They are currently at 37.7%.

The Greens' biggest gains were in Quebec and Alberta, 0.4 points each, while they did not post a loss anywhere.

So, this updates demonstrates some of the things we've been seeing in recent polls. The Conservatives are starting to slip a little, and their constant growth in the projection has ended. The Liberals are still weak, but their massive loses in the projection have ended. The NDP is stabilising and posting modest growth, while the Bloc is steady.

If there are any other polls over the holidays, I'll make some projection updates. But EKOS has already said they are done until January, so this could be the last projection of the year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New EKOS Poll: 9.2-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has their last poll of the year out. They'll be back in early January. It will be fun to see how, or if, things have changed over the Christmas break.Obviously, they haven't changed much prior to the break. There is virtually no change in the national numbers from the December 8 poll. The Conservatives are up 0.3 points to 35.9%, as are the NDP (now at 17%), while the Liberals are up 0.2 points to 26.7%. All well-within the margin of error.

The best regional result for the Tories comes in the Prairies, where they are up about three points and stand at 53.1%. They are down two points in Atlantic Canada, however. They are stable in Ontario at 39%, which is good considering where they are, but also in British Columbia and Quebec. That is not good, as the Tories are under-performing in those two provinces.

The Liberals gained three points in Ontario to reach 33.5% - very important - as well as two in Quebec, where they are at 24.6%. They are down six in Alberta, however, indicating that their high result last week could have been a statistical fluke.

The NDP makes its biggest gain in British Columbia, about three points to reach 28.8%, but they are down two in Ontario and stand at 14.8%. They are up three in Quebec and two in Atlantic Canada, good results for them.

The Bloc is down three points in Quebec, but maintain a significant lead at 36.8%.

This poll would give the Conservatives 141 seats, the Liberals 84, the Bloc 50, and the NDP 33.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is the last poll of the year. Angus-Reid, the only other frequently active pollster of the last two months, has already released a poll this month.

Things have really come back full circle. It is as if the last year had no effect on the voting intentions of Canadians. We saw both the Conservatives and the Liberals take the lead during this year, but it seems that voters are reverting to last year's voting behaviour. It will be interesting to see how things will change with the Olympics and the international summits in Canada early next year. But also the Afghan detainee issue, which won't go away. Colvin's response yesterday was absolutely devastating, and if politicians step out of the limelight for the next few weeks but the story of the torture doesn't go away, that could be very damaging to the Conservatives.

On a personal note, I find the arguments around the torture issue disturbing. Canada doesn't torture, and Canada's official position is that torture is horrible, that it is a crime. Torture is wrong, no matter who does it and who is being tortured. Even if Canada handed Osama bin Laden over to the Afghans and they tortured him, it would be wrong. We don't have to sink to the level of our enemies. And to be complicit in torture puts our men and women in Afghanistan in danger, as it encourages our enemies to torture our soldiers if they become captured. To paint the opposition as the "defense attorneys of the Taliban", as I heard Kory Teneycke say last night, or to be criticising our armed forces, is really disappointing.

No matter what our political views, this type of discourse needs to be spoken out against. Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to be more responsible in what they say. Perhaps it is a naive hope, but I want to live in a country with intelligent, respectful political debate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Manitoba Polls

Probe Research has released federal and provincial polls for Manitoba. Let's look at the provincial poll first.The New Democrats, and their new premier, have a good ten point lead over the Progressive Conservatives. But things are pretty static in the province. Probe's last poll, in September, was not much different. These numbers represent a two-point gain for the NDP and a loss of one point each for the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals - all well within the margin of error.

NDP support is strongest in Winnipeg, where the party leads with 52% to the PC's 30%. The Liberals trail with 13%.

Outside of Winnipeg, it is the PC that is leading, with 49%. The NDP is still in the game at 39%, while the Liberals are not, at 9%.

It would seem that Manitobans are just fine with their new Premier, and that they haven't changed their opinions since the 2007 election. At that time, the NDP took 48% of the vote, the Progressive Conservatives took 38%, and the Liberals took 13%. In Winnipeg, the breakdown was 53%, 29%, and 15%. So virtually no change at all!

At the federal level, the results are very different, demonstrating that in Manitoba provincial and federal fortunes don't coincide:

Conservatives - 50%
New Democrats - 22%
Liberals - 21%
Greens - 7%

Compared to their last poll in September, this is a two point gain for the Tories and a one point gain for the NDP and Greens. The Liberals are the big losers, dropping four points. That result, at least, is outside of the margin of error.

This isn't much different from 2008's election, however. The Conservatives had 49% of the vote, the NDP had 24%, the Liberals had 19%, and the Greens had 7%. So, all within the margin of error. Perhaps, if an election took place today, there would be no changes in Manitoba.

This is confirmed by the Winnipeg results. The Conservatives lead with 43% (up four points), while the NDP is at 26% (up five points) and the Liberals are at 24% (down six). The Greens are at 7%, down one.

But in the 2008 election, the results in Winnipeg were 43% Conservative, 27% NDP, 23% Liberal, and 6% Green.

In other words, things haven't changed at all!

Outside of Winnipeg, the Tories are well ahead with 59%. The NDP is at 17% and the Liberals are at 15%.

As I track "the Prairies" together, I can't use this poll in my projection. But the lack of change, both at the provincial and federal levels, is remarkable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New AR Poll: 7-pt Conservative Lead

So, Angus-Reid has a new poll out and it actually shows a significant change. (gasp)The Conservatives are down below their 2008 electoral result, but more importantly, the Liberals are up to 29% - one of their best polls in a long time. This represents a big six-point jump from Angus-Reid's last poll, taken between November 14-16. That is bigger than the margin of error. The Tories are down two points and the NDP is down one. The Greens are also down four points.

Out West, there isn't much that is surprising. Except in Alberta, where the Liberals have jumped ten points (the Conservatives are down six). The Liberals also saw gains in British Columbia (4 points) and the NDP had a big drop of five points in the Prairies.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are still quiet comfortable at 41% but are down three points. The Liberals are up five points and the NDP is up two.

In Quebec, the Bloc is stable and with a comfortable lead. The Liberals, however, are showing life with a gain of six points. The NDP seems to have been the victim of this gain, dropping six points. The Tories are down two.

In Atlantic Canada, there isn't much change. The Conservatives are up two points and the Liberals are up three, giving them a narrow lead. The NDP is down two.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 85
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 28

Despite the better numbers, the Liberals are still taking in a small number of seats. The Conservatives manage to repeat 2008's exploit, while the NDP is down and the Bloc is up.

Stephen Harper's approval/disapproval rating is 32/49, while Michael Ignatieff's is a woeful 15/53. Jack Layton is at 29/36.

This is an important poll going into the holiday season. Angus-Reid has been reliable in the past and is my highest rated pollster. This poll shows that the Conservatives are no longer in majority territory while the Liberals are showing signs of life. It will be interesting to see how things progress between now and the return of Parliament in January.

Federal and Provincial Results in Alberta

Back in October, I compared provincial and federal electoral results in Ontario and Quebec. It actually came as a surprise that a correlation could be drawn between the two.

I then set out to look at British Columbia, but had to give up. There simply is no correlation! The race has been almost exclusively between two parties, the BC Liberals and the NDP, which do far better in provincial elections than their federal counterparts do in federal elections. There is no consistent third party, and in the last 20 years there have been many different parties that have come and gone.

I then took a look at Alberta, and found some basis for comparison. Note - I combined the Progressive Conservatives results with the results of the Wildrose Alliance and Social Credit party. While the WA will be a factor in the next election, they weren't really in past elections. And it solves the problem of the Progressive Conservative and Reform/Canadian Alliance split in the 1990s.What is amazing is that there is actually a very close correlation between provincial results and federal results in Alberta.

First, let's look at the Greens. Both levels of the party were insignificant until 2004, when they both picked up some votes. They then continued that progression to 2008.

Now the NDP. At the end of the 1980s, the two parties were factors in Alberta. But then in the early 90s their support dropped off significantly. They've only managed to gain some ground since 2004, and are currently at about the same level of support. In other words, provincial NDP supporters are federal NDP supporters.

The Liberal provincial trend mirrors the federal trend very closely, with an extra 10 points or so. They both saw almost identical gains in 1993, and then saw slow decline throughout the rest of the 1990s and into this decade. One important difference, however, is that the federal Liberals are now neck-and-neck with the NDP whereas the provincial Liberals are safely ahead.

Finally, the Progressive Conservative and Conservative parties. Since I've included the Canadian Alliance and the Wildrose Alliance in these calculations, we'll call this the (small-c) conservative vote. These two levels of voting don't match as nicely, but we do see some correlation. For instance, at both levels the conservative vote improved at the end of the 1990s, but dipped in 2004. It has also improved a little bit the last few years.

The emergence of the Wildrose Alliance will make provincial politics difficult to use as a guide for federal politics, at least for the Conservative Party. However, a rise or fall in Liberal and NDP fortunes at the provincial level could be an indication of things to come for their federal counterparts, and vice versa.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another PR Exercise

Back in July, I did a proportion representation exercise where I portioned out seats according to the 2008 election results and the current make-up of parliament. In other words, that PR exercise assumed 308 seats with the same provincial representations as they currently have in parliament.

In this exercise, I took it a step further. I divvied up the House of Commons into 332 seats, or one seat for every 100,000 Canadians. I then divided up the provinces according to that principle.

When doing so, I got 129 seats for Ontario (38.9% compared to 34.4% currently), 78 for Quebec (23.5% compared to 24.4% currently), 44 for British Columbia (13.3% compared to 11.7% currently), 35 for Alberta (10.5% compared to 9.1% currently), 12 for Manitoba (3.6% compared to 4.5% currently), 10 for Saskatchewan (3.0% compared to 4.5% currently), 9 for Nova Scotia, 8 for New Brunswick, 5 for Newfoundland & Labrador, and one each for Prince Edward Island and the territories (all three together). So, Atlantic Canada would have 6.9% of the seats in the House of Commons as opposed to the 10.4% they currently have.

Breaking it down this way, we see that the most under-represented provinces in Parliament today are Ontario (who should have around 120 seats of the 308), British Columbia (who should have 41 instead of 36), and Alberta (who should have 32 rather than 28). Contrary to popular opinion, Quebec is actually not significantly over-represented in the House of Commons. Only Atlantic Canada, who should have 22 seats in the HoC rather than 32, are punching well above their weight.

Using these figures, and portioning out seats according to the 2008 electoral results (always rounding as necessary, and giving the higher ranked parties priority) we get the following result:Obviously, still a Conservative minority. But rather than 46.4% of the House of Commons being occupied by the Conservatives, only 38.9% of it is.

In this scenario, the Liberals and New Democrats, with 150 seats combined, could out-vote the Tories. But they would still be short of a majority, and would require the support of the Greens or the Bloc Quebecois (significantly reduced, as you can see) to pass legislation.

Conservative support is mostly divided between the West (55 seats) and Ontario (51). They also have a good-size caucus from Quebec (17) and a few Atlantic Canadian MPs (6).

The Liberals have their power-base in Ontario, with more than half of their MPs from that province. Quebec and the West each have almost equal representation, while the Liberals would have the most Atlantic Canadian MPs.

The NDP would be, like the Conservatives, evenly divided between the West and Ontario (22 and 24 MPs, respectively). They'd also have 10 Quebec MPs and 7 in Atlantic Canada.

The Bloc is the big loser in this new configuration, as they would be reduced to only 30 seats.

The Greens are the big beneficiaries here, going from 0 seats to 23. They are also evenly divided between the West (9) and Ontario (10), but have three Quebec MPs and one from Nova Scotia.

Anyway, I find these alternate scenarios fascinating. What a difference it would make in Canadian politics!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Alberta Provincial Poll

The National Post is reporting a new Angus-Reid poll of Alberta politics.
So, that's a big honking lead for the Wildrose Alliance. They've managed to push the Progressive Conservatives down to the level of the Liberals at 25%. The NDP is well out of it.

What is most surprising is that the WA is ahead, and significantly so, in all parts of the province. They are at 38% in Calgary, compared to 30% for the Liberals and 23% for the Progressive Conservatives. They're at 36% in Edmonton, compared to 26% for the Progressive Conservatives and 25% for the Liberals. And in the rest of the province they are at an amazing 44%, compared to 25% for the Progressive Conservatives and 21% for the Liberals.

The NDP is at 12% in Edmonton, 6% in Calgary, and 7% in the rest of the province.

At these levels, the WA is on the bubble for a majority government, while the Progressive Conservatives would be fighting the Liberals for the role of Official Opposition! As The National Post states, the PCs have led the province since 1971, so the significance of these numbers is clear.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 9.1-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has a new poll out, and it actually has some interesting results. The first of which is a nine-point lead by the Conservatives. No more double digits!The Conservatives are starting to show some weakness, as they move down below their 2008 election result. They are now at 35.6%, which puts them far away from a majority. They've actually lost 1.9 points since the last EKOS poll.

The Liberals also post a loss of 0.6 points, indicating that they aren't benefiting from the Tories' slip.

The beneficiary seems to be the NDP, who is up 1.4 points.

The Conservatives are relatively stable in British Columbia and Ontario, but drop four points in the Prairies and five points in Quebec. They seem to have lost some significant ground there. They are up four points in Alberta and two in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals had mixed results, gaining two points in British Columbia and the Prairies but losing two in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. They're stable in Quebec, which they absolutely need to be. They were on a terrifying downward trend.

The NDP's gains came primarily in British Columbia and Ontario, where they are up two points each. These are good results for them.

The Bloc is up three points in Quebec and is back up to the 40% level. With the Liberals in second at 23%, that is a big lead for them.

The Greens are down four points in British Columbia.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 142
Liberals - 81
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 33

So, the Tories are backing away from a majority. They take 68 seats in the West and North, 56 in Ontario, 7 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals are at about where they were a year ago. They take 15 seats in the West and North, 35 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 16 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP take 12 seats out West, 15 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 5 in Atlantic Canada.

There was also an Afghan detainee/torture poll, the results of which can easily be summed up. Canadians overwhelming believe that Afghan detainees handed over by Canadian Forces were tortured, and that Colvin's testimony is reliable. Canadians also oppose, with a majority, an extension of the mission in that country.

Can a link between the Conservative slip and the Afghan detainee issue be drawn? I'd say that it is definitely a factor. However, that the NDP is benefiting from the Tory woes rather than the Liberals points towards the HST issue, which is being fiercely opposed by the NDP. Just yesterday, I watched the NDP use obstructionist tactics in the House of Commons to delay a vote on it. It didn't work, but it was funny to see the NDP MPs veeeerrrryyy ssslllooowwllly stand up and sit down to record their vote. And then Thomas Mulcair spoke for about 30 minutes.

Anyway, perhaps the Christmas season will have more surprises than we think. Are we going to see the Tories in the low-30s, the Liberals stagnant, and the NDP approaching 20%?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet November

Time to look at November's polling. Six national polls were taken during this month (half as many as last month), totalling about 15,600 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 37.3% (-1.9)
Liberals - 26.1% (-0.9)
New Democrats - 17.1% (+2.0)
Greens - 9.8% (+0.9)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% (+0.3)

The Conservatives actually post a relatively large loss, while the Liberals have slowed the bleeding. They had lost more than three points in October, but have managed to shave those losses down to less than one point. In other words, you know you're in trouble when goods news is that you didn't fall on your face too hard. The NDP makes a big jump of two points, while the Bloc is up a little and the Greens are up a lot.The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 149 (-2)
Liberals - 79 (-1)
Bloc Quebecois - 50 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 30 (+3)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

So, not much movement actually. The Conservatives drop two seats and the Liberals drop one, with all three going to the NDP. We're looking at a situation almost mirroring the current one, with the Conservatives having a few more seats coming from the NDP.

The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (7 polls - about 2,200 people)

Conservatives - 38.5% (-2.7)
New Democrats - 25.9% (+1.2)
Liberals - 22.0% (-1.3)
Greens - 13.2% (+3.1)

The Conservatives have slipped here, more or less erasing the gains they had made in October. The Liberals post another loss, but the NDP is up again. That marks gains of almost 2.5-points over the last two months, and they've opened up a nice lead over the Liberals for second. Could this be the HST issue? The Greens put up the biggest gain in the province, but are still far away from electing Elizabeth May.

ALBERTA (5 polls - about 1,224 people)

Conservatives - 60.1% (+1.0)
Liberals - 17.1% (-0.1)
Greens - 11.8% (+2.2)
New Democrats - 10.6% (-1.6)

The Conservatives make a gain of a point, which is insignificant when they have this kind of lead. The Liberals have only lost 0.1 points, indicating that their decent polling numbers in Alberta might be for real. The NDP is down quite a bit, enough to allow the Greens to move into third place. They're actually up five points over the last two months.

PRAIRIES (5 polls - about 830 people)

Conservatives - 51.6% (-7.2)
New Democrats - 22.5% (+5.8)
Liberals - 17.6% (-0.5)
Greens - 8.0% (+1.9)

A big drop for the Conservatives, but this is probably due to the unlikely 73% result they posted in an October poll. The Liberals are down half-a-point, but the NDP is up six points, erasing their losses from October. The Greens are also up about two points.

ONTARIO (6 polls - about 4,830 people)

Conservatives - 40.0% (-2.2)
Liberals - 32.3% (+0.3)
New Democrats - 16.9% (+1.8)
Greens - 10.3% (unchanged)

The Conservatives have lost the gains they made in October, but still stand at the 40% mark which represents an improvement on their 2008 electoral result. The Liberals are up (yes, up) by 0.3 points. Nothing spectacular, but it could be a sign that Michael Ignatieff has turned the corner. The NDP can also look at the situation in Ontario with a smile, as they are up almost two points, in a province they desperately need to get back to the 18% level they posted in the 2008 election. The Greens have managed to maintain their support over the last month.

QUEBEC (7 polls - about 4,520 people)

Bloc Quebecois - 37.6% (-0.3)
Liberals - 22.6% (-1.5)
Conservatives - 20.6% (-0.3)
New Democrats - 12.2% (+2.1)
Greens - 7.1% (+0.4)

The Bloc is down by 0.3 points, reseting their 0.4 gain from October. In other words, they are stable. The Liberals are down, but seem to be approaching their floor as their decline has slowed. On the other hand, the Conservatives have halted their march upwards in the province, and have actually posted a small loss. The NDP put up a nice gain, and are above their 2008 election level. The Greens are up a little bit.

ATLANTIC CANADA (6 polls - about 940 people)

Conservatives - 35.1% (-0.3)
Liberals - 31.7% (-4.1)
New Democrats - 25.0% (+3.0)
Greens - 8.4% (+2.1)

The Tories are down a little bit, but are still at a very good level for them. The Liberals are down a big four points, representing a loss of more than seven points in two months. They're now in second place in what had remained their only stronghold. The NDP are the big winners in the region with a gain of three points, while the Greens are up two points. However, that gain is due to an unlikely 21% in one poll.Overall, it was actually a mixed month for the Conservatives. Of course, they are still well ahead and so from that point of view it was another good month. But relatively speaking, their strength is starting to fade. They are down in five of the six regions, and their only gain comes in Alberta where they have a lock on virtually every single seat anyway. The losses in Atlantic Canada and Quebec were small but the losses in Ontario, the Prairies, and British Columbia were not. That they are dropping in Ontario and BC - their two battlegrounds - is worrisome.

The Liberals, for once, didn't have a completely disastrous month. However, they still saw losses in five of six regions. Their small gain in Ontario is important because the province has traditionally been their bread and butter, and the losses out West were relatively small. The drops in Atlantic Canada and Quebec mean trouble, particularly in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP had a very good month, gaining in five of six regions. The gains in the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada were all significant, while any gain in British Columbia is a plus and Alberta is probably a write-off anyway.

The Bloc was stable, which is good as they have a strong lead. The Greens had a good month as well, gaining in five regions and remaining stable in one. But they are still far from electing anyone to Parliament.

This actually makes sense, if the narrative we're following is a return to status quo, circa Fall 2008. The Conservatives need to come down a bit to get back to that level, as do the Liberals. The NDP needs to inch back upwards, and the Bloc needs to stay where they are. If this narrative is the reality, everything is lining up as it should.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Projection: 141 CPC, 89 LPC, 50 BQ, 28 NDP

There haven't been a lot of polls, but quite some time has passed. Also, with a new month means new values for older polls. So we do get some changes.This is significant, because it bumps the Conservatives up to 141 seats and qualifies them for what I call a Strong Minority Government. Why? Because now the second and third parties, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois, are unable to out-vote the government by themselves. The combined Liberal and Bloc total is now 139 seats.

The Conservatives had a decent two week period, picking up a seat in the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada. Their biggest gain comes in Quebec, where they are up 0.5 points. They've also gained 0.2 points in Atlantic Canada and 0.1 points in British Columbia and the North. They are stable in Alberta but have actually dropped 0.1 points in Ontario. Nationally, they are up 0.1 points to 36.5%.

The Liberals did not have a good two-weeks, though it could've been worse. They're down a seat in the Prairies and Quebec, and down 0.2 points nationally to 28.4%. They did not make any gains anywhere, but suffered no losses in Alberta and - more importantly - Ontario. They dropped 0.1 points in the North and Atlantic Canada, 0.2 points in the Prairies, 0.3 points in British Columbia, and a whopping 0.8 points in Quebec.

The Bloc performed well, gaining 0.2 points in Quebec and a seat. They are now at 50 seats and 37.4% in the province. Nationally, though it doesn't really mean anything, they are up 0.1 points.

The NDP lose a seat in Atlantic Canada, but were otherwise pretty stable. They gained 0.3 points in the Prairies and 0.2 points in Ontario and Quebec. Those last two are good signs for the party. They were stable in Atlantic Canada, the North, and British Columbia, but lost 0.1 points in Alberta.

Finally, the Greens did not move much, though they are up 0.2 points nationally. They gained 0.1 points in British Columbia, Alberta, and the North. They were stable in Ontario but lost 0.1 points in the Prairies and Quebec and 0.3 points in Atlantic Canada.

Despite some major issues (Copenhagen and Afghanistan), the Conservatives have managed to stabilise their position. The Liberals aren't gaining any ground but seem to have slowed their decline. The NDP is also making baby-steps forward, despite the seat loss in this projection (which actually has more to do with Conservative gains in Atlantic Canada than NDP losses). The Bloc is slowly moving upwards at the expense of the Liberals while the Greens are not making their presence felt anywhere.

It looks like status quo after a year of this Parliament. Undoubtedly there will be little change over Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Ontario Provincial Poll

Angus-Reid has a new Ontario provincial poll out.So, a huge result for the Progressive Conservatives, with strong numbers everywhere. The Liberals are down very low, while the NDP is at 20%.

The Tory strength is distributed across the province, but is especially high in the Hamilton-Niagara area (51%) and in the North and East (47% each). In the GTA, the party is still at 38% and is even at 33% in the 416 area code.

The Liberals are hovering between 31% and 34% in the Toronto area, but are down to 19% in Hamilton and 22% in the East.

The NDP is doing best in the southwest (27%).

The big problem for the Liberals is that Ontarians' opinion of Dalton McGuinty has worsened. This is the case for a whopping 54% of the province, while the same can be said for only 16% of Ontarians when it comes to the Progressive Conservative leader, Tim Hudak. He benefits from having the best "improvement" score with 15%, which is still relatively low.

Certainly bad news for the provincial Liberals, and good news for the Progressive Conservatives. Of course, an election is a few years away so there is plenty of time for Ontarians to forget about the HST issue.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New British Columbia Provincial Poll

As part of the Innovative Research poll I posted about on Friday, respondents were asked for their provincial voting intentions.This shows a very close race, but is very different from the Mustel Group and Angus-Reid polls taken at a similar time. Innovative Research puts the BC NDP at about 15 points lower than those two polls, the BC Liberal result is also lower. The big beneficiaries in this poll would be the BC Conservatives, at more than 10 points than the other polls.

Not sure what this divergence means. Perhaps the voting public in British Columbia is very volatile, or perhaps this is just an anomalous result. The federal numbers looked fine.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New BC Poll: 16-pt Conservative Lead

A very observant blog reader pointed out this poll by Innovative Research of the federal voting intentions in BC. It was found in a poll about the dining habits of British Columbians.I had to adjust for the undecideds and refusals, but we get a strong Conservative lead. Nevertheless, the Tories still aren't doing as well as they need to.

This poll would give the Tories 22 seats, the Liberals would take nine, and the NDP would take five.

As the poll was taken in mid-November, it is a little dated. However, it is a demonstration why I shouldn't jump the gun with my monthly summaries!

New PEI Provincial Poll

Completing their rounds of the Atlantic Provinces, Corporate Research Associates has released a new poll of the smallest province in the country.The Liberals under Premier Robert Ghiz have a very comfortable lead, but are actually down five points from where they were in an August poll. They've lost that ground to the Progressive Conservatives, up four points, and currently with an interim leader.

The Island New Democrats are up three points, and the Greens are down two.

Now, PEI is not given a lot of media coverage in the rest of the country. So I don't know much about it. I know I have some PEI readers, though, so if you want to chime in with your views on politics on the Island, please do!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nova Scotia Provincial Poll

The Chronicle-Herald is reporting on a new Corporate Research Associates poll.So the Nova Scotia New Democrats still have a mighty lead over their opponents, though this does mark a drop of seven points since the last CRA poll in August.

The Liberals are up three points while the Progressive Conservatives are up five. The Greens are down two.

Darrell Dexter is still the top choice for Premier at 44%, interestingly well below his party's support level. This is not the case for Liberal leader Stephen McNeil, with 21% support, but is with the Progressive Conservative leader (yet to be chosen) who is at 12%.

The NDP is still well above the 45% they earned in the June election, while the Liberals (27%) and Progressive Conservatives (25%) are still punching below their weight.

So, good news for the NDP in Nova Scotia. You'd think that would be good news for the federal NDP in Nova Scotia, but we haven't seen big numbers from them in the region lately.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Brunswick Provincial Poll

A new poll by the Corporate Research Associates has been released.This aligns very closely with the recent Léger Marketing poll, though this one gives the NB Liberals a little more support at the expense of the NB NDP.

This is the highest the Progressive Conservatives have been in CRA polling in the last year. It is also the lowest result the Liberals have put up. The NDP result is actually on the lower side.

Shawn Graham and David Alward are now tied for best Premier at 29%, followed by Roger Duguay of the NDP at 8%.

Graham has about a year to turn the ship around, or the Progressive Conservatives will be back in government in New Brunswick.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quebec Provincial Poll

Le Devoir released a new Léger Marketing poll on Monday. The Parti Québécois has opened up a lead over the Quebec Liberals greater than the margin of error, a significant point in what has been a very close public opinion race since the December 2008 election. The PQ's lead is built largely on the francophone vote. They have 47% of francophones behind them, compared to only 29% for the Liberals. As francophones are the deciding factor in the vast majority of Quebec seats, this means a lot of wins for the PQ outside of Montreal.

The Action Démocratique du Québec, which has been going through internal turmoil for the past few months, is at only 8%, roughly half of last year's electoral score. Québec Solidaire and the Quebec Greens (PVQ) are tied at 7% apiece, though they usually tend to over-achieve in polls, especially in the case of the PVQ as they don't run in every riding.

The PQ leads in the Montreal region, 41% to 37%, with QS in third with 8%. In the Quebec City region, the PQ leads as well, with 34% to 28%. The ADQ only shows life here, with 26% support. So there are three-way races there.

Jean Charest of the Liberals is the favourite for Premier, but only at 29%. Pauline Marois of the PQ follows at 26%, Amir Khadir of QS is at 8%, and Guy Rainville of the PVQ is at 1%.

In terms of seats, this would give the Parti Québécois 67 seats and a majority government. The Liberals would win 54, the ADQ would be reduced to two seats, the QS would gain one seat and win two overall.

The big question will be whether the PQ can maintain this lead until the next election in 2012-2013. Charest is a slippery character and always seems to come back whenever he is down.

New Léger Quebec Poll: 17-pt Bloc Lead

Le Devoir is reporting on a Léger Marketing poll of Quebec voters.The Bloc has a very strong lead, and is at their 2008 level. This score is inflated, however, by the weak Liberal number. They are tied with the Tories who are also at 2008 levels.

The New Democrats are riding high at 17%, while the Greens are at only 5%.

The francophone vote (which is the decider in the vast majority of Quebec ridings) is solidly Bloc, at 44%. The Conservatives follow at 20% (indicating they are still doing well in the Quebec City region) while the Liberals and NDP are at 16%.

In the Montreal region, the Bloc leads with 38%. The Liberals are down to 23%, the NDP is at 16%, and the Conservatives are at 15%. This means the Bloc will be able to hold on to what it has on the island, and will keep everything around it.

A bit of a surprise is that the Conservatives are back in the lead in the Quebec City region, with 38%. The Bloc follows with 26% and the NDP, not the Liberals, are third with 19%. The Liberals are at 12% there. So, it will be a Tory-Bloc contest in the old capital, but the Tories have the advantage - and a surprisingly big one.

In terms of seats, this would give the Bloc 50, the Liberals 14, the Conservatives 9, and the NDP 2.

None of this is new for Quebec, however. The Bloc has been steady for almost the entire year, while the Liberals have lost some ground and the Conservatives are back where they were a year ago. The NDP is making some strides forward, but whether that will translate into actual votes is another question.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Newfoundland & Labrador Provincial Poll

Corporate Research Associates have a new Newfoundland & Labrador poll out.A shocking landslide! Oh wait, Newfoundland? Never mind.

Danny Williams and his Progressive Conservatives have a safe 61-point lead. He's actually five points up from this time last year.

Yvonne Jones and the Liberals are down three points from a year ago, while Lorraine Michael and the NDP is down two points.

Newfoundland & Labrador is not much of a fun political contest to watch. King Williams is an extraordinarily popular leader, with 87% saying they are completely or mostly satisfied with his performance as Premier. That's as close to unanimous as you get in politics. He's the best Premier for 79% of Newfoundland & Labradorians, while Jones gets the nod from only 10%.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and project a majority government for the Progressive Conservatives in the next election in October 2011. It's ballsy, I know, but I have to follow my gut.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Healthcare Top Issue Once Again

On Tuesday, Nanos released a new poll asking Canadians what their top issues were. Between November 7 and November 10, 1,005 Canadians were surveyed.

Healthcare took the cake with 27%, up two points from a similar poll taken a month ago.

The economy has dropped to 24% as a top issue, down six points from the last poll and down about 30 points from earlier this year. Apparently, Canadians believe the economy is doing fine and they are returning to more traditional concerns.

The environment was at 9% and education at 4%, more or less unchanged.

One wonders whether the political parties, the Conservatives in particular, will change their message. A puzzling aspect about this is that the federal government is not the level of government responsible for healthcare - the provinces are. And whenever the federal government does try to get involved to a greater extent than they already are, the provinces object. It is a lose-lose situation for federal parties, as if they give healthcare a priority, they can't really do all that much about it, other than give the provinces more money.

Anyway, it is another sign that Canadian politics is returning to normal.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CP Mentions New Harris-Decima Poll

The Canadian Press is reporting on a new Harris-Decima poll, taken sometime recently over two weeks. The national result:

Conservatives - 36%
Liberals - 27%
New Democrats - 15%
Greens - 11%

In Quebec, the Bloc has 39%, the Liberals have 22%, the Conservatives have 18%, and the NDP and Greens have 10%.

As far as I can tell, the last Harris-Decima poll was never uploaded to their website. We got an incomplete newspaper article and that was it. At this point, that is what we have from this poll as well.

I won't be adding it to the projection without complete information.

Update on EKOS Poll

EKOS has updated this morning's poll, with a week-to-week breakdown. Similar numbers of people were surveyed between November 11-17 and November 18-24.

Here is the first week's result:

Conservatives - 37.7%
Liberals - 27.2%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Greens - 10.8%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5%

Now, for the second week, we get these results:

Conservatives - 35.7%
Liberals - 27.1%
New Democrats - 15.8%
Greens - 12.1%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.3%

Statistical anomaly, or an indication of things to come in the future? Well, on November 18 the testimony on torture of Afghan detainees came out, and the "Direction of Government" poll went from 48.5% who said it was going in the right direction to 43.4%.

We'll need some more polling in the next week or two to see if this has really had an affect on Conservative support.

New Ekos Poll: 9.8-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has their latest poll out. It is a big one, as they promised, but it doesn't reveal all that much in terms of change.This represents a 0.3-point gain for the Conservatives from EKOS's last poll (November 4 to November 10). The Liberals, however, are also up, by 0.5 points. The Greens are up 0.2 points and the Bloc is up 0.6 points (nationally). In contrast to some other polls we've seen, it is the NDP that takes the hit here - a full 1.5 points.

The Conservatives had a big gain of 10 points in the Prairies, and are now well ahead. Their Alberta and British Columbia results are still lower than they need to be, while they are still riding high in Atlantic Canada. Their Ontario and Quebec results are close to their 2008 electoral result.

The Liberals had a gain of 3 points in Alberta, but aside from that there isn't much to be happy about. Their BC and Prairie results are alright, the Ontario one isn't horrible, but it is bad for the Liberals to be behind in Atlantic Canada and they need to do better in Quebec.

The NDP saw an 8-point loss in the Prairies, and showed weak results elsewhere. No silver lining for them in this poll.

The Bloc is up a tiny bit, but is steady. The Greens are riding high at 17% in British Columbia, though that still doesn't give them a seat in my projection.

Speaking of which, these are the results for this poll:

Conservatives - 146
Liberals - 85
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 27

So the Tories don't really make any gains from what they currently have, while the Liberals are up a few. The NDP is still the big loser in terms of seats.

The Conservatives would win 70 in the West and North, 55 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals would win 15 in the West and North, 39 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 16 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP would win 10 in the West, 12 in Ontario, and 5 in Atlantic Canada.

The demographic breakdown in this poll revealed a few interesting tidbits.

For one, the Tories are way, way ahead among males - 40.9% to 25.0%. But the Liberals are running a close race among females, with the Tories leading 32.8% to 29.2%.

The Conservatives lead in all age groups except those under 25. The Liberals lead there, with 24.7%, while the Greens are second at 23.4%.

All education levels are being led by the Tories, except that the Liberals are back in front among university graduates, 33.6% to 32.8%.

Finally, in Toronto the Liberals lead 40.0% to 36.9%. The Tories lead in Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa.

Nothing ground-breaking here, but some very small signs of life in the Liberal numbers. The NDP numbers are back down to earth, doing away with the story line that the NDP is replacing the Liberals as an alternative. The Conservatives are still doing well, but are not in majority territory anymore.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Brunswick Provincial Poll

Léger Marketing has released a new poll concerning New Brunswick provincial politics and the sale of NB Power to Hydro-Québec.Apparently, it is an unpopular move.

Shawn Graham's Liberals have dropped 14 points from the 2006 election, a huge loss. David Alward's Progressive Conservatives, though, have merely maintained their vote, dropping two points. It is the NDP under Roger Duguay that has become a factor, up 14 points from the last election.

The sale of NB Power is the culprit, as only 22% favour the sale compared to 60% who oppose it. Interestingly, there is a higher proportion of supporters among the francophone population.

The fact that the NDP has benefited from the Liberal woes indicates that New Brunswickers are more unhappy with the Liberals, and looking for an alternative, than attracted by another party. The number of PC supporters, it would appear, is maxed out.

Léger also asked Quebecers what they thought of the sale, and 55% favour it while only 14% oppose it.

New Brunswick is the province that is most likely to have the next election. It is scheduled for September 27, 2010 and since NB has fixed election dates, that will be the date of the election. I hope to give coverage and projections of it at that time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two new British Columbia Polls

Two new British Columbia provincial polls were released last week, one from the Mustel Group and the other by Angus-Reid.This actually represents a drop of three points from Mustel's August poll for the BC NDP, but nevertheless up one from the election earlier this year. The BC Liberals are down three points since August but down a whopping 11 points since the election. The BC Greens have gained three points since August and seven since the election, while the BC Conservatives are up three.

Premier Gordon Campbell has an approval rating of only 34%. That is worse than August's 38% and much worse than May's 46%. NDP leader Carole James doesn't seem to be all that popular, though, with 39% approving of her performance and 37% disapproving.

The Angus-Reid poll shows an even better gap for the NDP in British Columbia.

So what does this mean at the federal level? Hard to say, since the provincial parties don't carry-over to the federal scene. But, for Jack Layton, it can never be bad news to have people voting, or wanting to vote, NDP at either the provincial or federal level. And if the federal NDP manages to own the HST issue, they could get some traction out of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Projection: CPC 139, LPC 91, BQ 49, NDP 29

This latest projection stops the Conservative march towards a majority. But it is the NDP that is this week's big winner.So, the New Democrats are up two seats to 29, while the Tories lose one and fall to 139 while the Liberals lose another and are at 91. The Bloc remains steady at 49 seats. The NDP made the biggest popular vote gain with 0.2 points, while the Conservatives gained 0.1 points and the Liberals lost 0.4 points, a very big drop.

Despite the seat drop, the Conservatives are stable or growing everywhere in the country. The one hiccup was in British Columbia, where they gained 0.3 points but lost one seat. The party also gained 0.3 points in the Prairies, 0.2 points in Ontario, and 0.1 points in Atlantic Canada. They were stable in Alberta, Quebec, and the North. All in all, though, it was a rather mediocre week for the Tories.

The Liberals dropped in every single region. The biggest came in Ontario, where they are down 0.4 points and one seat. They also lost 0.3 points in Quebec and British Columbia (which hurts them a lot), 0.2 points in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, and 0.1 point in Alberta and the North. A bad week for Michael Ignatieff.

The New Democrats are actually pretty stable, with tiny gains in most of the country. But the fall of the Liberals worked to their advantage. They're up 0.1 points in British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, while stable in Alberta and the North. The two seat gains came in British Columbia and Ontario. A good week for them.

The Bloc is up 0.1 points in Quebec, marking another week of small gain. The Greens were up and down throughout the country, but only to the extent of 0.1 point. They gained that much in Alberta, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, but lost that much in British Columbia and the Prairies.

I think we're going to keep seeing the Liberals drop until they get to about 26% in the projection. During that time, the Tories will likely get themselves up to 37% and the NDP back to about 16.5% to 17%. Actually, it looks like we're going to end up with a mirror image of the 2008 election results unless there is some sort of dramatic change.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Ipsos Poll: 13-pt Conservative Lead

Ipsos-Reid has a new poll out, more or less confirming the results of the Angus-Reid poll that was released yesterday.So, another Conservative result just below majority territory, and another Liberal result on the brink of annihilation. This 24% confirms that Angus-Reid's 23% was on the mark, and that the Liberals are actually in a worst-ever scenario.

The NDP saw a big bump from 13% to 19%, which is a very strong pre-writ number for them, especially considering the Greens are at 10%.

The Tories aren't as strong as they need to be in a few regions, however. The 37% in British Columbia isn't enough, and neither is the 20% in Quebec. The 31% in Atlantic Canada, while giving them the lead, is not a big result.

The Liberals are doing badly everywhere. British Columbia and the Prairies would put a lot of their MPs in danger, and 29% in Ontario is another bad, bad result. The 24% in Quebec is alright, that is what Dion got, but the 24% in Atlantic Canada is disastrous. However, small sample size there.

The NDP have to be excited with this poll. At 34% in British Columbia, they max out their potential seat gains. The 15% in the Prairies is bad, though, but 21% in Ontario is great. Their Atlantic and Quebec results are enough to keep what they have.

The Bloc should be happy with 38%, confirming Angus's findings that the Bloc is at or better than their 2008 result. The Greens did alright, particularly in Alberta, but the 21% they earned in this poll in Atlantic Canada has to be due to the small sample size.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 146
Liberals - 68
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 43
Greens - 1

I had to give the Greens a seat in Atlantic Canada. The Tories are kept out of a majority, but not by the Liberals. The Bloc and the NDP take the credit for that. The Conservatives win 69 seats in the West and North, 57 in Ontario, 9 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals win 8 seats in the West and North, 31 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 14 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP wins 18 seats out West, 18 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 6 in Atlantic Canada.

The political picture we're looking at now is that the Tories, Bloc and the NDP are back to 2008 levels. The Liberals, however, are below 2008 levels. If we were headed into an election, the question would be who picks up the two-to-three points the Liberals have lost, and where.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New AR Poll: 15-pt Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid has a new poll out. It shows a massive Conservative lead.So, at 38% the Conservatives aren't exactly at an all-time high, but that is still a good result. It is, however, two points down from Angus-Reid's last poll at the end of October. The big result from this poll, though, is that the Liberals are at a gruesome 23%, down three points from the last poll. At 23%, the Liberals would be well below Stéphane Dion's sorry 2008 performance.

Surprisingly, the NDP isn't the net beneficiary from the slip of the two major parties. They remain steady at 17%. The Greens pick up three points and the Bloc picks up two.

Regionally, the Conservatives are doing well everywhere except Quebec. The numbers out West are just fine, while the 43% in Ontario is terrific. The 33% in Atlantic Canada is good (could be better), but the 19% in Quebec is troublesome. That is what kept the party below 40% in this poll.

The Liberals have to be worried everywhere. Alberta's result is fine, but the BC and Prairie results mean few seats. The Ontario result is absolutely horrendous, while Quebec's 19% would put them at historic lows. The 33% in Atlantic Canada isn't even very good.

The NDP is doing alright in several regions, but they should really be taking advantage of the Liberal woes. At 25% in BC and 27% in the Prairies, the NDP is competitive but not poised for any gains. The 15% in Ontario would result in some losses, while the 29% in Atlantic Canada won't see them gain any seats either. The 14% in Quebec, though, is good.

The Bloc's 42% in Quebec is a very good result, while the Greens are doing relatively well everywhere except in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada. At 12% in BC, though, Elizabeth May isn't close to getting elected.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 157
Liberals - 68
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 30

So, with the right opposition numbers, a majority below 40% is possible. The Conservatives take 75 seats in the West and North, 65 in Ontario, 8 in Quebec, and 9 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals, at only 68 seats, would barely form the Official Opposition. They take 9 seats in the West and North, 29 in Ontario, 13 in Quebec, and 17 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP didn't do well enough in the regions they need to, and so take only 11 seats out West, 12 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 6 in Atlantic Canada.

Peter Donolo could not be starting his job from anywhere lower. This is a horrible, horrible poll for the Liberals. The Conservatives can be happy with their own result, but less so about Quebec. The NDP must be wondering why they can't get some traction and overtake the Liberals, while the Bloc should be pleasantly surprised.

So, we're still going to be getting polls now and then. I think I will no longer update the projection at a set day of the week, and instead update as time and polling frequency permits.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gun Control Poll from EKOS

EKOS, as part of their "viewer question" series of polls, has a new one out asking people about the long gun registry and gun ownership.

In general, Canadians give a slight edge to banning the long gun registry (but there is a huge "don't know" group), but are also in favour of banning gun ownership in its entirety and banning gun ownership in urban areas.

But looking behind the numbers, we get an idea of party support between November 11 and November 17. EKOS asked respondents who they would vote for in addition to how they felt about guns in order to get an idea of how particular party supporters feel about gun ownership and the long gun registry. Using those numbers from a pool of 2,517 decided voters, we get:

Conservatives - 38.1%
Liberals - 26.6%
New Democrats - 14.5%
Greens - 10.6%
Bloc Quebecois - 10.3%

Now, take those numbers with a grain of salt, as I don't believe EKOS weighted the regional results the same they do for a normal national poll.

Anyway, as to the actual topic, we find that the supporters of the four opposition parties are far closer to each other than they are to the Conservatives.

On abolishing the long gun registry, 56% of Conservatives saw it should be, while only 20% say it shouldn't. The next highest supporters of abolishing the registry are NDP supporters at 35% (29% opposed), then the Greens at 29% (32% opposed), the Liberals at 27% (47% opposed), and the Bloc (20% to 47%). I find it surprising that NDP supporters are more for abolishing the registry than they are against it.

One other thing to look at is the undecided group. Among them, 33% are for abolishing and 25% are against. What does that mean? Undecideds are more in line with the NDP then either the Liberals or the Conservatives - at least on this issue.

Outlawing guns in urban areas gets a lot of support, even from Conservatives (51% to 38% opposed). It gets highest support among Liberals (76% to 18% opposed) and Bloc Quebecois supporters (74% to 21% opposed). NDP and Green supporters see eye to eye on this issue, with 67% and 66%, respectively, for outlawing guns in urban areas.

Undecideds, at 61% for and 25% against, are somewhere in between. It is interesting to note that on gun control issues, the Conservatives and the Liberals (or at least their supporters) are diametrically opposed.

As for outlawing guns in their entirety, Liberals and Bloc voters are most for the idea (67% and 66% to 33% and 34%, respectively). NDP and Green supporters are also in favour (58% and 54% to 42% and 46%, respectively). Here again, Conservative supporters are alone on the issue, with 38% in favour of outlawing guns and 62% against. Undecideds are split down the middle, 54% to 46%.

So, apparently, on gun control the argument is between the Tories and everyone else.

EKOS Schedule Change

As reported here, EKOS will be changing their schedule of the release of polls. Rather than reporting on the national voting intention every week, they will be reporting every second week, but with larger sample sizes. They'll also be reporting on questions requested by CBC viewers, which could be interesting some of the time.

Unfortunately, since this seems tied to CBC News Network's Power and Politics, I imagine that in the future the info won't be released until the end of whatever day they're released on.

So, this reduces what is already becoming a thin roster of active pollsters. The larger sample sizes, however, will be helpful.

I had based my projection-update schedule on EKOS, so I'm not sure what to do at this point. I'll probably continue to update at the end of every week, but there was only one Nanos poll released over the last week so I'm not sure if it is worth it.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nanos Ontario Provincial Poll

Nanos has a provincial poll for Ontario out, taken between October 24 and October 25 and involved 503 Ontarians. The result:

Liberals - 37%
Progressive Conservatives - 35%
New Democrats - 17%
Greens - 10%

This marks a significant drop for Dalton McGuinty compared to Nanos' last Ontario poll, with the PC and the Greens benefiting the most. The Liberal lead is thanks to women, who support the Liberals over the Progressive Conservatives by a margin of eight points. The Tories lead among males, 38% to 33%.

Dalton McGuinty is the best option as Premier for 27% of Ontarians, down from 42% in April. Tim Hudak is at 17%, but that is only up three points from April when Bob Runciman was the option. Andrea Horwath is the choice of 14%, up five points, while Frank de Jong is at 5%.

Interesting to see the margin has closed for the two major parties. But an election is still a few years away.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Nanos Poll: 9.2-pt Conservative Lead

Finally, another pollster weighs in. Nanos gives similar results to Thursday's EKOS, but is better for the NDP and the Liberals.This poll represents a drop of 1.8 points for the Conservatives and 1.2 points for the Liberals. The NDP gains 1.3 points and is now at a very good 17.9%, while the Greens take 1.3 points.

Nanos is different from the other pollsters in that they don't prompt the parties, which is one of the reasons they poll lower for the Greens. Of course, considering other pollsters give the Greens 50% to 100% more than they got in the last election, Nanos is probably closer to the mark.

The regionals have goods and bads for all parties.

The Conservatives polled very well in Atlantic Canada, at 41.8%. But they were low in British Columbia. Their results in Ontario and Quebec are good, but within the norm of what we've seen lately.

The Liberals polled very well in British Columbia, and much better than they have been polling in Ontario and Quebec. But being in second place in Atlantic Canada is an issue.

The NDP polled very, very well in Ontario. Quebec is good, British Columbia is okay, and Atlantic Canada is bad.

The Bloc's 35.6% is low.

Since Nanos lumps Alberta and the Prairies together, I've used the seat projections from the last EKOS poll for those two regions. With them, we get:

Conservatives - 139
Liberals - 92
Bloc Quebecois - 47
New Democrats - 30

The Tories take 65 in the West, 52 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 12 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals take 17 in the West, 41 in Ontario, 17 in Quebec, and 17 in Atlantic Canada. Those are decent results west of the Ottawa River.

The NDP takes 13 in the West, 13 in Ontario, one in Quebec, and three in Atlantic Canada. The result out east is problematic for them.

As for who would make the best Prime Minister, Stephen Harper gets 34.8%, Michael Ignatieff gets 17.7%, and Jack Layton gets 14.9%. That is a good result for Harper, though a few points lower than September's result. It's a horrible result for Ignatieff, down six points. Layton's result is good, though still lower than his party's national result. Duceppe took 23.2% in Quebec (ahead of the others), and May took 4.5% nationally. "None of them" was favoured by 9.3%. This bumps the "Best PM" track to 30, 15, and 13 for the three leaders.

Nothing earth-shattering in this poll, but it's clear the Tories are back to their front-of-the-pack-but-minority status and the NDP is back in the game. This looks like a decent (relatively speaking) poll for the Liberals, but it actually represents losses from the last Nanos poll.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Projection: 140 CPC, 92 LPC, 49 BQ, 27 NDP

Only one poll this week, so no major changes. But new polls replace old polls, and the weight of new polls makes old polls less important, so every little bit makes a difference.The Conservatives gain one seat and are now at 140. The Liberals lose one and are now at 92. The Bloc and NDP remain steady at 49 and 27 seats, respectively. Very little movement in the popular vote, as the Liberals lose only 0.1 points and the Greens gain 0.1 points.

A mixed update for the Conservatives, who lose 0.2 points in Alberta and the Prairies and 0.1 points in British Columbia. They gain 0.2 points in Quebec and Atlantic Canada and 0.1 points in the North. They also gain a seat in Ontario, though they remain stuck at 39.1%.

The Liberals are down a little bit everywhere except in Alberta. They're down 0.3 points in Quebec, 0.2 points in the North and the Prairies, and 0.1 points in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Their seat loss comes in Ontario.

The NDP is either steady or making gains. Their support hasn't changed in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. They've made a gain of 0.3 points in the Prairies and 0.1 points in the North and British Columbia.

The Bloc is unchanged. The Greens make gains of 0.3 points in Quebec, 0.2 points in the Prairies and Alberta, and 0.1 points in Ontario and British Columbia.

Things seem to be solidifying at their current level, which is getting closer and closer to the 2008 result. The Liberals have seemed to hit their floor, the Conservatives are falling back from their highs, and the NDP is clawing its way back up to 2008 levels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 10-pt Conservative Lead

The latest EKOS poll is available online (thanks DL for pointing it out), and has some interesting results.Nationally, this represents a loss of 0.8 points for the Conservatives and 0.2 points for the Liberals compared to last week's EKOS poll. We can certainly call the Liberal support steady, and the Conservative loss is no biggie, but this marks a steady decline of the Tory vote from the dizzying highs of early October.

In fact, I love this poll. It vindicates my projection, as I'm sure many of you saw the Conservatives polling at 40% to 41% and wondered why I was still at around 35%. The projection cancels out the sort of momentary extremes the Conservatives were riding on for a few weeks.

We also see an NDP gain of 0.5 points from EKOS's last poll. In general, this is a very good poll for them.

It is not a very good poll for the Conservatives, leaving aside their 10-point lead. They're down five points in British Columbia, five in Alberta, five in the Prairies, and one in Ontario. That's made up by gains of two points in Quebec and four points in Atlantic Canada. Indeed, in that region of the country the Tories are polling extraordinarily well: 36.5%.

The silver lining for the Liberals in this poll is that the bleeding has stopped. They're up four points in British Columbia, but down four in the Prairies and three in Quebec. They're steady in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada. The Quebec result, putting them in third, is certainly worrisome. But the by-election results in the province sort of predicted this drop.

For the NDP, they haven't lost any ground anywhere. They are holding fast, though, in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. But they're up two points in Alberta and, most significantly, eight in the Prairies.

The Bloc is down two points, which should come as no surprise after the disappointing by-election result in the Bas-St-Laurent.

About 18% of respondents were undecided, well within the norm.

One of the demographic results that explains the strong NDP showing is in the under-25 age group. There, the NDP is first with 23.9%, followed by the Liberals at 23.8% and the Conservatives at 22.7%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 84
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 32

So, almost identical to the 2008 election result. There are some differences, however.

The Conservatives take 68 seats in the West (including the North), 54 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada. That's compared to the 2008 result of 72 in the West, 51 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 10 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals take 12 seats in the West, 40 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 16 in Atlantic Canada. The 2008 breakdown was 8-38-14-17.

The New Democrats win 13 seats out West (compared to 15 last year), 12 in Ontario (rather than 17), two in Quebec (rather than one), and five in Atlantic Canada (instead of four).

The biggest thing to take from this poll is that we're back to square one, back to October 2008. Which means no one has a reason to go to an election.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The ADQ Self-Destructs

Gilles Taillon, leader of the Action démocratique du Québec, has announced he will be stepping down as leader. This is only the latest in a series of missteps and mistakes that have brought the once fledgling provincial party to the brink of destruction.

A brief run down. In 2007, Mario Dumont's ADQ won 41 seats and became the official opposition, only a handful of MNAs away from forming government. Over the next year, Dumont mishandled several issues and the inexperience of his new MNAs became clear. In the 2008 election, the party dropped to 16% and 7 seats, and Mario Dumont announced he would be stepping down as leader.

A leadership race was then called, with Gilles Taillon (who did not win in his riding) and Éric Caire (who did) becoming the clear front-runners. The leadership race was ugly, with each side seemingly forgetting that they'd have to work together if either of them had won.

Gilles Taillon then won the race, which was held only a few weeks ago, by two votes. The turnout of the telephone voting was very low, and in the end it was learned that Infoman (a Quebec comedian) had gotten an ADQ membership under the name of Omar Bongo and cast his vote for Taillon. That brought his true win down to one vote.

Then, after being snubbed by Taillon, Caire and his friend Marc Picard left the party to sit as independents in the National Assembly. That brought the ADQ caucus from 6 to 4 MNAs. A few days later, the president of the party (responsible for the non-partisan running of the leadership race) stepped down when it was learned he had donated to Taillon's leadership campaign.

To add insult to injury, Janvier Grondin, long-time ADQ MNA and 11th-hour supporter of Taillon, as come out to say that he regrets having thrown his support behind Taillon.

Now, Taillon has stepped down as leader, seemingly at the request of his caucus. The leadership race divided the party in two, and now the half that supported Taillon is divided as well. He has said he will stay on as leader until a new one is found, but that poses a few problems. The party can't afford a leadership race, and Caire has said he wouldn't run to lead the party. There are few potential replacements, and the most likely replacement, MNA Gerard Deltell, has been making nice with the provincial Liberals and even attended an event with Jean Charest.

Lastly, Taillon threw out the bombshell that he has found irregularities in the party's finances dating back to 2003, which he will look into. The Liberals and PQ are starting to circle the two new independents and the 4 ADQ MNAs to see if they won't come over to their sides. Recent polls put the party at around 6% to 8%, tied with the Parti Vert and Quebec Solidaire.

The Conservatives were smart enough to jump ship not too long ago, and have since reconciled with the provincial Liberals under Charest. This is good news for them, as had Harper tied his Quebec star too tightly to Mario Dumont and the ADQ, he wouldn't have won the Bas-St-Laurent by-election last night.