Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Leadership Poll

Angus-Reid has released a new leadership poll in the wake of the Obama visit. The results are interesting.

Stephen Harper's approval rating is 38% and his disapproval rating is 52%. Not surprisingly, he is most liked in Alberta (59%) but it is out east where he needs to put in some time. Only 26% of Atlantic Canada approves of Harper's performance as Prime Minister, and only 22% in Quebec. There, a whopping 68% of Quebecers disapprove of Harper.

By comparison, Michael Ignatieff is well-liked. His approval rating as leader of the opposition is 42% and he only has a 31% disapproval rating. His marks are more or less consistent across the board, but the Prairie region seems to like him the most.

Not surprisingly, Barack Obama is very popular in Canada. In all, 82% of Canadians approve of Obama, while only 7% do not. He is most liked in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, with 88% favourability. In those two regions, only 2% and 3%, respectively, disapprove.

Another interesting aspect of the poll is whether Canadians want to extend its mission in Afghanistan past 2011 if the President requests it. A strong majority, 65%, answered no. Only 20% are willing to extend the mission, the lowest results coming in British Columbia and Quebec with 16%. The highest rejection was also in Quebec, at 72%. Alberta and Atlantic Canada are most willing to extend the mission, at 29% and 26%, respectively.

This poll more or less confirms the polling numbers we've been seeing across the country. Harper is struggling in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and Ignatieff is doing moderately well.

No opinion polls since February 8, however.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Poll: Obama in front

Léger Marketing has released a new poll, taken between February 11 and February 15, involving 1,500 Canadians. The question asked who was the best leader. The result:

Barack Obama - 57%
Stephen Harper - 14%
Michael Ignatieff - 9%
Jack Layton - 4%

If that isn't a demonstration of the lack of confidence Canadians have in their own leaders, I don't know what it is. After his second term ends in 2016, Obama might consider a move north.

Unsurprisingly, Alberta had the best results for Harper: 27%. Obama had his worst result here with 44%. It is interesting to see that even in Alberta, where the Conservatives poll well over 60%, Canadians prefer the more left-leaning American President than the Canadian Prime Minister.

More details of the poll will undoubtedly be released in the coming days. I am curious to see how the numbers breakdown in Quebec, especially with the low leadership support Harper received in the latest Nanos poll.

The poll also asked what Canadians think US-Canadian relations should be like. It is surprisingly close:

Closer relations - 41%
Emphasise differences - 38%
Status quo - 14%

It is difficult to extrapolate much from this poll for Canadian political purposes, but out of the 27% of Canadians who chose a Canadian leader as best, 52% chose Harper, 33% chose Ignatieff, and 15% chose Layton.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

CentVingtCinq Now Projecting

Just to let you know, I am now projecting for the next Quebec election, even if it is several years away. Polls will be few and far between, but when they do come up they will be announced there and the projection modified. There is a link on the right, just click on the Quebec flag.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nanos Favourability Poll

Nanos Research released a poll today, in which people were asked if a certain party leaders have a positive, neutral, or negative impact on the local candidate. The results, with positive first, negative second (I've left out the neutrals and unsures):

Gilles Duceppe: 58% - 11% (+47 rating)
Michael Ignatieff: 38% - 19% (+19)
Stephen Harper: 37% - 32% (+5)
Jack Layton: 32% - 27% (+5)
Elizabeth May: 26% - 23% (+3)

The numbers for Duceppe were only for Quebec, of course. In Atlantic Canada, Ignatieff was best with a +28 rating, Harper was worst with a -10 rating. Harper was again worst in Quebec with -28. Ignatieff was first in Ontario with +18 and Layton was worst with +3. In the West, Harper came out on top with +24 while Layton had -11.

The poll also asked how people rated each leader's reaction to the budget. The results, with "very good/good" first and "poor/very poor" second. Again, I've left out the "average" and "unsure":

Michael Ignatieff: 35% - 14% (+21)
Gilles Duceppe: 38% - 20% (+18)
Stephen Harper: 40% - 25% (+15)
Jack Layton: 26% - 32% (-6)

In the regional breakdown, Ignatieff was again on top in Atlantic Canada (+30) and Layton was at the bottom with -4. In Quebec, Duceppe was best and Harper worst at -7. Ontario gave +26 to Ignatieff and -10 to Layton. Harper got +25 in the West and Layton received -21.

What can be said about these numbers? The important points are that Ignatieff has received a very positive rating across the country, Duceppe is the clear favourite in Quebec, where Harper's popularity is tanking, and Layton is having some significant confidence issues, particularly in Ontario.

Link to poll.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

New Nanos Research Poll

Nanos Research released a poll today, taken between January 30 and February 3 and involving 881 committed voters. This poll is older than three polls already listed, but you can see the detailed results at the bottom of the page. The highlights:

Conservatives - 34%
Liberals - 33%
New Democrats - 16%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 7%

And, of course, here are the Quebec numbers:

Bloc Quebecois - 38%
Liberals - 28%
Conservatives - 16%
New Democrats - 14%
Greens 5%

My last bone to pick, I promise. But that makes three national polls by reputable polling firms done over the same period, showing the Bloc at between 38% and 42% and the Green Party at between 4% and 5% in Quebec. In all, these three polls number around 800 people. And then there is the Strategic Counsel poll, involving 244 people, that put the Greens at 26% and the Bloc at 22%. Will we see a mea culpa, or will Strategic Counsel be talking about the 21-point dive of the Greens in Quebec next month?

The numbers in Ontario, with the Liberals at 43% and the Conservatives at 34%, do seem to confirm what is an emerging trend in the polling numbers: Ontario is turning red. The projection is somewhat (small-c) conservative, and projects what the results would be after an election campaign based on the current state of public opinion. That's why the Conservatives still have a slight lead over the Liberals in Ontario.

The projection has had some changes The Conservatives are back up to 138 seats and the Liberals are also up, at 99. I am guessing they will cross the psychological barrier of 100 seats in the next few weeks. The NDP were the losers in this case, dropping to 22 seats.

The national popular vote projection has changed as well, with the Liberals up 0.2% and the Conservatives down 0.2%. The Greens, Bloc, and NDP have stayed the same. Of note is the gap in Ontario between the Conservatives and the Liberals, which is now only 1.3%.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strategic Counsel Replies, and the rest of the Harris-Decima poll comes in...

The details of the Harris-Decima poll have been released. The only missing information were the Ontario numbers, and a switch of the Green support in Quebec from 5% to 4%. The Ontario numbers:

Conservatives - 37%
Liberals - 37%
New Democrats - 16%
Greens - 9%

There has been little change in the Ontario projection, the seats are the same but the Conservative-Liberal gap continues to shrink.

I also received a reply from Strategic Counsel about their odd 26%-result for the Green Party in Quebec. More or less, this is either one of the 1 in 20 moments, or they captured a new trend in Quebec. I think it is pretty obvious which is the most likely.

This brings up the question of responsibility. Do polling firms have a responsibility to present the numbers without any context or explanation, or do they have a responsibility to point out any errors? They are always careful to mention that parties can be in a "statistical tie", but should they also be up-front and open and say "these numbers are probably way off"? People who follow polls and politics closely know that the Green Party is not at 26% support in Quebec, but those who don't will read the article on CTV.ca and be misinformed. Is there no responsibility there?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Projection Updated

Despite missing some information from the Harris-Decima poll and the clear anomaly in the Strategic Counsel poll, I've updated the projection with the information I do have. The opinion polling chart has been updated as well, though I did not include the Quebec result from the Strategic Counsel poll on the opinion trend chart because it is clearly wrong.

Adding these two new polls has resulted in a seat change. The Conservatives are now down to 137 seats and the NDP up to 24. The national popular vote has also changed:

Greens +1.1
Liberals +0.1
Bloc Quebecois -0.0
New Democrats -0.1
Conservatives -0.5

No word yet from Strategic Counsel, but until I do hear from them I've reduced their reliability rating by half, from 60% to 30%. In case you're wondering, the polling firms are rated according to how close they predicted the 2008 federal election result. The best polling firm is Angus Reid.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A New Poll from Strategic Counsel is odd...

Strategic Counsel released a new poll today, taken in the same period as the Harris-Decima poll and involving 1000 people. The national numbers look fine:

Liberals - 33%
Conservatives - 32%
New Democrats - 17%
Greens - 13%
Bloc Quebecois - 5%

...except that the Bloc number is oddly low and the Green number is awfully high. And the Quebec numbers show why:

Greens - 26%
Liberals - 24%
Bloc Quebecois - 22%
Conservatives - 17%
New Democrats - 12%

So, apparently, the Greens have had a 22-point surge from the last Strategic Counsel poll from mid-January, while the Bloc has dropped 16-points. This despite recent Harris-Decima and Ipsos-Reid polls showing the Bloc at 40+ and the Greens at around 5%. Are we supposed to believe that the Green Party is now the favourite in Quebec?

Flabbergasted, I shot off an email to Strategic Counsel asking them about this. I'm extremely loathe to include these numbers in the calculation because of this. I'm assuming this is some sort of typo, unless Strategic Counsel was extremely unlucky in its poll of 244 Quebecers.

It is difficult to believe this is just a typo, because clearly the Quebec numbers influenced the national numbers, giving the Bloc the low 5% and the Greens the high 13%. And the report even calculated the change from last time (including the unbelievable +22 for the Greens!). To add insult to injury, the media outlet that ordered the poll, CTV, has posted it on their website, even mentioning the Green surge and Bloc fall.

We'll see how this all plays out. But I am going to have to reduce the reliability rating of Strategic Counsel unless they change or explain their result. Someone at Strategic Counsel saw these numbers and published them anyway. If they didn't realise this was wrong, they don't know what they are doing.

Harris-Decima Poll Coming

Harris-Decima released a new poll today, but so far the media has presented only bits and pieces. I imagine the rest will be coming tomorrow or Thursday. The poll of 1,000 respondents running from February 5 to February 8 had this result nationally:

Conservatives - 33%
Liberals - 31%
New Democrats - 15%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 10%

The only regional polling information I've found so far is for Quebec, and the numbers seem to confirm the recent Ipsos-Reid poll:

Bloc Quebecois - 41%
Liberals - 27%
Conservatives - 16%
New Democrats - 10%
Greens - 5%

I won't be adding this information to the prediction calculation or opinion polling charts until the rest of the poll comes forward.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Ipsos-Reid Poll

Ipsos-Reid has released a new poll, taken up to February 5 and involving 1,000 interviews. Here are the Canada-wide results:

Conservatives - 37%
Liberals - 31%
New Democrats - 14%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 7%

And now the two regional battleground results:


Liberals - 39%
Conservatives - 37%
New Democrats - 14%
Greens - 10%


Bloc Quebecois - 42%
Liberals - 24%
Conservatives - 18%
New Democrats - 11%
Greens - 5%

The projection has changed as well, with the Conservatives dropping two seats to 138, to the benefit of the Liberals and the NDP. The biggest popular vote drop goes to the Greens, from 6.6% to 6.0%. The Liberals had a 0.1% gain. In Ontario, the Conservatives dropped 0.4% and the Liberals gained 0.2%. When the projection puts the Liberals over the Conservatives in Ontario, I think an election will be imminent. In Quebec, the Bloc was bumped up by 0.4%.

I have also updated the polling trend charts.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Opinion Polling Trends