Saturday, April 11, 2009

Second Choice Poll

Nanos Research released a new poll today, which lists people's second choices. The results:

No Second Choice - 35.9%
Liberals - 18.3%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Conservatives - 14.0%
Greens - 13.9%
Bloc Quebecois - 2.1%
Other - 1.1%

These results are interesting. Being first among the parties is huge for the Liberals, but I also find it interesting that the Greens are so low. I would have imagined they would be a good second choice for people who can't bring themselves to vote for one of the other parties. Turns out, then, that either a majority of Canadians are non-partisan and can vote for a second party, or that the Greens have become part of the partisan environment.

Now into the nitty-gritty. Demonstrating the Liberal Party really is a centrist party, second-choice for Liberals is split, with 28.1% going to the Conservatives and 19.9% to the NDP. The Greens are the second choice of 18.3% of Liberals, and the Bloc 2.5%. Liberal voters are also the second-least partisan, as only 29.7% could not bring themselves to vote for another party.

Side note, it is unfortunate the poll isn't broken down more thoroughly. The Bloc numbers are virtually useless without context of its proportion of Quebecers.

Conservatives are far more partisan, as 43.9% are unable to make a second choice. Out of all the party options, the Liberals are on top with 32.5%, followed by the NDP at 12.1% and the Greens at 9.6%. The Bloc brings up the rear at 0.4%.

The New Democrats take the title as the least partisan, as only 21.6% wouldn't vote for another party. However, 20.7% would vote for the Greens, 7.2% would vote for the Bloc, 39.6% would vote for the Liberals, and 9.9% would vote for the Conservatives.

It isn't very shocking to see that Bloc voters are least likely to vote for a second party, something 51.6% said they couldn't do. Considering that Bloc voters are sovereigntists who absolutely don't see themselves in the pan-Canadian parties, this is to be expected. Only a few said they could vote for another party. The NDP had 18.7%, the Greens 14.3%, and the Conservatives and Liberals tied at 7.7%.

Finally, 33.8% of Green voters said they could not vote for a second party. The Liberals got 24.3%, the Conservatives and NDP 20.3% each, and the Bloc 1.4%.

Who should be happiest about this polling result? Clearly the Liberals, as they were the most popular second choice of Conservative, NDP, and Green voters. The Conservatives were only the second choice of the Liberals, and the NDP of the Bloc. One result which is, in retrospect, not surprising but blows a hole in past Conservative strategies is that Bloc voters aren't likely to move towards the Conservatives. The Tories have been trying to take that nationalist vote since 2006. Apparently that boat has sailed.

What can be taken from this? When looking to take support from other parties, the Liberals need to focus on the Conservative voter and the NDP voter. The Conservatives should look to the Liberal voter and the Green voter, the NDP to the Liberals and Bloc, the Bloc to the NDP and Liberals, and the Greens to everyone.


  1. "Liberal voters are also the second-least partisan, as only 29.7% could not bring themselves to vote for another party."

    Spun as a positive... but it shouldn't be. Less than 1/3 of the party's vote would be considered as "Safe, will never vote for another party".

    The Bloc should be very happy with 50% of their votes locked in, but the NDP at 1 in 5? could be very ugly election for them, but I suspect that it is very unlikely that they will fall to the 3-5% that that might mean. I also read into it that the NDP is in tough in making any gains; Adding up soft votes from other parties means they will never break 25% of national vote even if they claim 100% of the second choice votes. In a 3.25 party system (bloc running in less than .25% of the ridings) that means at their very best.... only opposition.

    The greens seem to have the same prospective numbers as the NDP, but their support seems to soften at election time, and is spread out over more ridings than the NDP. At this point one might still define them as a protest party since they have yet to deliver on any seat or attain striking distance.

    The liberals and the conservatives appear to be the chief rival of each other. The conservative base being harder than the liberal's(44%-30%), but the soft votes softer than the liberal(33%-28%). Both parties can claim victory in that, but neither appears positioned to push to a majority at this time. Tho a majority becomes possible for either if they can convince enough of the second choices to jump. It also should make for a interesting election since just the sway between the 2 parties could determine which party becomes government in a minority situation.

  2. "Less than 1/3 of the party's vote would be considered as "Safe, will never vote for another party"."

    That's a good point, I didn't think of that.

  3. It could also mean that these are the people who will stay home when things get bad (IE compare 2006 to 2008, and you'll see the only real difference is the million or so Liberals who stayed home)

  4. This 'second choice' info is very important in the context in that these's a range of positions in every party and this shows that many Liberals favour the CPC over the NDP as a partner and that Trudeau is right to fear that any pre-election agreement with the NDP would see an oozing of Liberal votes to the CPC because of such an agreement. Those oozed votes could well be enough to put harpo back in the emperor's chair.

    Maybe Trudeau is showing that he is being a strategic team player by not agreeing to a pre-vote coalition.


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