Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Poll: EKOS

EKOS has released a new poll today. It was taken between June 10 and June 16, involved 3,422 interviews, and has a margin of error of 1.7%. Here are the national results:

Liberals - 33.7%
Conservatives - 32.4%
New Democrats - 16.3%
Greens - 9.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.7%

This poll closed just before the outcome of the negotiations between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff was announced. There was a significant Liberal drop on Monday and Tuesday to below 30%, perhaps as a result of the election pressure of Ignatieff. It is unfortunate the poll didn't continue until yesterday, as we could have seen what effect the results of the negotiations would have had on the electorate.

Le Devoir is reporting that the Liberal Party has sent out notices for its members to be prepared for an election starting the week of October 5th and ending sometime between November 9 and November 16. So, this summer will be the time to prepare and set the stage for a fall election. This makes the ebb and flow of polling data from now until then very important.

Harper received a 33% approval rating, with 47% disapproving of his performance. That is compared to a 38% to 54% split in April. His highest approval rating was in Alberta (50%), and his lowest was in Quebec (21%). Ignatieff had a 32% to 34% split, significantly worse than his 50% to 28% split in April. His highest rating was in Ontario (36%), and his lowest was in Alberta (21%).

Regionally, the Conservatives led in this poll in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Prairies. The Liberals led in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, while the Bloc Quebecois still leads in Quebec.

Breaking the poll down into demographics, the Conservatives have the lead among male voters (36.5% to the Liberal 33.7%), voters aged 45-64 (35.5% to 35.0%), voters aged 65 or older (40.1% to 37.7%), voters with a high school education or lower (30.7% to 28.2%), voters with a college or CEGEP diploma (37.8% to 28.8%), voters in Vancouver (46.8% to 27.4%), and voters in Calgary (59.7% to 20.9%).

The Liberals lead among female voters (33.7% to the Conservative 28.4%), voters under the age of 25 (23.8% to the NDP's 22.8%), voters aged 25-44 (33.5% to the Conservative 28.8%), voters with a university education (41.7% to 29.1%), voters in Toronto (44.8% to 33.9%), and voters in Ottawa (43.7% to 38.4%). The Bloc Quebecois leads in Montreal at 35.9%, just ahead of the Liberal 34.9% support.

There were some regional variations which favoured the NDP and the Greens. The NDP led among women and voters under the age of 25 in British Columbia, and held the youth vote in the Prairies as well. The Greens were second among those aged less than 25 in Ontario, and were first among those in Atlantic Canada. Elizabeth May needs the youth of the Maritimes to move to Central Nova.

You can go to the bottom of the page for the full regional details of the poll.

This poll would have resulted in an unstable Liberal minority of 127 seats, with the Conservatives forming the official opposition with 107 seats. The Bloc would have been third with 48 seats, the NDP fourth with 25 seats, and the Greens would have won one seat as well.

The short term projection has changed slightly, with the Conservatives losing two seats to the Liberals, who are now up to 135 seats and hold a comfortable minority. However, they nevertheless had the biggest support loss, losing 0.7 points. The Greens had the largest gain, at 0.3 points.

The long term projection has hardly changed at all. Nationally, only the NDP made a move with a 0.1 point gain, while there were no regional losses or gains of more than 0.2 points.

This poll says a lot to three parties. The Conservatives aren't out of it yet, and the volatility demonstrated by the Liberal plunge early this week means that anything could happen during an electoral campaign. This should make the Tories slightly more comfortable with the idea of a fall election. Even if they will definitely lose seats, they could still win a minority government and increase their lifespan for another couple years.

For the Liberals, this poll shows once again that they can form the next government, but it should also warn them about being too hasty. In any case, we'll have to wait and see what the end-of-week numbers were like to see if the Liberals have been hurt long term or if Ignatieff has pulled something good out of his hat.

For the NDP, this was a good poll. They have here some of their highest results of the year nationally and in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, though they are still well below their 2008 electoral result. This translates to not a catastrophic loss of MPs, as this poll projects the NDP would be reduced from 37 to 25 seats. Nevertheless, Jack Layton should try to find a way to avoid defeating the government in October. But, of course, an electoral campaign can change anything and Layton had one of his strongest campaigns in 2008, so he might be banking on his ability to get people thinking about the New Democrats again come election time.

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