Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekly Projection Update - Conservatives by Five

The projection has been updated and has incorporated the two most recent polls from EKOS and Angus-Reid. There has not been huge movement, but there has been movement.

In the short-term, five-poll projection, the Liberals have gained five seats to pull within five of the Conservatives, who have lost five. This classifies the government as an "unstable co-operative" one, since the two major parties are so close to one another. The NDP has gained two seats while the Bloc has lost two. In the national vote, the Liberals are up 0.6 points, which have come from the Greens, NDP (0.1 points each) and the Bloc (0.4 points).

In the long-term projection, the Conservatives have lost a seat to the Liberals in Quebec. This puts the two parties at 120-115 seats, again an unstable co-operative government. There has been virtually no movement in national support, except for a small 0.1-point gain by the Liberals. Regionally, things remained stable except in the Prairies, where the Conservatives (0.3 points) and the Liberals (0.4 points) gained at the expense of the NDP (0.7 points).

So, things are tightening up once again. We've been hearing Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff talk about a fall election recently - Ignatieff hinting at it and Harper asking for politicians to focus on the economy (which, to be fair, did not prevent the Prime Minister from dissolving parliament in September).

The two leaders are, of course, just positioning themselves for the fall session. The committee discussing EI reform was, in all likelihood, not called to actually reach any conclusions. If some sort of agreement could be reached, all the better, but much more likely is that the Tories wanted to be able to say that the Liberal proposals were irresponsible while the Liberals want to say that the government is being stubborn. The nomination of Pierre Poilievre, one of the most partisan MPs in the House of Commons, to this committee is a good indication of what is the government's intent.

This kind of talk only makes an election more likely. Both Ignatieff and Harper are trying to goad the other into blinking, as Harper knows that Ignatieff might fail to form government after an election (thus buying the Tories much more time) and Ignatieff knows that Harper will likely lose many seats, if not power. Undoubtedly, Harper would prefer to avoid an election. He has nothing to gain, as the 143-seat win in 2008 is almost certainly the best he'll ever do, and much to lose. But, should an election be called and the Conservatives squeak out a win, the party will be able to continue governing for another two or three years. Ignatieff can't wait forever for the polling numbers to assure victory and, as the 2006 election showed, an election campaign can change everything. The longer he prevaricates, the greater the risk he will be considered a Dion II.

Taking all this into account, we seem to be inexorably headed towards an election within the next nine months.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

AR Regional Polling Results - Revealed!

EKOS and Angus-Reid are quite good at posting their polling data quickly (unlike other polling firms), and I'm appreciative of that. Angus-Reid has now posted the details of the poll I alluded to earlier today.

The poll, taken between July 27 and July 28, was very close to the EKOS poll at the national level but has some significant variations at the regional level.

The Liberals lead in Ontario (41% to 35%) and Atlantic Canada (37% to 31%). The Ontario result is better (by two points) than EKOS, but the Atlantic result is slightly worse. At 23%, the Liberals aren't as strong in British Columbia. Their 34% in Quebec is better, however. They lead the Conservatives among females by seven points, the NDP among 18 to 34 year olds by seven points, and are tied with the Tories at 34% among 35-54 year olds.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia (36% to 25% NDP), Alberta (66% to 17%), and the Prairies (52% to 27%). Their 13% in Quebec is much worse than EKOS, but 31% in Atlantic Canada is better. They lead the Liberals among males by 5 points and 55+ year olds by 5 points as well.

The NDP has a decent result in British Columbia (25%) and Atlantic Canada (28%), but needs to do better than the 13% in the Prairies, 15% in Ontario, and 9% in Quebec.

The Bloc, at 38%, is doing well in Quebec. The Greens did not have any strong results except in British Columbia, with 12%.

As to whether Canadians are satisfied with how the government has been dealing with the economic crisis, 43% say they are while 48% say they aren't. And as to whether they trust the party leaders to help the economy recover, Harper is trusted by 41% and distrusted by 40%, better than Ignatieff's 36% to 52% split.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 119
Liberals - 115
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 24

Despite their slim lead, the Liberals aren't strong enough in the West in this poll to form government. The Tories take 70 seats in the West, leaving only 14 for the Liberals.

As it is getting late in the morning and I have other work to do, I will leave the projection update to tomorrow.

New EKOS Poll: 1.6% Liberal Lead

EKOS has released a new poll today, taken between July 22 and July 28 and involving 3,161 interviews. The national result:

Liberals - 34.1%
Conservatives - 32.5%
New Democrats - 14.5%
Greens - 10.4%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.6%

These results match pretty closely to the Angus-Reid poll today. This is good for the Liberals, who needed some good news after some inconclusive polling. They lead in Ontario (39% to 35%) and Atlantic Canada (39.8% to 28.3%), ahead of the Conservatives. They're within striking distance in British Columbia (30.6% to 34.9%) and Quebec (32.7% to 34.2% for the Bloc). They are in front of the Conservatives among females by 7.2 points, 25-44 year olds by 5.2 points, 45-64 year olds by 0.8, and university graduates by 0.8 points. The Liberals also lead in Toronto by 13.1 points. Among those aged 24 or younger, the Liberals lead the NDP by 5.2 points.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia, Alberta (49.7% to 24.1%), and the Prairies (48.9% to 26.5% for the Liberals). They've regained second spot in Atlantic Canada and are at a decent 17.4% in Quebec. They lead the Liberals among males (4 points), 65+ year olds (9.1 points), high school graduates (7.7 points), college graduates (4.7 points), in Vancouver (13.6 points), Calgary (22.2 points), and Ottawa (2.3 points).

The Bloc lead the Liberals in Montreal by 0.6 points.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Liberals - 124
Conservatives - 115
Bloc Quebecois - 46
New Democrats - 23

This small lead is enough to give the Liberals the reigns of power, thanks to strong results in the West (24 seats). This sort of result, however, would be troubling for the NDP.

I'm going to hold off on a projection update and wait for the AR polling data to come in. If it isn't in by tomorrow, I'll update with just the EKOS poll.

New Angus-Reid Poll: 1% Liberal Lead

Two polls were released this morning by Angus-Reid Strategies and EKOS. The AR poll appeared in the Toronto Star this morning, but the details are not available on the AR website as of yet.

I've emailed AR to find out if more details will be forthcoming today.

The Angus-Reid poll included 1,012 interviews, but the Star article doesn't mention the dates of the poll. Here is the result:

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

The Liberals have not been in front for a little while now, and especially not in AR polls. So this is a significant result for them. Until we see the regional breakdown, it is difficult to make any other conclusions, but double-digits is always good for the Bloc. But the 7% for the Greens is bad.

I will try to wait for the AR regional results before updating the projection.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Ipsos-Reid Ontario Poll

Ipsos-Reid has released a new Ontario provincial poll. It was taken between July 21 and July 23 and involved 706 decided voters. Now, provincial polls don't play a role in my model and I don't track Ontario provincial politics, but I thought it would be an interesting tidbit nevertheless.

Here are the results:

Liberals - 45%
Progressive Conservatives - 31%
New Democrats - 12%
Greens - 11%

This shows that, so far, Tim Hudak hasn't managed to improve the score for the PCs. They had 31.6% support in the 2007 election, while Dalton McGuinty had 42.3%. The NDP is down as well, from 16.8%. One wonders if this is part of the problem for the NDP in Ontario at the federal level. The Greens had 8% during the election, so they are up as well.

I don't follow Ontario politics very well, but my general understanding of it is that while McGuinty is considered the best man for the job, he isn't exactly a popular figure. While Michael Ignatieff would love to be at 45% in the province, I'm not sure if a closer alliance with the Ontario Premier would help him get there. Now, I know that in Ontario, along with some of the other provinces, the leader of a party isn't always close to their federal counterpart. Danny Williams in Newfoundland & Labrador and Jean Charest in Quebec are good examples of that. But, it wouldn't hurt for Ignatieff to get closer to McGuinty.

Stephen Harper, on the other hand, looks to have nothing to gain from Hudak, and Jack Layton doesn't need to be seen with Andrea Horwath to help his cause.

The poll was broken down regionally as well. The Liberals lead in every region, with very little variation (49% in Northern Ontario and 42% in Central Ontario are the high and low points). Things are relatively consistent for the PCs as well, though they are doing best in Central Ontario (34%) and worst in Northern Ontario (24%). The NDP's peaks and valleys are in Southwest Ontario (16%) and Eastern Ontario (11%). The Greens are doing best in Toronto and Central Ontario (12%) and worst in the Southwest (8%).

The Liberals lead in the 18 to 34 and 35 to 54 age demographics, but are tied with the PCs among those aged 55 or older. The Greens surpass the NDP among the youngest set of voters, and PC support among women is quite low (28%).

The approval rating, however, is not so glowing for the Premier. Only 44% of Ontarians say he is doing a good job while 49% say he isn't. However, as the opposition is divided among three competitive parties, it shouldn't be a cause for concern.

In the federal context it will be interesting to keep an eye on the provincial race, since the support levels aren't significantly different.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

How Far We've Come

With BBQ season in full swing and politics on the back-burner, now's the perfect time to look at what gains and losses each of the parties have had since the October 2008 election.

July polling has been remarkably consistent, so I've averaged out all of the polls from this month and have compared them to the October 2008 electoral results.

Let's start at the national level. The first number is the electoral result, the second is the current polling level, the third is the change in points, and the fourth is the percentage change. For example, if a party goes from 40% to 20%, that would be a 50% loss as they have lost half of their vote.


Conservatives - 37.6% / 33.6% / -4.0 / -10.6%
Liberals - 26.2% / 31.7% / +5.5 / +20.9%
New Democrats - 18.2% / 15.8% / -2.4 / -13.2%
Bloc Quebecois - 10.0% / 9.7% / -0.3 / -3.0%
Greens - 6.8% / 8.6% / +1.8 / +26.5%

It might actually come as a surprise to see that the Greens have made the largest proportional gain since the last election while the New Democrats have had the largest proportional loss.


Conservatives - 44.4% / 38.8% / -5.6 / -12.6%
Liberals - 19.2% / 28.4% / +9.2 / +47.9%
New Democrats - 26.1% / 20.6% / -5.5 / -21.1%
Greens - 9.4% / 11.4% / +2.0 / +21.3%

This is a massive gain by the Liberals, and another troubling loss for the New Democrats. The Greens have also made good strides forward.


Conservatives - 64.6% / 59.4% / -5.2 / -8.0%
Liberals - 11.4% / 19.1% / +7.7 / +67.5%
New Democrats - 12.7% / 11.3% / -1.4 / -11.0%
Greens - 8.8% / 8.9% / +0.1 / +1.1%

Modest losses by the Conservatives and the NDP, but the Liberals have had another massive gain in this province.


Conservatives - 51.1% / 48.2% / -2.9 / -5.7%
New Democrats - 24.8% / 24.0% / -0.8 / -3.2%
Liberals - 17.2% / 19.4% / +2.2 / +12.8%
Greens - 6.3% / 8.4% / +2.1 / +33.3%

Things are relatively stable in this region, and the Conservatives and NDP have managed to stave off Michael Ignatieff for the most part. While the Liberals are showing a gain here, it is lower than the national average and significantly lower than the gains in the rest of the West. Something about Ignatieff is keeping him out of the Prairies. The Greens make another big gain, but we must keep in mind that with such small percentages there is a greater inaccuracy.


Liberals - 33.8% / 38.2% / +4.4 / +13.0%
Conservatives - 39.2% / 37.0% / -2.2 / -5.6%
New Democrats - 18.2% / 14.8% / -3.4 / -18.7%
Greens - 8.0% / 9.9% / +1.9 / +23.8%

The Liberals have put up a modest gain, enough to take them back into first place. The Conservatives have lost some ground, but the biggest losers in Ontario are the NDP. They've lost almost 1 in 5 NDP supporters from last election. With a good portion of their seats coming from this province, Jack Layton needs to do some serious work here.


Bloc Quebecois - 38.1% / 37.5% / -0.6 / -1.6%
Liberals - 23.7% / 29.8% / +6.1 / +25.7%
Conservatives - 21.7% / 15.6% / -6.1 / -28.1%
New Democrats - 12.2% / 10.1% / -2.1 / -17.2%
Greens - 3.5% / 6.6% / +3.1 / +88.6%

The Bloc has remained stable in the province, while the Liberals have made big gains. What's interesting is that the Liberal gain and Conservative loss in points matches. Could these Tory voters have gone directly to the Liberals? The Greens have made big gains, but again, these are small absolute numbers.


Liberals - 35.4% / 36.8% / +1.4 / +4.0%
Conservatives - 28.8% / 29.5% / +0.7 / +2.4%
New Democrats - 26.6% / 28.2% / +1.6 / +6.0%
Greens - 5.8% / 4.3% / -1.5 / -25.9%

This region bucks all the trends. The Liberals make a small gain and the Conservatives and NDP make gains instead of losses. And we have a big dip in Green support. It would seem possible to explain it, however. The Greens were artifically inflated during the last election because of Elizabeth May, who may very well not run in Nova Scotia next time. The provincial NDP has formed government in Nova Scotia, which undoubtedly gives them more federal support - much of which probably comes from the Liberals who would otherwise have made larger strides forward. And Danny Williams is no longer attacking the federal Conservatives on a daily basis, which allows them to re-gain some lost ground.

So, from the last election the Liberals and Greens have had some great success. The Liberals are up everywhere and the Greens are up in all regions but Atlantic Canada. Ignatieff looks to make some greater inroads in the West and Quebec, and re-gain lost ground in Ontario. The Greens are likely still not in a position to elect an MP, but they could start flirting with double-digits nationally.

The Bloc Quebecois is holding steady, but come election time Gilles Duceppe will want to improve on last election's performance, rather than maintain the same level of support. While the 49 seats was a decent showing for the Bloc, there are no doubts that they were disappointed to have dropped below 40%.

The Conservatives have shown some losses everywhere except Atlantic Canada, but for the most part these losses are modest rather than catastrophic. Only in Quebec have a large portion of Tory voters gone somewhere else. The NDP, however, have great cause for concern. They're down everywhere except Atlantic Canada, and are showing significant losses in British Columbia and Ontario - two regions in which they need to do better.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Weekly Projection Update - Conservatives by Seven

The projection has been updated, but there haven't been any major changes.

In the short-term projection, the Conservatives have gained six seats while the Liberals have lost four. The NDP and Bloc have also lost one each. However, the Conservatives are still down in the national vote by 0.3 points. The NDP and the Bloc have gained 0.1 points while the Greens have lost 0.2. The Liberals have remained stable.

In the long-term projection, there have been no seat changes. Nationally, the Liberals have lost 0.1 points while the NDP and the Greens have gained 0.1 points each.

Regionally, there haven't been many significant movements. The largest come in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals have lost 0.5 points to the NDP. In the Prairies, the Liberals have also lost 0.3 points.

So, the Conservatives have maintained a small gap in seats and look to maintain their minority government - through it will be strongly weakened. This shows that despite the close race, the Conservative vote is more efficient. The big reason for this is that they haven't been wiped out in Quebec and have remained competitive in Ontario. Comparatively speaking, the Liberals are too weak in the West to hope to form government with such a close race.

New Ekos Poll: 0.3% Conservative Lead

EKOS released a new poll today, taken between July 15 and July 21 and involving 3,158 interviews. This poll has a lot of great stuff, so I really want to go through it. First, the national result:

Conservatives - 32.8%
Liberals - 32.5%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Greens - 11.5%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.4%

Now this is a close race. The BBQ circuit has left Canadians more equally divided than ever. You can even split the country into three virtually equal groups: those who support the Conservatives, those who support the Liberals, and those who support an opposition party.

However, of note is that between July 17 and 20 the Liberals were topping out at 35% to 36% while the Tories dropped to below 30%.

This is a strong result for the Greens, but weak for the NDP and the Bloc. Demographically, the Conservatives hold the lead among males (35.7%), 45-64 year olds (37.2%), 65+ year olds (40.0%), those with a high school education (31.7%), a college education (37.5%), and in the cities of Vancouver (35.9%), Calgary (59.4%), and Ottawa (42.1%).

The Liberals lead among females (32.0%), 25-44 year olds (31.2%), those with a university education (38.2%), and in the cities of Toronto (48.2%), and Montreal (36.2%). The Liberal lead in Montreal is a change, and seems to be where the Bloc lost ground this week.

The Greens lead among those aged 25 or under with 26.9%.

Regionally, the Tories hold a lead in BC (35.8% to 25.0%) but the NDP are close behind the Liberals in third (23.6%). The Conservative lead in Alberta and the Prairies is large, and the Liberals have pulled ahead in Ontario (39.8% to 35.9%). The Greens place third in the largest province, with 12.2%. They edge out the NDP who had 12.0%, a disastrous result for them. In Quebec, the Bloc had a bad week with 32.7% support, followed by the Liberals at 30.8% and the Conservatives at 15.4%. The Greens had 10.2%, which seems like an outlier and a contributing factor in the Bloc dip. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are first (39.7%), followed by the NDP (28.2%).

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 119
Liberals - 119
Bloc Quebecois - 46
New Democrats - 24

As close as can be. The Tories would hold 65 seats in the West and 54 in the East (Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada). The Liberals would have 19 in the West and 97 in the East, as well as the three in the north.

Now, the poll looked at two other factors. The first was "second choice". The option of "no second choice" was more than all parties, with 26.8%. Among the parties, the Liberals led, with 22.1%. The NDP was second at 19.7%, the Greens third at 14.1%, the Conservatives fourth at 13.2%, and the Bloc in fifth at 4.1%.

In other words, the ceiling for the various parties is 54.6% for the Liberals, 46.0% for the Conservatives, 34.5% for the NDP, 12.5% for the Bloc (49.1% in Quebec), and 25.6% for the Greens.

Regionally, the Liberals led the second choice category in all regions except Alberta, where the NDP was the favourite second choice.

Looking at it in terms of voters, Liberal supporters favour the NDP as their second choice (32.2%), with the Conservatives close behind (26.9%). Conservatives favour not to vote at all (40.2%), and then the Liberals (32.9%) and the Greens (12.8%). NDP voters would move to the Liberals (43.2%), not vote (17.9%), or go to the Greens (16.9%). Green voters would instead vote Liberal (30.4%) or NDP (25.2%). Bloc voters would head to the NDP (29.0%) or the Liberals (26.2%).

The second thing the poll looked at was whether Canadians favoured a minority or majority government, and which party they would want in power in either case. A majority Liberal government was the favourite option, with 26%. This was followed closely by a majority Conservative government (25%). A Liberal minority would have 15% support while a Conservative minority would have 9% support. Taking this question further, 41% of Canadians favour a Liberal government while 34% favour a Conservative government.

This means that virtually no one outside of Conservative supporters like the idea of a Conservative government.

It is also interesting to note that undecided voters were split down the middle between a Liberal or Conservative government, though the Liberals had a very small advantage.

Among NDP voters, a Liberal minority was the favourite option at 21%. Overall, 38% of NDP voters preferred the idea of a Liberal government to 16% who preferred a Conservative government. Bloc voters, too, preferred a Liberal minority (27%), and overall would choose a Liberal government (41%) over a Conservative government (17%). Greens voters liked the idea of a Liberal majority (18%), and preferred a Liberal government (34%) over a Conservative government (22%).

Regionally, British Columbia preferred a Conservative government (39% to 33%), as did Alberta (51% to 27%) and the Prairies (49% to 28%). Ontarians prefer a Liberal government (45% to 34%), as do Quebecers (46% to 24%) and Atlantic Canadians (41% to 29%).

All of this goes to show that the Liberals have the most room for growth while the Conservatives are not much below their maximum support potential. That the Liberals almost double the Conservatives in the second choice category, while more Canadians would rather vote NDP or Green than Tory if their first option was off the table, is bad news for Stephen Harper. But the Conservatives have had success in 2006 and 2008 by relying on their base, so perhaps this is not as much of a problem as it appears.

The Liberals need to reach out to supporters of other parties, since people seem to be receptive to them. But the NDP and the Greens also have room for growth. So what we have is the centre-left fighting for each other's votes while the Tories safely monopolize the right. This makes leading the Liberal Party a much greater challenge than leading the Conservatives. And since the Tories have the advantage in funding to boot, it makes it all the more difficult for Michael Ignatieff.

The weekly projection update will follow later this morning.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ignatieff's Image Beginning to Sour?

Last month, I took the results of an Angus-Reid poll to measure the good and bad qualities of the party leaders, or at least what the public perceived to be their good and bad qualities.

The most recent Angus-Reid poll had the same kind of poll, giving respondents the ability to attribute certain qualities to Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff. Attributes like caring, efficient, secretive, out-of-touch, etc. were among the options.

Grouping the attributes into "good" and "bad", and then averaging out the totals, we get an indication of how many people consider these two leaders to have good or bad qualities. Here are the results, with the change from the last poll:
So, what we see is that Harper's perceived qualities have remained stagnant, while his negative attributes have dropped very slightly. But Ignatieff is showing a significant drop in public opinion. Less people attribute good qualities to him, and more people consider him to have some negative attributes.

Taking the top five answers, we get a picture of what people think of the two leaders. Harper is considered to be secretive (49%), arrogant (45%), out-of-touch (41%), intelligent (41%), and boring (38%). Not exactly a stellar review. But Ignatieff's is not much better, and is actually quite similar. He's considered intelligent (51%), arrogant (45%) out-of-touch (35%), boring (30%), and secretive (23%). Apparently, Canadians aren't enamored with either of our options for Prime Minister.

It's unfortunate the poll wasn't extended to Jack Layton and the other leaders. It would've been interesting to see whether Layton's image improved with the dip in Ignatieff's numbers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Votes vs. Seats

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at where votes come from for each of the parties and how that compares to the proportion of seats won and the proportion of Canada's population. Are parties using too much energy in provinces that give them few seats? Are certain regions under or over represented for each party?

First, let's look at the percentage of Canada's population each region of the country has:

Ontario - 38.9%
Quebec - 23.4%
British Columbia - 13.4%
Alberta - 10.6%
Atlantic Canada - 7.1%
Prairies - 6.7%

Remember these numbers. Let's look at the Conservative Party first. Here is the percentage of the party's votes each region of the country provided:

Ontario - 38.8%
Alberta - 15.8%
British Columbia - 15.3%
Quebec - 15.1%
Prairies - 8.7%
Atlantic Canada - 6.1%

So, Conservative support in Ontario is proportional to the province's population. Alberta, British Columbia, and the Prairies over-perform for the Tories, while Quebec and Atlantic Canada support the party in numbers below their proportion of Canada's population. To sum up, the Conservatives are a Western party and are under-represented in the eastern part of the country.

As to the percentage of seats each region provided, we get:

Ontario - 35.7%
Alberta - 18.9%
Prairies - 15.4%
British Columbia - 15.4%
Quebec - 7.0%
Atlantic Canada - 7.0%

This shows that Conservative votes are most efficient (in that fewer votes are required to provide a seat) in Alberta, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada. Ontario under-performs a little, British Columbia is proportionate, and Quebec under-performs a lot. Tory votes there don't translate into a lot of seats. This means efforts in Quebec are probably not worth it.

Now, let's look at where votes come from for the Liberals:

Ontario - 48.0%
Quebec - 23.7%
Atlantic Canada - 12.6%
British Columbia - 9.5%
Prairies - 4.2%
Alberta - 4.0%

So, for the Liberals Ontario and Atlantic Canada over-perform, while British Columbia, the Prairies, and Alberta under-perform. Quebec is about right, proportionately. This means that the Liberals are over-represented by Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and lack true representation in the West. Not much of a surprise. Now, proportion of seats:

Ontario - 49.4%
Atlantic Canada - 22.1%
Quebec - 18.2%
British Columbia - 6.5%
Prairies - 2.6%
Alberta - 0.0%

So, this shows that votes aren't very efficient for the Liberals. This translates into many second-places. Only in Ontario and Atlantic Canada did the party receive a higher proportion of seats than they did votes. Votes in that latter region are especially efficient, but efforts to gain votes in the West seem to be wasted.

Now, the NDP and their votes:

Ontario - 37.3%
British Columbia - 18.6%
Quebec - 17.5%
Atlantic Canada - 11.1%
Prairies - 8.7%
Alberta - 6.4%

For the NDP, British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and the Prairies over-perform for the party. Ontario is close to its proportion of Canada's population, but Quebec and Alberta under-perform. This means the party's base is in BC, the Maritimes, and the Prairies - which is historically where the party has always been. Now proportion of seats:

Ontario - 45.9%
British Columbia - 24.3%
Prairies - 10.8%
Atlantic Canada - 10.8%
Quebec - 2.7%
Alberta - 2.7%

So, NDP votes are most efficient in Ontario and BC, and don't amount to much in Quebec and Alberta. Thus, efforts in Ontario and BC are well rewarded while they aren't in Quebec and Alberta. Considering the amount of effort that was expended by the party to elect Thomas Mulcair, that it only provided 2.7% of their caucus makes one wonder if it is really worth it. The political value of these sorts of victories, however, cannot be quantified.

Finally, let's look at the Greens (the Bloc, which gets 100% of its votes and seats in Quebec, can be left aside!). Their proportion of votes:

Ontario - 43.7%
British Columbia - 17.9%
Quebec - 13.4%
Alberta - 11.9%
Atlantic Canada - 6.8%
Prairies - 5.9%

So, the Greens over-achieve in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta while they under-achieve in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and the Prairies. However, it should be noted that aside from Quebec the Greens do pretty well throughout the country. Their support is very evenly spread. But their poor result in Quebec is perhaps the most significant challenge. But as we have seen, Quebec is an under-performing in seat wins for every party except the Bloc.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Angus-Reid Poll: 3% Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid has released a new poll today, taken between July 16 and July 17 and involving 1,007 interviews. The national results:

Conservatives - 33%
Liberals - 30%
New Democrats - 18%
Bloc Quebecois - 11%
Greens - 6%

While it does give the Tories a lead, it actually marks a drop from 36% from the last Angus-Reid poll that was released not much more than a week ago. The Liberals have remained steady, while the NDP and Bloc get good results. The Greens are low.

Regionally, some notable results include a 29% for the NDP in the Prairies, placing them in second behind the Tories at 50%, and a small Liberal lead of 38% to 36% in Ontario. The NDP scored 17% in the province, a strong result for them. In Quebec, the Bloc is doing well with 39%, the Liberals are steady at 30%, and the Tories show a weak 13%. Atlantic Canada, which shows a Conservative lead of 37% over the NDP at 35% and the Liberals at 23%, is probably an outlier result. The Tories remain in front in BC (40%) and Alberta (63%).

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 131
Liberals - 95
Bloc Quebecois - 51
New Democrats - 31

The odd Atlantic result throws things out of whack (12 Conservative seats, 11 Liberal, and 9 NDP) but as long as the Tories have a competitive result in Ontario these are the kinds of results we see.

The poll also asked about who would make the best Prime Minister. We haven't had one of those since April! So, finally, the Best PM chart has been updated. It shows Stephen Harper at 34% (up one), Michael Ignatieff at 27% (down one), and Jack Layton at 16% (up one). The actual result in the AR poll was 26% for Harper, 22% for Ignatieff, 13% for Layton, and 19% for "none of these".

The leaders were also rated on issues, and Harper came out on top for the economy (31%) and crime (34%). Layton was on top for the environment (27%) and health care (23%), and Ignatieff placed first on foreign affairs (30%).

This isn't a good poll for the Liberals, but it is a very good poll for the Conservatives, NDP, and Bloc. However, considering that the previous poll put the Conservatives ahead by six points, this is actually good news for the Liberals.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Michael Ignatieff - About Time?

Michael Ignatieff represents the riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore in Toronto. That got me thinking. Who was the last Prime Minister to represent a riding in Toronto, the largest city in the country?

The answer, as far as I can tell, is William Lyon Mackenzie King, but only during his first term from 1921 to 1926. No Prime Minister since then has been elected in a Toronto riding. Toronto has had very little representation in the PMO. That is a little surprising, isn't it? Looking at the United States, the last President from their largest city, New York, is Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s. Are North American leaders from the country's metropolis unelectable?

I thought it would be interesting to look at how long some of the major cities in Canada have been represented by a Prime Minister (roughly estimated):

Quebec City, Quebec - 24 years (Laurier, St-Laurent)
Kingston, Ontario - 19 years (MacDonald)
Montreal, Quebec - 19 years (Trudeau, Martin)
Halifax, Nova Scotia - 9 years (Borden)
Calgary, Alberta - 8 years (Bennett, Harper)
Toronto, Ontario - 5 years (King)
Vancouver, British Columbia - 1 year (Turner)

So, during roughly 60% of Canada's existence, a major city (and Kingston was a major city during MacDonald's era) has provided the country with a Prime Minister. I suppose that roughly matches our proportion of urbanisation. But one would have expected Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Winnipeg to have had their feet in the door more often.

Food for thought over the weekend.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Projection Update: Conservatives by Seven

The projection has been updated, and there have been some significant changes.

In the short-term projection, the Conservatives and Liberals have traded four seats, bringing the Conservatives up to 119 and in the lead, and the Liberals down to 114. The New Democrats have also lost two seats and the Bloc has gained two seats. The Conservatives have gained one point in the national vote and the Greens have gained 0.5 points. The Liberals have lost 0.9 points, and the NDP has lost 0.6.

The long-term projection has also changed. The Conservatives have gained three seats. Two of them come in Ontario and one comes in Quebec. The Liberals have lost three seats, two of them in Ontario and one in Quebec as well. The NDP and Bloc have remained steady at 24 and 49 seats, respectively. In terms of the national vote, the Conservatives have gained 0.3 points and the Liberals have lost 0.3 points. The Liberal lead now stands at a mere 0.4 points.

Regionally, the Conservatives have gained 0.4 points in British Columbia, 0.5 in Alberta, and 0.3 in Ontario. The Liberals have gained 0.4 points in British Columbia and 0.4 in Atlantic Canada, but have lost 0.4 points in the Prairies, 0.3 in Ontario, and 0.3 in Quebec. The NDP has seen a big loss of 0.7 points in British Columbia and the Greens have dropped 0.3 in Atlantic Canada.

So, what can we take from this? Despite all the bad press, the Conservatives have had a good week. They've taken the lead in the last-five-poll average, and have moved back into government in the projection. The Liberals have had a bad week, dropping back in both projections. The NDP has also seen some problems, while the Greens and Bloc have remained relatively stable.

It is becoming difficult to predict polling results before they are made available. I would've expected a Tory drop because of what happened at the G8, but instead the EKOS daily breakdown showed no major movement for either party. It is quite possible we could end the summer with the Liberals in a precarious position - and that could mean no election until at least the spring of 2010.

New EKOS Poll: 1.7% Conservative Lead

EKOS has released a new poll today, taken between July 8 and July 14 and involving 2,713 interviews. The national result:

Conservatives - 34.1%
Liberals - 32.4%
New Democrats - 15.2%
Greens - 9.6%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.7%

Surprisingly little movement. The Conservatives maintain a very slim lead. Nationally, they lead among males (36%), 45-64 year olds (36%), 65+ years old (44%), people with a high school education (35%), college education (36%), in Calgary (66%), and Ottawa (48%). They also lead in British Columbia (40%), Alberta (56%), and the Prairies (51%). The Tories are tied with the Liberals at 35% in Vancouver.

The Liberals lead among females (33%), 25 year olds or younger (25%), 25-44 year olds (32%), people with a university education (39%), and in Toronto (45%). They also lead in Ontario (39%) and Atlantic Canada (41%).

The Bloc Quebecois leads in Montreal (35%) and in the province as a whole (34%).

This poll would translate into the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 121
Liberals - 118
Bloc Quebecois - 46
New Democrats - 23

This poll also asked about opinions of the Afghanistan mission. Support is dropping away, and stands at 34% with 54% opposed. The highest support level comes in the Prairies, at 48%. The highest opposition level comes in Quebec, at 73%. Of all parties, only Conservative supporters favour the mission (51% for, 37% against). Liberal supporters are next, with 31% for and 58% against, followed by the Greens (26% to 65%). Another similar opinion result between Liberals and Greens gives more weight to my theory that the two parties have the same sort of supporters. The NDP (20% to 72%) and the Bloc (11% to 77%) are most opposed to the mission, which comes as no surprise.

I will be updating the projection in a few hours. With three polls (Strategic Counsel, Angus-Reid, and now Ekos), the projection should change.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Poll Position: Conservatives

Three months ago, I analysed how the Conservatives were doing in the polls. It's time to return to this topic, and see how the Tories have been doing since April.

On April 8, one day before I wrote my analysis of the Conservative standing, I was projecting the party to win 133 seats and have 35.5% national support. Since then, they've lost 15 seats and 3.1 percentage points - an important drop. They've gone from a comfortable minority to having only one more seat than the Official Opposition; that is, if the Conservatives even form government.

Nationally, the Tories have been very consistent in their polling levels. The variation is only between 29% and 35%. Because the Conservatives have been within these two levels for virtually the entire period, it is difficult to see a trend. But the charts do show a very gradual incline in Conservative support levels, which bodes well for them in the future. Another positive factor for them is that the Conservatives haven't polled below 30% since the first week of May. They are starting to show some 34s and have been ahead of the Liberals in two of the last five polls.

In British Columbia, things have taken a turn for the worse for the Tories. Before April, they had a comfortable lead over the Liberals and the NDP, but since April they've been mingling with these two parties. They've varied between 26% and 45%, and since April the Conservatives have placed second or third in six polls out of eighteen, a significant change. Lately the Tories have dropped below the 40% level, something they last polled in the first week of June. They've dropped from a projected 24 seats and 41.5% in April to 20 seats and 36.4%. The Pacific province is becoming a problem for the party.

Alberta has remained solid, however. Since April the party has varied between 50% and 63%, and has stuck very close to the 60% level. In April, they were projected to win all 28 seats and 64.2% of the vote. Today, they are projected to win 26 seats and 60.2%. A small drop, but nothing catastrophic.

The Prairies have also remained stable for the Conservatives, but there is a slight trend downwards. They've varied between 32% and 59%, a very large variation indicative of the small polling sizes in this region. They only placed second once since April (on April 13), and have maintained themselves in the 40s, a healthy spot for them. Their projection over the last three months has changed from 21 seats and 48.7% to 21 seats and 46.8% - virtually no change at all.

In my analysis I targeted Ontario as a region the Conservatives needed to make some gains. From between April and mid-June, the Tories were stagnating in the mid-30s, and the Liberals opened up a significant lead. Since then, the party has varied between 32% and 43%, a large variation but the first time the party has polled in the 40s since before April. They're now competitive, and have placed first or tied for first in three of the last five polls. There has been a change in this province, and the Liberals and Conservatives seem to be in a dead heat. Nevertheless, they've seen a significant drop in the projection from 45 seats and 37.4% to 39 seats and 34.8%.

I also identified Quebec as a region the Tories needed to "rebuild their burnt bridges". They've actually been somewhat successful, and have lifted themselves up from the low teens (and even four times polling before 10%) to the mid-to-high teens. They still haven't polled higher than 20%, but are starting to show some 15s, 16s, and 18s, better than the 10s, 12s, and 13s they were polling the past. However, the trend is small, since the party was polling now and then in the mid-to-high teens prior to early June, when things started turning. So, conclusions can't be drawn yet. They've lost some ground in the projection. In April they were projected to win six seats and 17.2% of the vote, but now they are projected to win only four seats and 14.6%.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Conservatives are seeing some of their worst polling results. Since April the Tories have dropped and have been surpassed on numerous occasions (seven times out of 19 polls) by the NDP for second spot. This trend has become even more prevalent recently, where the Tories have been beaten by the NDP in five consecutive polls. The real break came in mid-June, when the Conservatives started consistently polling in the 20s. The projection, however, is only starting to move. In April the Conservatives were projected to win eight seats and 30.6% of the vote, while today they are projected to win eight seats and 28.9%. Not a big movement - yet.

The North is not projected with the use of direct polling. No polling firm polls the north. My model uses past historical results and the change in national support from the last election to make a projection. Demonstrating the drop in Conservative support nation wide, the party has dropped one seat and one point in the North.

Since April, the Conservatives have lost some serious ground. But they have had a few successes. They've managed to stop the slide in Quebec and are beginning to look towards growth. But if they party can't reach the 20% level, it will be difficult for them to compete in all but a few ridings. Considering the need to improve their support level by about a third in the province, it will be difficult to make such a leap. The party has also begun to compete with the Liberals in Ontario, and have erased the stable and significant gap between them and Michael Ignatieff's party.

But there are some other areas of considerable concern for the governing party. Stephen Harper has to do something to separate himself from the others in British Columbia if he wants to have a hope of keeping himself in power. The slide in Atlantic Canada should also be worrisome for the party. Having to fight for seats in the East (Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada) is nothing new for the party, but it looks like the fight will be the most difficult for the party since 2004. But now that British Columbia is opening up as a Second Front, Harper is beginning to find himself in a two-front war.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Regional Trends: Alberta

Last month, I wrote an analysis of the political situation in and the electoral history since 2004 of British Columbia. Today, I'm going to look at Alberta.

Electoral History since 2004

Alberta has been the Conservative homeland for some time now, and it is one of the most secure regions of the country for any party. Back in 2004, in their first election as a unified party, the Conservatives won 26 of the 28 seats in the province. The Liberals took the other two. In 2006, the party did even better and swept Alberta. Then, in 2008 the Tories won all but one of the 28 seats, with the New Democrats pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the evening with a win in Edmonton.

The Conservatives have maintained their support levels in the province in the last three elections, going from 61.7% in 2004 to 65.0% in 2006 and then 64.7% in 2008. This sort of regional dominance is by far the greatest in the country. The Liberals were the second party in the province in 2004 and 2006, where they had 22.0% and 15.3% support, respectively, but were displaced last year with a dismal 11.4%. It was the NDP who took second spot last year, with 12.7%, up slightly from their 11.6% result in 2006. That was up from 9.5% in 2004. Clearly, Alberta is no contest - but there is a mini-battle between the NDP and the Liberals for second spot. Winning that title, however, may only reward the victor with one or two seats. The Greens have been coming on strong, from 6.1% and 6.5% in 2004 and 2006 to 8.8% last year. That put them within striking distance of the two other parties.

With such Tory supremacy in the province, a regional breakdown is not very useful. Nevertheless, three regions can be identified in Alberta: Edmonton, Calgary, and everything else.

Rural Alberta is a deep Tory blue, and its 12 seats have been swept by the Conservatives in every election. This region provides some of the largest majorities in the country. The Conservatives are so dominant in this region that in only one riding has one of the other parties earned more than 10,000 votes - the Liberals in Lethbridge in 2004.

Calgary is also no contest, with the Conservatives winning all eight seats in each of the past three elections. Here again, the other parties have not managed to put up much of a fight, though the Liberals have shown some life in Calgary West.

Edmonton is a bit more competitive. In 2004 the Liberals elected two of their candidates in the provincial capital, but were wiped from the map in 2006 by the Tory sweep. In Edmonton-Strathcona, a riding that has always been good for the party, the NDP upset prominent Conservative Rahim Jaffer. The Liberals might have some hope for Edmonton Centre, as they have performed well there in the past.

Polling Trends

Now that the history has been gotten out of the way, it is time to look at the opinion polling trends since the 2008 election. The Conservatives, of course, dominate and there is a clear and significant gap between them and the other three parties. The Tories have polled between 49% and 77%, with their strongest results coming between December and March, especially during the coalition days. Since the mid-March period the Conservatives have stabilised at around 60%, with very little variation. At these levels, a sweep isn't out of the question, though currently the party is projected to win 26 seats and 60.2% of the vote. The Tories don't have much work to do in this province - virtually anyone under the Conservative banner is a shoe-in.

The Liberals have - just barely - kept themselves ahead of the NDP and the Greens. They've polled between 10% and 26%, a significant variation that puts them somewhere between complete irrelevancy and capable of winning two or three seats. There has not been much of a noticeable trend, but the Liberals did see a gradual rise from December to May, where the party started polling in the 20s. Since then, the Liberals have stagnated, with even a tiny trend downwards. But, they are putting themselves back in the territory of the 2004 election, when the party won two seats and 22% of the vote. They are currently projected to win two seats and 18.4% of the vote. The Liberals need to concentrate on Edmonton.

The New Democrats have straddled the 10% line for the entire period from December to today. Very little trend is discernible, except that the NDP has not polled anything less than 7% since the beginning of April. Before that time, polls could be as low as 4% for them, though they also saw highs of 14%. The party is currently projected to win no seats and 11.3% of the vote. All work must be done to keep Edmonton-Strathcona. The rest of the province can be ignored.

Finally, the Greens have done surprisingly well in the province. They've polled anywhere from 4% to 18%, and have more or less maintained themselves somewhere around 10%. From the beginning of April to the beginning of June, the Greens were competing very strongly with the NDP for third spot, and even supplanted the Liberals for second in one poll. They've since fallen back to earth, but a repeat of the strong 8.8% result in 2008 looks quite possible. The party is projected to win no seats and 9.0% of the vote. The Greens shouldn't hold any illusions of a seat win in Alberta, but could pull out a moral victory by beating the NDP.

To sum up, people won't be watching Alberta on election night. But Edmonton could result in a few surprises.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Manitoba Poll

The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting on a new poll taken in Manitoba only - quite the rarity.

The poll was taken throughout the month of June (from the 8th to the 25th), and involved 1,000 respondents. Unfortunately, since my polling model puts Saskatchewan and Manitoba together, I can't include this poll.

The result:

Conservatives - 44% (down 5 points from the October election)
Liberals - 26% (up 7 points)
New Democrats - 21% (down 3 points)

The poll is also broken down into the city of Winnipeg. There, the Tories have 36%, down seven points from the election. The Liberals are at 32%, up nine points. The NDP dropped one point to 26% in the city, with the Greens also losing one point to stand at 5%.

Interesting poll about an oft-ignored region.

Views on Health Care

A new poll has been posted on the Harris-Decima site concerning Canadians' views of the healthcare system. Do you remember that issue? It was tops for Canadians before the economic downturn.

The first question in the poll simply asks whether the system works very well/fairly well or not very well/not well at all. Overall, 70% of Canadians said that it works well and 28% said not well. At 77%, Ontario and the Prairies feel it works best. At 52%, Quebecers are least likely to think it works well. But, it is still a majority opinion.

Harris-Decima breaks opinions down by party as well, which is why I wanted to post about it. Those who feel the healthcare system works best are Liberals, at 76%. Surprisingly, Conservatives are next at 73%. The idea that Conservatives are most critical of the system isn't backed up by this poll. Not surprisingly, Bloc Quebecois supporters are least likely to say the system works well, with only 51% saying it does. Next least likely are NDP supporters, nevertheless still at 65% saying it works well. Bottom line: Canadians like the healthcare system. That, in and of itself, is the most surprising thing to come from this poll.

The second question asked people whether they thought the Canadian or American system was superior. Only 8% chose the American to 82% who chose the Canadian. That fits what is generally thought to be the case, that Canadians are highly critical of the American way of delivering medical service. Quebec, again, bucks the trend with 19% choosing the US system to 69% choosing the Canadian.

By party, Bloc supporters choose the US system the most, at 18%. Next are the Conservatives, at 12%. Only 6% of Green and Liberal supporters believe the American system is better, while a whopping 1% of NDP supporters agree.

The last question asked whether the system needs more public coverage, has the right balance, or needs more fees (more pay-per-use care). This is a useful question as it tracks support of a social safety net vs. privatisation. Somewhat surprisingly, 55% of Canadians believe the system should be more public while only 12% want more privatisation. 27% say things are fine the way they are. Atlantic Canada, at 64%, is the biggest supporter of a deeper nationalised healthcare system. At 16%, Quebec is most supportive of more privatisation.

By party, the NDP is by far most supportive of more public care: 73%. This makes sense, as the NDP is a socialist or social democratic party. Next is the Greens with 58%, the Liberals at 55%, the Tories at 53%, and the Bloc at 47%. It is interesting to note that a majority of Conservative supporters are nevertheless supportive of a more expansive welfare system.

It is less surprising to see that Conservative supporters are most in favour of more privatisation. However, it is still a very small number, at 16%. The Bloc is next at 13%, the Liberals and Greens are at 10%, and the NDP at 4%.

It should be noted that on this issue the Greens and Liberals are very similar. Perhaps this is a demonstration that the Green Party is far more centrist than what is imagined. The across-the-board Bloc criticism of the healthcare system has more to do with the troubled state of the system in Quebec than an ideological belief. The Bloc is actually quite supportive of the healthcare system - not because it works, but because it is the best kind of system to have. And for all the rhetoric from both sides, Tory supporters aren't significantly more critical of our system or supportive of privatisation than other Canadians.

Friday, July 10, 2009

New AR Poll: 6% Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid released a new poll yesterday, taken between July 2 and July 3 and involving 1,003 respondents. Note: this poll is older than the Strategic Counsel and EKOS polls from the past week, and both included the Angus-Reid polling days in their own polls.

The national results:

Conservatives - 36%
Liberals - 30%
New Democrats - 16%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 7%

This is a monster result for the Conservatives, the highest they've had in months. One has to strongly suspect, however, that this is an outlier result. Both EKOS and SC showed a much closer race, with EKOS even putting the Liberals ahead. Nevertheless, it is an indication that the Tory vote is still strong.

The Conservatives lead in most demographics in this poll: males (42%), 18-34 year olds (27%), 35-54 year olds (36%), and 55+ year olds (42%). The Liberals lead among women (34%). Regionally, the race in British Columbia is very close (41% CPC, 36% LPC), but the Tories are well ahead in Alberta and the Prairies. The race is also close in Ontario:

Conservatives - 37%
Liberals - 34%
New Democrats - 19%
Greens - 9%

This is a good result for the NDP, and as the other polls also showed a close horse-race between the two major parties, we have to believe these numbers to be pretty accurate, at least in terms of the gap.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois appears to be pulling away. If you look at the opinion polling trends, a distinct lead is starting to form for the Bloc. The result:

Bloc Quebecois - 38%
Liberals - 27%
Conservatives - 16%
New Democrats - 12%
Greens - 6%

The NDP result keeps them in the picture for a seat. Finally, in Atlantic Canada this poll bucks the trend, placing the NDP in third (22%) behind the Tories (30%). The Liberals are way ahead, at 45%.

The poll also asked who was trusted to handle the economy, and Stephen Harper received a 41% trust rating compared to Michael Ignatieff's 32%. Those results are very close to the national support levels, however.

This poll would have resulted in the following seats totals:

Conservatives - 133
Liberals - 98
Bloc Quebecois - 51
New Democrats - 26

More or less a repeat of 2006.

Strategic Counsel also posted the details of their poll. What was revealed was a weak 7% result for the NDP in Quebec, and an even worse 4% for the Greens. In Ontario, the Greens had 7%.

SC breaks things down into Ontario, Quebec, "Rest of Canada", and "West". The RoC breakdown is puzzling, as it doesn't tell us anything at all. Anyway, in the West we can look at changes from the previous SC poll in early June. The Tories have maintained themselves at 41%, the Liberals have gained five points to reach 26%, the NDP has lost two points to finish at 23%, and the Greens have lost three points and are at 10%.

Both of these polls will be added to the projection at the next weekly update.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Projection Update: Conservatives by One

The projection has been updated, though only with the EKOS poll released today. The Strategic Counsel poll from earlier this week has been put into the projection system where I have information, but I'll be giving the poll no weight (and thus no influence) until I have all the details.

The short-term projection has changed to the benefit of the Liberals. Though they lost half a point, they didn't lose a seat which puts them in the lead as the Tories have lost five seats and 0.4 points in the national vote. The Bloc has gained two seats while the NDP has gained three as well as 0.6%. The Greens have also gained that much of the vote.

The long-term projection has also changed, but to the benefit of the New Democrats. They are up two seats in British Columbia, putting them at 24 nationwide. The Conservatives and Liberals have each lost one, bringing them down to 118 and 117, respectively. The Greens have gained 0.2 points nationally and the Tories have lost 0.1. They've also lost 0.4 points in Alberta, while the Greens are up 0.3. The NDP has also gained 0.4 points in Atlantic Canada.

Things remain incredibly close. It is impossible to guess at what the government would look like with such a result.

While things remain close on high, when you look more closely into the polling data we see a few trends. Firstly, in British Columbia the three parties are starting to drift towards one another. We don't see the 40%+ Tory support levels we saw in the past. In the Prairies, things are also starting to get closer and the NDP is making a contest out of it for second place.

In Quebec, the Liberals are dropped to the low-30s from the mid-to-high 30s, to the benefit of the Bloc, who are starting to slowly drift upwards from the mid-30s. The Tory slide in that province has also halted, but it has done so in the mid-teens, which is not a healthy result. In Atlantic Canada, the Tories are starting to fall like a stone, with several recent polls putting the NDP in second place. The bump for Jack Layton's party is likely the result of the provincial NDP victory in Nova Scotia.

That the NDP is starting to improve its score in British Columbia, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada (historically their bread and butter regions) could embolden Layton come the fall. With the Liberals still looking like they can win (and undoubtedly improve their place in Parliament, which in and of itself might be worth an election call), the NDP getting back to respectable levels, and the Bloc appearing capable of improving on their 2008 support level, an autumn election is becoming more and more likely. The summer is starting with stories of Conservative gaffes, which doesn't help matters for them. Whether they are insignificant stories like that of the host and Harper missing another international group photo at the G8, or more important ones like Minister Diane Ablonczy being demoted for her involvement with the Toronto Pride Parade, they keep a negative eye upon the government during a time when parties are supposed to keep their heads down and shake hands at BBQs.

New EKOS Poll: 0.4% Liberal Lead

EKOS released a new poll today, taken between June 30 and July 7 and involving 3,088 respondents. Here are the national results:

Liberals - 32.2%
Conservatives - 31.8%
New Democrats - 16.0%
Greens - 10.7%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.3%

This is another very close poll, pretty much confirming that Canada is split between the two major parties. It should be pointed out, however, that the Liberals saw a small up-tick at the end of the polling period.

The Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada (35.1%), Ontario (39.2%), among females, under 25 year olds, 25-44 year olds, 45-64 year olds, university graduates, and in Toronto.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia (37.2%), Alberta (57.1%), the Prairies (35.4%), among males, 65+ year olds, high school graduates, college graduates, in Vancouver, and in Calgary. The Ontario result for the Tories is 33.9% (back from some highs we've seen over the last few polls), and the Quebec result is 16.2%.

The New Democrats don't lead anywhere, but are in second in Atlantic Canada (29.6%) and the Prairies (27.1%). The best result for the Greens comes in the Prairies, at 14.8%. The Bloc is showing a bit of improvement over past Ekos polls at 37.1%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Liberals - 117
Conservatives - 110
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 30
Greens - 1

So, still very close. But the Liberals could govern with the support of the NDP, though a majority is out of the question for even a coalition.

Projection update coming later today.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

CentVingtCinq Updated

The Quebec provincial projection wing of the site, CentVingtCinq, has been updated. Go check it out, but here is how the projection currently stands:

Liberals - 61 seats - 39.9%
Parti Quebecois - 57 seats - 37.1%
Action Democratique - 5 seats - 12.0%
Quebec Solidaire - 2 seats - 5.3%
Parti Vert - 0 seats - 5.0%

Of course, the next Quebec election won't be until 2012 or 2013, but it is fun to follow along with that political horserace.

Still no news from Strategic Counsel and their most recent poll.

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Strategic Counsel Poll: 1% Conservative Lead

The Globe and Mail is reporting on a new Strategic Counsel poll. The information in the G&M article has serious gaps, so hopefully CTV (for whom Strategic Counsel also conducted the poll) will give more details. Strategic Counsel is rather slow in posting new information on their website, so those two reports might be all we have to go on for a few days.

The poll involved 1,000 interviews, and was taken recently. There are no more details than that.

07/07/09 15:51 UPDATE: The poll was taken between July 2 and July 5, according to a Reuters report. Still waiting on SC to update their website.

The national result:

Conservatives - 34%
Liberals - 33%
New Democrats - 15%
BQ/GPC - ?

This is nothing unusual, we've seen how close the numbers have been in recent days. The Ontario result also shows a slim Tory lead:

Conservatives - 43%
Liberals - 39%
New Democrats - 11%
Greens - ?

This looks like the recent EKOS poll, but we saw how that was counter-balanced by the Nanos poll. And now Quebec:

Bloc Quebecois - 44%
Liberals - 31%
Conservatives - 15%

That is a huge number for the Bloc, probably an outlier until we see another 40+ poll, but run-of-the-mill results for the Liberals and Tories. It will be interesting to see what the NDP support level is in Quebec in this poll, as it seems Bloc gains and losses mirror those of the NDP more than any other party.

Stay tuned, hopefully we'll have more details soon!

New Blog Roll

As you'll notice, at the bottom right of this page I've started a list of blogs. I will add to it as more blogs come to my attention. I've separated the blogs into "Political Commentators" (i.e. the media), "Non-Partisan Blogs" (i.e. informative blogs not espousing the policies of a particular party), and blogs from each of the major parties.

Those blogs put under the rubric of a party aren't official blogs of those parties, and they might often even disagree with the party I've put them with. But they are blogs that are written by supporters of those parties, and I think it is helpful to organise things this way.

I will add blogs as time goes on, but only if I consider them to be quality blogs. When judging whether a blog is a quality blog, I'm looking for informative, well-written posts. Blogs that are too rhetorical, too partisan, and/or badly written or rarely updated will not be added to the list. I've added the Blogging Tories, Liblogs, and New Democrats Online blog lists, which group together virtually all of the blogs which support those groups, so you should be able to find those blogs that I haven't added to my list there.

Here's your opportunity to plug your blog in the comments section, and I will consider your blog for the list.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Here's something to think over this weekend. What would you like to see on What things would you like to be monitored, tracked, reported on?

Leave your suggestions as comments, and if possible I'll try to include them on the site.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Monthly Picture: June 2009

Now it's time to look at the polling average over the month of June. A staggering eleven national polls were taken during this month, totalling 23,480 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Liberals - 34.4% (+0.7)
Conservatives - 32.0% (+0.5)
New Democrats - 15.3% (-0.1)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.2% (+0.2)
Greens - 8.6% (-0.9)

June was a good month for both the Liberals and the Conservatives. The NDP and Bloc have managed to maintain themselves, but most of the Tory/Liberal gain seems to have come at the expense of the Greens, who lost almost an entire point. The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Liberals - 123 (+2)
Conservatives - 112 (-3)
Bloc Quebecois - 49 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 24 (+2)
Greens - 0 (-1)

The Liberals have inched up, but remain within what would be dubbed an "unstable" minority. The NDP makes a few gains, but the Greens are booted out of Parliament.

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


Conservatives - 35.1% (-1.7)
Liberals - 31.0% (+3.4)
New Democrats - 21.5% (-2.0)
Greens - 11.9% (+1.4)

ALBERTA (eight polls)

Conservatives - 59.2% (+4.8)
Liberals - 20.2% (-0.5)
New Democrats - 11.1% (+0.8)
Greens - 8.5% (-4.8)

PRAIRIES (eight polls)

Conservatives - 47.7% (+2.0)
Liberals - 26.4% (+5.3)
New Democrats - 18.6% (-3.8)
Greens - 6.8% (-2.9)

ONTARIO (eleven polls)

Liberals - 40.6% (+0.3)
Conservatives - 35.1% (no change)
New Democrats - 14.3% (+0.1)
Greens - 9.6% (+0.3)

QUEBEC (thirteen polls)

Bloc Quebecois - 36.8% (+0.2)
Liberals - 33.3% (-1.0)
Conservatives - 13.4% (+1.0)
New Democrats - 10.0% (-0.8)
Greens - 6.2% (+0.3)


Liberals - 39.2% (+3.7)
Conservatives - 26.4% (-3.2)
New Democrats - 26.1% (+1.8)
Greens - 7.3% (-2.1)

The Liberals had a good month, gaining in four areas and losing in two. Gains of more than three points in British Columbia, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada are important leaps forward. The Conservatives are up in three areas and down in two. Their biggest jump was in Alberta, but that 4.8-point gain makes up for the almost equal loss they saw in May. Their 3.2-point loss in Atlantic Canada should be worrying for them, as it almost puts them in third place in the region.Their Ontario result has not moved, in a way belying the apparent volatilty in Ontario. Looking at these numbers, the vote in Ontario is virtually unchanged over the last two months.

The NDP were up in three and down in three regions. Their most significant movement was in the Prairies, where they almost lost four points. That is an important region for them. The 1.8-point gain in Atlantic Canada is big, as they are almost in second place. The Greens were also up and down in three regions each, but saw big losses in Alberta and the Prairies. Their loss of more than two points in Atlantic Canada puts them out of a seat. The Bloc has remained steady, and has even inched up a bit.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Weekly Projection Update - Conservatives by One

As promised, here is the weekly projection update. Three polls have been added to the projection. These polls were done by Nanos, EKOS, and Léger Marketing, the latter in Quebec only. To review, here are the national (and for Léger, Quebec) results of these newest polls:

The short term projection has drifted slightly in favour of the Conservatives. They've gained three seats, provided by the Liberals (one) and the Bloc Quebecois (two). The Conservatives have seen their national vote edge up by 0.1 points, while the Liberals have lost that amount. The Bloc is up 0.2 and the New Democrats 0.4, while the Greens have lost 0.6 points.

The long-term projection has also seen a few minor changes, but with signficant consequences. The Conservatives have re-gained two seats in the west, one in Alberta and one in the Prairies. These came from the Liberals, who are down two seats to 118 total. The Tories are now at 119, giving them the tiniest of leads. With such a close electoral result, the face of the government is impossible to predict. The New Democrats, who remain at 22, don't give the Liberals (or even the Conservatives) enough to rule with a majority. So, a coalition of convenience could be in order here.

Nationally, the share of the vote has not changed much, with the Tories losing 0.2 points while the NDP and the Greens gain 0.1 and 0.2 points, respectively. Regionally there have been some more dramatic movements. The Conservatives have gained points in Alberta (0.4), but have shown losses in the Prairies (0.4 points) and Atlantic Canada (0.3). The Liberals have shown losses in British Columbia (0.3), Alberta (1.2), and the Prairies (0.3). The NDP is up in three spots, in Alberta (0.7), the Prairies (0.7), and Quebec (0.3). All other movements were smaller than 0.3 points.

From the looks of things, the winner of the next election will have won by the skin of his teeth. It is really a testament to how weak the two major parties are at the moment that neither can manage much more than 33% support. Things usually become clearer during election campaigns, but to have such a close margin between the two parties capable of forming government could leave Parliament even more dysfunctional than it already is.

New EKOS Poll: 1.2% Liberal Lead

EKOS released a new poll today, taken between June 25 and June 29 and involving 2,262 interviews. The national results:

Liberals - 32.2%
Conservatives - 31.0%
New Democrats - 16.2%
Greens - 11.5%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.0%

This poll will be added to the projection, along with the Nanos and Léger polls earlier in the week, sometime today. So check back for the update.

The Liberals have re-gained the lead in the EKOS polling, nudging ahead of the Tories once again. Nevertheless, the results for the two parties are very weak. The 16.2% for the NDP is not a bad result for them.

The Conservatives hold the lead in British Columbia (33.9%), Alberta (58.2%), the Prairies (44.4%), among 25-44 year olds, people with college educations, in Vancouver, and in Calgary. The Liberals lead in Ontario (38.4%), Atlantic Canada (43.1%), among males, females, those aged under 25, those between 45-64, those over 65 years old, those with high school educations, those with university educations, in Toronto, and in Ottawa.

The NDP had good results in the Prairies (25.1%) and Atlantic Canada (24.1%), where they placed second. The Bloc leads in Montreal and in Quebec (36.2%) as a whole.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Liberals - 125
Conservatives - 106
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 26
Greens - 1

The Liberal minority is formed on the strength of Ontario (58 seats), Quebec (19 seats), and Atlantic Canada (23 seats).