Monday, August 10, 2009

New Nanos Poll: 2.5% Liberal Lead

Nanos Research has released a new poll today. It was taken between July 30 and August 2, so it is actually a little older than the EKOS poll from last week. Here are the national results:

Liberals - 33.8%
Conservatives - 31.3%
New Democrats - 18.7%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.2%
Greens - 7.0%

Nanos has been a particularly good pollster for the Liberals, and this lead actually represents a drop in 2.5 points from the last Nanos poll in June. So, relatively speaking, this poll isn't very positive. The Conservative number isn't any better, however, as it marks a 0.9 point drop. The NDP number is huge, and is an increase in 1.9 points. Compared to the dismal polling results we saw for Jack Layton's party last week, this is good news for them.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are showing a massive 7.4-point drop, and though the Liberals have shown a small drop in support they still lead at 38.4%. The NDP had a big 5.8-point gain, more or less representing the source of the national gain. They stand at 17.3%.

In Quebec, the NDP is also showing gains of almost four points, and stands in third place with 14.5%, ahead of the Tories at 13.1%. The Bloc is still out in front, at 35.8%, but is closely following by the Liberals, at 34.1%.

Elsewhere, the Liberals lead in British Columbia (34.1% to 32.3%) and Atlantic Canada (39.0% to 31.5%). That latter result represents a huge 12.4-point gain in Atlantic Canada for Stephen Harper, but considering the small sample size (78), this can be taken with a grain of salt.

Nanos polls Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba as one region, so their "Prairies" result is useless to me. Suffice to say, there isn't much movement here.

Because of a lack of usable results in Alberta and the Prairies, I can't say exactly what this poll would represent in seat wins. But, taking the currently projected results for Alberta and the Prairies, I get these results for seats:

Liberals - 118
Conservatives - 116
Bloc Quebecois - 47
New Democrats - 27

In all likelihood, this poll would have given the Liberals and NDP a few more seats in Alberta and the Prairies (particularly), so we can probably bump the NDP up to 28 or 29, the Liberals up to 120, and the Conservatives down to 113 or 112.

Nanos also asks who would make the best Prime Minister, and so my "Best PM" track has been updated. Stephen Harper leads the pack with 29.5%, with highs of 40.2% in the Prairies and lows of 16.2% in Quebec. Michael Ignatieff is close behind with 26.2%, with highs of 31.3% in Ontario and lows of 19.2% in the Prairies. Finally, Jack Layton rounds out the top three with 15.2%. His best numbers come in Atlantic Canada (19.9%) and his worst in Ontario (12.6%). That last fact is an issue.

In the Best PM track, this drops all three leaders (because Nanos allows Duceppe and May to be chosen as options). Harper sees the biggest drop, five points, while Ignatieff and Layton each lose two.

Finally, Canadians were asked what their top issue is. It is still "jobs/economy", at 30%, but this is a drop of 5-points from a few months ago. Healthcare has taken up the slack, and now stands at 26%. The environment (9%) and education (4%) are the next two.

The jump in concern about healthcare is likely the result of two things: firstly, the economy is getting better, so people are returning to their more 'traditional' concerns; and secondly, the debate about healthcare in the United States is undoubtedly having an effect here.

Does this mean that the leaders should change their message? No, but it might be a good idea to stop the "economy and only the economy" type of political discourse. People aren't as concerned anymore, so it's necessary to throw some other issues into the mix.

I should also point out that the "Leaders Speak" section will always be updated without notification. So scroll down daily to check out what the party leaders have been saying.