Saturday, August 15, 2009

Party Perceptions

Angus-Reid released a new poll today, focused on how Canadians feel about the four pan-Canadian parties. Respondents were given 17 words, and had to say whether they felt each word applied or didn't apply to each party. The poll was taken between August 11 and August 12 and involved 1,003 respondents.

First, here are some graphics of the top five and bottom three responses for each party, with the word size denoting the relative size of people who said these words applied to each party.So the Conservatives are seen as arrogant (55%), secretive (48%), out of touch (43%), uncaring (37%), and dishonest (33%). Not exactly positive. And they aren't seen as exciting (3%), compassionate (5%), or open (11%). Ouch.So, the Liberals are seen virtually the same way as the Conservatives, except inefficient (42%) replaces uncaring (37%). They're also arrogant (43%), out of touch (41%), dishonest (38%), and secretive (32%). They aren't seen as exciting (5%), down to earth (9%), or honest (10%).Compared to the two major parties, the NDP is seen as a less effective party but not a particularly 'mean' party. They're considered out of touch (41%), inefficient (39%), weak (37%), foolish (32%), but also compassionate (30%). The two major parties didn't have a positive aspect in their top five. The NDP aren't seen as strong (7%), exciting (7%), or efficient (8%).Finally, the Greens. They're seen similarly as the NDP: weak (50%), inefficient (38%), out of touch (38%), down to earth (35%), foolish (29%), and compassionate (29%). They aren't seen as strong (2%), efficient (7%), secretive (8%), or exciting (8%).

The main thing you can take from this is that people generally don't have good opinions about any of the parties.

Now, let's look at how they are perceived overall. What I've done is averaged out all the totals for the positive and negative qualities, to give a result of how many people have a negative or positive view of the parties.So the NDP and the Greens have the best scores, and are seen most positively by Canadians. The Conservatives and Liberals follow, with the Liberals in last - quite surprising, actually. What's interesting is that Angus-Reid also broke down the results by how people voted in 2008. Looking at it that way, Green voters are most enthusiastic about their party by giving them an overall positive score of 47.3%. This is followed by the NDP (40.4%), the Conservatives (32.3%), and Liberals (31.7%).When it comes to bad qualities, people are more forthcoming. Here there is a bit of reversal, with the Greens edging out the NDP for least negative and the Conservatives taking the title as having the most negative responses. Broken down by party, Liberals see their own party the most negatively (14.0%), followed by the Conservatives (13.1%), the NDP (11.0%), and the Greens (9.3%).

So how do supporters see their own parties? For Conservative voters, Stephen Harper's party is intelligent (56%), strong (50%), and efficient (46%). They aren't foolish (4%), weak (7%), or exciting (7%). In fact, they are the only party whose supporters had "exciting" as one of their bottom three responses. An interesting result, however, is that only 9% of Conservative supporters see their party as compassionate. Seen as a weakness by the right, perhaps?

For Liberal voters, their party is intelligent (58%), in touch (37%), and strong (35%). They aren't uncaring (5%), dishonest (7%), or foolish (9%). However, 22% consider the party to be arrogant.

NDP voters see their party as down to earth (57%), compassionate (56%) and in touch (48%). What they aren't is uncaring (3%), secretive (4%), or dishonest (4%). What's interesting is that more NDP voters see the party as weak than strong.

Green voters are most enthusiastic, with 73% saying the party is down to earth, 65% saying they are open, and 64% saying they are intelligent. Greens don't view their party as arrogant (1%), secretive (3%), or uncaring (3%). At 5%, however, they also don't see themselves as strong.

This just confirms what I've seen in these sorts of polls. People don't particularly like the Conservatives, the Liberals, or their leaders. But they respect them. The NDP and Greens always score well when it comes to likability, but not when it comes to competence. I'm not sure what can be taken out of this. Do Canadians want hard, uncaring people to make the tough decisions in Ottawa?


  1. I'm looking at the poll, for words used often by people who generally did not vote for the party in question.

    For example, 37% of people said the Tories were "Uncaring", but only 8% of people who voted Tory said the same. Dishonest gets 36% and 9%. This tells me that there is a disconnect between your run of the mill tory and your run of the mill voter on these two words.

    The Liberals get the highest score and disconnect for Dishonesty.

    The NDP gets a high disconnect rate for out of touch and in touch, clearly the average dipper and average voter have a different definition of "in touch"

    The Greens surprise me from where they don't have a disconnect. Both Green voters in 2008 and voters in general think the party is weak. General green disconnects happen on words like Honst, Down to Earth, Open, and In Touch.

    What this tells me:

    First I want to start with the NDP. Anyone who's seen Question Period from the house of commons will know what I'm talking about. Usually it starts off with the opposition leader slamming the government for something that's been in the newspaper for a few weeks. Then one of his deupties gets up and continues the attack. Shift over to Duceppe and pals for more of the same in french. Then over to the NDP, for two questions about the plight of the homeless. Then back to the grits for more action on the issue in the paper, etc. The disconnect seems to come in weather you think this makes the NDP In Touch or Out of Touch.

    On to the Liberals. In general, the Liberals seemed to me at least to be precived by voters and by themselvs most the same. IE Liberals saw thier party the way Canadians to, at least to a better degree than the other parties.

    The Tories seem to have a general right-wing problem. Voters in general see right-wing parties as uncaring, while right-wingers do not see it that way. Here is an example of the Tories suffering from that. The problem for them is they get the highest all-voters rating of anything with a whopping 55% (a majority) saying they are arrogant. However 25% of thier own voters agree with this, perhaps suggesting they are "darn proud of it"

    The Greens seem to have the highest general disconnect. I think this comes from the general fact that the party is still an unknown.

    For the sake of honesty, I will admit I voted Green in 2008, Conservative in 2006, and am currently a Liberal

  2. What a sad commentary on the health of our democracy. I know what I think about the old-line party's, but to find that everybody agrees with me is a little sad. Are we really such creatures of habit that we cannot chuck out the people who stir such feelings in us? Who's fault is it if not our own?


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