Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 3.4% Conservative Lead

EKOS has released its weekly poll, taken between September 2 and September 8 and involving 2,825 Canadians. The national results:

Conservatives - 34.2%
Liberals - 30.8%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Greens - 10.1%
Bloc Quebecois - 10.0%

This is generally what we've been seeing lately, a 3-5 point spread between the Liberals and the Conservatives. While both would prefer better results, these are both good (or good enough) for both parties. The Tories are happy to go into an election with a lead, while the Liberals should be fine going into an election within reach of the Tories. Remember that in 2004 and 2006, where the minority governments were small, the spread was 6-7 points.

British Columbia has the Conservatives and the Liberals in a close race, 34.9% to 31.3%. The NDP is falling away and stands at 20.9%. The Greens, at 12.9%, are not strong enough to elect Elizabeth May.

Alberta is what you'd expect, but in the Prairies the NDP had a bad 16.2% result. The Liberals, at 25.9%, are doing better while the Tories are near 50%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have moved ahead and lead the Liberals 38.4% to 36.5%. The NDP is at a lowly 13.7% and is being nipped in the heels by the Greens (11.4%).

In Quebec, the Bloc is doing well at 39.8%. This gives an element of truth to the Strategic Counsel poll putting the Bloc at 49%. The truth isn't in the number, but in the fact that the Bloc is rebounding in the province. The Liberals are slightly lower than they'd like to be at 27.8%, the Conservatives risk losing many of their seats at 15.5%, and Thomas Mulcair could be looking for a new job with the NDP at 9.8%.

In Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives seem to have made a race of it, statistically tied with the Liberals at 31.0% to 32.2%. The NDP, at 26.5%, are in a decent position.

The demographic battle is between the Liberals and the Conservatives exclusively. Conservatives lead among males (38.4% to 31.1%), 45-64 year olds (35.4% to 32.0%), 65+ year olds (48.1% to 30.7%), high school graduates (37.3% to 23.1%), and college graduates (33.4% to 28.6%).

The Liberals have the edge among females (30.6% to 30.1%), <25 year olds (24.0% to 23.6%), 25-44 year olds (31.9% to 29.2%), and university graduates (38.5% to 32.8%).

The Tories lead in Calgary (60.8% to 19.7%) while the Liberals lead in Vancouver (34.2% to 31.9%), Toronto (45.1% to 34.8%), and Ottawa (44.3% to 39.1%). The Bloc leads in Montreal (36.3% to 27.4%). That is the largest gap we've seen in that city.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 128
Liberals - 104
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 24

Note that the NDP and Liberals would have as many seats as the Conservatives, making the choice of the Speaker very, very, important.

The poll also asked whether people wanted an election now, or later. Unsurprisingly, the result was 28% now and 72% later. That 28% is actually pretty high, but really, why do we ask this question? People never want an election. Poll after poll shows that Canadians don't like politicians in the first place.

There was no major variation in terms of regional preferences, though British Columbia and Quebec were at 32% and 30% for an election, respectively.

Young people seem to want an election, with 44% of those under the age of 25 wanting an election now.

Liberals and Greens want an election the most (41%), followed by NDP supporters (38%). Conservatives, at 8%, don't want an election at all.

The projection will be updated later today. I'm hoping I'll have the rest of the Harris-Decima poll before doing so.


  1. Eric wrote:

    "The poll also asked whether people wanted an election now, or later. Unsurprisingly, the result was 28% now and 72% later. That 28% is actually pretty high, but really, why do we ask this question? People never want an election."

    The level of opposition to an election is not always the same.

    For example, by mid-August of 2008, 40% of Canadians wanted an election. That is still a minority but it is at least a sizeable one.

    Why ask the question?

    The level of opposition among the electorate to holding an election may (and I emphasize may) be an indicator of risk to whoever forces one.

  2. It would be more correct to say "whoever is perceived to have forced one".

    If the opposition topples the government, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc are to blame. But then again, they would only be toppling the government because the government hasn't seriously tried to work with them.

    When the election is called, and unless Harper calls it himself, all four parties will be to blame.

  3. Eric:

    Of course there is a certain amount of perspective involved when allocating blame.

    But I would argue that that is part of what is captured in the polls.

    The fact that so few Canadians want a fresh election suggests that Canadian voters do not perceive Conservative comportment in Parliament to have been sufficiently problematic to warrant an election.

    So, if the opposition forces an election, they risk being perceived as plunging the country into an unneeded election.

  4. True, although I don't agree that one means the other. There was a poll a week ago or so that said that most Canadians didn't want an election, but that more Canadians agreed that change was necessary.

    In any case, it's a moot point. After 36 days of campaigning, when people vote they'll be more concerned about the economy, health care, etc. than who caused the election.


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