Friday, October 30, 2009

The 2008 Election: Four Other Scenarios

Earlier this week, I looked at what the 2008 election would have looked like if Canada had a two-party system. Using the "second choice" polling and the UBC election forecaster as in that post, I've looked at four other scenarios.

In this first scenario, during the summer of 2008 the Green Party disbands. Whether it is because they decide not to split the environmentalist vote, they run out of money, or because of some scandal, it's up to you.

With 40% of Green supporters going to the Liberals, 33% going to the NDP, 19% going to the Conservatives, and 8% (or 27% in Quebec) going to the Bloc, things actually don't change all that radically.

All parties increase their popular vote, but only the Liberals take a few more seats than they did in the actual election. Neither the Bloc nor the NDP benefit much from the disappearance of the Greens. This really puts a damper on the claims that the Greens play a significant role in keeping the Conservatives in government.

In this scenario, the Bloc Quebecois disbands to, say, focus on the next provincial election in Quebec.

This does make a big difference in the election. About 37% of Bloc voters go to the Liberals, 33% go to the NDP, 19% go to the Greens, and 11% go to the Conservatives. The national popular vote does not change radically, again, but all parties make some gains.

In terms of seats, this gives the Conservatives an extra six seats in the province, bringing them onto the doorstep of a majority with 149 seats. The Liberals make huge gains in Quebec, winning about 35 seats in the province. However, with 112 seats, they're still only the official opposition. The NDP also makes big strides in the province, winning nine seats in all. Most of them come on the island of Montreal, but the others come in Gatineau, Drummondville, and St-Hyacinthe. With 157 seats, an NDP-Liberal coalition government is possible.

In this next scenario, the Liberals and NDP agree to a merger in order to stop the Conservatives from forming another government.

Not all NDP voters are happy with this, though, and while 53% go to the new Liberal/NDP formation, 21% go to the Greens, 17% go to the Conservatives, and 10% (or 43% in Quebec) go to the Bloc Quebecois.

The result is another Conservative minority government. This pushes the Tories over 40% but inflates the Liberal result to almost 36%. The Bloc also benefits, as do the Greens. The Bloc wins two more seats and gets 51, but the Greens still do not elect anyone.

The Conservatives maintain their seat total, but the Liberal/NDP merged party is the big beneficiary, going to 114 seats. Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton share Official Opposition Leader duties.

This last scenario is the most unlikely, but assumes that both the Greens and the Bloc disappear during the summer of 2008.

In this scenario, the Liberals get 43% of Green votes and 41% of Bloc votes. The NDP gets 36% of Green votes and 45% of Bloc votes. The Conservatives get only 21% of Green votes and 14% of Bloc votes.

The result is, again, a Conservative minority of, again, 143 seats. The Liberals make the biggest gains, going from 26% to 33% and taking 118 seats. The NDP also benefits, pushing its vote up to a massive 25% and taking 45 seats. Here again, a Liberal/NDP coalition is possible as the two parties hold 163 seats.

With these results, an argument can be made that Jack Layton is doing as well as Ed Broadbent did in the 1980s. The problem is that Broadbent didn't have to deal with the Greens and the Bloc Quebecois. In fact, when you remove the Bloc from the equation, Layton would be making the kind of strides in Quebec that Broadbent could have only dreamed of.

As some of you have pointed out, these don't add up to 308 seats, but that is because of independents.

An interesting little exercise to mull over the weekend. It shows how well the Conservatives did in the last election. Only by eliminating the Bloc, Greens, and NDP did the Liberals have a chance to win the most seats.

Opinion Polling Chart Changed

As requested, the polling chart on the right has been changed to give each month equal space. This changes the way it appears greatly, as now the gap that has formed between the Liberals and the Conservatives looks as recent as it actually is.

I haven't done this yet for the regional polling, as it is time-consuming. I will take care of it sometime in the future.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NDP in British Columbia Change

As promised, I've taken another look at the projection model in British Columbia. From 21 Conservative, 10 Liberal, and 5 New Democratic seats, the projection is now giving the NDP two more seats, one each coming from the Conservatives and the Liberals.

So, that brings the Tories down to 138 seats, the Liberals down to 94 seats, and the New Democrats up to 27.

And that's final!

Projection Update: 139 CPC, 95 LPC, 49 BQ, 25 NDP

The Conservative rise and Liberal decline continues.The Liberals have dropped three seats, two of them going to the Conservatives and one of them going to the New Democrats.

Nationally, the Conservatives have picked up 0.5 points while the Liberals have lost that amount. The gap is now 6.7 points, 36.1% to 29.4%. The NDP and Greens have each also picked up 0.1 points.

In British Columbia, the NDP has gained 0.4 points. The Greens have lost 0.3 points and the Liberals have lost 0.2 points. The Conservatives remain steady at 38.3% and 21 seats. The New Democrats have moved into second with 25.0% and five seats, while the Liberals are at 24.8% and ten seats. The Greens, at 11.2%, are far from winning a seat.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have opened up their lead by another 0.8 points, and stand at 39.1% and 52 seats. This is where one of their seat gains has come. The Liberals have lost 0.5 points and a seat and sit at 35.3% and 43 seats. The NDP is steady at 15.1% and 11 seats, and the Greens bring up the rear with 10.0%, a gain of 0.2 points.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois has dropped 0.1 points and stands at 36.9% and 49 seats. The Liberals have lost a massive 0.8 points and one seat and are not at 27.3% and 17 seats. The Conservatives have gained 0.5 points and one seat, and are at 18.3% and eight seats. The NDP has picked up 0.3 points and is at 10.8% and one seat. The Greens are steady at 6.2%.

As for large movements in the other regions, the Conservatives have gained 0.9 points in the Prairies and 0.4 points in Atlantic Canada. They've lose 0.3 points in Alberta, however.

The Liberals have lost 0.6 points in Atlantic Canada and a seat, which has gone to the NDP. The NDP has also lost 0.6 points in the Prairies.

Things are slowly returning to October 2008 levels. Peter Donolo has his work cut out for him.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Ekos and AR Polls

Two new polls for your consumption: EKOS and Angus-Reid.

First, EKOS.

Taken between October 21 and October 27 and involving 3,220 Canadians, here are the national results:

Conservatives - 38.4%
Liberals - 26.8%
New Democrats - 16.7%
Greens - 9.9%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.2%

Nothing much new in these numbers. In British Columbia, the Conservatives are at 36.8%, followed by the NDP at 28.9% (very good) and the Liberals at 25.0% (good). The Greens are at 9.3%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives lead with 62.9% followed by the NDP at 13.2% and the Liberals at 13.1%.

In the Prairies, it's 51.9% for the Tories, 24.6% for the Liberals, and 18.5% for the NDP. A weak number for the NDP here.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have 41.4% of the vote, the Liberals have 31.2%, and the NDP has 15.5%. Again, nothing much new here.

The Bloc seems to have taken a hit in Quebec, and stands at 33.5%. The Liberals follow with 23.8% and the Conservatives with 22.5%. The NDP is at 11.6%.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals have 38.0%, the Tories have 32.3%, and the NDP has 22.1%.

Of note, however, is that the Liberals have the lead in Vancouver (33.6% to 32.2% CPC), Toronto (37.6% to 36.5% CPC), and Montreal (29.2% to 28.6% BQ).

The poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 147
Liberals - 83
Bloc Quebecois - 46
New Democrats - 32

The poll also asked whether each party leader should remain as leader or be replaced. Stephen Harper got 45% support to stay, while 40% said he should be replaced. The split was 31% to 46% for Michael Ignatieff and 51% to 25% for Jack Layton. Obviously, Layton has the best number here, while Ignatieff's is troublesome.

More troubling, however, is when this question is broken down by party support. 85% of Conservatives think Harper should stay, while only 10% think he should be replaced. 72% of New Democrats think Layton should stay, while only 17% think he should be replaced. But only 55% of Liberals think Ignatieff should stay compared to 26% who think he should be replaced.

Now, Angus-Reid.

Taken between October 23 and October 24 and involving 1,001 Canadians, this poll found the following national support:

Conservatives - 40%
Liberals - 26%
New Democrats - 17%
Bloc Quebecois - 9%
Greens - 7%

Very similar to the EKOS findings. The regionals, however, are quite different.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives have a decent lead with 43% followed by the Liberals at 27% and the NDP at 25%. The Greens had only 2%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are down to 52% while the Liberals are up to 23%. The NDP is at 9%.

In the Prairies, the Tories have an unbelievable 73%. The Liberals have 11% and the NDP has 9%.

In Ontario, it is 41% CPC, 31% LPC, and 17% NDP. Similar to EKOS.

The Bloc are doing well in Quebec in this poll, with 40%. The Conservatives are next with 21% and the Liberals are close behind with 20%. The NDP is at 15%.

In Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives lead with 35%, the Liberals are next with 32%, and the NDP is in third with 26%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 152
Liberals - 78
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 26

Phew! Now that this is all out of the way, I'll do a projection update tomorrow morning.

New Crop Poll: 14-pt BQ Lead

Le Soleil has the most complete report of a new CROP poll, taken between October 15 and October 25 and involving 1,000 Quebecers. Here are the results:

Bloc Quebecois - 37%
Liberals - 23%
Conservatives - 21%
New Democrats - 16%

The Green result is not listed, but 3% remains.

For CROP to give the Bloc such a good number and the Liberals such a bad number is very significant. At 23%, the Liberals are lower than Dion's 24% while the Conservatives are just about where they were in 2008. The Bloc is also only one point below their 2008 result, but the NDP is way up. That is a terrific result for them. This poll would give the Bloc 49 seats, the Liberals 15, the Conservatives nine, and the NDP two. In case you're wondering, 16% puts the NDP in a position to be able to keep Outremont and also take Gatineau.

Francophones voters, who make up the vast majority of seats in Quebec, choose the Bloc at 42%, followed by the Liberals and Conservatives at 20% apiece. In and around Quebec City, the area of Conservative strength, the Bloc nevertheless has a 35% to 32% lead. The NDP and Liberals at 15% and 14%, respectively, are not in the race. At 35%, the Bloc looks to be able to take back some of the seats they lost to the Conservatives in 2006.

When asked who would make the best Prime Minister, 26% chose Jack Layton, 25% chose Stephen Harper, and 20% chose Michael Ignatieff. Good results for Layton and even Harper. Not good for Ignatieff - though not horrible.

Quebec and Ontario Provincial Political Polls

We also have some provincial results from the CROP poll.

The Parti Quebecois is leading with 40%, followed closely by the Liberals at 39%. It is not often that the PQ is doing better than the BQ, which is actually a positive sign for the federal party. The ADQ follows with 8%, barely ahead of Quebec Solidaire and the Parti Vert with 6%.

The francophone vote leans heavily to the PQ, with 46%. The PLQ takes 33%. In Montreal, however, the Liberals have the lead, 45% to 35%. In Quebec City, the PQ is in front with 39%. The Liberals have 27% and the ADQ is competitive with 24%. In other words, virtually all of the province's ADQ support is in this region.

This poll would give the PQ 64 seats and a majority government. The PLQ would have 57 seats while the ADQ and QS would have two seats each.

Jean Charest is the favourite premier of 42%, with Marois having 33% support. Independence is at 35%, far below the combined score (46%) of the two sovereigntist parties.

Ipsos-Reid also has an Ontario provincial poll. The Liberals are leading with 39%, but the Progressive Conservatives are close behind at 36%. One wonders if this has more to do with what is going on at the federal level. The Ontario NDP has 16% and the Greens have 9%.

Environics also has an Ontario provincial poll, putting the Progressive Conservatives at 37%, the Liberals at 32%, the NDP at 19%, and the Greens at 11%.

If we average out the two polls taken over a comparable period of time, we get the Progressive Conservatives at 36.5%, the Liberals at 35.5%, the New Democrats at 17.5%, and the Greens at 10%.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If Canada had a Two-Party System

Though other parties do try to run in American elections, only the Republicans and the Democrats are really in it. While officially it isn't a two-party system, in practice it most definitely is. What would happen if Canada had a two-party system of the Conservatives and the Liberals?

To determine what would happen in such a case, I've tapped an EKOS poll from July which listed people's "second choice". Using these numbers, I assigned votes given to the three smaller parties to the two major parties instead. For example, 43.2% of NDP voters listed the Liberals as their second choice while 14.1% listed the Conservatives. Assuming a similar breakdown if only those two parties were a voter's options, we get 24.6% voting Conservative and 75.4% voting Liberal. I also assigned votes to independents and the other parties 50/50.

I then used UBC's election forecaster to assign those votes uniformly to the 2008 electoral results. And this the result I got: The Liberals would take 52.6% of the vote and 178 seats in the House of Commons, compared to 47.4% and 130 seats going to the Conservatives.

Now that is a divided country! It almost looks American.

The Conservative base in this scenario is clearly in the West (AB, SK, MB) where they take 66.9% of the vote and 51 seats. The Liberals would only take 33.1% and five seats, though Manitoba (57.6% to 42.4%) would be much more of a race than Saskatchewan. The Liberal bastion is in Quebec (64.1% and 67 seats to 35.9% and 8 seats) and Atlantic Canada (60.4% and 28 seats to 39.6% and four seats). The provincial breakdown in that region slants heavily to the Liberals, with only New Brunswick (53.2% LPC to 48.6% CPC) being a race.

As it is in our current situation, British Columbia and Ontario would be the major battlegrounds, with the Conservatives edging out the Liberals in British Columbia and the Liberals edging out the Conservatives in Ontario.

We can also find equivalents of the Canadian provinces in American states, using the Republicans as a Conservative equivalent and the Democrats as the Liberal equivalent. British Columbia is like Arizona, Alberta is like Oklahoma, Saskatchewan is like Idaho, Manitoba is like Kentucky, Ontario is like Minnesota, Quebec is like New York, New Brunswick is like Virginia, Prince Edward Island is like Maine, Nova Scotia is like California, Newfoundland & Labrador is like Hawaii, and the North is like Pennsylvania.

Now, let's assume that the sovereignty movement is strong enough to make the Bloc Quebecois a viable party in Quebec. Assigning the votes to the three parties according to how the "second choice" broke down in the province as a whole, we would get the Bloc at 43.4%, the Liberals at 30.7%, and the Conservatives at 26.0%. The seat totals would be 49, 16, and 10, respectively.

Instead of a Liberal majority, this would result in the slimmest of Conservative minorities as they would have 132 seats to the Liberals' 127.

Anyway, this is an interesting look at how Canada divides between the right and the left, if those are the only choices. It's actually a lot closer than I would have thought.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Environics Poll: 12-pt Conservative Lead

The people over at Environics Research Group have very kindly sent me an early look at their most recent polling results. Taken between October 15 and October 21 and involving 2,000 Canadians, these are the national results:

Conservatives - 38%
Liberals - 26%
New Democrats - 16%
Greens - 10%
Bloc Quebecois - 8%

As Environics points out in their press release, these are very similar results to the 2008 election campaign, which was exactly one year ago. So, back to square one.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are below-average with 34%, while the NDP (at 29%) and Liberals (at 24%) are both doing well. The Greens are at 13%.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are amalgamated into the "Prairies" for Environics, so I can't use those numbers.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are at 40%, the Liberals are at 32%, the NDP is at 15%, and the Greens are at 11%. For the Conservative and Liberal results, those closely match today's Ipsos-Reid poll.

In Quebec, the Bloc is at 36% followed by the Liberals at 24%, the Conservatives at 19%, and the NDP at 10%. A good gap for the Bloc while the Conservatives are seemingly sliding back from their recent +20% numbers.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals and Conservatives are tied at 31% apiece. The NDP is close behind at 26%.

Not a bad poll for the NDP, and another good one for the Tories. Using my own projected seat totals for Alberta and the Prairies, this poll translates into the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 142
Liberals - 83
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 34

So, a virtual carbon copy of the 2008 election. The only real difference is that the small NDP drop gives the Liberals a few extra seats.

Thanks again to Environics for the sneak-peek!

Details of the IR Poll

The details of the Ipsos-Reid poll are now available. Here are the full national results:

Conservatives - 40%
Liberals - 25%
New Democrats - 13%
Bloc Quebecois - 11%
Greens - 11%

A big gap, and a big Conservative number next to a small Liberal one. The NDP is also way down.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are way ahead with 49% to the NDP's 23%. The Liberals are third with 18% and the Greens pull up the rear with only 9%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are at 59% while the NDP is riding high at 17%. The Liberals are at 15%.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives put up a 60% number, followed by the Liberals and Greens at 14% and the NDP at 13%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have a good lead with 41%. The Liberals are at 32%, the Greens are at 14%, and the NDP is at 13%. It is a very dangerous thing for the Greens to be out-polling the NDP, which the party manages to do in three regions.

The Bloc Quebecois has a very comfortable lead in Quebec with 42%, followed by the Liberals at 22%, the Conservatives at 18%, the Greens at 11%, and the NDP at 7%. As I said yesterday, such a big gap between the Bloc and the federalist parties inflates the BQ's numbers.

The Atlantic Canada result is a little wonky, with the Conservatives at 46%, the Liberals at 30%, and the NDP at 19%. But what do you expect with only 57 respondents.

The poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 158
Liberals - 75
Bloc Quebecois - 54
New Democrats - 20
Greens - 1

So another majority poll for the Tories. The Liberals actually lose a few seats, the NDP loses almost half of their MPs, and the Bloc gets back up to their historic-best of 54. The Greens actually squeak out a win as well - in Ontario. I have 14% as the bar needed for the Greens to take a seat in Ontario (probably Guelph).

Really, with the margin of error, there is nothing new in this poll. The Conservatives still have a big lead, the Liberals are still under 30%, the NDP is still under-performing, and the Bloc is still in a position to make modest gains.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New IR Poll: 15-pt Conservative Lead

The National Post has a little information on the new Ipsos-Reid poll, taken between October 20 and October 22 and involving 1,003 Canadians.

The only information to be gleaned from the report is that the Conservatives are at 40%, the Liberals at 25%, the NDP at 13%, and the Greens are at 11%. Strong results for the Greens and Conservatives, very weak for the Liberals and NDP.

In Ontario, the Conservatives lead the Liberals 41% to 32% (which, with the MOE, is within 2008's result) while in Quebec the Bloc is doing very well at 42% with the Liberals at 22% and the Conservatives at 18%. Such a huge gap between the Bloc and the two major federalist parties would mean big Bloc gains.

I'll have more information once Ipsos-Reid puts up the details of this poll onto their site.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Projection Update - 137 CPC, 98 LPC

Another week, another projection update. Only a small change this time, with the Conservatives gaining one seat from the Liberals in Ontario.This puts the Tories at 137 seats, the Liberals at 98 seats, the Bloc at 49, and the NDP at 24. The Conservatives have also gained 0.4 points nationally, while the Liberals have lost 0.3 and the Bloc and Greens have lost 0.1 points apiece.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives have gained 0.3 points and lead with 38.3% and 21 seats. The Liberals have lost 0.2 points and stand at 25.0% and 10 seats. The NDP has gained 0.1 points and is at 24.6% and five seats. The Greens have lost 0.1 points and are at 11.5%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have made another big gain. They're up 0.5 points and lead the province with 38.8% and 51 seats, up from 50 seats last week. The Liberals are down 0.6 points and one seat, and are now at 35.8% and 44 seats. The NDP has gained 0.1 points and stands at 15.1% and 11 seats. The Greens remain steady at 9.8%.

In Quebec, The Bloc Quebecois has lost 0.1 points but maintains the lead with 37.0% and 49 seats. The Liberals have lost 0.4 points and are at 28.1% and 18 seats. The Conservatives have made a significant 0.5-point gain and are at 17.8% and seven seats. The NDP is down 0.2 points to 10.5% and one seat, and the Greens are up 0.1 points at 6.2%.

In terms of other large regional movements, the Conservatives are down 0.3 points in Alberta and up 0.5 points in the Prairies. The Liberals are up 0.3 in Alberta and down 0.4 points in the Prairies. The NDP is down 0.3 points in Alberta and 0.3 points in Atlantic Canada.

The Conservatives have had a good week, they've only dipped in Alberta. And their gains in Ontario and Quebec were big. The Liberals had a bad week, but not disastrous. They're up in Atlantic Canada and Alberta, but the losses in Ontario and Quebec are important. The NDP made some tiny gains in BC and Ontario, but their losses in Alberta, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada hurt them, especially in Alberta and Quebec where they have but a toe-hold. The Greens remained remarkably steady, while the Bloc took a tiny hit but grew their lead over the Liberals by 0.3 points.

I get the sense that things are going to return to normalcy, if we can call it that. The Liberals will claw their way back up to about 30% and the Conservatives will dip back to below 40% but above 35%. It is obvious now that Michael Ignatieff took a big hit by trying to force an election. I'm not convinced that the idea of an election itself was the problem, but rather that the Conservatives haven't done enough to deserve being booted out of office and, in any case, Ignatieff did not make a strong enough case as to why he should replace Stephen Harper.

Now that the electoral debate is over, I think a lot of angry swing voters who used to answer "Liberal" to polls will go back. But enough will stay with the Conservatives to keep them comfortably ahead.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Nanos Poll: 9.8-pt Conservative Lead

Nanos has a new poll out, taken between October 10 and October 18 and involving 1,005 Canadians. Here are the national results:

Conservatives - 39.8%
Liberals - 30.0%
New Democrats - 16.6%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.9%
Greens - 4.6%

So, a much better result for the Liberals and even the NDP. But still a very good result for the Tories. As someone has pointed out in the comments section, Nanos doesn't list the parties in their survey question, which likely hurts the Greens. This explains the higher NDP and Liberal numbers. To me, this is a more accurate representation of Canadian public opinion than a poll that puts the Greens at over 10.0%.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia with 37.3%, followed relatively closely by the Liberals at 29.4%. The NDP is at 22.6% and the Greens are at 10.7%.

In Ontario, Nanos has the gap as much smaller than EKOS. The Conservatives are still strong at 40.4%, but the Liberals are not out of it at 35.3%. The NDP is also doing well at 17.3%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is well ahead at 39.4%. The Liberals are down at 24.6% while the Conservatives are up to 21.2%. The NDP is at 14.5%, a strong result. The Greens are at 0.4%, a little low!

In Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives lead a close race, 39.6% to 39.1%. The NDP is at 20.1%.

Nanos puts Alberta and the Prairies together, so I can't do a full poll projection. But using the current projection to fill in that blank, we get 142 Conservative seats, 94 Liberal, 50 Bloc Quebecois, and 22 NDP seats. So, pretty much what we have now except the Liberals rip a few seats away from the NDP. Kicking and screaming, no doubt.

Good to see a Nanos poll! They haven't had one in over a month. Variations like these are a good demonstration why it is better to have a conservative (small-c) projection model.

Expect a projection update tomorrow.

New EKOS Poll: 11.2-pt Conservative Lead

The new EKOS poll this week (thanks to DL for the sneak-peek) shows the Conservative lead narrowing a little. But just a little.

Taken between October 14 and October 20, and involving 3,270 Canadians, these were the national results:

Conservatives - 38.3%
Liberals - 27.1%
New Democrats - 14.5%
Greens - 11.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.0%

Certainly, still a good result for the Conservatives. But they want to be much closer to 40%, if not above it. This sort of result would give them more or less what they had in the 2008 election. The Liberal result is certainly bad, but it is better, which is a good sign for them. The NDP needs to be worried about their falling to the wayside.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives seem to be back down and are at 37.5%. The Liberals are at 25.4% and the NDP is at 24.9%. At 12.1%, the Greens aren't electing Elizabeth May.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are good at 59.5% and the Liberals are very competitive at 21.7%. The NDP is in trouble in Edmonton-Strathcona with 8.3%.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives lead with 54.1%, the NDP follows at 22.6%, and the Liberals are struggling at 16.7%.

The Conservatives have a 10.2-point lead in Ontario over the Liberals, 41.8% to 31.6%. A very good number for the Tories. The NDP is at 14.1%.

The Bloc Quebecois leads Quebec with 35.8%. The Liberals and Conservatives are tied for second at 23.1%. A good result for the Conservatives, a bad result for the Liberals. The NDP is at 8.0% and in fifth, behind the Greens at 10.0%.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals have their only lead, 36.6% to the Conservative 32.0%. The NDP is at 22.4%.

As has been the case for awhile now, the Conservatives lead in almost every demographic. Only the less-than-25-year-olds have withstood their charms. The Conservatives also lead in the major cities, including Toronto, while the Liberals have moved back into first, ahead of the Bloc, in Montreal.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 152
Liberals - 84
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 23

So the Conservatives are back into minority territory, but only just. No one else stands to improve much at all.

The question of what electoral result would be best was also asked. The options were Liberal minority/majority, Conservative minority/majority, or none of these.

The favourite option is a Conservative majority, with 30.1%. Interestingly, that is well below national Conservative support. The next favourite option is a Liberal majority, with 21.3%. Then it is a Liberal minority at 13.5% and then a Conservative minority with 9.3%. The "none of these" option was almost as high as a Conservative majority, with 25.9%.

This also means that 39.4% chose a Conservative government of some kind while 34.8% chose a Liberal government. For the Tories, that is only 3% higher than their national support. For the Liberals, that is 28% higher.

As to how the supporters of the various parties answered, less than 10% of Conservatives and Liberals wanted their opponent in government. But for the three perennial opposition parties, a Liberal minority is the clear favourite. In fact, for all three parties, a minority of some kind is preferred to a majority. Which shows sense.

Almost half of NDP supporters (49.6%) believe that an NDP government is best. Those understanding that this would be impossible chose the Liberals (31.6%) over the Conservatives (18.5%) as the government.

Green supporters also chose "none of these" above all (49.6%), but the Liberals (33.8%) were favoured over the Conservatives (16.6%).

Bloc supporters are slightly more sensible, with 46.7% saying "none of these". The Liberals were next with 30.3% and the Conservatives last with 22.9%.

As usual, this shows that the Liberals have more potential for growth by picking at the supporters of the smaller parties. How to do that is another matter entirely.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Comparing Federal and Provincial Results

Some of the discussion in the comment sections have swirled around the question of comparing federal parties to provincial parties, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia. This made me wonder how electoral results at the two levels compare, and whether we can draw any conclusions from that comparison.

So, I decided to take a look at it. Since there are ten provinces and that would take a while, I've started with the two most populous: Ontario and Quebec. I'll look at the other provinces in the future.

OntarioOntario is an easy one to look at, as it most closely resembles the federal scene. There are three major parties in Ontario: the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives, and the New Democrats. This lines up nicely with the three major parties at the federal level, and Ontario even aligns its electoral map with that of the federal ridings.

As you can see on the chart, the results don't match-up exactly. But there are a few interesting things we can see.

Firstly, it appears that since 2000, the federal parties have been getting results similar to their provincial counterparts, with only a few points-worth of difference.

Secondly, for most of the time since the late-80s, the two major parties have swapped the lead. For much of the time when the Liberals were in power in Ottawa, the Progressive Conservatives were in power in Toronto, and vice-versa.

Thirdly, out of all of the party-twinnings, the support of the provincial New Democrats most closely aligns with that of its federal counterpart, especially since 1999. And when they weren't close in popular vote support, the two levels of the party matched each other in trends. The federal NDP took a sharp hit in 1993, matched by the provincial party's trouble in 1995.

When we look at average support since 1987, the federal Liberals have about 43.5% support in the province, compared to the provincial Liberals' 39.9%. The federal Conservatives have had about 37.5% support since 1987, compared to 34.1% provincially. And the federal NDP has had 14.4% support compared to 21.3% at the provincial level.

If we want to take that further and average-out the two levels of support, about 41.7% of Ontarians can be considered to be Liberal supporters, 35.8% are Conservative supporters, and 17.9% are New Democrats. This doesn't mean anything concrete, but is a good indication of whether a party is under- or over-performing. Looking at it this way, the federal Conservatives are currently punching above their weight and the federal Liberals well below their weight. The federal NDP are under-achieving a little bit as well.

QuebecQuebec doesn't align as nicely as Ontario, but we can draw some comparisons between the various parties.

Obviously, the Bloc Quebecois and Parti Quebecois align very closely. But after that it is not as close. The Action Démocratique and the Conservatives seem to be soul-brothers, while the NDP can find itself in Québec Solidaire, except for that party's support for sovereignty. The fore-runners of QS, those being the Union des Forces Progressistes, the Parti de la démocratie socialiste, and the Quebec NDP, can give us a basis of comparison for NDP support prior to 2007.

The biggest problem with aligning Quebec at the provincial and federal level is the Liberals. The two parties don't co-operate much and are not part of the same organisation. But, for the purposes of this analysis, it's what we'll work with. The two parties do, certainly, have the same bases of support in the province.

So, what strikes us when we look at this chart?

Firstly, the Conservatives and the ADQ actually do line-up quite nicely. The surge of support for the ADQ between 2003 and 2007 is closely followed by that of the Conservatives. The tailing-off of support in 2008 also matches.

Secondly, the NDP and its provincial counter-parts also have the same foundation of support and follow similar trendlines.

Thirdly, following the 1995 referendum and up until the sponsorship scandal, the BQ/LPC and PQ/PLQ were in a neck-and-neck race, with both parties having about the same level of support. In 2003, however, things diverged. The provincial Liberals managed to sustain high-levels of support, while the Parti Quebecois faltered. The Bloc Quebecois, however, flourished while the federal Liberals fell sharply.

Fourthly, what we also see is that the two parties tend to match each other in trends at each level of government. From 2004, both the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois saw their support level fall away, as did the provincial Liberals and the Parti Quebecois. This coincided with the rise of the ADQ and the Conservatives, seemingly indicating that both the Liberals and the BQ/PQ suffered equally from the increase in right-wing support. However, we also see that the federal Liberals and Conservatives tend to mirror each other, indicating that they share more of the same voters than the BQ does with the Conservatives. In fact, part of the BQ's recent dip coincides with the emergence of the NDP as a player.

In terms of average support since 1993, the Bloc Quebecois has had about 42.7% support while the Parti Quebecois has had 36.9%. The federal Liberals have had about 32.0% support, as compared to the 41.8% of their provincial doppelgangers. The federal Conservatives average 17.2% support to the ADQ's 16.7%. The New Democrats average 4.9% support, while the left-wing parties in Quebec have averaged 2.0% support.

So, taking it further, as with Ontario, 39.8% of Quebecers can be counted on to vote sovereigntist, while 36.9% will vote Liberal of some sort. About 17.0% can be considered supporters of right-wing parties, while 3.5% will vote for left-wing parties. In these terms, the Bloc is under-performing a little, the Liberals are under-performing a lot, and the Conservatives and NDP are both hitting well above their weight.

All in all, there isn't enough consistency to say that one election will predict the result of the next election at the other level of government. But what does seem to be case is that how a party performs at one level of government is more likely than not a prediction of how its counterpart at the other level of government will perform. But it isn't a hard-and-fast rule, at least in these two provinces.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Polling Firm Leanings - Léger Update

I've updated the pollster leanings chart for Léger Marketing, incorporating the last few months of polling.

Nationally, out of seven pollsters Léger is third-most favourable to the Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats. They're the fourth-most favourable to the Greens. So, right in the middle of the pack.

In Quebec, out of eight pollsters Léger is the fifth-most favourable pollster for the Conservatives, the second-most for the Liberals, the most favourable for the NDP, the sixth-most for the Bloc, and the seventh-most for the Greens.

The chart below tracks how each pollster tends to lean when calculating support levels for the various parties, as compared to the average polling results from other pollsters each month. This does not necessarily equate to a deliberate bias, but instead is more reflective of the polling methods used.

Just for fun, let's tweak the latest Léger national poll (September 25) according to these findings:

Conservatives - 36.0%
Liberals - 29.0%
New Democrats - 16.0%
Greens - 7.0%

And in Quebec:

Bloc Quebecois - 33.6%
Liberals - 27.4%
Conservatives - 18.4%
New Democrats - 10.5%
Greens - 6.6%

The following chart shows each pollster's average variation from other polling firms. The numbers are the amount of percentage points a particular pollster favours or disfavours that particular party compared to other pollsters over a similar period of time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Details of the AR Poll

Sorry for the delay yesterday in writing more about the new Angus-Reid.

To re-cap, the Conservatives are at 41% nationally, followed by the Liberals at 27%, the NDP at 16%, the Bloc Quebecois at 8%, and the Greens at 6%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives lead with a very strong 47%, followed by the NDP at 22%, the Liberals at 21%, and the Greens at a disappointing 9%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives take a hit and stand at 52%, followed by the Liberals at 21%, the Greens at 12%, and the NDP at 11%. That is a big Liberal result, and as some have speculated, it might have something to do with the unpopularity of Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.

The Conservatives are doing well in the Prairies, however, with 57%, as are the NDP with 23%. The Liberals are down to 17%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have a huge 16-point lead over the Liberals, 45% to 29%. The NDP seems to have benefited as well, and are at a very strong 19%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is well ahead with 36%. The Liberals are at 26% while the Conservatives are very strong with 25%. The NDP, at 8%, is not.

The Liberals still hold on to the lead in Atlantic Canada with 42%. The Conservatives are weak at 28% and the NDP is even weaker at 20%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 156
Liberals - 79
Bloc Quebecois - 47
New Democrats - 26

So the Tories get a slim majority. What hurt them was a weak performance in Atlantic Canada, coupled with a weak performance there by the NDP. In a way, this demonstrates the danger of "under-performing" in any one region of the country.

The poll also asked who would make the best Prime Minister. Stephen Harper was comfortably ahead with 29%, followed by Michael Ignatieff at a disastrous 12% and Jack Layton at 11%. The "none of them" option earned 24%. This has changed my "Best PM" track, with Harper losing three points and Ignatieff losing four.

People were also asked which leader would best handle different issues. But as I've said before, the meaning of this is useless since we do not know what is motivating these answers. A quick example is health care. If you want more public or more private, your answer as to who would best handle health care would be different.

But anyway, Harper is tops on economy with 35% to Ignatieff's 19%. He also leads on health care (23% to Layton's 22%), foreign affairs (29% to Ignatieff's 26%), and crime (36% to Ignatieff's 12%). Layton leads for the environment, with 26% to Harper's 18%.

Bad news all around for Ignatieff, while this is certainly good for Harper. This poll is also better for Layton than usual, but still means a drop of 10 seats.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New AR Poll: 14-point Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid has released a new poll taken between October 13 and October 14 and involving 1,003 Canadians. The national result:

Conservatives - 41%
Liberals - 27%
New Democrats - 16%
Bloc Quebecois - 8%
Greens - 6%

Strong result for the Conservatives, who have gained from the last AR poll. The Liberals are actually steady at 27%.

I have to take off for the rest of the day and so don't have time to expand on this poll right now. I'll post more about it tonight or tomorrow. Hopefully we'll also have the Harris-Decima details at that time.

Projection Update - 136 CPC, 99 LPC

Another week, another gain for the Conservatives. They now lead with 136 seats to 99 Liberal seats.Both the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois remain steady at 24 and 49 seats, respectively.

The Tories have also gained 0.4 points nationally, while the Liberals have dropped 0.5 and the NDP has dropped 0.2. The Greens have picked up 0.1. The Conservatives now have a five-point lead over the Liberals, 35.2% to 30.2%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives and Greens have each gained 0.2 points. The Liberals have lost 0.3 and the NDP has lost 0.2. The Conservatives now have 38% support, followed by the Liberals at 25.2%, the NDP at 24.5%, and the Greens at 11.6%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives and Liberals trade a seat. The Conservatives are now projected to take 50 while the Liberals will take 45. The Conservatives have taken 0.2 points from the Liberals, while the Greens have taken 0.1 points from the NDP. The Conservatives now lead with 38.3%, followed by the Liberals at 36.4%, the NDP at 15.0%, and the Greens at 9.8%.

In Quebec, the Bloc remains steady at 37.1%. The Liberals have dropped 0.3 points and stand at 28.5%. The Conservatives have gained 0.3 points and are now at 17.3%. The NDP is steady at 10.7% and the Greens pick up 0.1 points to reach 6.1%.

The Conservatives have also gained 0.5 points in the Prairies and 0.4 points in Atlantic Canada. The Liberals have lost 0.3 points in the Prairies. Other regional movements are less than 0.3 points.

Certainly not huge movement this week, but with every solid poll for the Conservatives they cement their lead in the projection.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New HD Poll: 7-point Conservative Lead

CTV News has a little teaser of a Canadian Press report on the latest Harris-Decima poll, taken between October 1 and October 12 and involving "just over" 2,000 Canadians. The results:

Conservatives - 35%
Liberals - 28%
New Democrats - 15%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 10%

Certainly better news for the Liberals, and worse (though on the whole, a large lead is always good) news for the Conservatives. But this one looks to be a little bit on the outskirts of what we've been seeing lately.

No full regional results, but some similar to the Ipsos-Reid poll earlier this week. The Tories are at 40% in Ontario with the Liberals behind at 36%. The Bloc leads in Quebec with 41%, followed by the Liberals at 24% and the Tories at 15%.

I'll post more about this poll when I have more information.

New EKOS Poll: 15.2-pt Conservative Lead

Incredible, isn't it? A 15-point lead!

EKOS has its new poll this morning, taken between October 7 and October 13 (but not during the Thanksgiving weekend) and involving 2,729 Canadians. The national result:

Conservatives - 40.7%
Liberals - 25.5%
New Democrats - 14.3%
Greens - 10.5%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.1%

These numbers are almost unbelievable to me, but not because I doubt the pollster's results. I don't. I just don't understand! There's nothing really going on right now. There's no Liberal scandal, there's been no Conservative governing coup. But the Liberals are more unpopular now than during the sponsorship scandal! And while Michael Ignatieff can certainly be seen to be unlikeable, he really hasn't done much to make people dislike him. It is difficult to hate someone who hasn't really done or said all that much. It really is puzzling - the Conservatives have more support than the Liberals and NDP, combined.

The regional results are excellent for Stephen Harper. In British Columbia, he has 39.1% support, followed by the Liberals at 23.2% (still relatively okay) and the NDP at 20.3%. The Greens have gained some ground and stand at 17.4%. With the Tories up and the NDP down, Dawn Black's vacated NDP seat could fall into Conservative hands.

Alberta is very blue, with 66.7% support for the Conservatives. The Liberals are at 13.9% and the NDP is at 12.2%.

The Prairies are also solidly Conservative, at 55.9%. The Liberals follow with 20.0% and the NDP is in third with 19.0%.

The Conservatives now have a 13-point lead over the Liberals in Ontario, at 44.1% to 31.0%. The NDP is at 14.2%.

In Quebec, the Bloc still leads with 36.1%. The Liberals are still struggling with 22.6%, while the Conservatives are riding high at 22.5%. The NDP has faltered and is at 8.4%, now behind the Greens who are at 10.4%.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are still behind. The Tories are at 39.1%, the Liberals are at 31.0%, and the NDP is at 23.6%.

These results really can't be reconciled with the recent Ipsos-Reid poll. One of them is wrong, or the reality is somewhere in between.

The Conservatives lead in every demographic, as well as in Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa. The Liberals do still lead in Toronto, with 40.8% to the Conservative 38.9%. The Bloc has a big lead in Montreal, with 37.9% to the Liberal 26.0%. With these sorts of numbers, the Bloc could actually make gains on the island.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 160
Liberals - 76
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 22

So this is the first poll we've seen that gives the Tories a comfortable majority. The Liberals actually win one seat fewer than they did in 2008, while the NDP drops 15 from the election. The Bloc gains one seat, but with the Conservatives in a majority the Bloc actually loses a lot of influence. At this point, the only way we'll see an election is if the Prime Minister decides to have one. The opposition is going to have to start playing nice, simply to remove any pretext for the calling of an election.

The projection will be updated either today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

As Days Go By...

Left, you'll find the projection as it stood on September 10. I thought it would be a good time to take a look at how the political goings-on in Ottawa have changed the projection since then.

The Conservatives have picked up ten seats in that time, moving from 125 to 135. The Liberals have lost ten seats in the span of a month, dropping to 100 from 110. Both the NDP and the Bloc have remained unchanged.

In terms of the national vote, the Conservatives have picked up 1.6 points, moving from 33.2% to 34.8%. The Liberals have lost 1.4 points, going from 32.1% to 30.7%. While the gap on September 10 was a mere 1.1 points, it is now 4.1 points.

The other parties haven't changed much, but the NDP has lost 0.1 points, the Bloc has gained 0.1 points, and the Greens have lost 0.2 points.

In the three battleground provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, the Conservatives have made some gains.

From 36.8% and 20 seats in BC, the Conservatives are now at 37.8% and 21 seats. The Liberals have gone from 26.6% and 11 seats to 25.5% and 10 seats. The NDP has kept itself steady in the province, however, only moving from 24.6% to 24.7% and keeping the projected five seats.

The most significant change has come in Ontario, where the Conservatives went from 35.7% and 43 seats to 38.1% and 49 seats. The Liberals have dropped from 38.8% to 36.6% and have lost six seats to stand at 46. Here, again, the NDP has remained steady, going from 15.0% to 15.1% and maintaining 11 seats.

In Quebec, the Bloc's fortunes have improved. From 36.8% they have gone to 37.1% but remain at 49 seats. The Liberals have dropped from 30.0% to 28.8% and have lost one seat in the process. The Conservatives have seen a significant gain from 16.1% to 17.0% and now stand at seven seats, one better than a month ago. The NDP has lost a little ground, going from 10.9% to 10.7%, but are still projected to keep their seat in Outremont.

Elsewhere, the Conservatives have gained a seat each in Alberta and the North, in both cases coming from the Liberals.

So the Conservatives definitely have the winds in their sails, and have taken full advantage of the situation in September. The Liberals are sliding, and have not managed to take the NDP down with them. In fact, the NDP seems to be stuck, perhaps indicating that a lot, if not virtually all, of the Conservative gains have come from the Liberals. They're up where they need to be, in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

Whether this trend will continue through the month of October remains to be seen. Could it have been simply a momentary negative reaction against the Liberal attempt to bring down the government? Is Stephen Harper that good of pianist? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New IR Poll: 10-pt Conservative Lead

I hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving long weekend. Feel free to share any of your stories in the comments section, particularly of the political nature. Here in Ottawa, Michael Ignatieff worked the soup line at the mission downtown so that got a little air time.

Anyway, schedules return to normal with an Ipsos-Reid poll to greet us. Taken between October 6 and October 8 and involving 1,000 Canadians, the poll found the following national support levels:

Conservatives - 39%
Liberals - 29%
New Democrats - 13%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 8%

This is the sort of lead we've been seeing recently, but at 29% the Liberals are actually back to where they were before the precipitous fall to 25%. The NDP, at 13%, are really floundering.

Not in British Columbia, though, where they stand at 28%. The Conservatives lead with a very good 47% (are they back?) while the Liberals are at 18%. With 6%, Elizabeth May can delay her plans to re-locate to Ottawa.

Alberta shows the Conservatives at 60%, the Liberals at 16%, and the NDP at a decent 14%. In the Prairies, the Conservatives have an incredible 67%, but the polling size is small enough to get one of the Ipsos-Reid asterisks. The Liberals are at 19% and the NDP at 10%.

In Ontario, the huge Tory lead seems to have disappeared, as the two parties are statistically tied. The Conservatives are at 40% (still excellent, by the by) but the Liberals are back in it at 36%. The Greens are at 12% and the NDP is in crisis mode at 11%.

The Bloc is well ahead in Quebec with 40%, while the Liberals are at 26%. The Conservatives are at 20%, seemingly confirming that the Tories are back in the game in the province. At 9%, the NDP is out of the game.

Atlantic Canada puts the Liberals back in front with 46%, followed by the Tories at 35% and the NDP at a worrying 15%.

The poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 146
Liberals - 91
Bloc Quebecois - 51
New Democrats - 20

This matches with the Ipsos-Reid explanation that the Tories are just outside of majority territory. With 91 seats, the Liberals would see a marked improvement over their current caucus while at 20 seats the NDP is on the brink of irrelevancy.

We're really into the fall now that Thanksgiving has passed, and if polls like this one continue we might start to see the stories about Liberal collapse pass as well. Obviously, they're not doing well in this poll. But they aren't at 25%, either. And while the Tories are certainly up in the polls, we're still seeing a likely repeat of the 2008 election with the Liberals improving on the backs of the NDP. That is not a situation Stephen Harper would like to see, as that is worse than what he currently has in front of him. If an election is going to have his party stagnate and the Liberals improve, he should (and would) avoid one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Polls vs. Votes

A comment from a reader got me thinking about the difference between what people say in polls and what they do at the ballot box. So I decided to take a look.

For the 2006 and 2008 elections, I took the last poll from each of the active polling firms. In 2008 there were six who polled in the last few days (EKOS, Angus-Reid, Nanos, Harris-Decima, Strategic Counsel, and Ipsos-Reid). In 2006 there were four (Strategic Counsel, SES Research (now Nanos), Ipsos-Reid, and EKOS).

This chart shows the differences between the average polling result of these polling firms, and the actual vote totals each party received.It's difficult to draw conclusions from this with only two sets of data. The 2004 election doesn't seem to have been as frequently polled. Perhaps only after the next election will we be able to get a real picture of how parties do in polls vs. elections.

Let's take a look at the numbers. For the last days of 2008, the Conservatives averaged 34.5% in the polls. The Liberals were at 27.0%, the NDP at 19.3%, the Bloc at 9.7%, and the Greens at 8.8%. The actual election results were 37.7%, 26.3%, 18.2%, 10.0%, and 6.8%, respectively.

That means the pollsters under-estimated the Conservative vote total by 3.2 points and the Bloc's by 0.2 points. They over-estimated the vote totals of the Liberals by 0.7 points, the NDP by 1.1 points, and the Greens by 2 points.

But what does that really mean? Turnout was low, and the Liberals took the biggest hit in actual votes. If turnout had been what it had been in 2006, would the Conservatives have gotten the predicted 34.5%? It's impossible to say.

Looking at 2006, the Conservatives averaged 37.1% going into election day. The Liberals were at 27.8%, the NDP at 18.7%, the Bloc at 11.3%, and the Greens at 5.1%. Their actual vote totals were 36.3%, 30.2%, 17.5%, 10.5%, and 4.5%, respectively.

So this time the Conservatives were over-estimated by 1.2 points, as were the NDP (1.3 points), the Bloc (0.8 points), and the Greens (0.6 points). The Liberals were under-estimated this time, by 2.4 points.

As you can see, it is really impossible to say whether one party does better or worse in polls. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives saw relatively significant over- and under-estimations of their vote haul. Only the NDP, the Greens, and (to a lesser extent considering national totals for the Bloc are difficult to quantify) the Bloc were over-estimated in both election campaigns. The NDP's over-estimation is relatively high, at over an entire point in both elections. But the Greens were only 0.6 points higher in 2006, which is actually a pretty close estimate.

This really does show how the MOE is an effective way of safe-guarding polling results. We can reasonably assume that every pollster is within three-points at the national level. But with things being as close as they are, that is a huge margin. And for parties like the NDP, it can mean a historic best or a disastrous campaign.

The commenter in question was wondering if I should take this sort of "ballot box" effect into consideration when making my projections. Looking at these numbers, I don't think I can.

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend everyone! I'll post if a poll comes out during the weekend, but otherwise I'll see you Tuesday.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Satisfied Bell Customer

My internet was down all morning, and so I'm a little behind on everything. I'll see if I can get a real post in today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Projection Update - 135 CPC, 100 LPC

A big jump this week, with the Conservatives getting into a "stable minority".The Conservatives have picked up six seats and are now at 135. The Liberals have lost five and are at 100, while the NDP has lost one and is at 24. The Bloc Quebecois is steady at 49 seats.

A few bad weeks of polling has finally begun to take a toll on the Liberals in the projection. What was a trend is now a political reality.

The Tories gain 0.8 points nationally. The Bloc has gained 0.1 points, while the Liberals lose 0.7 points and the Greens 0.1. The Conservatives now have a 4.1-point lead over the Liberals with 34.8% to 30.7%. The NDP is at 15.7%, the Bloc Quebecois at 9.3%, and the Greens are at 9.1%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives have gained 0.7 points, the Liberals have lost 0.6, and the NDP and Greens have lost 0.3 points each. The Conservatives now lead with 37.8%, followed by the Liberals at 25.5% and the NDP at 24.7%. The Greens are at 11.4%. The Conservatives are projected to take 21 seats, the Liberals to take 10, and the NDP to take 5.

In Ontario, the Conservatives gain a whole point as well as three seats. The Liberals lose those seats to the Conservatives as well as 0.8 points. The NDP has gained 0.1 points and the Greens have lost 0.3 points. The projection is now 38.1% and 49 seats for the Tories, 36.6% and 46 seats for the Liberals, and 15.1% and 11 seats for the NDP. The Greens are at 9.7%.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois has gained 0.4 points while the Conservatives have gained 0.5 and one seat. The Liberals have lost 0.7 points and one seat, the NDP is down 0.2, and the Greens are down 0.1. The Bloc still leads with 37.1% and 49 seats. The Liberals are next with 28.8% and 18 seats, then the Conservatives with 17% and 7 seats, and finally the NDP at 10.7% and 1 seat. The Greens are at 6%.

There was a seat change in Atlantic Canada, where the Conservatives gained one and the NDP lost one. Other big vote changes include a 0.4-point Liberal loss in Alberta, a 0.4-point NDP loss and a 0.5-point Liberal loss in the Prairies, a 0.6-point Conservative gain and 0.4-point Liberal loss in Atlantic Canada, and a 0.3-point Liberal loss in the North.

The Conservatives are safely on their way to a repeat of the 2008 performance, while the Liberals still look to increase their caucus, mostly at the expense of the NDP.

New EKOS Poll - 14-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has released a new poll today, taken between September 30 and October 6, and involving 3,333 Canadians. And boy, is it a rough one.

The result:

Conservatives - 39.7%
Liberals - 25.7%
New Democrats - 15.2%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.7%
Greens - 9.7%

EKOS is a consistent, quality pollster. And for them to give the Conservatives a 14-point lead is incredible. The Liberals are actually doing worse than their disastrous 2008 election result. The Tories have one of their best results, and undoubtedly their best result from a completely reliable pollster.

It doesn't get any better for the Liberals at the regional level.

The Tories are back over 40% in British Columbia with 41.6%, while the NDP is at 23.5%, the Liberals at 22.2%, and the Greens at 12.7%.

The Liberal vote in Alberta is slipping away, with the Conservatives at 61%, the Liberals at 13.5%, and the NDP at 13%.

The Prairies is another good region for the Tories, with 51.6%. The Liberals are at 22.7% and the NDP at 18.4%.

Ontario is a fiasco for the Liberals. The Conservatives are now 11.3-points ahead. The Conservatives are at 43.8%, the Liberals at 32.5%, and the NDP at 13.9%.

The Bloc leads in Quebec with 38.7%, a good result for them. The Conservatives are back in the game at 22.2%, followed by the Liberals at a catastrophic 21%. The NDP is at 9.7%.

Not even Atlantic Canada can give the Liberals some good news. The Conservatives lead with 34.8%, the Liberals follow with 32.4%, and the NDP is in third with 26.2%.

There is no silver lining in this poll for the Liberals. The Conservatives lead in every demographic except those under the age of 25, and they lead in every major city except in Montreal, where the Bloc has opened up a double-digit lead over the Liberals.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 156
Liberals - 77
Bloc Quebecois - 51
New Democrats - 24

So the Conservatives have finally gotten themselves into a majority. But it's a slim one.

Why is it slim? They're still doing worse in BC than they did last year, and their Quebec and Atlantic Canada results are still below their 2006 result.

The Liberals manage to maintain their current caucus size, mostly because this poll was no good for the NDP either.

As for the election issue, 41% say it is economic, 33% say social, and 17% say fiscal. It is something else for 9% of Canadians.

Stephen Harper has a 39%-42% approval/disapproval rating. This gets a bit worse in British Columbia (36-44), a bit better in Ontario (42-40), and much worse in Quebec (27-51).

Michael Ignatieff's 19%-51% approval/disapproval rating couldn't be worse, and it is below Harper's in BC (16-53), ON (21-50), and (surprisingly) QC (21-45).

Jack Layton's numbers are good, 34%-31% and it is pretty constant in BC (34-34), Ontario (34-32), but much better in Quebec (38-24).

Harper has the best approval rating within his own party, with 80% of Conservatives approving of the job he's doing and only 9% disapproving. Layton is next, with 65% of his supporters approving and only 13% disapproving. Ignatieff is last, with 47% approving and 24% disapproving.

This is just a horrible poll for the Liberals. It is also a bad poll for the NDP. It is a good poll for the Bloc, and an excellent poll for the Tories.

The NDP did the Liberals, and themselves, a favour when they supported the government.

The projection will be updated some time today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's in a Question?

With only seven national pollsters who are infrequently active, it is difficult to compare them and their methodologies. It doesn't mean we can't try, though.

There are two general ways to ask a survey question concerning vote intentions. The first is to ask something along the lines of:

"If an election were held today, would you vote for the Conservative candidate in your area, the Liberal candidate in your area, the NDP candidate in your area, the Green candidate in your area, or the Bloc Quebecois candidate in your area?"

The pollsters always rotate the order of the parties so that none is given an advantage. This question gives people options from which to choose. It is more likely to get a response from undecided or inattentive voters.

The second question is something along the lines of:

"If an election were held today, which party would you vote for?"

This question does not name the parties and so forces the respondent to give an answer without knowing which parties are his or her options. It is more likely to not get a response from undecided or inattentive voters but is, in my estimation, a more accurate way to judge current public opinion.

Judging from their detailed reports, Strategic Counsel, Angus-Reid, Léger Marketing, and Ipsos-Reid ask the first type of question. EKOS asks the second, while Nanos - in their latest poll at least - asks respondents to give their first and second preference, but does not name the options. While it isn't exactly the same question as asked by EKOS, for the sake of argument I'm going to lump them together.

Harris-Decima does not put the question in their detailed reports. I've sent them an email and hopefully will get a response.

Taking the average result from each of the polling firms' latest poll, we get the following totals for each of the parties when they are listed in the question:

Conservatives - 38.3%
Liberals - 28.8%
New Democrats - 15.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.3%
Greens - 7.8%

When respondents are not given a list of the parties, the average result is:

Conservatives - 36.8%
Liberals - 31.6%
New Democrats - 14.4%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.8%
Greens - 7.6%

Looking at it this way, we see that the NDP, Bloc, and Greens don't really benefit either way. But the Liberals certainly tend to do better when respondents aren't prompted with the list of parties.

Another factor that can change the results of polling is whether "leaners" are included. Several polling firms, when given the "I don't know" or "I haven't decided" response to the first question, ask a second. That second question asks what party the respondent is leaning towards voting for.

From what I can tell, Strategic Counsel, Léger Marketing, and Ipsos-Reid include leaners in their results. Angus-Reid, EKOS, and Nanos only use decided voters.

This is the average result for the "leaners included" pool:

Conservatives - 38.7%
Liberals - 29.3%
New Democrats - 14.3%
Bloc Quebecois - 8.7%
Greens - 8.3%

And the decided results:

Conservatives - 36.8%
Liberals - 30.0%
New Democrats - 15.2%
Bloc Quebecois - 10.2%
Greens - 7.0%

This indicates that Liberal, NDP, and Bloc voters are more committed than Conservative or Green voters.

Of course, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt. There isn't a large enough sample size to really determine how much influence the question has on the response.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New SC Poll: 13-pt Conservative Lead

CTV is reporting on a new Strategic Counsel taken between October 2 and October 4 and involving 1,000 Canadians. The national result:

Conservatives - 41%
Liberals - 28%
New Democrats - 14%
Bloc Quebecois - 9%
Greens - 9%

A huge result for the Tories, while the other parties are at about what we've seen over the last few weeks.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have a terrific 46%, followed by the Liberals at 30% and the NDP at 16%. Half-decent result for the NDP, bad for the Liberals. But 46% for the Conservatives seems unbelievable.

In Quebec, the Bloc is still comfortably ahead at 40% with the Liberals at a very strong 33%. The Conservatives are at 15%, the Greens at 8%, and the NDP at 4%. The NDP result is too low, but if the Liberal result is true that is a very good showing. That the Conservatives can reach 41% support nationally with only 15% in Quebec is more than a little unbalanced.

Strategic Counsel, for some reason, lumps BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba into "the West", making the result there useless. But they are at 58% there, for what its worth. The Liberals are at 18% and the NDP is at 15%. The Liberals have lost eight points and the NDP seven, all going to the Tories. They don't provide results for Atlantic Canada.

I can't do a seat projection because of the incomplete information. But using the current projection for the West and Atlantic Canada and then using the results from SC for Ontario and Quebec, we get:

Conservatives - 146 seats
Liberals - 87 seats
Bloc Quebecois - 51 seats
New Democrats - 24 seats

With strong results in the West and probably out east, though, it isn't unlikely that the Conservatives have picked up a few seats in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada, swept Alberta, and maybe took one or two from the opposition in the Prairies. I'm not sure if that's enough for a majority, though.

Monthly Picture - September

It's time to look at the polling average over the month of September. Sixteen national polls were taken during this month, totalling about 29,600 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 35.7% (+2.1)
Liberals - 30.3% (-0.8)
New Democrats - 15.4% (-0.7)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.4% (+0.4)
Greens - 8.5% (-1.3)

The Conservatives show a big jump of more than two points, but not all of it came from the Liberals. They sank 0.8 points while the NDP also took a hit of 0.7 points. The Bloc made a modest gain of 0.4 points while the Greens posted the worst showing of all with a loss of 1.3 points. The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 134 (+9)
Liberals - 99 (-10)
Bloc Quebecois - 49 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 26 (+1)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

The Conservatives make a big nine-seat gain at the expense of the Liberals, who drop ten. The NDP also pick up one, but the Liberals and NDP now do not have the ability to outvote the Tories alone.The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (15 polls - about 3,160 people)

Conservatives - 37.4% (+3.6)
Liberals - 26.2% (-0.7)
New Democrats - 23.5% (-1.2)
Greens - 12.2% (-2.2)

The Conservatives gain a good amount of ground, but it really is only making up for their four-point loss in August. Another month of Liberal loss means the party is down 1.7 points from July, while the NDP drop is compensated by August's three-point gain. The Greens have lost the gains they made in August. We'll call that the May bump.

ALBERTA (13 polls - about 2,320 people)

Conservatives - 61.3% (-0.1)
Liberals - 18.0% (+0.5)
New Democrats - 10.9% (-0.4)
Greens - 6.8% (-2.7)

The Liberals make a modest gain but it doesn't compare to their two-point loss in August.

PRAIRIES (13 polls - about 1,560 people)

Conservatives - 48.4% (+0.6)
New Democrats - 22.3% (-0.3)
Liberals - 21.8% (-0.8)
Greens - 7.7% (+1.0)

Another modest gain for the Conservatives (up a full point since July) while the Liberals lose most of the gains they made in August. The NDP lose a little but have actually consolidated their August gains, and are now second place in the region.

ONTARIO (16 polls - about 9,860 people)

Conservatives - 39.8% (+3.3)
Liberals - 35.7% (-1.8)
New Democrats - 14.5% (+0.3)
Greens - 9.3% (-2.0)

A huge gain in Ontario, where the Tories have really made a move. The Liberals have lost almost two points this month and almost three points in the last two months. They've also lost the lead in the province. The NDP has tread water, but is still far below where they need to be.

QUEBEC (17 polls - about 8,580 people)

Bloc Quebecois - 37.5% (+1.3)
Liberals - 29.0% (-0.3)
Conservatives - 16.7% (+0.8)
New Democrats - 10.4% (-1.1)
Greens - 5.9% (-1.3)

The Bloc more than makes up for the hit they took in August, and now have an 8.5-point lead. A good Conservative gain in Quebec puts them still four points behind their 2008 electoral result. The Liberals, despite all the brouhaha, have only dropped 0.3 points - though that makes two points since July. The NDP has lost the ground it made last month.

ATLANTIC CANADA (14 polls - about 1,700 people)

Liberals - 38.8% (+1.7)
Conservatives - 30.0% (+2.5)
New Democrats - 24.1% (-3.0)
Greens - 6.8% (-0.9)

And the biggest gain of the month goes to the Liberals - almost five points in Atlantic Canada. A strong performance by the Tories really only makes up for the losses they sustained last month, and puts them out of the range of the NDP who has lost some more ground.

By far, the Conservatives had the best month. They made gains in five out of six regions, with their one loss being in Alberta, and that only of 0.1 points. They made huge gains in Ontario and have made good their recent losses in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

The Bloc had a good month in Quebec.

The Liberals, surprisingly, had the next best month. They made gains in two regions and losses in the other four. The gain in Atlantic Canada was big and important, but the one in Alberta was small and, probably, useless. The losses in the rest of the country were less than one point, except in Ontario where the party desperately needs to improve/

Both the NDP and the Greens had bad months, losing in five regions. The Greens, especially, had large losses but the NDP also had large one-point losses in several regions.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

By-Election Frenzy!

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the government will call four by-elections to fill the empty seats in Parliament. The vote is likely to take place sometime in November.

The four by-elections are in New Westminster-Coquitlam, a riding east of Vancouver previously held by Dawn Black of the NDP, Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, a riding in central Nova Scotia encompassing the cities of Truro and Amherst and previously held by independent Bill Casey, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, an eastern Montreal riding formerly held by Réal Ménard of the Bloc Quebecois, and Montmagny-L'Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup, a riding in the Bas-St-Laurent held by Paul Crête of the Bloc Quebecois.

What fun!

The two Bloc ridings are the closest thing to a lock. They're Bloc strongholds.


In Hochelaga, only NDP candidate Jean-Claude Rocheleau is confirmed, according to the Pundit's Guide. This was the result in 2008:

BQ - 49.7%
LPC - 20.7%
NDP - 14.4%
CPC - 9.2%
GPC - 4.3%

If we take the proportional change of the current projection in the province from the result in 2008, and apply it to the riding, we get:

BLQ - 47.9%
LPC - 25.8%
NDP - 12.9%
GPC - 7.5%
CPC - 7.0%

So the Bloc would comfortably win this riding.


Candidates for the Bloc (Nancy Gagnon) and the Conservatives (Bernard Généraux) have been confirmed. Here is last year's result:

BLQ - 46.0%
CPC - 30.6%
LPC - 15.4%
NDP - 5.5%
GPC - 2.2%

With the proportional change, we get:

BLQ - 44.3%
CPC - 23.3%
LPC - 19.2%
NDP - 4.9%
GPC - 3.8%

Another comfortable win for the Bloc. Something to watch here is how the Conservative vote goes. This used to be Mario Dumont's provincial riding, and in the provincial by-election the ADQ vote melted away. Will the same sort of thing happen for the Tories?

New Westminster-Coquitlam

This one could be a good race. Apparently, the NDP plans to make political hay out of the HST issue. It isn't an NDP stronghold, but over the last few elections the NDP has narrowly beat out the Conservatives. Last year's result:

NDP - 41.8%
CPC - 38.8%
LPC - 11.3%
GPC - 7.2%

With the proportional change:

NDP - 39.1%
CPC - 32.4%
LPC - 15.4%
GPC - 9.0%

So the NDP holds on to it. One thing to watch is the Liberal vote. It sank from the mid-20s to 15% in the last election. Will it get back to the 25% mark?

Diana Dilworth (CPC), Fin Donnelly (NDP), Rebecca Helps (GPC), and Ken Beck Lee (LPC) have been confirmed as candidates.

Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley

This is the real contest. Bill Casey left the Conservatives because he felt their 2007 budget violated the Atlantic Accord. He ran again in 2008 as an independent, and virtually swept the riding:

IND - 69.0%
NDP - 12.3%
CPC - 8.8%
LPC - 8.5%

So what will happen to those Casey voters? Will they go back to the Conservatives? This makes it wide open. But let's look at the 2006 result:

CPC - 52.0%
LPC - 23.9%
NDP - 20.7%
GPC - 2.1%

This suggest the riding is a safe Conservative seat. Let's apply the change between the projection and the 2006 result to this riding:

CPC - 42.6%
NDP - 23.4%
LPC - 22.9%
GPC - 5.9%

So it all depends on how the Liberal/NDP vote splits. The Conservatives look like they'll be a little vulnerable, but should win it if they don't mess it up.

The confirmed candidates are Scott Armstrong (CPC), Mark Austin (NDP), Jason Blanch (GPC), and Jim Burrows (LPC).

I'll be watching these by-elections closely, and maybe I'll make some projections before the vote takes place.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New AR Poll: 10-pt Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid has released a potential game-changer of a poll, taken on September 29 and September 30 and involving 1,000 Canadians. This is the first poll taken entirely in the new political environment, where the government was guaranteed to stay alive thanks to the NDP, and the Coderre affair was in the news. The result:

Conservatives - 37%
Liberals - 27%
New Democrats - 17%
Bloc Quebecois - 11%
Greens - 6%

The Conservatives are steady, unchanged from the last Angus-Reid poll. But the Liberals have dropped two points and both the NDP and the Bloc are up. This is almost a repeat of 2008's election.

Compared to the consistent regional results we've been seeing over the last week or so, this poll has some significant differences.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are doing well with 42% while the Liberals have dropped to 23%. The NDP stands at 28% and the Greens at 7%.

Nothing special in Alberta, but the Liberal vote has tanked in the Prairies. The Conservatives lead with 50%, followed by the NDP at 29% and the Liberals at 13%.

Ontario looks better and better for the Tories, and they've polled 44% there. The Liberals are at a dismal 30%, while the NDP is doing somewhat better than usual at 16%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is doing very well at 41%, followed by the Liberals at 27% (no real change). The Conservatives, surprisingly, have dropped to 14%, slightly better than the NDP at 13%.

In Atlantic Canada, a big change. The Liberals are at 34%, the Tories at 32%, and the NDP at 28%. A three-way race, not the Liberal super-lead we've seen over the last week.

Are some of these results more of an outlier, or will we see other polling firms show similar results over the next week or two? We'll have to wait and see.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 151
Liberals - 75
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 30

Still no majority. And why? Quebec! As I've said over and over again, the Tories can't win a majority without Quebec. They've polled well in BC and Atlantic Canada, two regions they've been struggling in, and excellently in Ontario. But 14% isn't enough in Quebec, and the difference between the 2008 election and this poll is a majority, since with a 10-seat win in the province in this projection the Tories would have a majority.

As for Parliament, 46% of Canadians think it is working well while 43% think it isn't. 12% think it will work better after an election, while 5% think it will work worse. An overwhelming 63% think it won't make a difference. I guess that's why most Canadians don't want to have an election now.