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.


  1. 151 seats is good enough for a majority.

    A few well placed senate appointments, the lure of a cabinet seat enticing opposition members to cross over, and the inevitable batch of retirements that would occur if the Liberals went from 77 to 75 seats would allow Harper to take power.

    It'll all be a little dirty, crass, and ugly but there is no way that he wouldn't be able to get his majority with numbers like that.

    (Whether or not its healthy to form a majority government with so few Quebec seats is another question altogether.)

  2. A majority Conservative government elected in 2010 without significant Quebec representation or support would certainly help the Parti Quebecois's chances in the 2013 provincial election.

  3. Eric,

    any ideas why the Conservatives dropped in Quebec ? Is it all this softwood lumber bussiness ? I'm surprised the Liberals haven't suffered at all from this Denis Codere thing (the way Chantal Hebert was talking last night you'd think they were imploding). Could just be MOE at work I guess.

    As for Atlantic Canada that St. John NB photo op was pure gold. Plus I haven't heard any rumblings from Danny Williams. Maybe if he drops his "ABC" campaign the Conservatives could pick something up in Newfoundland.

  4. Furthermore on Quebec, a Conservative majority where Harper would push his moral and social conservative agenda coupled with a PQ government and a small Conservative Quebec caucus would likely lead to another referendum which would in turn help the Liberals.

  5. The Conservatives are still suffering from the bridge-burning they did during the coalition affair. The Bloc has also launched a new ad campaign equating Harper and Ignatieff in their positions the Bloc sees as contrary to Quebec's. I'm not sure what else, but the Conservatives have been running ads that are a little sensationalistic concerning the Bloc, and the idea of an election and Ignatieff as Prime Minister isn't seen as badly in the province as it is elsewhere. Plus, Quebecers seem to react worse to negative advertising.

    But, as you say, it could just be the MOE. My reading is that the Conservatives are at around 16%, and when you get a result that is outside of the MOE of 16%, it is probably just a blip.

    As for the Coderre thing, it could just be that Quebecers disliked the shutting-out of Martin Cauchon. While he has been certainly less visible than Coderre in the past few years, Coderre hasn't been a minister (AFAIK) while Cauchon has.

    Another referendum isn't too far away, I'd say. Polls put support for sovereignty at about the same level they were before the 1995 campaign.

  6. Anon you'll have to explain that one.

    Harper hasn't pushed ANY moral or social agenda.

    Us small c conservatives have a hard enough time getting him to show FISCAL conservatism let alone anything so controversial as changes to our social policy.

    Unless you're suggesting that there is a hidden agenda.

  7. I think people would be wrong to equate the governing style and choices of the Conservatives in a minority with the way they would govern in a majority. I don't think there is a hidden agenda, but do I think that in five years of majority rule there is a good chance of seeing a lot of Reform and Canadian Alliance-style policies becoming law. The Conservatives have moderated themselves because they are in a minority Parliament, not because they have become more moderate as a party (though they have to a certain extent).

  8. To a certain degree every party moderates their positions when they hold office, majority or otherwise. It's the nature of the beast, the realities of government constrain the flights of fancy that opposition parties can engage in. That's true for the Tories as it is for other parties as well.

    As far as "pushing a moral and social agenda", I haven't the slighest idea what that means. The tories have taken pretty clear and pretty clear and strong positions on some of the traditional bugaboos like abortion and gay marriage (namely, they want nothing to do with either of them anymore). So what do you have in mind when you say "moral and social agenda".

  9. Eric,

    Mr. Ignatieff's dramatic remarks about how this country will be changed beyond recognition and our social bonds dissolved if Harper gets a majority are somewhat ridiculous. This is the sort of uninformed ignorance you should be cautioning people against.

    There are still constraints like the desire to be re-elected at the end of those five years that will be at play. The fate of the PC in the 90's will especially enter into people's thinking.

    Also, a cobbled together razor thin majority isn't a great environment for radical change.

    Honestly, nobody should be holding their breath for the privitization of the CBC, the extension of the Afghanistan mission, big tax cuts, big cuts in government expenditure, and a return to balanced budgets.

  10. I've heard talk that if the Tories were in a majority they would more or less do away with the CBC (but not Newsworld) and leave Radio-Canada alone. This from someone in the know, and someone who would not make up such a story. Have to keep the source anonymous, though.

  11. I'm curious how just based on the Angus Reid poll alone, the NDP would be at 30 seats compared to the current 37. From eyeballing these numbers and comparing them to what each party got in each region in the last election, it would suggest gaining a seat in Sask, losing one in AB, losing a couple in Ontario (in places where the Tories were a close second the NDP), but in BC the Tories are down 2% from '08 and the NDP is up 2%, so that suggests to me gaining a couple of seats narrowly lost to the Tories last time. All of which would mean status quo in seats.

  12. I don't base the projection only on 2008 results, so that's the short answer. And even if we had the same results as 2008 at the provincial level, the distribution wouldn't exactly be the same.

    For this one poll, I have them losing one seat in BC (the Liberals are up too much), losing one in Alberta, gaining one in the Prairies, losing six in Ontario, gaining one in Atlantic Canada, and losing one in the North.

  13. Eric,

    that's sort of what i've read in the past - leave radio alone, don't touch Quebec stuff, and slowly strangle the broadcast network.

    I think its a question of priorities and the politics of it though. It won't win any new votes, there'll be stiff opposition, and there's a lot more important things to worry about.

    Still it would be extremely popular with the base. The CBC's left wing world view is annoying. Plus its one of those so called Canadian icons like the charter that is so identified with and woven into the mythology of the Liberal party.

    Anything that takes a crack at that arrogance of there being a "natural governing party" made up of the real Canadians, all of which apparently live in Ontario, who supposedly built everything that is Canada - all while being Liberal.

    Good red meat but pretty useless. I'd only imagine Harper doing it if he needed a big shiny distraction so he could do something unpopular with his base.

  14. I don't find CBC to be very left-wing, and some of the anchors and reporters on Newsworld seem so cynical about politics that they make fun of everyone anyway.

    Accusations of media bias is one of things that annoys me the most. And what does it matter? If you're smart enough you see right through it. I know what I'm reading when I read the National Post or the Toronto Star.

  15. Eric,

    But even if true, that suggests a significant more subtle position than the position the Tories (or one of their predecessor parties) used to adopt. The reality is the arguments for CBC TV's main english language network are much weaker than they used to be (in part because it's programming isn't obviously better than that offered by Canada's private networks, despite hefty subsidies, in part because we now live in a 500 channel universe with countless other opportunities for media online). Doing away with it can hardly be criticized as "pushing moral and social agenda" (nor would it likely be particularly unpopular in Quebec).

    That your source would talk about retaining Radio Canada and Newsworld (and, I presume, CBC radio) is interesting, because those are generally regarded as the CBC services that are done well (and, for those who believe in a left-wing bias in the CBC, those branches which would preserve that bias, i.e., news and current events, rahter than entertainment).

  16. Bob,

    To clarify, I did not bring up the social and moral agenda. As to being unpopular in Quebec, it absolutely would be if Radio-Canada was touched. The SRC does very well in Quebec, far, far better than the CBC does.

  17. It's all about trends, and the unequivocal result is that if the LPC had managed a non-confidence vote, they couldn't possibly have picked a worse time, or worse agenda. One really has to question if the current backroom is capable. How do they turn this around?

  18. All media seems to be somewhat biased by the very nature of the editing process. Its simply the reality of the medium. I'm fine with it and like many media consumers tend to enjoy publications that reflect and reinforce my existing world view.

    The problem is when its done in the name of all Canadians and supported by all Canadians via tax subsidies. That's what gets people annoyed.

    And yes, I cannot stand the daytime hosts with their obnoxious and loud style and most likely fake populism. Its transparent that these are well educated individuals straining to be a regular Tim Horton's Canadian who don't like those politicians in Ottawa. Its like they're play acting a really bad stereotype.

    It reminds me of Ignatieff talking about growing up near a barn and loving the smell and using expressions like "this dog won't hunt!"

    I've read and enjoyed just about every single one of his non-fiction works and he simply does not express ideas in a folksy fashion.

    He's more comfortable explaining how the Freudian theory of the narcissism of small differences explains the fighting between the Croation people and the Serbian people after the break up of Yugoslavia.

  19. I think most of PMSH's supporters in the west hope for a majority without a huge Quebec caucus. Give us one or two MP's out of about 12 that are cabinet material. If Iffy were to win with Quebec and Ont we know they would dominate cabinet, so why can't the west dominate for a change.

  20. What libs do you think will lose their seat as a result of this poll, maybe Goodale, and one or two in BC.


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