Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 6.3-pt Conservative Lead; Nanos Poll

EKOS has released its weekly poll this morning, taken between September 23 and September 29 and involved 3,216 Canadians. The result:

Conservatives - 36.0%
Liberals - 29.7%
New Democrats - 13.9%
Greens - 10.5%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.8%

This represents small losses for the Conservatives and Liberals, and modest gains for the NDP. But this is just what we've seen over the last little while, so nothing new here. The Tory lead seems to have plateaued, while the Liberal vote has seemed to have bottomed out. The NDP are still in a very worrisome position.

The regionals are consistent with what the other polling firms have reported over the last week.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives lead with 37.4%, the Liberals follow with 25%, and the NDP is in third with 23.3%. The Greens are at 14.3%. I think the NDP and Liberals would be happy with these results, the Conservatives not.

Alberta has the Conservatives way out in front at 63.1%, followed by the Liberals at 16%, the Greens at 10.8%, and the NDP at 10.1%.

The Tories lead in the Prairies with 48.8% followed by the Liberals at 26.2% and the NDP, still under-achieving, at 20%.

The big Conservative lead in Ontario seems to be narrowing of late, with the Conservatives at 40.2% and the Liberals at 35.7%. The NDP is at 13.4%.

The Bloc sees a bump in Quebec to 39.6%, while the Liberals have dropped a little to 26.4%. The Conservatives are at 16.6%, the Greens at 9.2%, and the NDP at 8.2%. If the NDP finishes in fifth in Quebec, they really need to be worried.

The Liberals still hold a significant lead in Atlantic Canada, 40.7% to the Tory 28.7%. At 18.9%, the NDP is in trouble.

Demographically, the Tories lead the Liberals among males (40.1% to 28.4%), females (31.8% to 31.1%), 45-64 year olds (40.9% to 29.8%), 65+ year olds (45.6% to 29.8%), high school graduates (37.9% to 22.3%), college graduates (40.3% to 26.9%), and in Vancouver (40.2% to 26.5%), Calgary (62% to 19.6%), and Ottawa (43.4% to 39.3%). That last one shows the Liberals closing the gap in the nation's capital. And why do they poll Calgary? That is a deep Tory blue. Edmonton would be so much more useful.

The Liberals lead the Greens among those aged 25 or younger (25% to 22.5%). They lead the Tories among 25-44 year olds (30.6% to 30.5%) and university graduates (37.1% to 31.3%). They also lead in Toronto (43.3% to 38.1%) after losing that lead last week.

The Bloc leads in Montreal (34.5% to the Liberals' 31.7%). The NDP's best result came among those under the age of 25, with 16.9%. Among the major cities, they're doing best in Vancouver (20.7%).

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 136
Liberals - 99
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 21

Some better results for the Liberals then we've been seeing, and the Bloc would certainly be happy with 52.

The poll also featured some other topics. 38% of Canadians are embarrassed with Canada's environmental record, while 23% are proud and 29% are neither.

49% support compulsory voting (surprisingly), while 36% oppose.

The mission in Afghanistan is unpopular, with 33% supporting it and 52% opposing it. The breakdown by party affiliation is interesting, as 49% of Conservatives support the mission compared to 34% who don't. Meanwhile, 55% of Liberals oppose the mission compared to 31% who support it. The Bloc's voters are most adamant about the war, with 75% opposed and only 14% in favour.

Nanos has released the results of an older poll, taken between September 3 and September 11 and involving 1,002 Canadians. It has to do with government and elections.

74.6% of Canadians expect minorities in the future, but 80.6% would prefer a majority. Oddly, only Green voters aren't in favour of a majority government. Why Bloc or NDP voters would like to see a majority government is beyond me. "I want to vote for a party that will be absolutely irrelevant for four years!" How does that make sense? The NDP and the Bloc have had real influence on how the government is run because they weren't in majority situations.

As to who can best manage a minority government, and Nanos begs the respondents to put aside their political views (they don't), Stephen Harper leads with 32.8%, followed by Michael Ignatieff at 23.0%, Jack Layton at 14.4%, and Gilles Duceppe at 5.9%.

Finally, as to whether Canadians wanted an election this fall or not, 22.6% said they did and 72.6% said they didn't.

The projection will be updated either tonight or tomorrow morning.


  1. In essence unchanged but with a slight slip by the Liberals. As long as Ignatieff leads I suspect this will be the situation.

  2. I'm not so sure. I see signs of recovery in Ontario and the Liberals are back in a very comfortable lead in Atlantic Canada. British Columbia is still strong. Things aren't as bleak as they might appear.

    With bad numbers in BC, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, it is the NDP that is in real trouble.

  3. I agree, this 29% number seems to be the bottom for the Liberals. It shouldn't be too hard for them to increase support in Ontario and Quebec if they play their cards right. It's the NDP who needs to worry and the Conservatives to an extent too, who even though are leading in polls, just can't seem to break out of the mid-high thirties, but I guess that has been their issue for... almost ever

  4. I remember all those polls during Dion's reign that never put the Liberals below 30%. Then the campaign began and they quickly dropped to the mid 20s.

    To the extent that Liberal national numbers have recovered at all compared to the last election, its almost all been because of higher support in Quebec...but there seems to be every reason to believe that the Liberals are likely to head into a bit of downward spiral in Quebec and the polls so far are not recent enough to pick up all the bad publicity.

  5. Eric,

    Ekos was under reporting CPC numbers or did the undecided split vote for the CPC in October 2008?

    October 11-13 2008 Poll vs Sept 30, 2009

    Oct 2008
    In our latest roll-up of results from Toronto, the Liberals have a huge lead over the other parties: 41% to just 21% for the Conservatives and 23% for the NDP.

    Where the battle is truly joined between the Liberals and Conservatives is in the suburban area that surrounds Toronto proper.


    The +20% lead from 2008 for the Liberals in Toronto or 905 has vanished is it reflected in your polls?

    Are those ridings in 416/905 all going to the Liberals? When did the CPC ever beat the Liberals in Toronto? 41.9% vs 37.2%?

    The CPC are also polling 60% in AB in 2009 vs 2008 they polled 56%.

    BC-Ekos October

    Liberal polled 24.9 in 2008
    "" 25% in 2009

    CPC polled 36.4 in 2008 now 37.4
    NDP 24.7 in 2008 vs 23.3 in 2009

    Projection: Liberal still gain 5 seats?

  6. Please write more clearly in your comments because I don't understand you.

  7. The earlier post show little or no growth in liberal support from October 2008 Polls to Sept 30 2009.

    Ontario, BC, AB, show CPC are stable or up, Liberals lose in Ont, NDP stable are moe +4=7% in regionals.

    Ekos Polls are polling NDP,Liberals higher vs CPC vs actual results.

  8. Well, the aggregator takes care of that.

  9. Robber88,

    your logic is a little off. This poll isn't bad for the Liberals because even though they are at low numbers they could go up ?

    Yes, or they could go down. Or the Conservatives could go up.

    Honestly though, under 100 seats in the house of commons for the former natural governing party of Canada is astounding. I don't think Ignatieff could even hold on to his leadership with these results.

  10. I don't know, incrasing the Liberal caucus from 77 to, say, 97 seats and improving their national vote from 26% to 30% would not be a failure. Unless Ignatieff messes up the campaign and shows himself to be a bad party leader, I think he would stick around. The Liberals can't continue changing leaders over and over again. It isn't as if they have someone in the wings that is a guaranteed winner.

  11. Eric,

    those results would be great if it was the NDP. But the Liberals won't grade on a curve and won't give credit for a dead cat bounce.

    I actually agree with what you're saying I just don't think the Liberals will. There's too much infighting.

    One of the fracture lines we've been seeing for awhile now is Bob Rae (now with Martin Cauchon representing him in Quebec) who wants to take the party firmly to the left and re-establish the coalition (maybe even merge with the NDP one day).

    Rae gave up his leadership ambitions once for Ignatieff, hard to see him doing it again.

  12. A merger with the NDP is not a bad idea. In the context of right and left, the Canadian Alliance was to the Progressive Conservatives what the NDP is to the Liberals. The mainstream extreme of their spectrum. Look how well the 'unite the Right' idea worked out. The left is hopelessly divided, and I think the Conservatives will hold the advantage indefinitely until the Liberals and NDP merge or the Liberals bury the NDP the old fashioned way.

  13. Lets have an election so that we can see the Liberal vote really "bottom out"

    The real bottom will only be found when they lose their maddening sense of entitlement, which I don't see happening for at least 2 more electoral whuppings.

  14. The Liberal vote bottomed out with Dion at 26%. I really, really, really don't see them doing worse than that. Dion was about as unsuited for political leadership as possible.

  15. An NDP-Liberal alliance would scare away a lot of bussiness friendly, corporate type Liberals like Maurizio Bevilacqua. Or it could make more left-wing votes migrate to the Greens as the NDP moderated. So there is a lot of potential risk. But Bob Rae would definetly be the guy to lead it.

  16. Anyone here know who is going to be cross from the Liberals to the Conservatives according to recent rumours ??

    This is what Don Martin reported in the Calgary Herald:

    "This is a very speculative rumble, but at least one prominent MP has quietly mused to me about crossing the floor to join the Conservatives."

    Kady O'Malley said she's heard the same thing and that its:

    "Not Irwin Cotler, and not someone that I'd expect to see the Conservatives roll out the red carpet (blue carpet?)."

    If its Denis Coderre my head will explode.

    Is there any way to turn back a floor crosser ?

  17. They said the Canadian Alliance would scare away the centre-right people from the Progressive Conservatives. It did, but only for an election. Then the Conservatives moderated themselves, and now they are a centre-right party.

    The Canadian Alliance people pulled the Progressive Conservatives to the right, and the Progressive Conservatives pulled the Canadian Alliance people to the left.

    The same thing would happen in a Liberal-NDP. The Liberals would pull the NDP right and the NDP would pull the Liberals left, so you'd have a true centre-left party. They'd probably take a hit in one election.

    Consider, though, the combination of the Liberal and NDP vote since 2004:

    2008 - 44.4%
    2006 - 47.7%
    2004 - 52.4%

    Now compare that to the Canadian Alliance/Reform and Progressive Conservative combinations in the three elections prior:

    2000 - 37.7%
    1997 - 38.2%
    1993 - 34.7%

    By those numbers, it seems that a Liberal/NDP merger would have a better chance of success than the Canadian Alliance/Progressive Conservative merger did.

  18. "Dion was about as unsuited for political leadership as possible."

    ...and yet he still managed to beat Ignatieff for the Liberal leadership.

    I have great respect for Iggy's intellect, but his political instincts have been shown to be nearly as bad, or perhaps worse, then Dions.

    The Liberals should go with someone who is not a professor, my suggestion would be Dominic LeBlanc.

    Ignatieff has shown that he doesn't have the fortitude to renew the Liberal Party.

  19. Too early to make such a statement. Jean Chretien became leader of the party in 1990, and in 1993 on the eve of the election campaign, Kim Campbell was supposed to clean the floor with him.

  20. As much as I dislike Chretien he was a political bulldog, with a leadership style that didn't tolerate dissent.

    The Party leader whom I find most reminicent of Jean is... Stephen Harper (whom I dislike less)

    Kim Campbell was annointed the leader of the PCs, and had a political tin ear that would make John Tory blush.
    What current leader does this remind me of?


  21. AJR79,

    I think its more simple then all that. People are tired of these university profs. They want a Bill Clinton type guy.

    I think that's what's kept Harper from politically imploding during the recession.

    The family, the sweaters, the occasional sense of humour, the Tim Horton's stuff.

    When he says he feels your pain it sounds plausible.

    When Ignatieff says he feels your pain you feel like the subject of a sociology experiment.

    If the Liberal party is smart they'll give someone with a common touch a try. Bob Rae comes to mind.

  22. Being a university graduate, I have no trouble with a university professor as a Prime Minister. I want the smartest, most competent person as Prime Minister. Whether he relates to me is irrelevant, whether he has the common touch is useless when deciding on economic and foreign policy.

  23. Eric,

    I'm not sure you can generalize from the experience of the CA/PC merger to a NDP/Liberal merger.

    The obvious difference is that 15 years before the CA/PC merger many of their members had been members of the same party (Stephen Harper started of as PC). The same can't be said of the NDP and the Liberals (who often hate one another more than they hate the Tories).

    Moreover, I doubt some kind of NDP/Liberal united party would survive long if, after on election, the new party shifted back to the right to fight off the CPC. There's a reason that current NDP supporters vote NDP rather than Liberal, and it's because they don't want to be at that center (or more accurately, the center-right from where the Grits typically govern). A Liberal/NDP party which shifts at all the left would be ceding the high ground of the Canadian political spectrum to the Tories.

    Moreover, arguably the biggest beneficiary of such a Liberal/NDP merger would be the greens, who would likely be able to establish themself a nice little nice as a true left-wing party. Merger with the NDP (and shifting to the left) isn't all bright an idea if it causes a big chunk of former NDP voters to vote their conscience for the greens.

    Moreover, historically (and certainly in western Canad), it has been the case that conservative parties(and particularly the Reform Party) have been the second choice of NDP supporters (by virtue of its populist, anti-eastern establishment tendencies). It would be a dangerous to presume that NDP voters are just Liberals in a hurry.

  24. Eric,

    I believe there was a poll that showed Ignatieff IS popular with university graduates.

    That's about the only people he's popular with.

    And that doesn't win you elections.

    Bob Rae is a rhodes scholar and Stephen Harper has a masters in economics.

    You can be pretty darn smart and yet still have the common touch and not come off as a university prof.

  25. Indeed, and of course I agree that it helps you win elections, but should it?

  26. I disagree, right now the Green party is already way to the right of the NDP. It tries to appeal to wealthy people who hate unions but who buy organic vegetables. In the utterly hypothetical scenario where the NDP and Liberals were to merge, at most you might get a few people voting Communist out of protest - that would be about it. Right now the NDP and Liberals are essentially merged at the provincial level in Manitoba and sask. under the NDP moniker - and you'd be hard pressed to find two provinces where green support is more non-existent than in "Saskitoba".

    "Moreover, arguably the biggest beneficiary of such a Liberal/NDP merger would be the greens, who would likely be able to establish themself a nice little nice as a true left-wing party. Merger with the NDP (and shifting to the left) isn't all bright an idea if it causes a big chunk of former NDP voters to vote their conscience for the greens."

  27. I'd like to pick up on Eric's comment:

    "Why Bloc or NDP voters would like to see a majority government is beyond me."

    Yeah! What is up with that?

    And almost all of that was Bloc and NDP supporters who just plain "agree" rather than merely "somewhat agree".

    I suppose one possible explanation might simply be that many respondents didn't think through the question. After all, voters are not actually required to answer that question during elections.

    It may be that some NDP voters had in mind an NDP majority either because they are ever-hopeful sorts, or because they were treating the question as theoretical rather than practical.

    In any case, that is one of the strangest survey results I've ever seen.

  28. Eric,

    I think it may have an impact on public engagement, willingness to vote, and feelings toward government in general.

    When politicians are percieved to be aloof or out of touch I think it damages democracy.

    I believe in politics and think its a noble pursuit - not just for the corrupt and arrogant. I get annoyed when people make statements about how all politicians are liars or all the parties are the same.

    From a job perspective I think the common touch is irrelevent.

    But from the perspective of getting people involved or feeling good about their government I think its important.

    If Harper had more of a sense of humour and made people feel good about things, that sort of Reagan/Mulroney quality, I think he'd do a lot better in elections.

  29. Agreed. Harper is most likable when he goes on TSN or HNIC to talk hockey during one of the periods.

  30. Another day, another poll:

    The vote came on a day when a new poll showed little change in voters' preferences. The Angus Reid/Toronto Star poll showed the Conservatives at 37 per cent, Liberals at 27 per cent, NDP at 17 per cent, Bloc Quebecois at 11 per cent and Greens at 6 per cent.

    The poll of 1,000 Canadians was done Tuesday and Wednesday and is considered accurate within 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

  31. I knew I was tempting fate by doing the projection update calculations tonight rather than tomorrow.


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