Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 10-pt Conservative Lead

The latest EKOS poll is available online (thanks DL for pointing it out), and has some interesting results.Nationally, this represents a loss of 0.8 points for the Conservatives and 0.2 points for the Liberals compared to last week's EKOS poll. We can certainly call the Liberal support steady, and the Conservative loss is no biggie, but this marks a steady decline of the Tory vote from the dizzying highs of early October.

In fact, I love this poll. It vindicates my projection, as I'm sure many of you saw the Conservatives polling at 40% to 41% and wondered why I was still at around 35%. The projection cancels out the sort of momentary extremes the Conservatives were riding on for a few weeks.

We also see an NDP gain of 0.5 points from EKOS's last poll. In general, this is a very good poll for them.

It is not a very good poll for the Conservatives, leaving aside their 10-point lead. They're down five points in British Columbia, five in Alberta, five in the Prairies, and one in Ontario. That's made up by gains of two points in Quebec and four points in Atlantic Canada. Indeed, in that region of the country the Tories are polling extraordinarily well: 36.5%.

The silver lining for the Liberals in this poll is that the bleeding has stopped. They're up four points in British Columbia, but down four in the Prairies and three in Quebec. They're steady in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada. The Quebec result, putting them in third, is certainly worrisome. But the by-election results in the province sort of predicted this drop.

For the NDP, they haven't lost any ground anywhere. They are holding fast, though, in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. But they're up two points in Alberta and, most significantly, eight in the Prairies.

The Bloc is down two points, which should come as no surprise after the disappointing by-election result in the Bas-St-Laurent.

About 18% of respondents were undecided, well within the norm.

One of the demographic results that explains the strong NDP showing is in the under-25 age group. There, the NDP is first with 23.9%, followed by the Liberals at 23.8% and the Conservatives at 22.7%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 84
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 32

So, almost identical to the 2008 election result. There are some differences, however.

The Conservatives take 68 seats in the West (including the North), 54 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada. That's compared to the 2008 result of 72 in the West, 51 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, and 10 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals take 12 seats in the West, 40 in Ontario, 14 in Quebec, and 16 in Atlantic Canada. The 2008 breakdown was 8-38-14-17.

The New Democrats win 13 seats out West (compared to 15 last year), 12 in Ontario (rather than 17), two in Quebec (rather than one), and five in Atlantic Canada (instead of four).

The biggest thing to take from this poll is that we're back to square one, back to October 2008. Which means no one has a reason to go to an election.


  1. "The biggest thing to take from this poll is that we're back to square one, back to October 2008. Which means no one has a reason to go to an election."


    Going by just your projection sure but there's an entire election campaign before anybody votes.

    Money, momentum, candidates, organization - right now the NDP and the Conservatives have the juice.

    I stand by my prediction that Harper can pass anything (unless its so outrageous Iggy decides to go on a suicide mission on principle alone.)

    That the NDP are in a position to vote against anything of confidence and that the Liberals have no choice but to prop up the government.

  2. Some of us are not worried about the highs or lows month to month.

    A few of us are more concerned about the size of the GAP of double digits the general direction of the trend and if the inroads into "winnable" ridings is progressing.

    A few of us may not "get it" the algorithm while other projection sites don't show the LPOC gaining of everyone else expense.

    A few of us believe 2-3% being Polled were "PO'd" by the Liberals again threatening another election and wanted to send another message again.

    Does support drop for LPOC when Liberals threaten an election?

    Regardless this is a great site. Tremendous effort with very little partisan or bias.

  3. Eric wrote:

    "It vindicates my projection, as I'm sure many of you saw the Conservatives polling at 40% to 41% and wondered why I was still at around 35%. The projection cancels out the sort of momentary extremes the Conservatives were riding on for a few weeks."

    I think your methodology has merit for a non-election period.

    Polls do tend to produce spikes for parties (either up or down) that are due to short term factors that are unlikely to significantly impact an election that has not been called yet. Your inclusion of older polls tends to have a "smoothing" effect that one can reasonably argue might better represent a party's true medium/long term prospects.

    However, I wonder about this methodology during an election campaign. It's not at all impossible to have poll numbers change in a significant way in the last two weeks of a campaign.

    Under these circumstances, your official projection would not fully capture such a change in voter sentiment and hence might be disadvantaged.

    I guess I'm just wondering if you've given thought to this and if you plan to change your weighting model during an actual election campaign.

  4. I have given thought to it and have a plan for weighting the polls during an election campaign.

  5. Jesse's right about everyone's appetite for an election. I expect we'll see Harper return to the sort of strongarm government we saw when Dion was sitting across the aisle from him. The Conservatives can present almost any bill and have the Liberals support it as long as it isn't a bill that would make a good election platform for Ignatieff.

  6. As I read the Ekos release, I wonder anout this poll. Since they asked about other things beyond just voter intention, I wonder if that might have moved people toward the Greens. This is a very strong poll for the Greens, and they're also the only party who have had nothing to do with all this political wrangling over the flu vaccine.

    I'm not confident we'll see these Green numbers persist.

  7. Hey, Canadian Sense;

    Its all well and fine to point out the 10-point lead over the Liberals, but its my duty to point out that Harper still can't seem to hold on to that majority! Methinks both parties have some issues to address.

  8. I think that Ekos asks the vote question first and only then asks about other issues so I don't see how asking questions about the flu would drive people to the Greens.

  9. Volkov,

    Who is concerned about one poll? The direction and trend is more important. The second point you can't grasp. The CPC are back to October 2008 and the Liberals are back to the WORST in --->history<--- support levels.

    Volk, you are also ignoring the state of affairs with the internal war at LPOC.

    Will Bob, Denis take over?

    We have NO election, MI backed down again, the current donors have increased but are donating less. (Elections Canada)
    Another honeymoon wasted and 4th leader in 5 years: who can't lead on a single Ballot question. (Nanos Sept 2009)

    Take a look at EKOS last 3 months:

    A 4% move from Libs and CPC both in different directions.

  10. The lowest support levels ever, eh? I suppose you've overlooked the polls during the 2006 GE, the old polls back in the days of Mulroney when the NDP were leapfrogging ahead of both parties.

    This is no precedent, and not something I'm worried over, because I'm quite aware of the issues facing the Liberal Party - are you aware of the ones facing the Conservatives? Lets review.

    After four years in power in what has been a remarkably centrist government, the CPC has mostly been ahead of the Liberals and at times breached majority status in the polls. That is surely the sign of an effective and liked government, non?

    But in the two weakest elections for the Liberals in recent memory, 2006 and 2008, when we were not only divided but poor and ideologically starving, Stephen Harper could not get a majority government.

    Even though his Opposition is weak and ripe for a good kicking, he cannot win a majority. That is quite the "wtf" question, if there ever was one.

    And it has frustrated so many thinkers for the past four years. I think I now know why; instead of applying your considerable knowledge towards the current state of affairs in the Liberal Party, hows about looking at your own party and figuring out that worrisome question. Maybe some extra smarts will push ahead another theory or two.

    And when you come back with an answer to that intrepid question, you can continue to rag on about how the Liberals suck. Until then, solve your own problems before you criticize those of others.

  11. Volkov,

    Don't be silly. Nobody can achieve a real majority in the current environment. The Liberals won't because of the united right, the Conservatives won't because of the BQ taking up so many seats in Quebec. Unless or until there is a realignment (or those extra seats for BC, Alberta, Ontario are approved) we're going to see a similiar dynamic as we do now. These are not the days of Mulroney (no BQ) or Chretien (divided right).

    However, to suggest Harper has any problems is ridiculous.

    He's increased our seats every election. Stop moving the goalposts!

    The west has never been in government before, we wanted in, we got in, as Harper says the worst day in gov't is better than the best day in opposition.

  12. Jesse,

    It would not be hard to win a majority government in the current political climate, at least with the right conditions. Harper nearly had it but screwed it up when he said some things the Quebecois didn't like. He also could have swept Atlantic Canada with a few less missteps. A majority for Harper is quite in reach. I don't subscribe to the "Greens takin' away all our votes" theory. It is poppy cock, and doesn't fly in first-past-the-post.

    And I must laugh at this idea of "the West being in government."

    I ask you, aside from this idiotic idea of regions being in power of the federal government, what exactly makes you think Harper will put the West in government? Because he's from Calgary? Because he's a former Reformer? Because Preston Manning talked to him a couple times?

    Until Alberta and the Prairies gain about 15 million in population, any government will be indebted to the honourable members from Ontario and Quebec. It is just the nature of demographics and riding distribution. You can't simply cut out the two largest population centers and expect to even be a government. And guess what - Ontario and Quebec are definitely not the West.

    So unless our gracious host Eric can concoct a situation where Harper wins a government with Western seats as a majority, there is going to be some issues with "the West being in government," which is amazing considering the concept already has so much wrong with it.

  13. Volk,

    I use links to back up my posts. Try it will help with clearing up your math.

    Not sure where you find your facts.

    2006 General Election Liberals had 30.2% for 103 seats January 23, 2006

    November 5, 2009] – A recession, a new Liberal leader, a new president south of the border – all coming since last year’s Canadian election – but after many ups and downs since then, Canada’s two major political parties are back where they were in the election of 2008, almost to the decimal point.

    The Conservatives have edged down somewhat from their October peak, in the aftermath of Liberal election threats, but they are still about where they were in the 2008 election. The Liberals, meanwhile, after having enjoyed a relatively stronger spring and summer, are back down where they were in the 2008 election – their worst-ever in history.

  14. Canadian Sense,

    Note, I said 2006 wasn't the weakest performance. I said it was fairly weak for the Liberal Party. I mean, for Christ's sake, we fell behind the Conservatives in the popular vote in Quebec.

    As well, I was also saying that the polls during the 2006 election had the Liberals quite low. Did you realize that the Liberals once polled 24%, compared to the CPC 42%? When we were the incumbent government? 10 days before election day? Must I go on to prove this point?

    The fact that the Liberals are at the October 08 levels is a blessing in some cases.

    But, you didn't figure out why Harper can't get his majority yet, have you?

    Oh, and the 2008 performance wasn't the worst in Liberal history. The Liberals only garnered 22% of the vote in the 1867 election.

  15. Volk,

    I am not sure listening to the LPOC talking points make a great deal of sense.

    In the last 3 General Elections the support for the Liberals has gone down from 37.6%, 30.2% to 26.3%.

    The Majority Dilema? In October 2008 ROC gave the CPC 57% of the seats excluding QC. QC has 75 seats. It is nearly impossible to have a majority with 20 seats from QC.

    Not to worry Liberal voters in ROC might show up in 2010. If they don't and drop another 1-3% as they have for the last 3 G.E. ask ERIC to run that simulation. Under 50 seats. Rat Pack II.

  16. Volk's right. The Liberals polled under 26% three times during the 2006 campaign.

  17. We're finally making some headway!

    Tell me, Canadian Sense, why can't Harper get those crucial Quebec votes?

    Why can't this wonderfully centrist Prime Minister get those nice Quebec votes when they're clearly willing to vote for him with some extra push?

  18. Volkv,

    you believe what the punditry said the QC voters were outraged over a $ 45 million cuts to ARTS? Too funny.

    The CPC bet on the ADQ to deliver. ADQ were replaced with the Charest ground teams resulting a the Bloc losing a riding they held for 16 years.

    Same with Casey's Riding Team who came back and delivered the riding back to the CPC party.

    Voters will vote in their own self interests.

  19. Volk I like to use "official" Polls.

    Removes any doubt about SPIN.

  20. Canadian Sense,

    No, I don't believe the arts funding cuts were the sole cause of Harper's loss of Quebec. Don't be silly.

    I'm also aware that the CPC had amazing organizational skills and were able to win back CCMV and Riviere-de-Loup, albeit the latter with a candidate who doesn't consider himself much of a Conservative anyways.

    But I fail to see the point in your mentioning of these by-elections and "voter self interest." Are you saying it isn't in the best interests of Quebecois to vote for Harper? I know it isn't in mine, and I'm fairly sure it is for you - but how can you claim anything of the sort for people you don't know? Just doesn't make sense, or is there something I'm missing.

    And, unless you consider Strategic Counsel and Ekos "unofficial" polls, then I have no idea what you mean by "SPIN."

  21. You demand the CPC win QC. Take a look at when the Bloc were formed. All three FEDERAL parties are small players splitting the Federal vote. (Pretending any of the three is a threat to the Bloc is hysterical) I don't believe the CPC, Lib spin on taking QC back since 2000. Still don't believe it today. If Charest helps they might pick up another 5-7 rural seats around Quebec City.

    The Provincial Liberals helped this time and they had a star candidate. The CPC don't have a majority but govern just the same. Long Gun Registry? GST reduction, EAP.

    The Liberals are a great cheerleaders for the government.

    Not sure?

    The Liberals have a great record in supporting the CPC Bills. Thanks again for a nearly perfect record.

    That one non-confidence vote will be forgiven. Liberals learned a lesson and won't do it again.

  22. Canadian Sense,

    Well, thank you for making a post that had mostly nothing to do with what I was saying. It was very interesting. Like watching someone blindly type words out on the keyboard without any thought as to relevance or red herrings.

    Anyways, the one relevant part was that the Bloc are unbeatable because of a federalist vote split. This is true, but it doesn't make the Bloc unbeatable in enough ridings to give the CPC an edge. I can give you a list of ridings where this can occur if you wish it. I never said that they had to take out the Bloc - just take a big enough share of the federalist vote, which they easily could have done with some more graceful politik. So, negatory there.

    Oh, and, have fun dealing with them socialists, bud.

  23. Volk,

    I don't need to introduce a Red Herring.

    You introduced a need for a majority and blamed them for being unable.

    I simply turned you inside out and made you look foolish.

    Clearly they are governing with a majority because the opposition are unwilling to remove their confidence.

    The CPC have only won minorities and need at least one dance partner to pass Bills.

    Clearly the Liberals are the best dance partners because they don't have any principles or values to uphold.

    Fear of going to the Polls and facing the voters has kept them in line for years.

    The Opposition forgot their duty and publicly refuted the CPC Plan and voila we had October 14,2008 result.

    Canadians having been moving to support the CPC and the NDP, Bloc are doing well at the expense of the Liberals as well.

    Not to worry in the Liberals are interested in another lesson they can vote against the money Bill in December 2009.

    Maybe they can vote against the Budget in 2010.

    Sadly I was against the size of EAP and the speed because mistakes will be made.

    Sadly no other party has any interests in protecting the taxpayers money.

    They want more money for more special interest groups.

    The Liberals are crying foul over 145 million on Advertising/Signs but the Auto Bailout for $ 10 Billion?

    Really a shame the Liberals are too busy looking for silly issues instead of doing their job. The Rat Pack did a much better job with half the MP's.

  24. CanadianSense,

    Please read over your posts before posting them. They are extremely difficult to follow and understand.

  25. Canadian Sense,

    First point is that you moved the discussion from whether or not the Conservative Party could get a majority, and their inability to, to something about Liberals dancing. That is a red herring by definition.

    Secondly, the Liberals never caused the Oct 2008 election - Harper called it himself. Get your facts straight.

    Thirdly; the duty of the Opposition is not to vote with the government. It is the duty of a minority government to earn the support of the Opposition.

    Fourthly, more voters have chosen not to vote, rather than switch their votes. That isn't a populace flocking to the NDP or Conservatives or Bloc - that is the signs of an apathetic voting population. Not that I could blame them for not wanting to vote, mind you.

    Finally, the Liberals no longer have to support the Conservatives, and I doubt they will again. The NDP are indebted to the government, and they don't want to go to an election any more than the Liberals do. All bets are on Harper calling another election on his own accord, without being defeated in a confidence motion, and again breaking his own electoral law which I actually liked.


    The more you talk about "another lesson" for the Liberals, the more I think you believe the Conservatives are entitled to rule the country by decree. 'Tis a tad elitist.

  26. Canadian Sense,

    I appreciate the zeal in which you defend the Conservatives with, and while this has been interesting for the little while it has lasted, I must end it because I need some sleep.

    Have a good night.

  27. Volkov,

    Let me address three things you've said point by point:

    "It would not be hard to win a majority government in the current political climate, at least with the right conditions"

    Really? Eric's projections show the barest of majorities at the times when Harper has his highest poll numbers. (Real numbers, that show up as more than a blip and aren't taken during a campaign). My statement was a "true majority" (ie. greater than a razors edge of seats). He's not blowing anything, he's moving between a super minority and a razor's majority which aren't very different positions (notice the gun registry being defeated in a minority situation).

    "there is going to be some issues with 'the West being in government'"

    Its pretty obviously metaphoric for whether our concerns are addressed.

    No green shift, no Kyoto, no new national tax and spend programs that drain wealth from the West.

    Our needs and concerns are most definetly being met.

    "It is the duty of a minority government to earn the support of the Opposition"

    No its not. Its the duty of the party with the most seats in the house of commons to form a government and put forward legislation they think will help the country.

    If the opposition doesn't support those initiatives then there is an election. Pretty simple.

  28. Volvok,

    Finally, one more point. Do you not see the complete flaw in your logic here?

    Harper keeps getting more and more seats every election and you're saying he's failing because he's not doing enough ?

    By that standard I could say "why isn't Harper master of the universe yet? He must be a failure!"

    Or "Michael Phelps only won a dozen or so golds but he can't swim across the ocean!! He must be a failure!!"

    When Harper became a party leader he had something like 60 seats. Now he has 145.

    If you want to suggest someone you think could have done better then by all means lets here a name.

    If not then Harper is the best we have and we will take what we can get.

    And we will be patient. A majority comes when it comes.

    There is no dissent in the Conservative party, as much as Liberal partisans and the media wishes there were.

    As long as Harper keeps winning elections nobody is going to care how long it takes him to get his majority.

  29. Volk,

    Will try to break this down from Chess to checkers.

    Re: your first point is wrong.

    I talked about size of the gap trends/direction and a 4% movement since August for both major parties 1st Post was 9:33

    2nd Point The Liberals were did cause the October 2008 election. Get your facts straight. Who was held responsible? Who is no longer the leader? Who went on TV and removed confidence of the CPC Agenda?

    The GG acted on the oppositon parties public refusal of the CPC Fall agenda on exiting their meetings.

    Third you lack of understanding regarding the role of opposition is too great to address.

    Start here. Goodluck.

    Fourth: Apathy and other reasons why your team sucks does not matter. We only count ballots.

    Fifth: The opposition are "NOT" forced to do anything. The voters will hold them responsible for not making parliament work. The opposition are acting in their self-interest as is the government. The Government can only be sustained with the confidence of the House. It does not matter where the 12 votes come from.

    The "Lesson" is from the voters they are the boss. The Government exists with confidence from 155 MP's. If MP's require another reminder they are free to withdraw their support on any confidence matter.

    The CPC seem to be returning in larger numbers while the Liberals are doing the opposite.

    But clearly the Liberals know better after not wining a single seat in 4 by elections and finishing worse than Dion in 3/4 contests.
    "Canadians want an alternative to the Harper Conservatives.-Michael Ignatieff

  30. Volk,

    regarding the CPC they don't need defending we simply disagree with how and who was held responsible for their actions.

    I check with "official" Polls to confirm if SPIN or bias is plausible.

    Volk clearly you believe the direction and fortunes of the LPOC are not going in one direction since Paul Martin 2004 37.6% 103 seats.

    Can provide me a link where the Liberals have improved their seat count or popular support from an official Polls since 2004?

    Thanks again.

  31. "But in the two weakest elections for the Liberals in recent memory, 2006 and 2008, when we were not only divided but poor and ideologically starving, Stephen Harper could not get a majority government. Even though his Opposition is weak and ripe for a good kicking, he cannot win a majority. That is quite the "wtf" question, if there ever was one".

    This statement seems to be conflating "the Liberals" and the "opposition".

    Yes, the Liberals were weak in 2008. Did they get "a good kicking"? Absolutely! Tories 143 seats, Liberals 77. I'd call that a good kicking.

    But just because the Liberals were weak does not mean that the NDP and Bloc were also weak. Indeed, both of those other parties ran relatively strong, coherent campaigns and both Layton and Duceppe are skilled politicians and competent on the campaign trail.

    In other words, it is not very logical to suggest that because the Liberals were weak, that the Tories should have made significant gains against the NDP and Bloc.

  32. Volkov wrote:

    "but it doesn't make the Bloc unbeatable in enough ridings to give the CPC an edge. I can give you a list of ridings where this can occur if you wish it."

    I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    There are actually very few additional ridings in Quebec that are reasonably winnable for the Tories even if their popular vote in that province were to rise to the 25%-28% range.

    - Abitibi, Chicoutimi, Louis-Hebert ... and that's about it.

  33. Martin,

    you are ignoring the facts the Liberals believe everyone want to vote for the Liberal Party and the NDP, Bloc, CPC, Greens are just "temporary protest" votes.

    Every election they ask for those voters to return the natural governing party.

  34. I do think the arts cuts were a bigger factor that you guys do.

    Quebeckers seem to want the government to fund a variety of things that other Canadians generally see as optional. This would also explain why Quebeckers have the lowest rate of charitable giving acros the country: they'd rather pay for social causes through taxation rather than donation. So when Harper cut arts funding, Quebeckers saw that as the government taking away something for which they had already paid, and thus wwere justifiably outraged.

    Arts funding in English Canada seems like a pretty minor issue. In Quebec it's indicative of a government's entire worldview.

    And Jesse: Preston Manning won 60 seats in his last election. Stockwell Day won 66, but then promptly broke the party. So that (plus whatever McKay brought to the table) was Harper's starting point. And then he won 99 seats in his first try.

  35. True. But he had less popular support than the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives had together. They're only now back at the level of CA+PC.

  36. Ira,

    Harper was leader of the Alliance before he merged it with the PC. And some of those 66 had rebelled and left because of Stock or sat with the PC so they didn't lose party status. So his first caucus was something like 60-64.

    It seems fair to judge him from that starting point because he could have easily botched the merger.

    Regardless, when you look where he started to where he is now its just crazy of Volkov to suggest he's not a good politician.

  37. Since it is a bit hard to add in everyone's address to my posts, I'll do a quick runthrough.

    1) Jesse, you seem the be simplifying the situation of a minority government a tad. Yes, it is the duty of a government to put forward legislation that they deem fit - but it is their duty to make sure such legislation will be supported by the Opposition, for whom they need to make sure it passes. If they make no moves towards such things, then you get another Joe Clark 1979 deal, where he didn't reach out to the one party that could give him majority support - the SoCreds - and it ended his short lived government.

    2) Canadian Sense, I never once suggested that the Liberals had gained in popular support or seat count, ever. I don't know what you're talking about. There are specific regional and riding increases, but not federally. Please do not try to put in my mouth words I have never said nor would I agree with - that includes that "natural governing" crap, which I do not subscribe to.

    3) Martin, the Conservatives - not the Tories, because they are not Tories - could have won a lot more than just those ridings with some better control. I count Chicoutimi-Le Fjord, Drummond, Richmond-Arthabaska, etc. etc. There were quite a few ridings consistently in play for le Conservateurs.

    As well, to confuse the NDP and the Bloc with "strong parties" is ignoring several things.

    One is that the Bloc has continuously lost support since 2004, and in 2008 had their lowest or second lowest, can't remember which, popular support percentage in Quebec ever, or at least since 1997, when a large push by the Liberals and the Tories of the time knocked down the Bloc to 44 seats. That means two federalist parties, who earned 36% anbd 22% of the vote respectively, were able to kill off quite a few Bloc seats. The only thing missing from the situation is that the Conservatives can't get up that high because votes have bled to the NDP, which makes a nice three-way split in votes. The Bloc are hardly "strong."

    But, that brings me to another point; the NDP has a moribund leader and doesn't appeal that much to Canadians. Layton is not Ed Broadbent. He keeps his party stable at a specific level, and not much else. An annoyance? Yes. But is it a major obstacle to Harper? No. Do you know why? Because what drives a lot of voters to Layton is the thought of Harper. Because that is what the NDP really was before - the main anti-Harper party. Now that they aren't, they rest below 18% - their 2008 percentage - in almost every poll. Not strong.

    Which brings me to yet another point that you didn't note, but I shall. The Green Party, bless their eco-hearts, are not a factor in areas where it counts. The Greens bring out new voters more than they bring out the usual crop - that is their "thing." They mean nothing in Quebec, where they earned 3% of the vote last time. Their candidates are pointless as true contenders, as noted by Saanich-Gulf Islands last time. They make gains when older voters become apathetic and new voters come out. They tap into an untapped market. But, they're not going to impede Harper.

    Okay, so, with all of this in mind - explain to me again why the Conservatives can't win a majority.

    Part two in another post.

  38. Part two:

    4) Jesse (again), Harper cannot stick with a minority forever. It isn't a good position to be in. Even though at this moment, he can effectively govern as a majority, eventually the Opposition claw its way out of Hell and demand things. The Conservatives don't want that. They've had it easy because the Liberals game them a free ride and the NDP will do the same, at least for a while. The one time the Opposition became a threat and demanded things, the Conservatives shut down Parliament. Co-operation is not their strong suit, and when the Liberals do get their act together, and they will eventually, then things will go downhill. Which is why I kind of expect an election to be called by Harper himself.

    And if he cannot get a majority government, after four years of power and a relatively liked (or tolerated) government, then there is something wrong. If in the next election, Harper doesn't get above 155 seats, or if he falls below his current count, he will not be staying for long.

    Think of it this way; Harper is the socially conservative Diefenbaker. He won a minority at first against a Liberal government that was losing touch, and in the next election he won a large majority - in Harper's case, a near majority. The Tories loved Dief. But the Tories knew they won because the Liberals couldn't get themselves together, because they acted like idiots. Lester Pearson, who was leader at the time after succeeding Louis Saint-Laurent, tanked his party in the 1958 election. But then he brought them back in 1962, knocking the Dief Tories into minority, and then into government in 1963, after rebuilding his party and getting it into shape.

    There are so many other parallels I can make, but the point is that Harper's Conservatives mimic the Dief Tories. They win when the Liberals are at a loss of intelligence. Dion was the '58 Pearson, and Ignatieff may yet be the '62 Pearson. And is history truly does repeat itself, Harper will drop in seat count next election. Not saying he will, but if he does, but his party doesn't lose government, I can bet you that he may lose his position as party leader. Because if he can't win against flailing Liberals and modicum third parties, there is something wrong.

    For everyone; I'm not some Liberal talking head, just trying to spin out situations to make them look good. I'm a Liberal, both small-l and large-L, but I'm not someone with partisan blinders on. If you would be as kind to stop talking to me as if I was Warren Kinsella, I would really appreciate it.

  39. Canadian Sense,

    If you believe that voter turnout does not matter, then I think this conversation is over.

    But, before it does end; popular support increased for the Liberals in those four by-elections by 0.7%, in those specific ridings. They went from 14.1% in those four ridings in 2008, to 14.7% in 2009 - so I don't know what you're talking about.

  40. Volkov - the byelection comparison is specious because the Bill Casey situation completely skews Cumberland-Colchester.

    The Liberals were down in the three ridings where we can make a direct comparison between 2008 and 2009, and they were down between 2009 and the last relevantly similar election in Cumberland (2006).

    By your reasoning, ALL THREE big federal parties gained support over those byelections. How useful is that conclusion?

  41. Volkov,

    how can your points be taken seriously? You state you are NOT a talking head but suggest using a microscope to find a positive for the Liberals.

    You cherry picked one single detail they are up 0.7 from 2009.

    You should not dismiss the voters who are voting for other parties, or their leaders and platforms.

    They are NOT liberals or going to "smarten" up shortly and return.

  42. Volkov,

    Four points I need to disagree with you on:

    1) Jack Layton is BETTER than Ed Broadbent. 18% got Layton 37 seats in 2008, it got Broadbent 30 in 1984. Also, remember that Layton has to contend with the BQ and the Greens taking up a lot of oxygen on the left that Broadbent never did - in fact look at Eric's calculations in previous posts, without those parties the NDP do far better.

    And NDP polls nearly ALWAYS fall during pre-writ periods. Its not a surprise. Pollsters prompt Green, who's vote totals usually collapse on election day. The media pays more attention to the government and opposition so there is less attention to the NDP.

    The NDP is poised to take a historic share of seats next election, especially with the softwood lumber tax and the HST issues.

    2) Harper doesn't need 155 seats. He can cobble together a minority with a few well placed senate appointments or floor crossers. He needs to get 150 seats next election, less than that might be a problem.

    3) Historical comparisons aren't all that helpful. I believe we've undergone a fundemental realignment. Are you saying Martin, Dion, and Ignatieff are all bad leaders ? That its just a matter of getting a good leader and the Liberals will be back in action ? I don't see the Liberals getting their act together for a very long time, actually not until the public has soured on the Tories after a decade or so of rule.

    4) Liberal support was DOWN in the by-elections in 3/4 ridings. In the fourth riding, Bill Casey was no longer running and his 67% vote total had to go somewhere. It was a special case scenario and its not helpful to average out the four by-elections in the manner that you (and pundits guide) have done.

  43. Ira and Canadian Sense,

    Technically everyone went down, at least in raw vote, but since it is a by-election, that is expected. But the point CS (if I may call you that, Canadian Sense) made was that Ignatieff went down lower than Stephane Dion did in 2008, which was incorrect. Ignatieff kept stable support and increased it by 0.7%, so it didn't make sense. The Liberals sure didn't make any great strides in this recent by-election frenzy, but anyone that expected them to needs to have themselves checked. The best anyone hoped for was a stable vote, which more or less occured, as Hochelaga was the only place where the voting difference was over 5% than from what is was before (in CCMV, I use 2006 as a basis, where the Liberals gained 24% of the vote). Hochelaga was expected just because of the stupid choice in candidacy.

    Canadian Sense,

    I fail to see where I've said the Liberals are in positives right now. I've said that Ignatieff might turn things around, but not much else. The discussion isn't over the Liberals - it is over Stephen Harper's inability to get a majority. I have no reservations about when I say that the Liberals are in the crapper, which we are.
    Again, please stop treating me as if I am Warren Kinsella.


    Your ideas about the NDP are quite out there. For one, there has been speculation that the Greens take more old Liberal voters than NDP, and as I stated before, the Greens tap into a market the NDP tries to but consistently fails. The recent increase in NDP seats also occurred on the backs of a drop in Liberal and even Conservative voters, who allowed them to come up and take seats from those parties, all the while losing voters themselves - about 75,000, in fact. Broadbent was able to increase his seat count because he got the extra votes - not because voters decided not to vote for other parties. So, no - Layton isn't doing better.

    And Harper doesn't need 155, I agree. He needs upward. That's called a viable majority. If he only gets 150, while you're right about the, er, "senate appointments and floor crossers," there is such symbolic sadness in a result. But the point isn't parliamentary mathematics - the point is where does Harper get his support from, how he is able to get his seats, and why he is unable to get a majority from the voters.

    And what is funniest about that one paragraph was the "senate appointments" part - how the mighty Reformers have fallen. I'm still waiting for our elected Senate, or at least a plan for one. I'm for it, you know.

    And Jesse, historical comparisions are very important. That is how we make a lot of estimates and plot our pundit courses. To discount them is not very "conservative."

    And it wasn't so much that Martin and Dion were bad leaders. In both their cases, I liked some of their ideas, and so did a lot of Canadians, but there is just some things that you don't want to vote for. Like the sponsorship scandal, or a badly drawn up environmental plan. I can see why voters rejected them, though in Dion's case, he had some nice ideas that I find a lot of people liked, at least when you dropped the carbon tax. And is Iggy a bad leader? Who knows - it is still a learning process for him. I mean, just recently he got the good idea of getting rid of Ian Davey, and just yesterday the rest of Davey's gang left and are going to be replaced. So far what he has done is, eh, "alright," but that push is missing - or at least, the push with intelligence, God forbid we remember the "Mr. Harper, your time is up" moment. We'll see what happens.

    And I already addressed the by-election stuff above.

  44. Volkov,

    This would be funny if you were serious about FACTS.

    Anyone can cherry pick stats or facts and pretend they are important.

    The Liberals since 2004 have NOT been a serious contender in forming the government as evidenced with OFFICIAL polls.

    Volkov you keep moving this back to discussion about a numerical majority.

    Clearly the Liberals did better in 1 out of 4 ridings on Monday. Not a factor. Did they fail to do better than Dion in the other three? Thanks for more spin again.

    Situational Awareness:

    Monday's disastrous Liberal by-election results are part of a decade-long trend that has seen the party spiral into greater irrelevance with every passing vote. That is particularly, but not exclusively, the case in Quebec. There, as in the rest of Canada, a look at the larger picture reveals that the Liberals have missed out on the latest makeover of the federal landscape.

    No one is talking about the Liberals being a serious threat other than Liberals and their cheerleaders.

    I wish you best of luck in cherry picking details like the 0.7 * as a serious talking point.

  45. The Conservatives lost votes in British Columbia. Even with the promise of an MP in government, the Tories could not beat the NDP in Vancouver. They've also demonstrated that they are not a factor on the island of Montreal.

    The NDP did better in Hochelaga, but it wasn't what they were making it out to be. And they weren't even in it in Montmagny. Outside of urban, working class Montreal, they aren't a factor in Quebec - demonstrated in the by-election.

    The Bloc lost a former fortress to the Tories in a rural riding.

    No one was free from scars on Monday. The Liberal "downfall" is far more interesting to write about than anything else going in the political theatre. That is primarily why it is getting so much attention. The last EKOS poll showed that the Liberals aren't dead yet.

  46. If you can't understand how those byelections were unequivocally bad news for the Liberals, then we really have nothing to discuss. Your point of view is so alien to me as to be incomprehensible.

  47. Volkov's 14% to 14.7% point is a good one. These four ridings were not good Liberal ridings. So why should we have expected them to do any better than they did?

  48. Volkov,

    This negativity and criticism coming from you is getting tiresome.

    I'm not a fan of cynicism in politics.

    So far you've suggest that the Liberals, the NDP, and the Conservatives are under performing.

    Really ? So everyone is a loser.

    This back and forth is going nowhere.

    At some point we have to pick winners and losers.

    And i'd say the guy at 24 sussex is the winner. Kinda sorta by defintion, you know ?

    Harper will get his razor majority or super minority. There are enough "close" seats from last time that it'll be easy enough. Then in four years he'll have passed the extra 30 seats in BC, Alberta, Ontario that will let him get a comfortable majority.

    Senate reform will come in time. I think wiki says Harper will have a majority by dec. 2010. He could always use section 6 and appoint more as well.

    If he does need to pick off a Liberal or two to cobble together a majority then they'll be expected to sign the senate reform pledge.

    I always find it laughable to hear Liberals criticize Harper for not having reformed the senate!

    This is similiar to your "why isn't Harper master of the universe yet!!" logic.

    He has to wait until he has a majority in the senate. The plan is still in place.

    I'm just amazed at your continued suggestion that there is something wrong with this current trajectory.

    Slow and steady, Harper is doing everything RIGHT.

  49. Eric,

    I expected better than you. The 14%to 14.7% is NOT a good stat because the Nova riding makes the data useless. How many ridings in the next election have a super popular independent incumbent who is retiring?

    Ok so in ridings where a super popular independent incumbent is retiring in the next election the Liberals can expect to gain support. What's that there's none? Ok so the Liberals cannot expect to gain support next election.

    Where as in the other 3 ridings we would expect Ignatieff to do better than Dion because supposedly Dion was a horrible leader. What's that, he didn't ?

    "The last EKOS poll showed that the Liberals aren't dead yet."

    By any standard, the natural governing party of Canada, matching 2008 results is DEAD.

    Dion got the lowest showing since confederation.

    The idea that Ignatieff would just match that is insane. I thought the only problem was that Dion was a bad leader and replacing Ignatieff would solve that. This obviously demonstrates there is serious structural problems involved.

  50. Jesse,

    --- "I expected better than you. The 14%to 14.7% is NOT a good stat because the Nova riding makes the data useless."

    That was always a true blue riding. They had 21% in the by-election, 24% in 2006. Considering how much better the party did in 2006 than 2008, that is not exactly a bad result.

    They lost a point in Vancouver, seven in eastern Montreal, and two in Montmagny. Not exactly worthy of crisis mode. Good? No.

    --- "By any standard, the natural governing party of Canada, matching 2008 results is DEAD."

    I'll call them dying when they don't form the first or second party in the HoC.

  51. Jesse:

    For one of the few times in my life I agree with Jack Layton:

    The legislation needed to reward Ontario and BC for adopting the HST will not pass this parliament. I think Harper may just not introduce it rather than fight an election on the HST in BC and ON. So we just might escape the HST here in ON and you might in BC. Again JMVHO. And yes Jesse it is possible that my opinion is coloured by my dislike of the HST just yours may be coloured by your acceptance of the HST. BTW I'd accept the HST if the PST portion of it were lowered so that it was revenue neutral.

    Good fortune,


    Enjoyed the discussion guys!

  52. Chantel Hebert's take on the Liberal Brand in PQ:

  53. Earl,

    Ok, we'll agree to disagree. You can hold me to this prediction though:

    Pre olympics budget that includes softwood lumber tax, HST enabling, last of the stimulus. Supported (or abstained) by Liberals, opposed by NDP, BQ.

    HST enacted in spring provincial budgets. Done deal.

    I really, really don't think Harper minds handing issues to Jack Layton at all.

    In fact most Conservatives love helping him out. It creates so many good vote splits when the Liberals and NDP are at equal electoral strength.

    Having an unusually strong NDP and a historically weak Liberals fighting over second place is a strategist's dream i'd say.

  54. Respectfully Eric, I am not taking the Byelection as something substantial.

    Since 2004 every "official" Polls the Liberals have lost support.

    The Anatomy of Liberal Defeat-McGill study went into detail about specific voting blocks leaving the party.

    The Retail 101 of the PM slicing and dicing specific policies to appeal to small groups is working.

    June 28, 2004 Liberals had 36.7% for 135 seats the last time the voters have found the LPOC "narrative" compelling enough deem them fit to govern.
    January 23, 2006 the Liberals shrink to 30.2% having lost 6.5%.
    October 14, 2008 voters returned the LPOC to 26.3%.

    No one credible is suggesting the POP for the LPOC will hit zero.

    Some of us believe they will only drop another 1-3% from the October 14, 2008 official Poll.

    Projection of seats I leave to you and others.

  55. Jesse I don't believe you are aware of how unhappy people are with the imposition of the HST. In ON I'm fairly certain it will cost the Liberals the next election in 2011. I would say the same thing about the Gordo Libs in BC were it not that Campbell will have about three years for voters to forget. Again JMVHO. We can agree to disagree on that too.

  56. Eric wrote:

    "I'll call them [LPC] dying when they don't form the first or second party in the HoC."

    On this point I have to agree with Eric.

    Even if the next election produced even worse results for the Liberals and a Conservative majority, as long as the Liberals maintained their edge as the principle alternative to form the government, it would be too soon to count them out.

    Canadians will always want to have an alternative available for when/if they get really annoyed with the governing party.

    The NDP has so far been unable to position themselves as the principal alternative. But if in an election the NDP both
    1) won more seats than the Liberals and
    2) placed second in more seats than the Liberals
    then that would be VERY bad news for the long term viability of the Liberal Party.

  57. Volkov wrote:

    "the Conservatives - not the Tories, because they are not Tories"

    You can't be serious.

    That's the kind of claim made only by people who are even more detached from reality than Warren Kinsella.

  58. Earl,

    I am suggesting that day to day people AREN'T actually all that annoyed at the HST.

    Their opposition is reflexive and dissapears once its explained to them why its being done.

    The only people who are really, really annoyed are newspaper editors exercising fake populism.


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