Monday, November 23, 2009

Projection: CPC 139, LPC 91, BQ 49, NDP 29

This latest projection stops the Conservative march towards a majority. But it is the NDP that is this week's big winner.So, the New Democrats are up two seats to 29, while the Tories lose one and fall to 139 while the Liberals lose another and are at 91. The Bloc remains steady at 49 seats. The NDP made the biggest popular vote gain with 0.2 points, while the Conservatives gained 0.1 points and the Liberals lost 0.4 points, a very big drop.

Despite the seat drop, the Conservatives are stable or growing everywhere in the country. The one hiccup was in British Columbia, where they gained 0.3 points but lost one seat. The party also gained 0.3 points in the Prairies, 0.2 points in Ontario, and 0.1 points in Atlantic Canada. They were stable in Alberta, Quebec, and the North. All in all, though, it was a rather mediocre week for the Tories.

The Liberals dropped in every single region. The biggest came in Ontario, where they are down 0.4 points and one seat. They also lost 0.3 points in Quebec and British Columbia (which hurts them a lot), 0.2 points in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, and 0.1 point in Alberta and the North. A bad week for Michael Ignatieff.

The New Democrats are actually pretty stable, with tiny gains in most of the country. But the fall of the Liberals worked to their advantage. They're up 0.1 points in British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, while stable in Alberta and the North. The two seat gains came in British Columbia and Ontario. A good week for them.

The Bloc is up 0.1 points in Quebec, marking another week of small gain. The Greens were up and down throughout the country, but only to the extent of 0.1 point. They gained that much in Alberta, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, but lost that much in British Columbia and the Prairies.

I think we're going to keep seeing the Liberals drop until they get to about 26% in the projection. During that time, the Tories will likely get themselves up to 37% and the NDP back to about 16.5% to 17%. Actually, it looks like we're going to end up with a mirror image of the 2008 election results unless there is some sort of dramatic change.


  1. BC Voice of Reason23 November, 2009 12:05

    Problems with long term and historical results and predictions.

    Over the past elections 3 elections there has been much strategy and chatter and influence that if you want to stop Harper do not vote for the NDP or Green as Liberals are the only hope to actually get elected. This was the prime Liberal strategy after HARPER IS SCARY stopped working. The NDP were duped into supporting this strategy by focusing their attacks on Harper and Jack running to be PM rather than Leader of the opposition. Of course May gave absolutely no reason to vote Green rather than Liberal.

    There will be a tipping point where the electorate realizes that the Liberal vote is not strategic at all. When all the borrowed Green and NDP votes go home what does that leave the Liberals? Will the 5-10% on the left end of the Liberal party park their vote with the NDP as a strategic option? Will the union voter go back to the NDP after finding no access to power with the Liberals?

    Another flawed theory is that the Liberals/NDP/Bloc and Green are uniformly socialists. There are still many Centre (or in the case of the solid Ignatieff supporters) Blue Liberals. These people would not ever think of voting NDP. Once they realize that the Liberals are an also ran party they have a choice: stay at home, vote CPC ,throw away their ballot voting for losing Liberal candidates, or possibly elect a handful on non-effective Liberal representatives (What has Ralph Goodale done for the people of Wascana the last 4 years) who do an embarrassingly poor job in opposition.

    Will the polls and past results effectively reflect the magnitude of this change or will they be behind as far as they were in the Kim Campbell election.

    Right now if an election were held both the CPC and Liberal and Bloc strategists are behaving as though a Harper majority is guaranteed.

  2. There was some interesting discussion on the previous thread as to whether the Liberals can drop any further. One person thought that the Liberals cannot decline any further than about the 25% mark because that is their core vote.

    What is a 'core vote' anyway? Presumably the idea is to capture people who will vote for a certain party no matter what the short and medium term policy issues are -- voters who identify closely enough with a party that they will not be swayed by perceived leadership deficiencies or a poor local candidate.

    How does one measure that?

    A good starting place might be people who identify themselves as Liberal partisans in polls (note this is different from vote intention).

    [My further comments are based on the study 'Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat']

    For the 2008 election, only 20% of Canadians identified with the Liberal Party (compared to nearly 28% for Conservatives). This alone suggests further declines from 2008 are possible.

    But the news gets worse for the LPC. In 2008 a third of Liberal partisans (the 20%) voted for a party other than the Liberals. The Liberal problem is not merely a shrinking group of partisans, but motivating even that small number to vote Liberal.

    And coming back to that 20% who identified with the Liberal Party, it should be noted that that number is not stable. It has been in decline in recent years (from about 28% in 2000).

    None of this means the Liberal Party's situation is hopeless. But it does suggest that any confidence that the Liberals cannot possibly drop below their 2008 result seems misplaced.

  3. Martin,

    Thank you for those statistics! I'm sure you saw on the last thread the list I C&P'd from wiki of federal parties that once held seats in the HOC and no longer exist.

    The tipping point is probably factors extrinsic to actual voter intention.

    What calibre of candidates could the Liberals recruit in many parts of the country if they knew they had no shot of winning ?

    What if they were under 10% and didn't get their deposit back ?

    As soon as a party stops running in all 308 ridings you know its on its way to the dustbin of history.

    Unlike Earl, I believe that this could possibly happen to the Liberals. Then again it may not.

    Its merely one of many possibilities and to argue it isn't is to deny history and statistical evidence to the contrary.

  4. Jesse,

    Recruitment & retention of candidates is a potential problem for any party that starts to wither in the polls. This happened in '93 to the Progressive Conservatives. Nobody at the time thought it possible for the PCParty to cease to be as a political party, and the collapse to two seats was very shocking.

    I imagine there were many Liberals gloating that day, and, should the LPC similarly collapse, many Conservatives would likely do the same. Before they do, perhaps they would be wise to ask those same Liberals whether they are still happier sitting across from Harper's Conservatives than they would be sitting on the other side of the House, across from divided Reform/PC caucuses.

    A two-party (three in Quebec) system composed of Conservatives vs. united NDP/Liberal party is one that I imagine Conservatives could come to regret.

  5. It certainly isn't impossible for a major party to disappear, as the Progressive Conservatives demonstrated, but that was because of a replacement that showed up.

    If we're looking for an example more comparable to today's political situation in Canada, there is the Liberal Party of the UK. They, and the Conservatives, were the two major parties throughout the 19th century. Then, at the beginning of the 20th, the Liberals began to falter and became a very, very small party, replaced by Labour. It certainly isn't impossible for the Liberals to continue to falter until they reach NDP-levels, with the NDP beginning to become the alternative government option. But, to do so, the NDP would have to move more to the centre.

  6. Eric,

    "But, to do so, the NDP would have to move more to the centre."

    That seems to be the elite wisdom out there.

    However, its also possible that the NDP could simply switch the conversation away from those fault line, while quietly staying left, and move towards a populist vs corporatist mindset.

    Running against corporate tax cuts, running against the banks and big oil while offering to protect pensions, education, healthcare could work for them.

    (Of course its lousy economics, you destroy the oil companies and it would cost a fortune to heat your home in the winter and nobody would have a job. But bad economics is often good politics.)

    It also puts Harper in a pinch. He ran against some of the same forces when the Liberals controlled all the big money. But now he needs to be pragmatic and think about the greater good then cheap politics.

  7. The NDP moving more to the centre isn't out he question. As long as their messaging is consistently based in their core values, they can sell more centrist policies as benefitting the common people, or the poor, or fighting big business, or whatever it is the NDP actually stands for (I admit I've never really bothered to give it much thought).

    That can work, and the current Liberal weakness is their best ever opportunity.

  8. The key is that the NDP have to be more popular than they are now. Whether that's by being more populist or centrist.

    But until their polls actually start moving up, I'm not inclined to believe the replacement possibility.

  9. I support the NDP, but I don't expect them to replace the Liberals anytime soon, and it would probably only happen if the Conservatives got a majority and the Liberals failed to put up a decent challenge over the long term. And currently, the NDP still aren't up to the same level in the polls as they were in 2008.

    NDP seats are very hard to predict though - between 2006 and 2008 their vote declined in Ontario, but they picked up 5 new Ontario seats.

  10. Kevin, Anon,

    This discussion was prompted from the last poll that had the NDP at 19% vs the Liberals at 24%.

    So there has been some movement lately, we'll just have to see if that particular poll was a total blip or not.

  11. Eric,

    You might like to know that a Liberal columnist at the Globe and Mail is misrepresenting your analysis to say that the NDP are running at 15.9% in the polls right now, ignoring the fact that the model is structured specifically to be conservative and not to change a lot in response to recent polls.

    His column is here.

    You might want to let him know.

  12. Thanks Anonymous, I've sent him an email.

  13. BC Voice of Reason25 November, 2009 12:00

    The perception is changing. The Winnipeg Free Press, a stanch Liberal paper has an editorial considering that the NDP and Bloc may be moving the Liberals to a 4the place (fringe) party.

    If there is any sort of this talk heading into an election it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. The Liberal vote will bleed to the perceived parties with a chance to influence policy.

    After the most recent poll where the NDP were within 5% points of the Liberals, Kriebner facebook opinion on the Liberal fortunes came out. It will be interesting to see whow long this trend continues or if it is just a flight of fancy due to no election on the horizon.


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