Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nanos Poll: 9.3-pt Conservative Lead

I hope everyone had a wonderful holidays, and while it seems Parliament won't be working for another two months, that doesn't mean the rest of us will stop working. Nanos has a "new" poll out. It is "new" because it was taken between December 10 and December 13 - more than two weeks ago. That puts the poll right smack dab in the middle of an EKOS and Angus-Reid poll, both of which were actually quite different. The results:The Conservatives are up (from the November 7-10 Nanos poll) 1.5 points nationally to 39.5%, while the Liberals are up 1.4 points to 30.2%. The NDP is up 0.8 to 18.7%, a very good result for them, while the Bloc is down 1.6 points to 7.7% and the Greens are down 1.9 points to 4%.

Really, all three parties major national parties can be happy with those numbers.

The Conservatives have a big lead in British Columbia, picking up 8 points to reach 43.2%. They are also up four points in the "Prairies", but are down three points in Ontario and have lost the lead there. They are up two in Quebec, and at 23.8% are riding high. They are down six in Atlantic Canada and have lost the lead, but the sample size in that region is tiny.

The Liberals picked up four points in Ontario and are leading (yes, leading) with 38.5%. They are also up three points in Quebec and are at 29.5%, very good, but down seven in Atlantic Canada. Very bad.

The NDP makes an unbelievable (literally) 14-point gain in Atlantic Canada, and lead with 35.6%.

The Bloc drops four points to 32.4% in Quebec.

But this poll looks very different from the EKOS and Angus-Reid polls taken at the same time. Let's look at how they compare at the national level, with Nanos first, EKOS second, and Angus-Reid third:

Conservatives - 39.5% / 35.9% / 36.0%
Liberals - 30.2% / 26.7% / 29.0%
New Democrats - 18.7% / 17.0% / 16.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 7.7% / 9.2% / 11.0%
Greens - 4.0% / 11.2% / 6.0%

AR and EKOS agreed on the Conservatives, but Nanos has them almost four points higher. The Liberal results have a variation of 3.5 points, while the NDP ranges from 16% to 18.7%. The Greens poll either at 4% or at nearly three times that much.

Perhaps, instead, we should look at relative change. How has the Nanos numbers changed from November to December as compared with changes to EKOS and Angus-Reid? Thankfully, EKOS and Angus-Reid both came out with polls taken at a similar time to Nanos back in November. So let's compare the growth or loss between November and December (Nanos first, then EKOS, then AR).

Conservatives - +1.5 / -0.7 / -2.0
Liberals - +1.4 / +0.1 / +6.0
New Democrats - +0.8 / +0.2 / -1.0
Bloc Quebecois - -1.6 / +0.4 / 0.0
Greens - -1.9 / 0.0 / -4.0

So, one of the biggest disparities between these three polls is in the Conservative numbers. Nanos has them showing considerable growth. Angus-Reid has them showing considerable loss. EKOS also has them down, but just a bit.

What they do agree on is Liberal growth, though EKOS and Nanos has them growing more modestly than Angus-Reid.

The NDP's numbers haven't changed enough to really come to a conclusion, and the Bloc's national numbers are meaningless. For the Greens, this shows they are showing losses between November and December.

Now, let's look at Ontario. First, the raw December numbers (same order):

Conservatives - 37.4% / 38.9% / 41.0%
Liberals - 38.5% / 31.1% / 34.0%
New Democrats - 16.6% / 17.2% / 17.0%
Greens - 7.5% / 12.7% / 7.0%

The Tory and NDP results are relatively close, but the Liberals ones are not. Clearly the Conservatives are around 38% to 39% and the NDP is at around 17%, but where the Liberals are - anyone's guess. The average result is 34.5%.

How about the change since November?

Conservatives - -2.3 / -0.3 / -2.0
Liberals - +3.3 / -2.7 / +5.0
New Democrats - -2.3 / +1.7 / +2.0
Greens - +1.4 / +1.1 / -6.0

So, the Conservatives seem to be sinking. Nanos and AR would argue the Liberals are growing quickly, but EKOS disagrees. It is difficult to pin point what is happening the NDP and Green numbers.

Quebec's raw December numbers:

Bloc Quebecois - 32.4% / 39.8% / 42.0%
Liberals - 29.5% / 22.7% / 25.0%
Conservatives - 23.8% / 16.9% / 17.0%
New Democrats - 12.1% / 10.1% / 8.0%
Greens - 2.3% / 10.4% / 5.0%

Nanos is at odds with the other pollsters for every party, while EKOS and Angus-Reid are much closer together.

Here are the changes since November:

Bloc Quebecois - -3.2 / +4.2 / 0.0
Liberals - +2.3 / +1.4 / +6.0
Conservatives - +1.6 / -4.8 / -2.0
New Democrats - +1.1 / -0.6 / -6.0
Greens - -1.6 / -0.2 / -2.0

So the Bloc is either showing growth or loss. Angus-Reid doesn't provide us with a useful third set of data, since they show no change. The Liberals, however, seem to be on the rise but the Tories are sinking for two of the three pollsters.

Comparing polls in this way shows how much of an inexact science it is. In this context, it is almost impossible to take anything concrete from individual polling results. The best picture we get comes from looking at all of them together.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Projections Retrospective

The year is coming to a close, and as I don't think I will be making another projection in 2009, I thought I'd take a look back at the projections I've made throughout 2009.

This is my first full year of making projections, and it is interesting how things progressed over the year. I'm looking forward to another year of projections in 2010, which will hopefully include some provincial projections (and elections). From what Michael Ignatieff has been saying in the press lately, it looks like we will not have an election in the coming year. But then again, we were absolutely certain to have one in 2009. So who knows anymore!

The chart below shows the projections I've made over the year, with one tick on the graph for every projection - a total of 55 over the year. That's an average of one projection every 6.6 days. While the trend line tracks every projection update, the numbers mark the status of each party at the first projection update of every month.If you take a quick glance at the opinion polling trends graph to your right, you'll see the projections more or less follow the same trends.

Let's start with the NDP. They've shown decline and growth, dropping as low as 19 around April. Things started to get better at the end of the summer and into the fall, and today the party is up to a projected 29 seats. So, we've seen a variation of 10 over the year.

The Bloc has been, as usual, rock steady. They've straddled the 50-seat mark, rising to 51 and dropping to 49, and back. That is what happens when they've managed to keep completely steady in the province.

The Liberals and the Conservatives more or less traded seats throughout the year. There was a period from the end of May to the middle of August where the two parties were neck-and-neck, and in the month of June the Liberals even had a small lead in seats. But the parties have not moved an inch, relatively speaking, since January 2008. The Conservatives are back to 140, plus or minus a handful of seats, while the Liberals are back to around 90, plus or minus a handful of seats.

Politically speaking, 2009 changed nothing when it comes to voting intentions. And I don't think the year has changed perceptions of the various parties either. Ignatieff is still considered an unknown because of the lack of policies the Liberals unfolded during the year, Harper is still seen the same way (not disliked, not liked), while the Bloc is still the choice of 2/5ths of Quebecers and has a stranglehold on the francophone vote. The NDP hasn't moved much either, but to their credit has managed to maintain most of the support that has pushed them to all-time highs since 2006.

What will 2010 bring? It sounds like it is going to be a boring year, politics-wise. It is possible parliament won't even sit until after the Olympics, and it is unlikely the Liberals will threaten to bring down the government after the thumping they received in the polls in September and October. That will leave the Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe to do what they did to Stephane Dion. What's old is new again.

So, what was your best and worst of politics in 2009? I'd love to see some of our regular contributors weigh in on this question - but with one caveat. In addition to your overall best and worst, I want one best from a party you do not support and one worst from a party you do!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Projection: 141 CPC, 88 LPC, 50 BQ, 29 NDP

So, a new projection. Only one seat change, but some significant indications of where the trends are headed.The Conservatives are now starting to show some fragility, and are down 0.1 points nationally. The Liberals continue to struggle, and are down 0.3 points and one seat. The NDP is doing better, up 0.1 points (to finally reach 16%) and one seat, while the Greens are up 0.2 points.

This puts the Conservatives at 141 seats, down two from their current standings. The Liberals are down to 88, still up from where they are right now in the House of Commons. The NDP is up to 29, but still down 8 from their current standing, while the Bloc is steady at 50 seats.

The last projection update showed some losses and gains for the Tories throughout the country, and this projection is no different. While this is nothing unexpected for any party, this does end the months of constant growth we saw since October. The biggest gain comes in Atlantic Canada, where the Conservatives are up 0.7 points to reach 32.3%. The party has also gained 0.4 points in the Prairies and is stable in Ontario. They've shown a tiny, 0.1 point loss in the North, and losses of 0.3 points and 0.4 points in Quebec and Alberta, respectively. The biggest loss comes in British Columbia, where the party is down 0.5 points. They're currently at 38.6% there.

The Liberals have also shown some ups and downs, but mostly downs. The biggest gain is in Alberta, 0.4 points, where the party is at 16.9%. They've also gained 0.2 points in British Columbia. They've lost 0.1 points in the North and 0.3 points in the Prairies. They're also down 0.4 points in Ontario and Quebec. The biggest loss is in Atlantic Canada, down 0.7 points to 36.2%.

The NDP is relatively stable throughout the country. They had their biggest gain in Atlantic Canada, 0.3 points, and currently stand at 25.0% in the region. They've also gained 0.2 points in British Columbia and 0.1 points in Ontario, Quebec, and the North. They are down 0.2 points in Alberta and the Prairies.

The Bloc had a good 10 days, and has gained 0.3 points in Quebec. They are currently at 37.7%.

The Greens' biggest gains were in Quebec and Alberta, 0.4 points each, while they did not post a loss anywhere.

So, this updates demonstrates some of the things we've been seeing in recent polls. The Conservatives are starting to slip a little, and their constant growth in the projection has ended. The Liberals are still weak, but their massive loses in the projection have ended. The NDP is stabilising and posting modest growth, while the Bloc is steady.

If there are any other polls over the holidays, I'll make some projection updates. But EKOS has already said they are done until January, so this could be the last projection of the year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New EKOS Poll: 9.2-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has their last poll of the year out. They'll be back in early January. It will be fun to see how, or if, things have changed over the Christmas break.Obviously, they haven't changed much prior to the break. There is virtually no change in the national numbers from the December 8 poll. The Conservatives are up 0.3 points to 35.9%, as are the NDP (now at 17%), while the Liberals are up 0.2 points to 26.7%. All well-within the margin of error.

The best regional result for the Tories comes in the Prairies, where they are up about three points and stand at 53.1%. They are down two points in Atlantic Canada, however. They are stable in Ontario at 39%, which is good considering where they are, but also in British Columbia and Quebec. That is not good, as the Tories are under-performing in those two provinces.

The Liberals gained three points in Ontario to reach 33.5% - very important - as well as two in Quebec, where they are at 24.6%. They are down six in Alberta, however, indicating that their high result last week could have been a statistical fluke.

The NDP makes its biggest gain in British Columbia, about three points to reach 28.8%, but they are down two in Ontario and stand at 14.8%. They are up three in Quebec and two in Atlantic Canada, good results for them.

The Bloc is down three points in Quebec, but maintain a significant lead at 36.8%.

This poll would give the Conservatives 141 seats, the Liberals 84, the Bloc 50, and the NDP 33.

It wouldn't surprise me if this is the last poll of the year. Angus-Reid, the only other frequently active pollster of the last two months, has already released a poll this month.

Things have really come back full circle. It is as if the last year had no effect on the voting intentions of Canadians. We saw both the Conservatives and the Liberals take the lead during this year, but it seems that voters are reverting to last year's voting behaviour. It will be interesting to see how things will change with the Olympics and the international summits in Canada early next year. But also the Afghan detainee issue, which won't go away. Colvin's response yesterday was absolutely devastating, and if politicians step out of the limelight for the next few weeks but the story of the torture doesn't go away, that could be very damaging to the Conservatives.

On a personal note, I find the arguments around the torture issue disturbing. Canada doesn't torture, and Canada's official position is that torture is horrible, that it is a crime. Torture is wrong, no matter who does it and who is being tortured. Even if Canada handed Osama bin Laden over to the Afghans and they tortured him, it would be wrong. We don't have to sink to the level of our enemies. And to be complicit in torture puts our men and women in Afghanistan in danger, as it encourages our enemies to torture our soldiers if they become captured. To paint the opposition as the "defense attorneys of the Taliban", as I heard Kory Teneycke say last night, or to be criticising our armed forces, is really disappointing.

No matter what our political views, this type of discourse needs to be spoken out against. Politicians on both sides of the aisle need to be more responsible in what they say. Perhaps it is a naive hope, but I want to live in a country with intelligent, respectful political debate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Manitoba Polls

Probe Research has released federal and provincial polls for Manitoba. Let's look at the provincial poll first.The New Democrats, and their new premier, have a good ten point lead over the Progressive Conservatives. But things are pretty static in the province. Probe's last poll, in September, was not much different. These numbers represent a two-point gain for the NDP and a loss of one point each for the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals - all well within the margin of error.

NDP support is strongest in Winnipeg, where the party leads with 52% to the PC's 30%. The Liberals trail with 13%.

Outside of Winnipeg, it is the PC that is leading, with 49%. The NDP is still in the game at 39%, while the Liberals are not, at 9%.

It would seem that Manitobans are just fine with their new Premier, and that they haven't changed their opinions since the 2007 election. At that time, the NDP took 48% of the vote, the Progressive Conservatives took 38%, and the Liberals took 13%. In Winnipeg, the breakdown was 53%, 29%, and 15%. So virtually no change at all!

At the federal level, the results are very different, demonstrating that in Manitoba provincial and federal fortunes don't coincide:

Conservatives - 50%
New Democrats - 22%
Liberals - 21%
Greens - 7%

Compared to their last poll in September, this is a two point gain for the Tories and a one point gain for the NDP and Greens. The Liberals are the big losers, dropping four points. That result, at least, is outside of the margin of error.

This isn't much different from 2008's election, however. The Conservatives had 49% of the vote, the NDP had 24%, the Liberals had 19%, and the Greens had 7%. So, all within the margin of error. Perhaps, if an election took place today, there would be no changes in Manitoba.

This is confirmed by the Winnipeg results. The Conservatives lead with 43% (up four points), while the NDP is at 26% (up five points) and the Liberals are at 24% (down six). The Greens are at 7%, down one.

But in the 2008 election, the results in Winnipeg were 43% Conservative, 27% NDP, 23% Liberal, and 6% Green.

In other words, things haven't changed at all!

Outside of Winnipeg, the Tories are well ahead with 59%. The NDP is at 17% and the Liberals are at 15%.

As I track "the Prairies" together, I can't use this poll in my projection. But the lack of change, both at the provincial and federal levels, is remarkable.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New AR Poll: 7-pt Conservative Lead

So, Angus-Reid has a new poll out and it actually shows a significant change. (gasp)The Conservatives are down below their 2008 electoral result, but more importantly, the Liberals are up to 29% - one of their best polls in a long time. This represents a big six-point jump from Angus-Reid's last poll, taken between November 14-16. That is bigger than the margin of error. The Tories are down two points and the NDP is down one. The Greens are also down four points.

Out West, there isn't much that is surprising. Except in Alberta, where the Liberals have jumped ten points (the Conservatives are down six). The Liberals also saw gains in British Columbia (4 points) and the NDP had a big drop of five points in the Prairies.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are still quiet comfortable at 41% but are down three points. The Liberals are up five points and the NDP is up two.

In Quebec, the Bloc is stable and with a comfortable lead. The Liberals, however, are showing life with a gain of six points. The NDP seems to have been the victim of this gain, dropping six points. The Tories are down two.

In Atlantic Canada, there isn't much change. The Conservatives are up two points and the Liberals are up three, giving them a narrow lead. The NDP is down two.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 85
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 28

Despite the better numbers, the Liberals are still taking in a small number of seats. The Conservatives manage to repeat 2008's exploit, while the NDP is down and the Bloc is up.

Stephen Harper's approval/disapproval rating is 32/49, while Michael Ignatieff's is a woeful 15/53. Jack Layton is at 29/36.

This is an important poll going into the holiday season. Angus-Reid has been reliable in the past and is my highest rated pollster. This poll shows that the Conservatives are no longer in majority territory while the Liberals are showing signs of life. It will be interesting to see how things progress between now and the return of Parliament in January.

Federal and Provincial Results in Alberta

Back in October, I compared provincial and federal electoral results in Ontario and Quebec. It actually came as a surprise that a correlation could be drawn between the two.

I then set out to look at British Columbia, but had to give up. There simply is no correlation! The race has been almost exclusively between two parties, the BC Liberals and the NDP, which do far better in provincial elections than their federal counterparts do in federal elections. There is no consistent third party, and in the last 20 years there have been many different parties that have come and gone.

I then took a look at Alberta, and found some basis for comparison. Note - I combined the Progressive Conservatives results with the results of the Wildrose Alliance and Social Credit party. While the WA will be a factor in the next election, they weren't really in past elections. And it solves the problem of the Progressive Conservative and Reform/Canadian Alliance split in the 1990s.What is amazing is that there is actually a very close correlation between provincial results and federal results in Alberta.

First, let's look at the Greens. Both levels of the party were insignificant until 2004, when they both picked up some votes. They then continued that progression to 2008.

Now the NDP. At the end of the 1980s, the two parties were factors in Alberta. But then in the early 90s their support dropped off significantly. They've only managed to gain some ground since 2004, and are currently at about the same level of support. In other words, provincial NDP supporters are federal NDP supporters.

The Liberal provincial trend mirrors the federal trend very closely, with an extra 10 points or so. They both saw almost identical gains in 1993, and then saw slow decline throughout the rest of the 1990s and into this decade. One important difference, however, is that the federal Liberals are now neck-and-neck with the NDP whereas the provincial Liberals are safely ahead.

Finally, the Progressive Conservative and Conservative parties. Since I've included the Canadian Alliance and the Wildrose Alliance in these calculations, we'll call this the (small-c) conservative vote. These two levels of voting don't match as nicely, but we do see some correlation. For instance, at both levels the conservative vote improved at the end of the 1990s, but dipped in 2004. It has also improved a little bit the last few years.

The emergence of the Wildrose Alliance will make provincial politics difficult to use as a guide for federal politics, at least for the Conservative Party. However, a rise or fall in Liberal and NDP fortunes at the provincial level could be an indication of things to come for their federal counterparts, and vice versa.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another PR Exercise

Back in July, I did a proportion representation exercise where I portioned out seats according to the 2008 election results and the current make-up of parliament. In other words, that PR exercise assumed 308 seats with the same provincial representations as they currently have in parliament.

In this exercise, I took it a step further. I divvied up the House of Commons into 332 seats, or one seat for every 100,000 Canadians. I then divided up the provinces according to that principle.

When doing so, I got 129 seats for Ontario (38.9% compared to 34.4% currently), 78 for Quebec (23.5% compared to 24.4% currently), 44 for British Columbia (13.3% compared to 11.7% currently), 35 for Alberta (10.5% compared to 9.1% currently), 12 for Manitoba (3.6% compared to 4.5% currently), 10 for Saskatchewan (3.0% compared to 4.5% currently), 9 for Nova Scotia, 8 for New Brunswick, 5 for Newfoundland & Labrador, and one each for Prince Edward Island and the territories (all three together). So, Atlantic Canada would have 6.9% of the seats in the House of Commons as opposed to the 10.4% they currently have.

Breaking it down this way, we see that the most under-represented provinces in Parliament today are Ontario (who should have around 120 seats of the 308), British Columbia (who should have 41 instead of 36), and Alberta (who should have 32 rather than 28). Contrary to popular opinion, Quebec is actually not significantly over-represented in the House of Commons. Only Atlantic Canada, who should have 22 seats in the HoC rather than 32, are punching well above their weight.

Using these figures, and portioning out seats according to the 2008 electoral results (always rounding as necessary, and giving the higher ranked parties priority) we get the following result:Obviously, still a Conservative minority. But rather than 46.4% of the House of Commons being occupied by the Conservatives, only 38.9% of it is.

In this scenario, the Liberals and New Democrats, with 150 seats combined, could out-vote the Tories. But they would still be short of a majority, and would require the support of the Greens or the Bloc Quebecois (significantly reduced, as you can see) to pass legislation.

Conservative support is mostly divided between the West (55 seats) and Ontario (51). They also have a good-size caucus from Quebec (17) and a few Atlantic Canadian MPs (6).

The Liberals have their power-base in Ontario, with more than half of their MPs from that province. Quebec and the West each have almost equal representation, while the Liberals would have the most Atlantic Canadian MPs.

The NDP would be, like the Conservatives, evenly divided between the West and Ontario (22 and 24 MPs, respectively). They'd also have 10 Quebec MPs and 7 in Atlantic Canada.

The Bloc is the big loser in this new configuration, as they would be reduced to only 30 seats.

The Greens are the big beneficiaries here, going from 0 seats to 23. They are also evenly divided between the West (9) and Ontario (10), but have three Quebec MPs and one from Nova Scotia.

Anyway, I find these alternate scenarios fascinating. What a difference it would make in Canadian politics!

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Alberta Provincial Poll

The National Post is reporting a new Angus-Reid poll of Alberta politics.
So, that's a big honking lead for the Wildrose Alliance. They've managed to push the Progressive Conservatives down to the level of the Liberals at 25%. The NDP is well out of it.

What is most surprising is that the WA is ahead, and significantly so, in all parts of the province. They are at 38% in Calgary, compared to 30% for the Liberals and 23% for the Progressive Conservatives. They're at 36% in Edmonton, compared to 26% for the Progressive Conservatives and 25% for the Liberals. And in the rest of the province they are at an amazing 44%, compared to 25% for the Progressive Conservatives and 21% for the Liberals.

The NDP is at 12% in Edmonton, 6% in Calgary, and 7% in the rest of the province.

At these levels, the WA is on the bubble for a majority government, while the Progressive Conservatives would be fighting the Liberals for the role of Official Opposition! As The National Post states, the PCs have led the province since 1971, so the significance of these numbers is clear.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Ekos Poll: 9.1-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has a new poll out, and it actually has some interesting results. The first of which is a nine-point lead by the Conservatives. No more double digits!The Conservatives are starting to show some weakness, as they move down below their 2008 election result. They are now at 35.6%, which puts them far away from a majority. They've actually lost 1.9 points since the last EKOS poll.

The Liberals also post a loss of 0.6 points, indicating that they aren't benefiting from the Tories' slip.

The beneficiary seems to be the NDP, who is up 1.4 points.

The Conservatives are relatively stable in British Columbia and Ontario, but drop four points in the Prairies and five points in Quebec. They seem to have lost some significant ground there. They are up four points in Alberta and two in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals had mixed results, gaining two points in British Columbia and the Prairies but losing two in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. They're stable in Quebec, which they absolutely need to be. They were on a terrifying downward trend.

The NDP's gains came primarily in British Columbia and Ontario, where they are up two points each. These are good results for them.

The Bloc is up three points in Quebec and is back up to the 40% level. With the Liberals in second at 23%, that is a big lead for them.

The Greens are down four points in British Columbia.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 142
Liberals - 81
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 33

So, the Tories are backing away from a majority. They take 68 seats in the West and North, 56 in Ontario, 7 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals are at about where they were a year ago. They take 15 seats in the West and North, 35 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 16 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP take 12 seats out West, 15 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 5 in Atlantic Canada.

There was also an Afghan detainee/torture poll, the results of which can easily be summed up. Canadians overwhelming believe that Afghan detainees handed over by Canadian Forces were tortured, and that Colvin's testimony is reliable. Canadians also oppose, with a majority, an extension of the mission in that country.

Can a link between the Conservative slip and the Afghan detainee issue be drawn? I'd say that it is definitely a factor. However, that the NDP is benefiting from the Tory woes rather than the Liberals points towards the HST issue, which is being fiercely opposed by the NDP. Just yesterday, I watched the NDP use obstructionist tactics in the House of Commons to delay a vote on it. It didn't work, but it was funny to see the NDP MPs veeeerrrryyy ssslllooowwllly stand up and sit down to record their vote. And then Thomas Mulcair spoke for about 30 minutes.

Anyway, perhaps the Christmas season will have more surprises than we think. Are we going to see the Tories in the low-30s, the Liberals stagnant, and the NDP approaching 20%?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sweet November

Time to look at November's polling. Six national polls were taken during this month (half as many as last month), totalling about 15,600 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 37.3% (-1.9)
Liberals - 26.1% (-0.9)
New Democrats - 17.1% (+2.0)
Greens - 9.8% (+0.9)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% (+0.3)

The Conservatives actually post a relatively large loss, while the Liberals have slowed the bleeding. They had lost more than three points in October, but have managed to shave those losses down to less than one point. In other words, you know you're in trouble when goods news is that you didn't fall on your face too hard. The NDP makes a big jump of two points, while the Bloc is up a little and the Greens are up a lot.The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 149 (-2)
Liberals - 79 (-1)
Bloc Quebecois - 50 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 30 (+3)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

So, not much movement actually. The Conservatives drop two seats and the Liberals drop one, with all three going to the NDP. We're looking at a situation almost mirroring the current one, with the Conservatives having a few more seats coming from the NDP.

The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (7 polls - about 2,200 people)

Conservatives - 38.5% (-2.7)
New Democrats - 25.9% (+1.2)
Liberals - 22.0% (-1.3)
Greens - 13.2% (+3.1)

The Conservatives have slipped here, more or less erasing the gains they had made in October. The Liberals post another loss, but the NDP is up again. That marks gains of almost 2.5-points over the last two months, and they've opened up a nice lead over the Liberals for second. Could this be the HST issue? The Greens put up the biggest gain in the province, but are still far away from electing Elizabeth May.

ALBERTA (5 polls - about 1,224 people)

Conservatives - 60.1% (+1.0)
Liberals - 17.1% (-0.1)
Greens - 11.8% (+2.2)
New Democrats - 10.6% (-1.6)

The Conservatives make a gain of a point, which is insignificant when they have this kind of lead. The Liberals have only lost 0.1 points, indicating that their decent polling numbers in Alberta might be for real. The NDP is down quite a bit, enough to allow the Greens to move into third place. They're actually up five points over the last two months.

PRAIRIES (5 polls - about 830 people)

Conservatives - 51.6% (-7.2)
New Democrats - 22.5% (+5.8)
Liberals - 17.6% (-0.5)
Greens - 8.0% (+1.9)

A big drop for the Conservatives, but this is probably due to the unlikely 73% result they posted in an October poll. The Liberals are down half-a-point, but the NDP is up six points, erasing their losses from October. The Greens are also up about two points.

ONTARIO (6 polls - about 4,830 people)

Conservatives - 40.0% (-2.2)
Liberals - 32.3% (+0.3)
New Democrats - 16.9% (+1.8)
Greens - 10.3% (unchanged)

The Conservatives have lost the gains they made in October, but still stand at the 40% mark which represents an improvement on their 2008 electoral result. The Liberals are up (yes, up) by 0.3 points. Nothing spectacular, but it could be a sign that Michael Ignatieff has turned the corner. The NDP can also look at the situation in Ontario with a smile, as they are up almost two points, in a province they desperately need to get back to the 18% level they posted in the 2008 election. The Greens have managed to maintain their support over the last month.

QUEBEC (7 polls - about 4,520 people)

Bloc Quebecois - 37.6% (-0.3)
Liberals - 22.6% (-1.5)
Conservatives - 20.6% (-0.3)
New Democrats - 12.2% (+2.1)
Greens - 7.1% (+0.4)

The Bloc is down by 0.3 points, reseting their 0.4 gain from October. In other words, they are stable. The Liberals are down, but seem to be approaching their floor as their decline has slowed. On the other hand, the Conservatives have halted their march upwards in the province, and have actually posted a small loss. The NDP put up a nice gain, and are above their 2008 election level. The Greens are up a little bit.

ATLANTIC CANADA (6 polls - about 940 people)

Conservatives - 35.1% (-0.3)
Liberals - 31.7% (-4.1)
New Democrats - 25.0% (+3.0)
Greens - 8.4% (+2.1)

The Tories are down a little bit, but are still at a very good level for them. The Liberals are down a big four points, representing a loss of more than seven points in two months. They're now in second place in what had remained their only stronghold. The NDP are the big winners in the region with a gain of three points, while the Greens are up two points. However, that gain is due to an unlikely 21% in one poll.Overall, it was actually a mixed month for the Conservatives. Of course, they are still well ahead and so from that point of view it was another good month. But relatively speaking, their strength is starting to fade. They are down in five of the six regions, and their only gain comes in Alberta where they have a lock on virtually every single seat anyway. The losses in Atlantic Canada and Quebec were small but the losses in Ontario, the Prairies, and British Columbia were not. That they are dropping in Ontario and BC - their two battlegrounds - is worrisome.

The Liberals, for once, didn't have a completely disastrous month. However, they still saw losses in five of six regions. Their small gain in Ontario is important because the province has traditionally been their bread and butter, and the losses out West were relatively small. The drops in Atlantic Canada and Quebec mean trouble, particularly in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP had a very good month, gaining in five of six regions. The gains in the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada were all significant, while any gain in British Columbia is a plus and Alberta is probably a write-off anyway.

The Bloc was stable, which is good as they have a strong lead. The Greens had a good month as well, gaining in five regions and remaining stable in one. But they are still far from electing anyone to Parliament.

This actually makes sense, if the narrative we're following is a return to status quo, circa Fall 2008. The Conservatives need to come down a bit to get back to that level, as do the Liberals. The NDP needs to inch back upwards, and the Bloc needs to stay where they are. If this narrative is the reality, everything is lining up as it should.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Projection: 141 CPC, 89 LPC, 50 BQ, 28 NDP

There haven't been a lot of polls, but quite some time has passed. Also, with a new month means new values for older polls. So we do get some changes.This is significant, because it bumps the Conservatives up to 141 seats and qualifies them for what I call a Strong Minority Government. Why? Because now the second and third parties, the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois, are unable to out-vote the government by themselves. The combined Liberal and Bloc total is now 139 seats.

The Conservatives had a decent two week period, picking up a seat in the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada. Their biggest gain comes in Quebec, where they are up 0.5 points. They've also gained 0.2 points in Atlantic Canada and 0.1 points in British Columbia and the North. They are stable in Alberta but have actually dropped 0.1 points in Ontario. Nationally, they are up 0.1 points to 36.5%.

The Liberals did not have a good two-weeks, though it could've been worse. They're down a seat in the Prairies and Quebec, and down 0.2 points nationally to 28.4%. They did not make any gains anywhere, but suffered no losses in Alberta and - more importantly - Ontario. They dropped 0.1 points in the North and Atlantic Canada, 0.2 points in the Prairies, 0.3 points in British Columbia, and a whopping 0.8 points in Quebec.

The Bloc performed well, gaining 0.2 points in Quebec and a seat. They are now at 50 seats and 37.4% in the province. Nationally, though it doesn't really mean anything, they are up 0.1 points.

The NDP lose a seat in Atlantic Canada, but were otherwise pretty stable. They gained 0.3 points in the Prairies and 0.2 points in Ontario and Quebec. Those last two are good signs for the party. They were stable in Atlantic Canada, the North, and British Columbia, but lost 0.1 points in Alberta.

Finally, the Greens did not move much, though they are up 0.2 points nationally. They gained 0.1 points in British Columbia, Alberta, and the North. They were stable in Ontario but lost 0.1 points in the Prairies and Quebec and 0.3 points in Atlantic Canada.

Despite some major issues (Copenhagen and Afghanistan), the Conservatives have managed to stabilise their position. The Liberals aren't gaining any ground but seem to have slowed their decline. The NDP is also making baby-steps forward, despite the seat loss in this projection (which actually has more to do with Conservative gains in Atlantic Canada than NDP losses). The Bloc is slowly moving upwards at the expense of the Liberals while the Greens are not making their presence felt anywhere.

It looks like status quo after a year of this Parliament. Undoubtedly there will be little change over Christmas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Ontario Provincial Poll

Angus-Reid has a new Ontario provincial poll out.So, a huge result for the Progressive Conservatives, with strong numbers everywhere. The Liberals are down very low, while the NDP is at 20%.

The Tory strength is distributed across the province, but is especially high in the Hamilton-Niagara area (51%) and in the North and East (47% each). In the GTA, the party is still at 38% and is even at 33% in the 416 area code.

The Liberals are hovering between 31% and 34% in the Toronto area, but are down to 19% in Hamilton and 22% in the East.

The NDP is doing best in the southwest (27%).

The big problem for the Liberals is that Ontarians' opinion of Dalton McGuinty has worsened. This is the case for a whopping 54% of the province, while the same can be said for only 16% of Ontarians when it comes to the Progressive Conservative leader, Tim Hudak. He benefits from having the best "improvement" score with 15%, which is still relatively low.

Certainly bad news for the provincial Liberals, and good news for the Progressive Conservatives. Of course, an election is a few years away so there is plenty of time for Ontarians to forget about the HST issue.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New British Columbia Provincial Poll

As part of the Innovative Research poll I posted about on Friday, respondents were asked for their provincial voting intentions.This shows a very close race, but is very different from the Mustel Group and Angus-Reid polls taken at a similar time. Innovative Research puts the BC NDP at about 15 points lower than those two polls, the BC Liberal result is also lower. The big beneficiaries in this poll would be the BC Conservatives, at more than 10 points than the other polls.

Not sure what this divergence means. Perhaps the voting public in British Columbia is very volatile, or perhaps this is just an anomalous result. The federal numbers looked fine.

Friday, December 4, 2009

New BC Poll: 16-pt Conservative Lead

A very observant blog reader pointed out this poll by Innovative Research of the federal voting intentions in BC. It was found in a poll about the dining habits of British Columbians.I had to adjust for the undecideds and refusals, but we get a strong Conservative lead. Nevertheless, the Tories still aren't doing as well as they need to.

This poll would give the Tories 22 seats, the Liberals would take nine, and the NDP would take five.

As the poll was taken in mid-November, it is a little dated. However, it is a demonstration why I shouldn't jump the gun with my monthly summaries!

New PEI Provincial Poll

Completing their rounds of the Atlantic Provinces, Corporate Research Associates has released a new poll of the smallest province in the country.The Liberals under Premier Robert Ghiz have a very comfortable lead, but are actually down five points from where they were in an August poll. They've lost that ground to the Progressive Conservatives, up four points, and currently with an interim leader.

The Island New Democrats are up three points, and the Greens are down two.

Now, PEI is not given a lot of media coverage in the rest of the country. So I don't know much about it. I know I have some PEI readers, though, so if you want to chime in with your views on politics on the Island, please do!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nova Scotia Provincial Poll

The Chronicle-Herald is reporting on a new Corporate Research Associates poll.So the Nova Scotia New Democrats still have a mighty lead over their opponents, though this does mark a drop of seven points since the last CRA poll in August.

The Liberals are up three points while the Progressive Conservatives are up five. The Greens are down two.

Darrell Dexter is still the top choice for Premier at 44%, interestingly well below his party's support level. This is not the case for Liberal leader Stephen McNeil, with 21% support, but is with the Progressive Conservative leader (yet to be chosen) who is at 12%.

The NDP is still well above the 45% they earned in the June election, while the Liberals (27%) and Progressive Conservatives (25%) are still punching below their weight.

So, good news for the NDP in Nova Scotia. You'd think that would be good news for the federal NDP in Nova Scotia, but we haven't seen big numbers from them in the region lately.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Brunswick Provincial Poll

A new poll by the Corporate Research Associates has been released.This aligns very closely with the recent Léger Marketing poll, though this one gives the NB Liberals a little more support at the expense of the NB NDP.

This is the highest the Progressive Conservatives have been in CRA polling in the last year. It is also the lowest result the Liberals have put up. The NDP result is actually on the lower side.

Shawn Graham and David Alward are now tied for best Premier at 29%, followed by Roger Duguay of the NDP at 8%.

Graham has about a year to turn the ship around, or the Progressive Conservatives will be back in government in New Brunswick.