Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Poll: CROP

CROP released a new poll today, taken between April 16 and April 26 and involving 1,000 interviews with Quebecers only. The results:

Liberals - 37%
Bloc Quebecois - 31%
Conservatives - 15%
New Democrats - 12%

This is a huge result for the Liberals, and certainly a troubling one for the Bloc. However, CROP has been polling highly for the Liberals. Their three polls this year have put the Liberals at 30%, 31%, and 37%. The Bloc has been at 34%, 35%, and 31%. So, this is likely a slight outlier result.

Francophones gave the Bloc 37%, the Liberals 34%, and the Conservatives 13%. As to who would be the best Prime Minister, Michael Ignatieff is way ahead in Quebec at 45%, followed by Jack Layton at 20% and Stephen Harper at 17%. Gilles Duceppe, despite being unable to become PM, only got 2%, which is an odd result considering most other polls still give Duceppe at least 10% in Quebec for this question.

The projection has changed slightly, with the Liberals gaining a seat in Quebec at the expense of the Bloc. The Liberals are now at 110 and the Bloc at 50. This is significant because now the Conservative "stable" minority has been downgraded to an unstable minority, since the NDP and the Liberals alone can now out-vote the Conservatives. Well, technically they can tie, but that would cause an inordinate amount of instability.

The only popular vote movement was a 0.7 point jump by the Liberals in Quebec.

The "Last 5 Polls" projection has also changed. The 15% in Quebec for the Conservatives was enough to bump them up to three seats, meaning the Conservatives now have 111 seats in that projection and the Bloc has dropped to 51.

The Quebec provincial projections at CentVingtCinq have also been updated. The Liberals and the Parti Québécois are tied at 59 seats there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Leadership and Taxes

The Angus-Reid poll I posted about over the weekend also included some leadership polling.

Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff were tied at 24% as to who would make the best Prime Minister. Harper's best numbers came in Alberta (48%) and the Prairies (46%). His worst were in Quebec (8%) and Ontario (24%). That Quebec result is horrific. Ignatieff's best results were in Atlantic Canada (42%) and Quebec (29%), his worst in the Prairies (11%) and Alberta (15%).

Jack Layton received 9% nationally, with no great variation throughout the country. Gilles Duceppe received 14% in Quebec, and Elizabeth May did best in British Columbia with 5%. Quebec had the highest "none of these" results at 24%, no doubt representing the Bloc vote.

As to characteristics, Layton is most "honest and trustworthy" (35%), Harper "has a vision for Canada's future" (40%), Layton "understands the problems of Canadians" (41%), Harper "can manage the economy effectively" (31%) and "is a strong and decisive leader" (39%), Ignatieff and Harper "understand complex issues" (39%), Layton "generally agrees with you on issues you care about" (31%), Ignatieff "inspires confidence" (32%), and Layton "cares about the environment" (50%).

Layton, apparently, is liked by Canadians but they don't trust him with running the country. Both Harper's and Ignatieff's numbers were relatively consistent, but Layton's would be as high as 50% or as low as 13% (running the economy).

Ignatieff has had the greatest improvement in opinion at 27%, while Harper has had the greatest worsening of opinion at 33%. The Bloc has the highest approval rating (Quebec only) a 36%. Of the pan-Canadian parties, that honour goes to the Conservatives (31%), though the Liberals are one point behind. The highest disapproval rating also goes to the Conservatives at 48%.

As to taxes, Harris-Decima asked Canadians what they thought about Ignatieff's radical comment that to get Canada out of debt taxes would need to be raised. Virtually no one was surprised by this comment (81% not surprised, 12% surprised).

Overall, only 16% of Canadians said that this would make them more likely to vote for the Liberals. Conversely, 30% said it would make them less likely to vote for them. The highest regional result came in the Atlantic provinces, where 44% said it would make them less likely to vote for Ignatieff. The lowest "less likely" came in Quebec, where only 10% said it would make them hesitant. Quebec had the highest "more likely" response, with 29%.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New Poll: Angus-Reid Strategies

Angus-Reid Strategies released a new poll today, taken between April 21 and April 22 and including 1,002 interviews. The national results:

Conservatives - 33%
Liberals - 33%
New Democrats - 15%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 6%

While being tied for the lead with the Liberals is a welcome change for the Conservatives, the numbers aren't out of step with what we've seen lately, considering the margin of error.


Conservatives - 38%
Liberals - 35%
New Democrats - 17%
Greens - 7%

This is a bit of an odd result considering what we've seen lately, but it is good for the NDP and the Conservatives; bad for the Liberals.


Bloc Quebecois - 40%
Liberals - 35%
Conservatives - 10%
New Democrats - 6%
Greens - 5%

Continued good numbers for the Bloc, an outstanding number for the Liberals, and very bad numbers for the Conservatives and the NDP. The results in the rest of the country are not much out of step with what we've been seeing.

Contrary to recent polls, this poll would give a Conservative minority. An unstable one, however:

Conservatives - 125 seats (+31 from last poll)
Liberals - 109 seats (-16)
Bloc Quebecois - 51 seats (-2)
New Democrats - 23 seats (-9)
Greens - 0 seats (-1)

This poll is very close to the projected results I have. Adding this one to the five-poll-projection, we get a shift:

Liberals - 34.1% - 127 seats (-7)
Conservatives - 31.6% - 110 seats (+7)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% - 52 seats (+1)
New Democrats - 15.1% - 19 seats (-1)
Greens - 8.0% - 0 seats (unchanged)

For the projection itself, the Conservatives have dropped one seat and have broken into the 120s. They are now at 129. The Liberals are up to 109, and are on the brink of turning the Conservative stable minority into an unstable one. The national vote projection has changed thusly:

Bloc +0.1
Liberals +0.1
New Democrats (no change)
Conservatives -0.2
Greens -0.2

Regionally, the Conservatives have dropped 0.4 points in Quebec, but have gained 0.1 in Ontario. The Liberals are up 0.4 in British Columbia, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces, but dropped 0.3 in Ontario. The NDP gained 0.2 in the Prairies and Ontario, but lost 0.3 in Quebec. The Bloc is up 0.1 in that province.

This is a good poll for the Conservatives, a rare thing lately. They are back on top in British Columbia, way ahead in the Prairies, and had a good (if unlikely) result in Ontario. But the Quebec number is still very worrisome, and would drop them to one seat in the province. The Liberals should be cautioned with this poll, as though their Atlantic and Quebec results were fantastic, everything west of Quebec gives some cause for alarm. The NDP should be relatively happy with this, as they are doing alright in the Prairies and Ontario, but their British Columbia, Atlantic, and especially Quebec results are trouble. The Bloc continues to do well.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Feature: Last Five Polls Projection

On the right-side of the page, you'll see a new feature: the "Last Five Polls Projection". This projection is based on the last five polls that have been released for each region. The results are averaged out, and that number is put into the seat-projecting model. And that's the result. This will be constantly updated as new polls come out, with the oldest poll being dropped and the newest one being added.

So, for the last five polls ranging from March 18 to April 19 (though the range can be longer for regions that have fewer polls), we get:

Liberals - 34.7% - 134 seats
Conservatives - 31.6% - 103 seats
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% - 51 seats
New Democrats - 14.7% - 20 seats
Greens - 8.4% - 0 seats

This new projection is a companion to the official projection. The official projection is what I project the result would be after an electoral campaign. The 5-poll projection is what the situation is right now, if the vote were held today.

I hope this gives you all the information you could possibly need about the current political situation in Canada.

Leadership Poll: Léger Marketing

A leadership poll released yesterday by Léger Marketing echoes nicely the polling results from Harris-Decima that I posted about yesterday. Those results had the Liberals at 32%, the Conservatives at 29%, and the NDP at 16%.

Asked who would be the best prime minister, Léger Marketing reports that the response was:

Michael Ignatieff - 31%
Stephen Harper - 28%
Jack Layton - 15%
Elizabeth May - 4%

Gilles Duceppe was excluded because he "can't become Prime Minister". But really, he has as much chance as Layton or May.

Ignatieff beat Harper by wider margins when it came to handling the economy (41%-32%), helping workers (41%-33%), protecting the environment (48%-21%), and helping families (43%-31%). When it came to improving relations with the United States, the margin was slimmer, but still in favour of Ignatieff (39%-36%).

The poll was taken between March 18 and March 23, so it is a little old, and it included 1,508 interviews.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Poll: Harris-Decima

Harris-Decima released a new poll today, taken between April 8 and April 19, and involving over 2,000 interviews. I don't have the details from Harris-Decima yet, but the Toronto Star had a very complete report on the poll. Once the Harris-Decima report is on their website, I'll include the exact number of interviews in the model.

You might have noticed the new pie-chart on the right-side of the page. It is explained at the bottom of this post.

First, the national results of the poll:

Liberals - 32%
Conservatives - 29%
New Democrats - 16%
Greens - 11%
Bloc Quebecois - 9%

We have not seen the Conservatives this low for a very, very long time. Being below 30% is a huge blow for the Tories.


Liberals - 40%
Conservatives - 31%
New Democrats - 15%
Greens - 14%

Nothing special here, just a continuance of the Liberal lead. But the Greens had a very good result.


Bloc Quebecois - 40%
Liberals - 31%
Conservatives - 12%
New Democrats - 9%
Greens - 5%

This is within the trends we've been seeing lately. Continued trouble for the Conservatives, continued strength for both the Bloc and the Liberals.

British Columbia:

New Democrats - 29%
Liberals - 26%
Conservatives - 26%
Greens - 16%

These numbers are the biggest surprise of the poll; first, because the NDP is in front and second because the Greens are so competitive. One has to wonder whether this is a bit of an outlier result.

The results in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, and the Prairies were within the norm.

The projection has changed, but not as much as I thought a 2,000-interview poll would cause. The Conservatives have dropped a seat to 130, giving it to the Bloc who is now at 51. The Liberals remain at 108. I know what you're thinking, that the projection doesn't seem to jive with the last few polls we've seen. Again, the model works slowly, and it has been up and running for five months now. The Liberals have only taken the lead in the past few weeks. For those Grits watching the numbers inch up and down, I say "patience". Another month of these numbers and things could change radically.

In terms of national popular vote, the Greens have gained 0.3 points and the Conservatives have lost 0.5 points. The other three parties have remained the same.

Regionally, the Conservatives have lost one whole point in British Columbia, 0.6 in Alberta, and 0.4 in Ontario. The Greens have gained some ground everywhere and the Bloc is back up to 38%. The NDP and Liberals remained stable throughout the country in the projection, which is good news for the NDP.

This is the second of two consecutive, disastrous polls for the Conservatives. They are bleeding support everywhere. This wasn't a particularly good poll for the Liberals, but was good enough for them and continues the trend of being a few steps ahead of the Tories. The 40% result in Quebec is good for the Bloc, and the Greens have here one of the best polls they've had this year. The poll was also friendly to the NDP, particularly in British Columbia.

The Harris-Decima poll translates into these many seats:

Liberals - 126
Conservatives - 94
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 34
Greens - 1

This is also represented in the new pie-chart on the right-side of the page. This is the seat projection based on the most recent poll ONLY. It is not the official projection because a poll is just a snapshot in time, the projection model takes into account other factors.

From the EKOS poll last week, this is 13 seats fewer for the Liberals, three fewer for the Conservatives, one more for the Bloc, and 15 more for the NDP. This is a good indication of the importance of regional breakdowns. The national results for the NDP in the EKOS and Harris-Decima polls were almost identical, yet the difference in seats is huge.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poll Position: Greens

It is very difficult to properly gauge the levels of support for the Green Party. For all intents and purposes, they are a marginal party with marginal support. While they often have as much national support as the Bloc Quebecois, their voters are diffused from one coast to the other, making it very difficult to elect any MPs. Having a national support of 7% in a country of 32 million is impressive, but less so when you consider that 7% is more or less what the party receives in all 308 ridings.

The Greens present a problem for pollsters. There are so few Green voters that the margin of error can represent half of their total result nationally, and can sometimes be larger than their support levels regionally. For example, most polls interview anywhere from 70 to 100 people in Atlantic Canada. If the pollsters manage to find five Green voters, that can mean a 5% result. If the next time around they're luckier and find ten, that means 10%. Has the party's support doubled, or is that just the result of chance? You can see the problems inherent in polling for a small party.

Nevertheless, with so many polls we can get a picture of Green support. At the national level, the party improved greatly in 2008, jumping from 4.5% to 6.8%. Since then, the party has been polling between 5% and 10% (I'm discounting the crazy Strategic Counsel poll that placed the Greens at 26% support in Quebec), well within the margins of error. The best string of polls for the Greens came in February and early March, when three out of four polls had the party at 10%. Lately, the party has been slightly better than their 2008 performance.

In British Columbia, where the party has a relatively successful provincial version of itself, the Greens did well in 2008 with a 9.4% result. The polling results since the election have swung from 6% to 13%. The most heavily weighted poll (March 11, by Angus-Reid) had the party at 11%, which would be a good improvement for them, but still not good enough for a seat.

The party also did well in Alberta in 2008 with 8.8% support, only a few points behind the Liberals and the NDP. Polling since the election has placed them between 4% and 11%, with recent polls being on the higher side. The polls have put the Greens and NDP neck and neck at times, so a moral victory for the Greens could come by placing third during the next election. A seat win here is out of the question.

The Prairies were not great to the Greens, as they had a 6.3% result in 2008. Polls since then has been as low as 0.7% and as high as 14%, a very wide margin. Eight out of 11 polls have put the Greens lower than their 6.3% result, which should be a concern for them. The last two polls had the party at 2% and 0.7%, which puts them completely out of the running for even being competitive.

Ontario is one of the better regions for the party. In 2008, they had 8% support. The polls here have been relatively consistent, ranging from between 5% and 13%, but most of the polls place the party between 8% and 10%. There is a possibility that the party will inch upwards from their 2008 support level and get into double figures. The Greens haven't had a poll that would have given them an Ontario seat in my projection, but once they get over the 10% range it starts to become a possibility.

Quebec, by contrast, has been one of the worst regions for the Greens since 2004, and was the worst region in 2008, with only 3.5% support. This was actually a drop from 2006 when they had 4% support. Polls for them have swung widely, from 12.2% to 1%, but most of the polls have placed the party at between 3% and 6%, which is within the margin of error from their 2008 result. The Greens would need a huge jump to start being in the running for a seat. They would have to supplant the NDP and the Conservatives to get there.

Because of Elizabeth May's determination to win in Nova Scotia, the Greens need to make the Atlantic region one of their best. With 5.8% in 2008, that wasn't the case, though May did come close to winning. The polls here have been between 0% and 12%, but there is a slight trend. From December to February the party did horrible in polls here, with a majority placing them below 3% (and two of them at 1% or lower!). Since March, the party has been polling much better. Out of six polls, four of them have had the party at 8% or higher (though there still was a 1% result). The last EKOS poll was enough that it would have given Ms. May her seat in my projection. So there is hope for the party here.

The Greens are rarely in the headlines and so it is difficult for them to attract anything but a protest vote. May did well in the last campaign, getting herself into the debates, but I don't think she showed herself to be any more worthy of votes than the other party leaders. The Greens need to be more than a niche party, because the environment is not a large enough issue to win them more than a fluke seat. It doesn't help that the NDP, the Bloc, and at times the Liberals make the environment a top issue. The Greens have started to develop a real platform that is more than the environment, but few people recognise this. I'm a close follower of politics, and I have difficulty describing what the party stands for aside from its position on the environment. It is difficult to put the party anywhere on the political spectrum, because it can be more conservative fiscally than you'd think while being liberal socially and environmentally.

The Greens can't become THE centrist party, and being A centrist party will not help them either. Centrist voters are the luckiest, as they have two options they can lead towards that could form government. People left-of-centre have to choose between a Liberal government or the opposition. The Greens need to define themselves clearly and strongly in the public eye, and if they want to get elected they have to drop a pan-Canadian strategy and regionalise themselves. A party with 7% support can't run a national campaign. The Bloc has shown that a 10% party can do extraordinarily well if it is regionalised. Of course, the Greens can't go as far as the Bloc in that department, but May is electable in Nova Scotia. The Greens could re-align themselves to focus on Atlantic Canada - not to the extent of ignoring the rest of the country, but basing their platform on the side that would be most attractive to Atlantic Canadians. They'll still find 4%-6% support throughout the country if they are strong on the environment, but they could get 10% or more in Atlantic Canada if they strove to speak for them in particular.

In any case, the Greens face the greatest challenges as a federal party. To become electable, they need to shed some of their grass-root, protest-vote reputation. But by doing so, they stand to shed some of their grass-root, protest-vote support. Not an easy place to be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Poll: EKOS

EKOS has released a new poll today, taken between April 8 and April 13 and involving 1,587 interviews. It's a big poll with big numbers, and there have been some changes in the projection. Be sure to go to the bottom of this post to see how many seats this poll alone would translate into. First, the national result:

Liberals - 36.7%
Conservatives - 30.2%
New Democrats - 15.5%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.4%
Greens - 8.1%

Here's British Columbia:

Liberals - 34.6%
Conservatives - 34.0%
New Democrats - 23.8%
Greens - 7.5%

Of note, the Liberals have never been ahead of the Conservatives in a poll from British Columbia since Ignatieff's arrival. Alberta has the Liberals at 25%, which is high for them, and the NDP at less than 6%, which is low. The Prairies have a very surprising result, with the Liberals at 39.1%, the Conservatives at 31.7%, and the NDP at 28.5%.


Liberals - 42.0%
Conservatives - 32.4%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Greens - 10.8%

Nothing new here.


Bloc Quebecois - 39.5%
Liberals - 33.0%
New Democrats - 11.7%
Conservatives - 10.9%
Greens - 4.9%

The Conservative number is low, only once has it been lower. But this is the first poll to put the NDP ahead of the Conservatives in Quebec.

The poll included a few other questions. The country is split on whether the country is going in the right direction, but only 38% believe the government is going in the right direction. A huge 72% want an election in two years or more, while only 24% want one before the end of the year. Only 39% support the mission in Afghanistan compared to 48% who don't. As to approval vs. disapproval ratings, Stephen Harper has a 38/54 split (which isn't good) while Michael Ignatieff has a 50/28 split (which is). In Quebec, Gilles Duceppe is 52/36 while nationwide Jack Layton is 37/46 and Elizabeth May is 39/26. Notable is the 35% of respondents who had no opinion of Ms. May. The next highest was Ignatieff at 21%, which in itself is interesing. US President Barack Obama has an 82% approval rating in Canada, while only 7% dislike him.

And now, the projection. The Conservatives have dropped two seats (one in Ontario and one in Alberta) to 131 while the Liberals have risen two to 108. I must remind everyone that the projection is meant to give a picture of what the result would be AFTER an election campaign, rather than right now.

The projected popular vote has changed significantly from April 8 for the two major parties:

Liberals +0.4
Greens +0.1
New Democrats +0.0
Bloc Quebecois +0.0
Conservatives -0.4

Regionally, some of the biggest changes included Liberal gains of 0.7 points in British Columbia, 0.5 points in Alberta, and 0.8 points in the Prairies. The Conservatives lost 0.5 points in British Columbia, 0.8 points in the Prairies, 0.4 points in Ontario, and 0.3 points in Quebec.

This is, by far, the best poll the Liberals have had since the election. Conversely, it is the worst poll for the Conservatives. For the two parties, this would likely result in a repeat of the 2004 election where Paul Martin won a minority government. After a long election campaign, things can change dramatically, but if the Liberals maintain these numbers Ignatieff will be the next Prime Minister.

During the last election campaign, polls were coming out to the tune of 2-3 per day. We're now getting 3-6 per month, and the projection has changed significantly from the beginning. During a campaign, with all the polls streaming in, the projection will change far more quickly than it does at this slow rate. I'm sure Liberals look at the projection and wonder about it, considering all of the recent favourable polls. ThreeHundredEight's model takes polls with a grain of salt, and doesn't swing wildly according to new information. The projection is all about trends, both past and present. Voter turnout, past behaviour, margins of error; these aren't taken into account by individual polls.

Nevertheless, from now until an election is finally called, I will be also showing how many seats each poll directly translates into. If the electoral result was identical to this EKOS poll, this is how many seats each party would have in the House of Commons:

Liberals - 139
Conservatives - 97
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 19
Greens - 1

Yes, with 8.8% in the Atlantic provinces, that is enough to give May her Nova Scotia seat. This is what I would label a Stable Liberal Minority Government.

Poll Position: New Democrats

The New Democrats have been in trouble ever since the demise of the coalition and the arrival of Michael Ignatieff. Since Paul Martin drew up a budget with the help of Jack Layton before the 2006 election, the NDP has benefited from being a legitimate alternative to the Liberals for centre-left voters. The weaknesses of Stéphane Dion only prolonged this trend. Since Layton failed to keep the coalition together and the Liberals turfed Dion for Ignatieff, the place of the NDP in Canadian politics has dropped to its lowest point since the days of Alexa McDonough. The NDP is simply not making the headlines, and the current state of affairs in the House of Commons has left Layton and his 37 MPs by the wayside.

Polls weren't horrible for the NDP following Ignatieff's arrival, with national support levels swinging from 12% to 19%. Most of the polls put the NDP somewhere between 15% and 19%, which is within where they have been since 2004. Three polls put them at between 18% and 19%, near the strong 18.2% the party received in 2008. But things turned sour in February, and the NDP has been between 12% and 17% since then, and only one of those polls has had the NDP at 17%. Lately, 16% seems to be the NDP ceiling, and there have been too many polls under the 15.7% result of 2004. ThreeHundredEight is currently projecting NDP support at 15.3%, which would be the lowest electoral result under Layton.

The NDP seems to be losing ground everywhere. From 28.6% in 2006, the NDP dropped to 26.1% in British Columbia in 2008. Only one poll since December has put the NDP over that result, the majority of the polls being around the 20% mark. Polls since March have had the party at anywhere from 17% to 24%, which would be quite a drop. The two most recent polls are the strongest ones the NDP has had in British Columbia since January, but Layton certainly has to be concerned with NDP results here. I only project them to win two seats, a loss of seven from 2008, which would be disastrous.

One of the big surprises of the last election was an NDP win in Alberta. This the party managed with 12.7% of the vote, and until March this looked to be unrepeatable. The party was polling less than 10% in all but one poll, and were even marked as low as 4% in early February. But the last four polls have the party at between 10% and 13%. Because of the bad early results, I'm not projecting them to win any seats here but if things continue to improve the NDP should be projected to keep their seat. One positive out of many negatives, it would seem.

The Prairies gave birth to the NDP, and over the last three elections the NDP has maintained itself between 23.5% and 24.8%. It would seem NDP voters in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are committed, but recent polling results put that into question. Until the end of February the NDP was polling well here, with three consecutive polls placing the NDP at 26%. But since February, the NDP has dropped dramatically to between 15% and 22%. Something has changed in the Prairies, and it seems that the Liberals and even the Greens have benefited. They're still projected to win three seats (down from four in 2008), but that could change. From outpacing the Liberals in both 2006 and 2008, the NDP are on the brink of being projected to place third in the province.

Ontario has been reluctant to move over to the NDP over the last three elections, with support remaining virtually unchanged (18.1% to 19.4%). The 18.2% result in 2008 was actually a drop from the previous election, but it still netted the party 17 seats. Aside from a few isolated polling results (19% in late January and 20% in early February), the NDP have been well below the 18% mark. Six March polls and one April poll have put the party at between 12% and 15%. Clearly the NDP are losing a lot of ground to the Liberals, as are the Conservatives. They're projected to keep only 10 of their seats.

Thomas Mulcair's victory in Outremont in a by-election was seen as a rejection of Dion. His victory in the 2008 general election has been considered a breakthrough for the NDP in Quebec. No one doubts that, as the party moved from 4.6% in 2004 to 7.5% in 2006 and 12.2% in 2008. The NDP hasn't won a seat in Quebec in decades, so this win was certainly significant. Nevertheless, the party remains a distant fourth in the province. Polling results have been consistent for the NDP, and they have been consistently good - if that can be measured only by the likelihood of keeping Mulcair in Outremont. The party has polled anywhere from 17% to 7% in the province, but the vast majority are within the 10% to 14% range. There has been no discernible movement in voting trends, except a slight turn downwards since the beginning of March. The last six polls have three results under 10%, but two of them are also at 13%, so this is probably just the margin of error. I project them to keep Outremont, for now.

The Atlantic has historically been a strong region for the party, and this is demonstrated by their 26.6% result in 2008. Polling fluctuates wildly in this region for the NDP, with results being as low as 17% and as high as 32%. There is a worrying trend, however. Of the last eight polls in the region, stretching back to January 27, the NDP has been only twice over 20% (25% in February and 29% in March). The remaining six polls have had the party at between 17% and 19%. This would be a big drop for the party, and why they are projected to only win three seats.

Jack Layton has a difficult game to play. He is positioned on the Canadian left, but this area is straddled by the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the Greens. While in 2004 and 2006 the NDP had the advantage of nipping away support from the Liberals, that no longer is the case. Ignatieff is firmly planted in the Liberal Party, and centre-left voters are moving back towards them. The Bloc is maintaining its strength as well. Layton now has to try to re-gain lost Liberal voters, as well as try to steal votes from the Bloc in Quebec and the left-leaning Green voters. The Greens are in no way all left-wingers, many seem to be centrist as well as right-wing on issues other than the environment. If he does it masterfully, Layton could only hope to improve his national score by 3-points at the expense of the Greens. Another 1% could perhaps be taken from the Bloc. But in order to get those Liberal votes back, Layton would have to move towards the centre, which has the risk of losing votes back to the Greens and the Bloc. If Layton moves to the left in order to go after socially-left-wing environmentalists and social democratic Quebecers, he risks losing more of his centre-left support to Ignatieff.

Layton has been strong over the last few years because has has been able to take advantage of the weakness of the Liberal Party. That is no longer a political factor, and while Layton was concentrating on the Liberals the Green Party has stepped in and nipped at his environmentalist heels. Layton has to re-orientate the party in order to retrieve those Green votes, since getting his Liberal votes back would seem to be impossible at the moment.

A more feasible strategy would be to turn his pan-Canadian vision of the party around. With the Liberals evaporating under Dion, Layton attempted to make the NDP the alternative Official Opposition. He did so by styling the NDP as a fundamentally national party, rather than the party of particular regions and social classes, which is what the NDP has historically been. Layton should consider going back to this version of the NDP. By doing so, he can keep many of his MPs in the House of Commons even if he loses 3-points nationally. The NDP is not one of the "big" Canadian parties - it is a special interest party. This is not necessarily a bad thing, the Bloc Quebecois has had tremendous success in this role. With strong Conservative and Liberal parties, something we haven't seen since the break-up of the Progressive Conservatives, there isn't any room for the NDP anymore. In order to survive in this new political environment, the New Democrats have to (re)-carve out a niche for themselves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poll Position: Bloc Québécois

Since the election, only the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois have seen improvements in their polling results. For the Bloc, there are a few factors that have contributed to this.

The economy has been a major factor and has undermined both the Conservative government and, to some extent, the federalist argument. One of the key events which galvanised sovereigntist sentiment and was followed by a significant change in Bloc polling numbers was the planned re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The controversy brought nationalist issues back into the forefront in Quebec, and divided the country virtually on a Quebec/Canada basis, as the majority of Quebecers were in favour of the cancellation.

Another factor has been the weak performance of the Conservatives and, to a lesser extent, the New Democrats in Quebec. The Conservatives burned their bridges in the province with the vitriol aimed at the "separatists" during the coalition days. Harper's favourability ratings have tanked since then, but it wasn't until the re-enactment affair that the Bloc became the beneficiary. The absence of the NDP has also had some effect, giving the Bloc an extra 1%-3% in the province.

Probably the biggest help has come from the provincial political theatre, where the federalist PLQ government under Jean Charest has become very unpopular. The PLQ has dropped to the low-30s in the polls and the Parti Québécois has risen to 40%. This is undoubtedly a good help to the Bloc.

Finally, there is Gilles Duceppe. Duceppe has been in the House of Commons since 1990 and is both the oldest and most experienced leader in Parliament. He is arguably the best at his job of the four leaders, as he rarely makes a gaffe and is usually in tune with the prevailing sentiment in Quebec.

And now, the polls. The Bloc had lost a little support from 2006 during the last election, dropping to 38.1% from 42.1%. Following the election to the end of January things continued to look troubling, as the Bloc polled between 29% and 39%, placing second in voting intentions in a January 7 Nanos poll.

Things improved rather dramatically at the beginning of February, at the height of the re-enactment affair. The Bloc jumped to 38% from three polls in the low-30s, and this was followed up by two polls placing the party over 40% in Quebec. There was the fiasco of the Strategic Counsel poll on February 8 that placed the Bloc at 22%, below the Greens at 26% (!), but that was just a polling aberration. Two early March polls continued to put the Bloc at over 40%, but this was followed by a slip in the polls throughout the month. From 40% the party went to 39%, then 38%, and then 36% and 35%. It looked as if the bump had ended, but the two latest polls from Leger Marketing and Strategic Counsel have put the Bloc back in the 40% to 42% range.

A CROP poll from March 23 broke down the political situation in Quebec by region. It put the Bloc in a strong position, with 33%, in and around Montreal. Most of that vote support probably comes from the Montérégie and Laurentides regions, as well as the eastern part of the island of Montreal. The Bloc dominates here, but it will be interesting to see how the Liberal up-turn affects Bloc numbers in these regions. In and around Quebec City, the Bloc also had a strong result (30%), which makes them liable to step-in where the Conservatives struggle. The Tories were still in front here (32%), so Duceppe has his work cut out for him. In the rest of Quebec, the Bloc was at 38% and well ahead of its competitors. This is where they get most of their seats.

One must point out, however, that this CROP poll had the Bloc at 35% in the province, which is a few points lower than the recent trend. The Liberals were about right but the Conservatives a little higher than we've seen in the past few weeks, so that probably translates to the Bloc at 35% or so in and around Montreal and puts them in front or tied with the Conservatives in Quebec City.

The Bloc is projected to win 50 seats, more or less maintaining its position since 2006. It is difficult to estimate how the Conservative troubles will effect the political scene in the province. The Conservatives could lose half of their ten seats, but it is unknown to who these former Conservative voters will give their support. One assumes that the nationalists will go the Bloc and the federalists to the Liberals, but it is difficult to figure out exactly who gets what. It seems that the Conservative down-turn has benefited the Bloc to the tune of 2%-3%, with the rest going to the Liberals.

The Bloc is best when it acts with common sense in the House of Commons in quiet times and reacts with virulence when things heat up and Quebec's interests appear to be at risk. Looking at the situation, Duceppe really doesn't have to make any major changes in his strategy. The only thing he should be wary about is whether to target the Conservatives or the Liberals. Michael Ignatieff's inroads need to be curtailed, but if the Tories are ignored they could get back up to 20%. Duceppe is undoubtedly in the safest position of the four political leaders, so while he does have a delicate balancing act to play, he isn't doing it on a tight-rope like the others.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Second Choice Poll

Nanos Research released a new poll today, which lists people's second choices. The results:

No Second Choice - 35.9%
Liberals - 18.3%
New Democrats - 14.8%
Conservatives - 14.0%
Greens - 13.9%
Bloc Quebecois - 2.1%
Other - 1.1%

These results are interesting. Being first among the parties is huge for the Liberals, but I also find it interesting that the Greens are so low. I would have imagined they would be a good second choice for people who can't bring themselves to vote for one of the other parties. Turns out, then, that either a majority of Canadians are non-partisan and can vote for a second party, or that the Greens have become part of the partisan environment.

Now into the nitty-gritty. Demonstrating the Liberal Party really is a centrist party, second-choice for Liberals is split, with 28.1% going to the Conservatives and 19.9% to the NDP. The Greens are the second choice of 18.3% of Liberals, and the Bloc 2.5%. Liberal voters are also the second-least partisan, as only 29.7% could not bring themselves to vote for another party.

Side note, it is unfortunate the poll isn't broken down more thoroughly. The Bloc numbers are virtually useless without context of its proportion of Quebecers.

Conservatives are far more partisan, as 43.9% are unable to make a second choice. Out of all the party options, the Liberals are on top with 32.5%, followed by the NDP at 12.1% and the Greens at 9.6%. The Bloc brings up the rear at 0.4%.

The New Democrats take the title as the least partisan, as only 21.6% wouldn't vote for another party. However, 20.7% would vote for the Greens, 7.2% would vote for the Bloc, 39.6% would vote for the Liberals, and 9.9% would vote for the Conservatives.

It isn't very shocking to see that Bloc voters are least likely to vote for a second party, something 51.6% said they couldn't do. Considering that Bloc voters are sovereigntists who absolutely don't see themselves in the pan-Canadian parties, this is to be expected. Only a few said they could vote for another party. The NDP had 18.7%, the Greens 14.3%, and the Conservatives and Liberals tied at 7.7%.

Finally, 33.8% of Green voters said they could not vote for a second party. The Liberals got 24.3%, the Conservatives and NDP 20.3% each, and the Bloc 1.4%.

Who should be happiest about this polling result? Clearly the Liberals, as they were the most popular second choice of Conservative, NDP, and Green voters. The Conservatives were only the second choice of the Liberals, and the NDP of the Bloc. One result which is, in retrospect, not surprising but blows a hole in past Conservative strategies is that Bloc voters aren't likely to move towards the Conservatives. The Tories have been trying to take that nationalist vote since 2006. Apparently that boat has sailed.

What can be taken from this? When looking to take support from other parties, the Liberals need to focus on the Conservative voter and the NDP voter. The Conservatives should look to the Liberal voter and the Green voter, the NDP to the Liberals and Bloc, the Bloc to the NDP and Liberals, and the Greens to everyone.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poll Position: Liberals

Yesterday, I looked at the Conservatives. Now, Michael Ignatieff's Liberal Party of Canada.

Since the October 2008 election, no political party has rebounded so strongly in the public opinion polls. The party had had one of their worst results in Canadian history, and now they are on the brink of re-forming government. A lot of this gain can be attributed to Ignatieff, who as a new leader is rewarded with new enthusiasm almost by default. But Ignatieff is also such a different style of leader than Stéphane Dion that the enthusiasm is genuine.

The 26.2% the party received in the election was actually significantly lower than any polling result we've seen since Ignatieff's arrival (with the exception of an Ipsos-Reid poll from December 11). The transformation was almost instantaneous, and during the months of December and January the Liberals flirted with 30%. Starting in February, however, the Liberals have been polling over 30% in every single poll, and have been extremely consistent with results between 31% and 36%. Eight polls between February 5 and March 11 were extraordinarily consistent, with the Liberals receiving either 31% or 33%. The last three polls (March 18 to April 5) have shown a substantial jump to 34%, 35%, and 36%. Most significant is that all three of these polls have put Ignatieff ahead of Stephen Harper's Conservatives, the gap extending to even 3-points, the magical number where a statistical tie turns into an outright lead.

Numerous factors have led to this, most importantly the arrival of Ignatieff and the weak performance of the Conservative government since the election. The Liberals need an extra bit of effort to get over the hump of a neck-and-neck race, and I will explain how they can do this later.

First, let's look at the regional performances of the party, starting with British Columbia. The electoral result was catastrophic: 19.2% and a distant third behind the New Democratic Party. Polling numbers have been significantly better since then, but still out of ten polls since Ignatieff's arrival, the Liberals have been three times within 5-points of that result (bottoming out at 14% in an Ipsos-Reid poll from December 11). The majority of polling results, however, have been in the mid- to high-20s, which is where the Liberals had been in 2004 and 2006. The party has topped out at 32% in a Harris-Decima poll of March 8, but some work needs to be done here for the Liberals to truly compete with the Tories. In fact, the greatest competition to the Liberals in BC are the NDP. Nevertheless, the party is projected to win ten of the 36 seats here, which would be a decent performance.

Alberta is a barren wasteland for the Liberals. They received a dismal 11.4% here in 2008 (placing third), but that wasn't even much worse than the 15.3% of 2006. The polling results have been much better than either of these two electoral results, with all but one poll putting the party at over 15%. However, the Liberals have not polled better than 21%, which is still lower than the 2004 electoral result of 22% when Paul Martin won only two seats. The party is projected to win zero seats here, and any effort in Alberta is virtually wasted since the party won't do better than one or two seats at the most.

The Prairies are a slightly more fertile ground for the party. They've been polling significantly higher than the 17.2% result of 2008, with polling since mid-January putting the party at between 21% and 29%. This is still lower than the 2004 electoral result, which shows that the party still has a lot of ground to make up. As in British Columbia, the real fight is between the Liberals and NDP for second place, a fight the NDP won easily in 2008. I'm projecting four seats for the Grits here.

Ontario, the province which has almost single-handedly given the Liberals majority governments, is starting to lean strongly towards Ignatieff. A steady decline from 2004's 44.7% to 2006's 39.9% to 2008's 33.8% has turned around, and the last three polls have put the Liberals at 44%-45% in the province. In fact, since February 3 the Liberals have not polled lower than 37%. Of the last eleven polls, six of them have had the party at over 40%, and only one of them put the Conservatives in front. This is a trend that started early, with the Liberals being put ahead of the Conservatives as early as January 7. It looks as if this trend will continue, and so the 51 seats projected for the Liberals in the province could turn into 60 very soon.

According to the polls, Quebec has been a bit of a triumph for the Liberals. Their dismal 20.7% in 2006 was improved upon slightly by Dion (one of his few victories) with 23.7%. Since Ignatieff arrived, only one poll has put the Liberals at lower than 24%, and eight have put the party at over 30%. Not one single poll has put the Liberals in third place, a position they occupied for most of the period between the 2006 and 2008 elections. A significant re-aligning of politics in Quebec has taken place, and it is back to the old ways: a Liberal/Bloc Quebecois contest. Ignatieff has succeeded in taking on the mantle of THE federalist option in Quebec, a position the party has traditionally held. Things are going very well in Quebec, and I am projecting them to win 18 seats, but there are still some unknowns here. Is the Liberal support limited to the Outaouais and the island of Montreal? The party has limited potential in those regions. It remains to be seen whether Ignatieff can make the leap east of Westmount.

Atlantic Canada is the only region that has remained Liberal since the creation of the Conservative Party. Nevertheless, the party lost a lot of support in 2008, dipping to 35.4%. Since then, the party has been polling very strongly in the region. Indeed, it is their strongest region, with polls putting them at between 36% and 52%. Only two polls put the party at less than 40%, and six have had them over 45%. There seems to be a slight trend downwards, however, since February. Before this time, most polls put the party at between 45% and 50%. Since then, the party has been between 40% and 45% (with one putting them at 36%). Should the Liberals be worried? No, because the Conservative numbers have remained consistent. Liberal fortunes seem to dip only when the NDP and Greens poll strongly, which can merely be statistical aberrations. The party is projected to win 21 seats here, the strongest result after Ontario.

So, quite clearly the Liberals are on the up-swing and should continue the work they are doing. However, Ignatieff has to take on a new challenge. He has managed to install himself as the safe alternative to an unpopular government (the Tories are well below majority favourability). Dion's major flaw was that he could not look prime ministerial, despite the great weaknesses in the Conservative campaign. However, being the safe alternative to an unpopular government can only go so far, and that is why we are seeing the Liberals top out at around 34%. Ignatieff now has to demonstrate why he is the Next Government rather than the Safe Alternative. As soon as Conservative fortunes turn around, and they could, the Liberals would become the safe alternative to a popular government - a position that won't win you an election. Ignatieff has yet to truly show what a Liberal government would look like, and this is his next challenge. If he does this well, we'll see the Liberals jump the important 35% mark and stay there. If he does it badly, the party will drop back to the dangerous 30% region. Not interrupting your opponent as he makes an error can only go so far. Ignatieff can win an election by merely appearing to be the best alternative choice, but he can't win a strong minority and especially a majority without getting people excited about choosing him.

The Liberals appear to be planning for a fall election. For their sake, I hope Ignatieff is planning to do exactly what I suggest over the summer. If he doesn't, we'll see another anti-Harper campaign, rather than a pro-me one. It would be nice to see a positive campaign for once.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Poll Position: Conservatives

When there aren't any polls to report on, I'd like to analyse how each federal party is doing in the polls, and what it means. Today, we look at Stephen Harper's Conservatives.

Two parties have been particularly hit by the rejuvenation of the Liberal Party under Michael Ignatieff: the Conservatives and the New Democrats. While there hasn't been any sharp decline in Conservative support since Ignatieff's arrival, there has been a slow and steady attrition of Conservative numbers since December.

The electoral result of 37.6% in October was a high-watermark for the Tories, but it is impossible to know how much of that increase can be attributed to a strong Conservative campaign rather than a weak Liberal one under Stéphane Dion. In the immediate aftermath of the election and especially the coalition fiasco, Conservative numbers skyrocketed into the 40%+ range. With the departure of Dion and the arrival of Ignatieff, the Conservative support levels fell back down to earth. On December 11, Ipsos-Reid gave Harper a 45% to 26% lead over the Liberals. On January 7, Nanos Research had the Liberals one point ahead of the Conservatives with 34%.

Since then, the trend has been sloped downwards. Until early February the Conservatives were polling solidly in the high-30s, but since then the Conservatives have polled at 35% or higher only three times out of ten. The most recent results have been most worrisome, with three consecutive polls placing the Conservatives below the Liberals as well as two March polls of over 1,500 people showing the same result.

It's clear that the Tories are losing ground. The economy is undoubtedly one of the major factors, but it is also apparent that the Conservatives have been having a bad few months. The message, when there is one, isn't getting through and Ignatieff has managed to appear steady and strong - mostly by keeping himself out of trouble - in contrast to a sometimes erratic Conservative strategy.

It comes as no surprise that through this downward spiral the Conservatives have remained strong in the western part of the country. In British Columbia, the Conservative lead has been as large as 24% (February 5, Ipsos-Reid). Since the beginning of February, three out of the five polls have put the Conservatives at more than 45%, and the two dissenting polls still gave the Tories a decent lead in the high-30s.

Alberta is, of course, a dark Tory blue, with all but one poll in 2009 putting the Conservatives at over 60%, one of the March polls even putting them at 70%. This is nothing unusual, however, as they had 64.6% of the vote in October.

The provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also strong for the Conservatives, with four polls in March placing them at between 44% and 56%. This is within their 2008 result of 51.1%, and neither the Liberals nor the NDP have been challenging the Conservative stranglehold on the Prairies.

It is no wonder that Harper is projected to dominate with 73 of the 92 seats west of Ontario.

Ontario is another kettle of fish, however. The Conservatives made a breakthrough here in October with 39.2% of the vote, and polling through to the end of January gave Harper a substantial lead here. Things started to turn in January, however, as we saw here the first poll (Nanos, January 7) putting Ignatieff in front. Since then, the Conservatives have been on a steady slide from the 40% in January to the high-30s in February. March put the Liberals consistently ahead of the Conservatives, and four of the last five polls have put the Conservatives at 35% or less. This is significant, as Harper had 35.1% in 2006 and only 31.5% in 2004. Ontario has so many seats that the Conservatives need to do something to regain traction. They're currently projected to win 45 of the 106, but in the next few months that could easily dip into the 30s and deprive Harper of government.

Last year, Harper was supposed to get that majority government in Quebec. It didn't happen, as the Tory vote dropped from 24.6% in 2006 to 21.7% in 2008. The Harper Honeymoon in Quebec was certainly ending, and now it is completely over. Favourability ratings for the Prime Minister are rock-bottom in Quebec, and the Conservative support levels are there with him. This has not even been a recent trend, as early as December 12 the Conservatives were rated at 15% support. Things haven't changed since then, as the Tories have been anywhere from 10% to 21%, and only one poll out of 20 have had the Conservatives at 20% or over. Only four have had them at over 19%. In the mid-teens, I can only project Harper to retain six of his seats. If they drop to the low teens, that number will drop as well. A majority government has long since been lost in Quebec. A minority government could be lost as well.

Finally, along with Quebec, Atlantic Canada has been the troublesome spot for the Conservatives. Danny Williams' "Anyone But Conservatives" campaign helped bring the Conservative vote down from 35.8% in 2006 to 28.8% in 2008. Recent polling has put the Conservatives in the same range, though a few points this side of 30. With the recent squabble over Brian Mulroney, the Conservatives under Harper seem to be cutting more of their ties with the old Progressive Conservative wing of the party. This will only hurt matters in the Maritimes, one of the few regions PCs could be elected following the 1993 debacle. The Liberals are up here, and there is no reason to believe the Conservatives will be able to improve upon even their dismal 2008 performance here. They're projected to take 8 of the 32 seats here - and will be lucky to get them.

Taking all of these factors into account, the Conservatives are the party with the most to lose in any upcoming election. Their numbers are down east of Manitoba and it could cost them the government. They are still projected to form a moderately strong minority, but if these trends continue this will change in the coming months. Something needs to be done if the Conservatives want to retain the reigns of government. Galvanising their base in the West is not the way to do it, Harper has maximised his potential there. Cutting off the eastern Canadian nose to spite the western Canadian face is not an election-winning strategy, particularly against an electable opponent like Ignatieff. Harper needs to rebuild the burnt Quebec bridges, make peace with the Progressive Conservatives, and centre himself in order to re-gain a competitive position in Ontario.

As an observer of Conservative behaviour and strategy since October, I have serious doubts that Harper will be willing or able to do these things.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Poll: Strategic Counsel

We have the first April poll this morning, courtesy of Strategic Counsel. The poll was taken between April 2 and April 5 and involved 1,000 interviews. The national results:

Liberals - 34%
Conservatives - 32%
New Democrats - 15%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 9%

These national numbers are significant because it is the first time three consecutive polls have put the Liberals ahead of the Conservatives.

The Quebec numbers:

Bloc Quebecois - 41%
Liberals - 29%
Conservatives - 15%
New Democrats - 9%
Greens - 6%

This is a good result for the Bloc, as this is the second consecutive poll to put them at or over 40%. The Liberals are steady and the Conservatives are steady at a worrisome 15%. The NDP result of 9% should be a concern as well, as it is starting to put them at a point where Outremont is in danger.

UPDATE: When I originally worked on the projection, CTV was reporting the Bloc at 40%. Strategic Counsel has released the details, and the Globe and Mail turned out to be accurate in reporting it at 41%. That's the last time I trust CTV over that newspaper. I've made the appropriate changes in the projection and on the charts, but they'll just be put to date on the site when the next poll is released. There is no change for the Bloc except they are at 37.8% instead of 37.7%.

The Ontario result:

Liberals - 45%
Conservatives - 32%
New Democrats - 15%
Greens - 9%

This is a huge result for the Liberals, as it marks three consecutive polls at this height. If you look at the opinion polling trend chart, you really see the Liberals pulling away from the Conservatives over the past few weeks here.

The poll also includes Western Canada, which is useless for my model. Nevertheless, here is the result:

Conservatives - 46%
Liberals - 24%
New Democrats - 19%
Greens - 11%

These numbers are extremely similar to what Strategic Counsel reported as a result in March.

The projection has changed accordingly. Along with this poll, because we are in a new month all older polls have been reduced in weight. In addition, I've reduced the weight of past elections based on the amount of new polls that were released in March. This will be a new process for me here on out, so that eventually new polls will have much more weight and past elections will have less. They won't disappear entirely, however, as I feel they are an important anchor.

The seat projection is now showing the Conservatives at 133, down one from last time (in Ontario). This is the lowest Conservative result so far, and 106 for the Liberals is their highest. The Bloc and NDP have remained steady at 50 and 19, respectively.

The national popular vote projection has also changed from last time:

Liberals +0.1
New Democrats +0.1
Greens +0.1
Bloc Quebecois -0.1
Conservatives -0.2

This is one of the first times that the NDP has actually improved its result in the projection. This is a trend throughout the country, where the NDP has increased by 0.1 points in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. They are up 0.2 in the Prairies, but down 0.1 in Quebec. The Liberals have actually gone down a little in the West and Atlantic Canada, but are up 0.2 in Ontario and have opened up a 1.7% lead over the Conservatives, who lost 0.3 in the province. The Bloc dropped 0.2 points in Quebec.

The Conservatives need to be worried. This isn't an especially bad poll for them, but it is a continuing trend. They are way down in Ontario, which is where they need to improve their score. The continued basement-results in Quebec are solidifying, and as far as I can tell Stephen Harper hasn't shown any signs of trying to turn this around.

For the Liberals, more good polling news. They aren't going to launch an election at 34%, but with such a lead in Ontario they have reason to be confident. Continued strong results in Quebec is another positive sign.

For the NDP, the national and Ontario results were on the better side for them, but they are still down from their 2008 electoral result, and they need to start thinking about defending their one Quebec seat, as expanding now seems impossible. The Bloc is doing well, no doubt aided by an increasingly unpopular PLQ government in the province.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Chart of Monthly Polling Averages

This chart shows the trend in the averages of all the polls taken within each month for Canada, Ontario, and Quebec. It gives the most accurate picture of monthly trends, as each month average is the result of anywhere from 2,000 to 9,000 interviews.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monthly Picture: March 2009

Now that March is past us, here is the way the projection would look like taking only the March polling results as a factor. March featured six national polls with a total of 8,514 interviews. Below we see the national polling average between the six polls, with the change from the February picture in brackets:

Conservatives - 34.3% (+0.3)
Liberals - 33.2% (+1.2)
New Democrats - 14.2% (-1.3)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% (+0.7)
Greens - 8.2% (-1.1)

Now, we have the regional results, with the average popular vote followed by the amount of seats that gives in the projection. The change of seats from the February picture is in brackets:


Conservatives - 42.5% - 25 (-2)
Liberals - 26.5% - 10 (+2)
New Democrats - 20.8% - 1
Greens - 8.8% - 0

ALBERTA (four polls)

Conservatives - 60.0% - 26 (-2)
Liberals - 18.0% - 2 (+2)
New Democrats - 12.0% - 0
Greens - 7.8% - 0

PRAIRIES (four polls)

Conservatives - 49.8% - 21 (-2)
Liberals - 25.3% - 5 (+1)
New Democrats - 18.5% - 2 (+1)
Greens - 5.3% - 0

ONTARIO (six polls)

Liberals - 40.8% - 57 (+1)
Conservatives - 36.0% - 41 (+3)
New Democrats - 13.0% - 8 (-4)
Greens - 9.5% - 0

QUEBEC (seven polls)

Bloc Quebecois - 38.7% - 50 (-1)
Liberals - 30.4% - 20 (+4)
Conservatives - 14.9% - 4 (-3)
New Democrats - 10.3% - 1
Greens - 5.4% - 0

ATLANTIC (five polls)

Liberals - 41.0% - 22 (+2)
Conservatives - 31.0% - 8 (-2)
New Democrats - 20.2% - 2
Greens - 7.2% - 0

Assuming the Conservatives win one seat in the North and the Liberals win two, the seat projection for March was:

Conservatives - 126 (-4 from February)
Liberals - 118 (+8)
Bloc Quebecois - 50 (-1)
New Democrats - 14 (-3)

So, what this shows is that the Liberals and Conservatives are really starting to close together - at least in the polling. The projection takes into account past voting tendencies and how things would look after an election campaign. The March polling numbers are just a snapshot - the projection takes into account many more factors.