Thursday, January 21, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 0.6-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has their weekly poll out, and it is another close one.The margin between the two parties is tiny, 31.5% for the Conservatives and 30.9% for the Liberals. Compared to the last EKOS poll, this is a 0.6-point gain for the Conservatives and a 1.6-point gain for the Liberals. While both are modest gains, it is a new thing to see the Liberals gaining as much as they did in this poll.

The NDP dropped 0.4 points to 14.9%, as did the Greens to 11.5%. While the two major parties have re-grouped over the past week, it seems the other parties are taking the brunt of those losses.

In British Columbia, the Tories are up about three points and the Liberals are up about two points. At 35.7% the Conservatives are well ahead of the 25.2% of the Liberals, but the race is still, well, a race.

Another race is in Alberta, against all expectations. The Conservatives have dropped another four points to 47.2% while the Liberals are up five points to 23.9%. They'll sweep Edmonton! Maybe not, but that is a good score for the Liberals.

Nothing unexpected in the Prairies (the Liberals drop five, the NDP gain three and the Tories two) but the Liberals have maintained the lead in Ontario, 37.7% to 33.5%. That is about a three point gain for the Conservatives, and a one point loss for the Liberals. The NDP are down two points to 13.3%, tied with the Greens.

In Quebec, the Bloc drops five points but is still solidly in the lead at 36.0%. The Liberals are up three points to 25.5%, and the Conservatives are steady at 18.1%. However, all parties should be unhappy with these numbers.

Atlantic Canada gives us the most unlikely result, as the Liberals have gained nine points and stand at 41.8%. The Tories are down five to 28.0%, and the NDP is up one to 22.6%.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 121
Liberals - 114
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 24

The government and the official opposition would be separated by only a few seats. For the Conservatives, 68 of their seats come from the West and North, while the Liberals have 77 of theirs in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

This was a good poll for the Liberals, and only the Liberals. They are making gains, and have re-established leads in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. They are doing okay in Quebec and British Columbia, and very well in Alberta.

The Conservatives had a better poll than last week's, but they are still very low. Nothing to be happy about here - they're almost at their floor.

The NDP had bad results everywhere. When the Liberals were down and out, the NDP seemed like a potential alternative. Now that swing-voters have moved over to the Liberals, it seems that left-wing fence-sitters are moving back to the more-likely winner.



    OK that headline from EKOS is a bit sickening to see. I hope news organizations come up with their own byline.

    Just saying.

  2. Yeah, that's a little too cynical, even for me.

  3. BC Voice of Reason21 January, 2010 11:18

    from the report: "Please note that these dates are not inclusive of the weekends, as we do not survey on Saturday or Sunday."

    This is an automated voice recognition poll. It is too difficult to have someone flip a switch on Saturday/Sunday morning?

    Is this a CBC request? Is CBC once again making the news rather than reporting on it?

    Only 2 days of the poll (out of 5) would have the Haiti job well done impact for the government.

    The CPC consistently polls higher on weekends as a significant portion of it's supporters have jobs during the week and are too busy for polls.

    It would be interested to see how acurate a poll is by asking if you are currently on EI or have been in the last year. If this shows higher than the 8-9% that acctually are then the poll may be biased.

    The poll is not doing any favours for the Liberals. Mr. Ignatieff looks even more power hungry and in it for himself if he makes hints about forcing an election within a year.

  4. --- "The CPC consistently polls higher on weekends as a significant portion of it's supporters have jobs during the week and are too busy for polls."

    Are you freaking kidding me?

  5. A significant portion of Conservative support is 65 or older.

    I.e., retired people.

    Retired people without jobs.

    They lead that demographic with 43.9% of the vote.

    Of 25-44 year olds, you know, people with jobs and young families, the Liberals are ahead 31.1% to 26.9%.

  6. I know that in the US there is some speculation that Democrats do better in weekend polling - but none of the evidence on any of this "day of the week bias" has ever struck me as being the least bit convincing.

  7. lol...ok Shadow, I need to think of a parody name for BC Voice of lord I haven't seen grasping like that leader in the CPC Booster Squad!

    I welcome you BC Voice of Reason to the throne!

  8. a jeesh Eric, BC Voice of Reason is over on the G&M site re this same EKOS poll just going off unhinged, take his post here and's kinda disturbing.

  9. BC Voice of Reason: The CPC consistently polls higher on weekends as a significant portion of it's supporters have jobs during the week and are too busy for polls.

    Golly. If I'd only known.

    Polls bear some resemblance to stock prices: they both reflect, to greater or lesser degrees, an underlying reality. The stock price reflects the actual value of a company. The poll reflects the anticipated outcome of an election.

    Boosters can pump up a stock price to a limited extent, but there's an invisible spring attached to the real corporate worth. The further the two diverge, the stronger the pull bringing them together. Eventually the stock price will snap back to reality and perhaps overshoot in the other direction. In the long term, the stock price can't diverge too far from the real value of the corporation. It's not in the long-term interest of corporations or stockholders (think Warren Buffett) to artificially inflate stock prices.

    Polls are similar. They are flawed, every one of them, but there's a limit to their divergence from reality. Trends are the important indicator. The nice thing about polls is that any required fudge factor can be applied based on election results. If a pollster's numbers are off, that fact will be noted far and wide. You can be very sure that every pollster works very hard to get an accurate voting demographic. It's not in the long-term interest of pollsters or political parties to have inaccurate polling numbers.

    Returning to the opening quote, Ekos doesn't poll on weekends because CPC voters are only home on weekday evenings. On weekends they all head off to their ski chalets, cabins, camps and cottages earned through the sweat of their hard labour. The ones who don't are in church. A weekend poll would probably show the Tories at 8%. Everybody knows that.

  10. Seeing this so-called "voice of reason" (is this a joke) go into such a melt-down mode - makes me realize how when the going gets tough for the federal Tories, they quickly start imitating the wicked witch of the west screaming "I'm melting! I'm melting!

  11. I really want to know what is up with that Alberta vote. I don't think its Wildrosers, because "Others" are high, but they're not soaring, and there is big upticking for the Liberals - and I mean big. But why? I mean, I know Iggy was in Calgary, but jeez....

  12. I suspect it's discontent with the provincial Tories. Ed Stelmach is hugely unpopular.

    This could be a real problem for Harper if there's an election soon. He'd do better if an Alberta election destroyed the provincial PCs so people could stop worrying about them.

  13. BC Voice of Reason21 January, 2010 12:54

    Okay I have been dismissed as a CPC shill.

    I have been posting here for a while as there seems to be a fair balance, with bias but with respect and reason and rational arguments.

    Maybe you have over reacted to my partisanship and not addressed the content of my post.

    Why no (automated) polling on the weekend?

    Eric: you have not run a correlation of CPC support on weekends relative to weekday polling?

    Tying to the Haiti boost that has given the government a key display of their competence (maybe Cynical but factual)... which will gain steam as Mr. Ignatieff reaction was to let all the Haitians (cousins?) into Montreal's slums. This poll has Monday and Tuesday to reflect the impact. (Fact or Fiction)

    Do you think any of the pooling success holds if Mr. Ignatieff calls for an election?

    Or Mr. Harper forces an election?

    Whoever forces and election loses.

  14. True Ira, though the fact that they're flocking to the Liberals is a little odd. Consider, though, that the federal numbers are similar to provincial support numbers for the Alberta Liberals. Might they be coming home to roost finally?

  15. I think the vote on the right is going to split even more in Alberta letting the Libs become a viable second place challenger eventually...

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Lol DL your schadenfreude is premature.

    "makes me realize how when the going gets tough for the federal Tories"

    Yeah just like how we were freaking out when Dion was up 10% over Harper.

    Or you know, most of 2009 until things tied up before the summer break and we took the lead in the fall.

  18. This was in an article on the Globe and Mail's website
    "Incredibly, too, the latest EKOS seat projections give the Liberals a three-seat advantage over the Conservatives if an election were held today - 117 to 114. The Tories now have 145 seats compared to 77 for the Liberals, out of a total of 308 seats in the House of Commons. (The new projection distributes the remaining seats as follows: 28 NDP, 47 Bloc, one Green and one Independent.)"

    And BC Voice of Reason seeing the Conservatives support is with the uneducated and seniors I am thinking that most of their supporters don't work.

  19. A new by-election ?

    Judy's riding should be safe NDP. Last election was NDP 62.6%, Cons 22.4%, Libs 9.2%, Green 4.8%

    Then again, Judy spent $56,773.27 and the Conservative candidate spent $6,135.55.

    If everybody went all in and the Conservatives maxed out spending this could certainly be an interesting test of party strength.

  20. liberal supporter21 January, 2010 17:08

    The CPC consistently polls higher on weekends as a significant portion of it's supporters have jobs during the week and are too busy for polls.
    There could be other reasons. It depends on when during the weekend. Sunday night, for example, is a school night. Maybe it is the CPC student arm that adds that 'weekend' bias.

    I was going to refer to the fact that many people go to the cottage on weekends. If the CPC did worse on weekends, that would be because they are middle class people who visit the family cottage, stopping at Timmies on the way. On the other hand if the Liberals do worse on the weekends, it is because they are elitist fat cats visiting their corporate masters' weekend mansions. And if the NDP does worse on the weekends, it is because they are silk stocking socialists visiting their dachas.

    However, to answer the question, it may be an attempt to find voting age people. The telemarketing rules allow M-F 9:00am to 9:30pm and 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday. So they would want to call in the evenings to get the voting people. Since they have to stop at 6pm on weekends, you will not get people that shop on weekends. Despite the fact that opinion polling does not have to follow the telemarketing rules, they would be smart if they do.

    I suspect that they believe they are more likely to get people who actually vote if they stick to weekdays in the evening.

  21. Shadow said...
    A new by-election ?

    Judy's riding should be safe NDP. Last election was NDP 62.6%, Cons 22.4%, Libs 9.2%, Green 4.8%

    Then again, Judy spent $56,773.27 and the Conservative candidate spent $6,135.55.

    If everybody went all in and the Conservatives maxed out spending this could certainly be an interesting test of party strength.
    Judy's been in that riding since 1997 and before her it was a Liberal riding so it may not be a safe NDP seat just a safe "Judy" seat.

  22. Looking at the numbers, this is actually a good poll for the Green Party too. Let me nail down a single criterion for future assessment of polls from the Green perspective.

    The Green Party is not going to jump by 10% over a week, a month or even a non-election year at this point. The Green goal is sustainable growth until the first members are elected. By this definition, a good poll for the Green Party is anything above Eric's current popular vote projection (now at 9.8%), indicating that the trend is up.

    Take that as a stake in the ground: if a poll shows the Greens below Eric's projection it is not good for the Greens, with two caveats.

    First, Nanos doesn't prompt so their polls will generally show lower Green numbers, even after a small Green increase. The flip side is that unless other pollsters show the Greens at slightly better than Eric's projection after a recent Nanos poll, the party has lost ground. (Numbers-based quantification is invited.) The most relevant comparisons are always with previous polls by the same pollster; anything else has some element of apples-to-oranges.

    Second, no horse too dead to flog: no single poll is meaningful, particularly at the provincial/regional level. Unusual numbers either way in one poll should not cause immediate hyperventilation. And short-term changes of a fraction of a percent are noise, not signal.

    At a finer level of detail, it's interesting that the Green numbers have remained relatively constant (11.5% versus 11.9% last week) in the second week of "Other" being added to the Ekos poll. Greens polled at 13.4% before "Other" was introduced and hovered above 11% for the preceding four Ekos polls. "Other" has undoubtedly extracted some of the protest component from the Green poll numbers. That's an artificial inflation since those people are more likely to stay home on election day. So the new number should be closer to the actual Green election returns.

    The long-term Green trend is up. The interesting questions are how long that trend will be sustained (until an election in spring 2011?) and when there will be a large enough local concentration of Greens to elect the party's first member. That event is likely to cause a knee in the graph.

  23. @RealShaddow

    I don't think Wasylycia-Leis will step down to run. She is really quite the powerhouse for the NDP, and one of the few members left you can assuredly call "social democrat" instead of "neo-liberal." It would really be the NDP's loss if the stepped down, even if they win the riding back (which they will, have no doubts - the Liberals nor Conservatives could mount any campaign worthwhile, even if they ran Jesus himself), and there will be pressure for her to stay. We'll have to see, though.

  24. Hey Volkov did you see what Anon said?

    Apparently it used to be a Liberal seat at one point. And I wonder if Ignatieff can survive another by-election disaster ?

    He's going to be under tremendous pressure to go all in. The NDP will fight very hard to keep the seat. And the Conservatives have the money to max out special elections in the hopes of an upset.

    I honestly think it could turn into a three way race if the right factors are involved.

    (I agree that Judy seems to be one of the more credible and engaged NDP members.)

  25. @RealShadow (wtf is with these "Fake" people anyways?)

    Did you know Selkirk-Interlake also used to be a Liberal seat?

    Winnipeg North is a labour-voting seat. Pagtakhan was arguably a left-leaning Liberal and popular Winnipeger. He was also a member of Cabinet. He was essentially Winnipeg's version of David Kilgour.

    Before that, the only non-labour MP was a one-term PCer and a one-term Liberal. Since 1925, it voted Labour, CCF, and NDP, by huge margins.

    Winnipeg North does not equal, in almost any respect, a Liberal friendly riding. So if the Liberals lose in it, or the Conservatives, and if the NDP cruises to an easy victory, I don't think anyone should worry - 'tis the status-quo.

  26. You know what, here's a more apt summary - its the NDP's Mont Royal/Crowfoot/Pointe-d'Ile.

  27. Volkov what's stopping the Liberals from running a lefty union candidate then ? The profile of the candidate should fit the profile of the riding.

    Also you know as well as I do that what people are going to look at isn't nessecarily the winner. Its the vote share.

    The by-elections were NDP-BQ-BQ-IND/CPC seats and yet the Liberals still got in heck because their vote share decreased big time when you factor out the unique circumstances of the IND/CPC seat.

    If the Liberals sit this one out and get something like 9% its going to look very bad. They are supposed to be the gov't in waiting. They are supposed to be a national party that isn't shut out of the west and fights for everything.

  28. They very well might run a leftist candidate - if they get rid of the candidate already in, that is:

    But how much would that change things? Not much, in my opinion; the NDP have this riding essentially locked up. It isn't Pagtakhan's old riding, which had different boundaries - and Pagtakhan lost immediately with the current boundaries as-is. So, the chance of the Liberals, or the Tories, winning this riding - in the heart of Winnipeg, the most labour-intensive city in Canada by all accounts - is slim.

    Share-of-the-vote wise? If they win below 20%, then yes, there is some issues to be addressed. If they win 20% and above, then they're good. Thats my mark.

  29. Now, can you imagine if the Liberals actually won this riding? Harper and Layton would be crying themselves to sleep over an inevitable demise - thats how far reaching those implications would be. XD

  30. Scott Brown proves that incredible things happen in by-elections.

    But that's actually an interesting candidate choice for the Liberals. Census data for the riding has it at 20% Filipino. And working with seniors is good, especially since they vote in such numbers.

    The references to faith on his website are different. Although apparently the riding is 45% Catholic.

    Its a strategy that's worked for the Liberals in other ethnic communities in the past, although its a little out of place these days after the SSM vote and them no longer controlling immigration.

    The Conservative candidate from the last election fits the working class profile of the riding. Very blue collar. Fmr railroad worker. The one before that was a construction worker.

    I wonder if they'll stick with that strategy or a more high profile power player will step up.

  31. They'll stick to the profile, guaranteed. I don't think Conservatives will put this in play, except maybe as a chance to show up the Liberals, for which their kind of candidate would suffice.

    That reminds me - Pagtakhan was Phillipino. He also works for that Global College thing, seen in the photos. I wonder if Pagtakhan is still involved there... that'd be fun. I heard that the '08 candidate had some issues with Rey.

  32. Aren't we being a bit premature here? Even if Judy W-L were to resign to run for mayor of Winnipeg, i'm guessing she wouldn't actually resign until April or thereabouts and then Harper would wait his usual six months before calling an election, meaning that any byelection in Winnipeg North would probably be in November 2010 - that is assuming we don't have a federal election before then.

  33. Hey DL, don't ruin our fun.

    You're right, though. If Judy runs for mayor (any bets on who'd win, her or Katz?) and there is a vacant seat, by the time it'd be up, there would probably already be an election. So, in general, its a moot point - but its still fun to ponder.

  34. Incidentally, while its true that Winnipeg North went Liberal a couple of times before Judy W-L won it in 1997 - it has for all intents and purposes been a CCF/NDP stronghold virtually since 1935! The only exceptions were when it went Tory in the diefenbaker landslide of 1958 and then the anomaly of going Liberal in 1988 and 1993 as a result of the Pawley government going down in flames etc... but also the seat went much further north up until 1997 and included a lot of suburbia in what is now the riding of Kildonan-St. Paul. Under the current boundaries Winnipeg North is an NDP one-party state - unless Greg Selinger falls into single digits of approval or the federal NDP gets into single digits - neither of which is going to happen for the foreseeable future. The main contest would be for who will win the NDP nomination.

  35. DL, Volkov you guys know something I don't?

    Everything i've been hearing is no election until spring 2011. Donolo still needs time to rebuild and the Liberal thinking on this is that the gov't will become unpopular when it starts making cuts.

    As for the by-election i'm guessing it would be held during the summer after those international summits.

  36. Shadow,

    The news from DonOLO is that yes, the Liberals will hang out for a little while longer; but they're also putting in place a plan to deal with an election, if Harper pulls a Chretien and calls it early to pull the rug from under the Liberal's feet, which is absolutely a possibility. Could be a simple call to the GG, or it could be a poison pill - either way, everyone is on their toes.

    But if the by-election were to be held, I agree - in the summer, after the summits. Still an NDP win though.

  37. I don't think you have to worry about Harper calling a snap election.

    His numbers are awful right now.

    Poison pill though, if he's at 35% in march, will probably be included and PASSED by the Liberals.

    Or perhaps included and then removed as the price of support for the budget by an opposition party. Good face saver for all involved.

  38. I think Harper will go for a poison pill, whether or not he is doing well in the polls. He is determined to do one thing: destroy the Liberals. Well, and get a majority - but destroy the Liberals in the process.

    And if the Opposition doesn't take it, it'll be down to whoever is more convincing in the blame game. Unfortunately, I think Harper would win. But, you never know.

  39. If Harper had really wanted to destroy the Liberals and get a majority - then he had his golden opportunity this fall. But instead he decided to make concessions to the NDP and keep the government going. It may turn out to be have been his biggest mistake.

  40. DL, I swear to God if you jinx it...

  41. In the fall?

    Harper wasn't that much ahead of the Liberals at that point. And Layton was practically begging for an excuse to support the government. I don't think an election would have happened or been possible.

    Besides the fairly routine measure of extending unemployment was probably something Harper would have done anyways given that the job situation hadn't imrpoved all that much.


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