Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Strategic Counsel Poll: 1-pt Conservative Lead

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star has the scoop on a new poll from Strategic Counsel. Game changer? Maybe.The Conservatives are down huge, to 31%. That is a loss of ten points since the last Strategic Counsel poll in October, and puts them in a statistical tie with the Liberals.

Interestingly, at 30% the Liberals aren't exactly reaping all the benefits. But with 30% they are doing better than they have recently. This is a big poll, and a result like this can't be ignored, particularly when the regionals have no significant anomaly.

The NDP is also doing well, at 18%. The Greens are at 10%, certainly not unreasonable.

The race is really close at both ends of the country. In British Columbia, all three parties are statistically tied, the Tories at 32%, the NDP at 31%, and the Liberals at 28%. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are back on top with 35%, followed by the Conservatives at 30% and the NDP at 29%.

The big story is in Ontario, where the Liberals are leading the Conservatives - and by a significant amount. They are at 39%, with the Tories at 33%. The NDP, though, is only at 14%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is well in front with 38%, but the Liberals are struggling at 21%. The Tories are doing worse, with 16%, but the NDP is alright with 12%.

The Prairie numbers are good for the Conservatives, but Alberta is not - considering the usual. At 51%, a few ridings begin to get competitive.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 112
Liberals - 106
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 37

A tiny lead gives the Conservatives a minority government. But with such numbers it would be virtually impossible for Stephen Harper to remain as Prime Minister. The NDP maintains their current level, while the Bloc picks up a few.

The Liberal strength comes in Ontario, where they win 58 seats. The Conservatives are reduced to 36 in the province.

Clearly, and with the EKOS poll as back-up, the prorogation issue is having an effect. And, as the spokesperson from Strategic Counsel explains, the explanation for the prorogation coming from the Conservatives is extremely shaky. The big question is whether this will be a momentary dip, or whether this is something that could endure.

But, any way you look at it, that 5%-10% of Canadians have recently decided NOT to support the Conservatives cannot be a good thing for the party. It will take work to re-gain that support, since that 5%-10% likely makes up almost all of the on-the-fencers in Canada.

Of course, the terrible event in Haiti is much more important than this. Before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the most troubled countries in the world. For such a horrible natural disaster to take place in such a struggling country is just a catastrophe. The president of Haiti has already said the death toll could be six figures. Hopefully those still trapped will be saved and the country can begin to recover soon.

30 comments:

  1. This of course is excellent news for the Conservatives.

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  2. Now Canada as a whole gets to experience what Flaherty did in Ontario fiscally speaking....

    Seems that with undemocratic use of the prorogue could be the final straw.

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  3. J. Kenneth Yurchuk13 January, 2010 15:56

    180,000 and growing, Rallies in 40 cities on January 23rd, Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament is making huge waves online, and apparantly in the "real" world as well

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  4. I don't think this poll is that surprising. This is about where one would expect the next CPC datapoint on their steady decline that began in October. With a few outliers here and there, it's a very gentle slope with a bit of curve to it.

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  5. On proroguing, I don't see why anyone should be mad at Harper for this. If prorogation is the problem, then we should be trying to change the rules of parliament.

    Under the rules as they exist, Harper's use of them makes perfect sense.

    If you a give a monkey a gun, don't blame the monkey when he starts shooting people.

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  6. Other monkeys knew how to use it correctly.

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  7. Angus reid released a poll too. JAn 12 and 13

    http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2010.01.13_Politics_CAN.pdf

    34 Tory, 28 lib, NDP 19, Bloc 8

    They don't show the opposition gains in BC or Ontario.


    Which poll is the 20th out of 20??

    And fake Jesse. You are right. Because although the tories are losing support... it doesn't seem to be going to their main competitor. In fact in the Angus poll... the liberals actually dropped another percentage point.

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  8. O'malley has more on another release of the angus reid poll on the 12th and 13th

    http://www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2010.01.13_Prorogue_CAN.pdf

    Base on reactions of people who saw the liberal adds, and those who didn't the perceptions changed..... not at all. Money well spent.

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  9. I looked at that AR poll Barcs, and it still isn't too bad for the Liberals considering that they're regaining support in the West at the expense of the NDP, they're moderately strong in Quebec, and first by a pretty big margin in the Atlantic provinces. Ontario is the major problem...

    And yeah, those ads aren't too effectively, but at least they don't turn opinion around. They took a risk, at least.

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  10. I like this poll, as well; it might not show the Liberals being the main beneficiaries, but it goes without saying that despite being the best, they're still the most powerful. The NDP aren't going to get in on this kind of thing.

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  11. I'll have something on the AR poll tomorrow. Patience, my children!

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  12. "And yeah, those ads aren't too effectively, but at least they don't turn opinion around. They took a risk, at least."


    No they didn't, they took the same strategy they have been using all along. "I am not that other guy". It isn't going to get them any more than a stalemate. Not until they can say THEY ARE something.

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  13. "Other monkeys knew how to use it correctly."

    Yeah like Jean Chretien using it to avoid the sponsorship scandal and coup by Martin.

    The same Cretien who shut down the Somolia inquiry without a peep from the academics.


    Better go back to the "pox on all their houses" stance Eric.

    Ira is right, either this is one of the powers of the PM or it is not.

    And the Liberals have made no proposal whatsoever to disavow the practice.

    In fact, Iggy promised to use the power, just not abuse the power.

    Ok? Whatever that means.

    I'm open to a serious discussion on this but frankly all we've seen is more partisan posturing, which is too bad really because a lot of Conservative voters would probably be open to reforming the rules.

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  14. I think Eric is probably off base a little.

    To mention that prorogation is having an effect and then say that 5-10% of Canadians have recently decided NOT to support the Conservatives is factually wrong on one count and misleading on another.


    There's nothing "recent" about this drop. The last poll was taken in October and everyone knows a day, or at least a week, is a lifetime in politics. As Ira pointed out the Tory numbers curve down quite gently from their highs.


    Now for the misleading part. The connection between their drop and prorogation is quite weak, somewhere around 2 points or so.

    Since the October poll we have had HST, Afghanistan, anger at Iggy wearing off, and Harper's awesome piano/international trips receeding from memory.

    Its been a pretty smooth decline in what's been a rough couple of months.

    So i'd caution everyone against the conclusion that Harper is somehow down 5 or 10 points because of his hugely unpopular prorogation and that the facebook group is a grassroots revolt and that there will be huge rallies across Canada soon !!!!


    These are bad numbers, yes.

    Is prorogation a big deal, no.

    Next confidence vote is in March. We'll see what happens.

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  15. Shadow,

    --- "There's nothing "recent" about this drop."

    Factually wrong.

    I was referring to the recent, post-Xmas spate of weak polling for the Tories. Since prorogation became an issue, Conservative support has dropped from 39%-36% to 34%-31%.

    --- "The last poll was taken in October and everyone knows a day, or at least a week, is a lifetime in politics."

    I was not referring to the October poll.

    --- "Its been a pretty smooth decline in what's been a rough couple of months."

    It has been a pretty steep decline just recently, which you will see in the polling chart when I update it.

    --- "Is prorogation a big deal, no."

    According to...? The Angus-Reid poll showed that only 19% of people agreed with prorogation, while 44% strongly disagreed. A total of 61% disagreed. And if you take out the people who "don't know", you get 76% of people with an opinion against the prorogation.

    What's worse news is that in the last week the amount of people who said they did not have an opinion reduced by 9 points. Of those 9 points, 8 of them went to people who disagreed.

    So, if the trend continues, that is bad news.

    It is a bigger issue than you think.

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  16. I'm a little astonished that parliamentary norms and principles are that important to the on-the-fence crowd. Not disappointed, mind you.

    I wonder now if the reason is the surplus of controversy in the last few months, a reduction in attention to Iggy's attempt at an election, ongoing economic tepidness, or perhaps prorogation has become more salient due to complaints from last year when he wanted time to save his government. (As in, last year people heard why it was bad in principle to avoid the House but agreed with Harper's reasons; the second time it happens they don't need to be explained why the House shouldn't be closed, but don't think his motives are up to snuff)

    I think if the Conservative support actually were to fall below their base of 30 they would be running scared. But as long as they are where they were when Iggy was still new, they probably feel that it'll be temporary.

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  17. If there's some sort of unwritten rule government how the Prime Minister exercises his powers, someone should write them down so we all know what they are.

    Can I get a volunteer?

    Any set of rules needs to be knows to the people it governs in order for those rules to be effective. That set of rules also needs to be enumberable for anyone to reasonably claim that it's knowable.

    So, if someone will kindly tell me exactly how and under what circumstances prorogation is acceptable (and I will need an exhaustive list of those acceptable circumstances), then we can have an intelligent conversation. Otherwise you're just making things up.

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  18. Yes, 61% of us are just bonkers.

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  19. O.K Ira here are the rules:

    Liberal monkeys are straight shooters, while Conservative monkeys are scumballs.

    I have no problems with talking about how prorogation has/and is being misused, I just wish the double-standard wasn't so evident with so many.

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  20. J. Kenneth Yurchuk13 January, 2010 21:01

    C'mon guys, you are missing the point. Proroguation is a factor not because it was used, but HOW and WHY it was used.

    The fact is, confirmed by ex-Harper mentor Flanagan, it was used to shut down the Afghan Detainee revelations that the Commons Committee were about to splash all over the map.

    Harper took a gamble that he could get away with it one more time, and so far it looks like a losing bet.

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  21. J. Kenneth Yurchuk13 January, 2010 21:02

    C'mon guys, you are missing the point. Proroguation is a factor not because it was used, but HOW and WHY it was used.

    The fact is, confirmed by ex-Harper mentor Flanagan, it was used to shut down the Afghan Detainee revelations that the Commons Committee were about to splash all over the map.

    Harper took a gamble that he could get away with it one more time, and so far it looks like a losing bet.

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  22. Eric now i'm just baffled because you're contradicting yourself.

    "Since prorogation became an issue, Conservative support has dropped from 39%-36% to 34%-31%."

    Yes, perfectly reasonable. About 2 or 3 points, less according to some other polls. Pretty much what I said.


    But you said 5-10 !

    Which is what led me to believe you were refering to the difference between this poll and the October poll.

    Or that you were trying to infer that there was some connection between a "recent" 5-10 point drop and the prorogation issue.


    You can see why it would get misleading. I'm going to assume that you made a typo or something with the 5-10 figure!

    Thank you for the clarification/correction.

    3 points is a lot different than 5 to 10! Lol, you probably had some people worried/excited.

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  23. "but HOW and WHY it was used"

    We've established that.

    The Liberals used it badly too, whatever that means.

    Again, either take away the power or reform the rules to establish what makes a "good" or "bad" prorogation in writing.

    It seems like some media elites and academics have said its bad so its become bad in public opinion polls.

    Except they're operating under a bizzare double standard.

    And the Liberals refuse to promise any changes to the rules.


    This issue has devolved into partisan mudslinging and yes sure the bad press has cost the Cons 2 or 3% in the polls but that's nothing.

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  24. 39% to 31% is 8 points. 36% to 34% is two. With the MOE, 5% to 10% is perfectly reasonable.

    This prorogation involves quite a few sticky issues that the others did not. This one is also being justified with some very questionable reasons (parliament bad for the economy, Olympics, etc.). And if the best you can do is bring up Chretien in the 90s, come on. Not everyone is a Liberal either. According to your argument, the Liberal criticisms are invalid but the NDP's are fine because they weren't led by Chretien?

    Being a minority situation also makes this more of an issue. A majority government runs parliament like it wants to, more or less. A minority government cannot. When you close parliament in a minority situation, you are shutting down an opposition that has the numbers to vote down the government. I'm sure you can tell the difference between these two situations.

    The apologetics from posters here is a little sad, anyway. "They did it too!" is no defense when what you're doing is wrong.

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  25. "With the MOE, 5% to 10% is perfectly reasonable."

    MOE works both ways, + or -, so i'm not sure why you'd bring it up.

    Whether Canadians care about an issue or not is a rathering meaningless question in this context.

    For a partisan issue like this one would expect 60-70% of Canadians to oppose the gov't on most issues given their support range is between 30 and 40.

    So how much this is affecting voting intentions seems the more important question.

    Clearly Harper has taken a hit but not as large as people are suggesting.

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  26. As for the issue itself, yes, the NDP is far, far more credible on this issue than the Liberals.

    There was Chretien in the 90's, there was Martin swapping around oppo days to deny a chance for non-confidence motions and dangling cabinet seats to floorcrossers ahead of votes.

    Its probably the reason why the Liberal numbers have't really budged while alternative parties are doing so well.

    "When you close parliament in a minority situation, you are shutting down an opposition that has the numbers to vote down the government."

    An election ? It had been ruled out by Iggy and Layton.

    That seems more relevant to last year's use of prorogation than this year's.

    "no defense when what you're doing is wrong."

    Pointing out hypocrisy is perfectly valid !

    Especially if Canadians are being asked to switch votes from the Conservatives to the Liberals.


    You've made your opinion known on this issue. But it is not self evidently "wrong".

    As I said, i'm open to a public policy debate on the issue if someone actually has any alternatives on the table.

    Unless they do, this is our system and these are the powers the PM has

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  27. The NDP is the only party of relevency and both Conservative Ignatieff and Conservative Harper are no friends of the working class

    In the next federal election, the majority of progressive foward thinking Canadians from Coast to Coast to Coast will elect a NDP Jack Layton NDP Government.

    Check out my political blog at http://tinyurl.com/NDPbyme

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  28. Hi Eric: A new Ekos poll out:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/ekos-data-tables.pdf

    Confirms SC poll.

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  29. Hey Earl that poll is dated Jan. 7th, are you sure that's a new link ?

    Not sure what to make of all this talk that Canadians "care" about this issue when only half of respondants were even aware that it had actually happened !

    Highest level of ignorance amongst BQ supporters and in Quebec. (Is the french media ignoring this non-story ?)


    Just another waffer gate, cheque gate, puffin gate, swine flu gate, afghan detainee controvery, etc etc ad nauseum.

    Too bad none of the pollsters stick around and ask if these issues are in any way shape or form important to voters a month or two later. Or if they even remember them.

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  30. New Ekos seems to point out the obvious, which is that concern over prorogation started to fade this week, with improving Conservative numbers by the last couple days of the sample.

    Don't know what to make of the new option of "other" that seems to be taking away Conservative support!

    5 points for "other" in Alberta? Someone needs to tell them that the Wildrose is a PROVINCIAL party.

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