Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Projection: 138 CPC, 90 LPC, 50 BQ, 30 NDP

With all of the polls that came out after the holidays, a projection update was long overdue. And here it is!Small changes, but significant changes.

The Conservatives, who have been growing update after update since September, post their first major loss, almost an entire point nationally. They now stand at 35.5%, lower than both their 2008 and 2008 electoral results. They are also down three seats, all of them in Ontario, and stand at 138. Compared to the mid-December projection, the Conservatives haven't posted a gain anywhere, and the only small losses they have were in Atlantic Canada and the North (0.2 points each). Their biggest loss comes in Ontario (1.2 points) where they now stand at 38.0%. They're also down 0.8 points in the Prairies, 0.6 points in British Columbia, 0.5 points in Alberta, and 0.4 points in Quebec.

Nationally, the Liberals posted a tiny, 0.1-point gain to 28.2%. But more importantly they are up two seats to 90. They did not post gains throughout the country, however. They are down 0.2 points in Atlantic Canada (and one seat) and 0.3 points in Alberta and Quebec. Their gains came in the North (0.1 points), British Columbia (0.2 points), the Prairies (0.3 points) and Ontario (0.6 points and three seats). Being up in BC and Ontario is important for the Liberals, but losing ground in Atlantic Canada and Quebec is not a good sign.

The NDP make the largest national gain, up 0.3 points to 16.3% and up one seat to 30. Their regional results remained stable however, only losing 0.1 points in Quebec but not gaining more than 0.3 points anywhere else. They are up 0.1 points in British Columbia, the Prairies, Atlantic Canada (where they pick up their seat) and the North. They're up 0.2 points in Ontario and 0.3 points in Alberta.

The Bloc Quebecois had a good month, as they are 0.4 points in the province up to 38.1%, matching their 2008 electoral results.

The Greens are up a tiny bit (0.1 points), and remained unchanged in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and the North. They're up 0.1 points in British Columbia, down 0.1 in Alberta, and up 0.4 in the Prairies.

So, every party makes some gains at the expense of the Conservatives. The winner this month has to be the NDP, as they are posting slow but steady growth. The Bloc is also doing well, while the Liberals are showing mixed, but overall, improvement. Only the Tories had a uniformly bad month.


  1. obviously you all know what type of news this is, mmmm?

  2. Looks like our centre-left nation is drifting even more left...or is it since the Libs and Cons are moving right for some unknown reason people are now gravitating towards the NDP - the Libs and Cons are becoming disconnected from the citizens of the country I guess.

  3. J. Kenneth Yurchuk19 January, 2010 09:42

    Leger poll out to-day (Reported by Norman Specktor in the G&M) show Conservatives dropping in Quebec.

  4. The two recent legal victories the CPC had over Elections is definetly great news for the Conservatives.

    It looks like the Liberals more or less wasted their money on Narnia ads last fall and now they've blown them on prorogation ads.

    Unless you have the money and organization these numbers never translate into seats.

  5. While the Conservatives certainly did have some legal success, the story isn't quite over so it would be too early to claim complete victory.

    To take a different angle, do you feel these kinds of electoral spending methods are ethical (no matter who does them)?

    One of the great things about Canadian democracy is that electoral spending is relatively low, so parties are not beholden to special interests. Think of the money (what was it, 2 billion in all?) spent during the American election campaign. It's outrageous.

  6. Does that mean that you think that the CPC acted unethically in this case, Eric?

    They seem to be playing by the same rules as everyone else.

    Another question I would ask is:

    Do you think it was ethical for Elections Canada to single out the CPC, rather then go after everyone who did similar things?

    Also if you are concerned about how much money the Parties have, and spend, should we not eliminate the $2 voter subsidy that goes to the parties?

    The less they have, the less they will spend. Why limit the spending on the back end when we can turn off the spigot up front?

    Oh, and this projection is excellent news for the Conservatives ;)

  7. --- "Does that mean that you think that the CPC acted unethically in this case, Eric? They seem to be playing by the same rules as everyone else."

    While they may not have broken the letter of the law, I do believe that they have broken the spirit of the law. So, yes, I think it is unethical (and if the other parties did it, then it would be unethical too).

    --- "Do you think it was ethical for Elections Canada to single out the CPC, rather then go after everyone who did similar things?"

    From what I can tell, the other parties were not doing the same thing.

    --- "Also if you are concerned about how much money the Parties have, and spend, should we not eliminate the $2 voter subsidy that goes to the parties? The less they have, the less they will spend. Why limit the spending on the back end when we can turn off the spigot up front?"

    I'd support eliminating the tax break on donations to parties. Federal funding is important, however, as it ensures parties are independent.

  8. Actually Eric I think the ban on corporate and union donations and the very low yearly cap on how much you can contribute ($1000 I believe?) is good enough for me.

    That means that parties need to do grassroots funding and be responsive to the masses.

    Eliminating tax breaks AND subsidies would be a good policy goal.

    And no, I see nothing wrong with the Conservative election spending.

    All parties expensed national advertising to individual candidates.

    The Conservatives were the only ones who had enough money to do it in an organized manner, a difference of degree not kind.

    But what's the problem anyways?

    There's no doubt helping the national party helps individual candidates too!

  9. Is healthcare actually dead in the US now ?

    It looks like the Republicans are going to win a special election in Massachusetts of all places.

  10. Eric: I'd support eliminating the tax break on donations to parties. Federal funding is important, however, as it ensures parties are independent.

    In fact, one very perceptive blogger and poll tracker has made that point here and here.

    For what it's worth, I agree completely. The donation subsidy means that fat wallets buy political suppport. The per-vote subsidy means that financial support reflects the will of the electorate.

    Which only matters if you believe that fairness is an important principle in Canadian politics...

  11. I've seen you make a very strong defence a couple of times before Eric, while I don't remain entirely convinced, I'd be willing to split the difference and say cut the voter subsidy in half.

    Reducing the tax break on political donations, to a minimal level, is a very good idea also.

    It's pretty outrageous all around now.

    How do you do those hyperlinks John? (If you wouldn't mind)

    I use firefox, and can't seem to figure it out.

  12. "The donation subsidy means that fat wallets buy political suppport."

    Are you unfamiliar with the fact that there are limits placed on the amount you can donate ?

    The limits are very strict according to the Liberals, who prefer big money and were opposed to the new limits.

    The NDP and Bloc seem to prefer government money.

    The Conservatives prefer money from real middle class hard working Canadians.

    Sorry but to me fairness in Canadian politics is about raising small donations from a wide variety of people!

  13. --- "The Conservatives prefer money from real middle class hard working Canadians."


    What, the other parties only like money from lazy upper or lower class Canadians?

    Come on.

    When the Conservatives get donations from those "real middle class hard working Canadians", they are subsidised by the taxes of this "real middle class hard working Canadian".

    At least with the per-vote subsidy, I can believe my taxes are going to the party I voted for, rather than the party that can convince enough people to take part in the tax break.

  14. Actually Shadow, the Liberals brought in those limits.

    Chretiens going away present for Paul Martin.

    I'll also admit that some of my motivations are pretty base.

    I believe that a move to cut the subsidy would disproportionaly hurt the Bloc, and PQ fundraising efforts.

    I want to be clear that I am not anti-Quebec,
    I just fundamentally disagree with any party who acts solely on regional intrests, having such influence in our federal politics.

    I live with the reality of it, but I don't like it.

    Anything that weakens them, (within reason/ keeping equality to all parties), has a leg up with me.

    Model Parliamentarians or not.

  15. "Proof."

    The CPC has the most small donors of all the parties and recieves the lowest % of their revenue stream from the per vote subsidies.

    The BQ recieves the highest percent of their money from the per vote subsidies.

    The Liberals have a long history on relying on a small pool of large donors. Rocco Rossi's "successs" at fundraising this tax year seems to have been about getting large donors to front load their commitments.

    "they are subsidised by the taxes"

    No. There is a difference between subsidies (gov't giving people money) and a tax break (gov't not taking as much money.)

    As a society we have decided that a certain percent of a person's income can be donated to various causes. It doesn't count towards their income and it isn't taxed.

    You aren't subsidizing anything. That's the decision society has made, that the gov't won't have a monopoly on poltiical, social, charitable, and environmental funding.

    "At least with the per-vote subsidy, I can believe my taxes are going to the party I voted for"

    Your taxes and the taxes of people who didn't vote and the taxes of people who voted for other parties or live in Alberta.

  16. Hey AJR79,

    I believe the Liberals dropped it to $2500 as damage control from sponsorship.

    The CPC went further and dropped it to $1000 during the start of Dion's leadership race.

    (Figures might be wrong, but there were two drops, the most strict brought in by Harper and opposed by the Liberals).

    And yes it would be lovely to cripple the BQ.

    Funny that we're supporting eliminating the subsidy that would harm the BQ the most.

    And Eric is support eliminating the tax break that would harm the CPC the most.

    So I decided long ago to be fair and advocate for the elimination of BOTH programs.

  17. I don't understand that ethical argument. If we have a coherent ruleset governing behaviour, do ethics even continue to exist on those issues?

    Once we agree to follow certain rules, those are the rules that govern our behaviour. Ethics no longer matter because they're not there. It's nonsensical to describe behaviour that abides by the accepted rules as ethical or unethical.

    The letter of the law is all that ever matters.

  18. Oh Ira, you can't believe that. Plenty that is legal but also "wrong" happens, and there are plenty of examples of countries doing things that were legal according to their laws but reprehensible nevertheless.

  19. I'm not positive, but I believe it was capped at $1100 for the riding, and $1100 to the federal branch, by Chretien. I was not aware that it had been changed since.

    I have a feeling that our anti-Bloc rhetoric may not sit well with Eric.

    Also, I'm begining to feel that us dominating these comments may be stifleing other voices, so I'll go haunt some other places for a while... maybe even offline ;)

    As a parting gift to all you proroguement junkies, I would like to point out that that is the topic on, "The Agenda with Steve Paikin", IMO one of the best public affairs programs in the country.

    Those who don't get TVO can find a link to the podcasts, (and many other good ones), here:


    Bonus: You may get to see Steve lay down the law on Tim Powers, if he gets out of hand.

  20. Oh, and if that type of plug is not welcome in the future Eric (The Agenda), please let me know.

  21. Sure I can believe that. Sanctioning someone for behaving is a way that wasn't prohibited is grossly unfair.

  22. To elaborate, if something is "wrong" it needs to be wrong according to some standard (perhaps an unwritten ehtical standard). But if we've agreed to some set of rules governing that behaviour, then the unwritten standards cease to be relevant, and I would argue they even cease to exist.

    The rules governing campaign financing as laid out by parliament and elections Canada are necessarily exhaustive. There can be no other rules any party can be reasonably expected to follow (or even be aware of).

  23. I don't believe that a party is acting ethically when it exploits loopholes which contravene the spirit of electoral law. Eventually, loopholes like these will be closed, and then acting in the same way will be considered unlawful, as well as unethical.

  24. AJR79: How do you do those hyperlinks John? (If you wouldn't mind)

    Pretend you're back in 1995 and write raw HTML like a Real Man. The first link in my previous post used this text: <a href="http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com/2009/08/party-funding-not-so-simple.html">here</a>. That's what the hint underneath the "Leave your comment" box means. You can View>Page Source for additional inspiration; if you do, previewing your comment is strongly recommended.

    In our next lesson we'll cover coding in assembler.

  25. Once an established ruleset is in place ethics become meaningless.

    It doesn’t make sense to ask if behaviour is ethical when it’s clearly defined as acceptable or unacceptable by an established set of rules.

    It's not a question of whether the party was acting ethically. Under the circumstances, it's not possible for them to act ethically or unethically.

    Also, I don't accept your description of the relevant section of the rules as a "loophole". What makes it a loophole - that other people didn't notice it?

  26. We're working from different sets of values, so there is no reason to go in circles on this. I simply don't believe loopholes are meant to be exploited.

  27. I have an even better idea. Why not simply ban any partisan advertising during non-election campaign periods so we don't have to endure all these crap attack ads when we are not in an election campaign.

  28. "loopholes which contravene the spirit of electoral law."

    The whole point of laws is that they are set rules that everybody can follow to the letter.

    This idea of the "spirit of the law" is rather dangerous.

    It replaces the rule of law with the rule of men.

    If I know i'm following the law but somehow violating its "spirit" am I open to prosecution ?

    Is anyone ?

    Who knows, the whole thing becomes the whim of whomever is in charge at the time, has an agenda, or ax to grind.

    "Eventually, loopholes like these will be closed"

    Why? Who says? Election law isn't determined by the CEO. Mayrand may advocate that the rules be changed but it is up to our parliament.

  29. Interesting update.

    I've noticed something about those Atlantic Canada numbers though; they seem to be returning to 2006 levels, where the Liberals were at 40%, Conservatives 35%, and the Dippers at 22%.

    However, the polling lately has pinned the NDP with a higher strength, while the Conservatives are around their '06 mark, and the Liberals are down - meaning one of two things: either the Liberal vote is going to the NDP, while the Cons are stable at normal levels of support; or the NDP is taking from both, and there is some transfer between the Cons and Grits, which sort of balances those two out.

  30. Ira: Once an established ruleset is in place ethics become meaningless.

    I've heard this view in past from a teen with no experience in the business world. I recommend an over-the-beer discussion with a lawyer or a senior executive. In fact, talk to as many of them as you can find about ethics and moral responsibilities. You may be surprised. Conrad Black is an outlier.

  31. John I actually think the recent emphasis on social responsibility is an abandonment of fiduciary responsibility.

    If I want to maximize my RRSP growth and some idiot is throwing invester money at random charities and adopting "green" technologies with lower efficiency then i'm going to be mad as hell and probably divest.

    And a great deal of people believe Conrad Black did nothing wrong.

  32. Goaltender Interference19 January, 2010 16:13

    Ira, I am undecided on what the ideal method of political party funding is. But, surely you don't really mean the following as a general point:
    "It doesn’t make sense to ask if behaviour is ethical when it’s clearly defined as acceptable or unacceptable by an established set of rules."
    As my philosophy teacher once said, "If the law allowed you to torture babies, would you still say it was ethical to obey the law?"
    There are lots of things that are legal that are nonetheless immoral.

  33. --- "And a great deal of people believe Conrad Black did nothing wrong."

    That settles it, then!

    Hey, the law found him guilty. That's the only opinion we can have. It's THE LAW!

  34. "It's THE LAW!"

    Actually this was a case where they followed the "spirit of the law" as you suggested and not the actual letter of the law.

    In the end I think the charge with the longest penalty was obstruction of justice.

    It was the same thing with Martha Stewart. Not guilty on the original charges, guilty for "lying" to the feds.

    Its basically "hey we can't prove you did anything wrong but you're going to jail anyways for trying to defend your innocence!"

  35. "I simply don't believe loopholes are meant to be exploited."

    And I want to investigate that. What is your standard for determining that some aspect of a rule is a loophole? Do you have such a standard? If not, how do you know you've correctly identified something as a loophole?

  36. I usually ask my cousin if he thinks something is also a loophole, then if he does I consider it confirmed.

  37. So it's a subjective standard then. It lacks any and all prescriptive force, and there's no reason for you to believe if has value.

    You, sir, are unreasonable.

  38. In our next lesson we'll cover coding in assembler.
    No, in my experience, after showing someone how to do the embedded link, the next question is "how do I make it show the angle brackets like you did"?

  39. Ira, fine, I'll answer your silly question. My standard of whether something is a loophole is whether it is a loophole.

    What is your standard of something being blue? How do you know it is blue?

  40. Your taxes and the taxes of people who didn't vote and the taxes of people who voted for other parties or live in Alberta.
    What is your rationale for that? Excluding those who did not vote, and assuming I pay at least $2 in taxes (GST takes care of that), then giving $2 to a party based on how many votes they received is effectively me giving that party $2. How would you construe that I am contributing anything to the $2 that some other party received?

    It is the political contribution tax credit that results in me subsidizing other parties. I am paying more tax to balance the budget due to taxes not collected (because of the political contribution tax credit), and that is effectively forcing me to give money to parties I do not support, simply because other people gave them money.

  41. With apologies to Shadow, let me take this question to its extremes, hoping the answers might be useful.

    a) What are the arguments against (or for) having no campaign finance limits?

    b) What are the arguments against (or for) having no campaign donation limits?

    c) What are the arguments against (or for) having all parties funded proportional to their vote count in the last election?

  42. Goaltender Interference - You're approaching opinions backward. You've made an assertion and asked me to dispute it, but you've failed utterly to support your assertion. You have not shown that anyone would have any reason to hold the position you put forth.

    So why do you?

  43. I can't really know that something is blue. The label blue is arbitrary. I learned that the colour I perceive when my eyes detect light dominated by energy with a wavelength of 440–490 nm is generally called blue, so when I see something relevantly similar to that I call it blue.

    Whether I see it the same as you do is unknowable to me.

    But that it is blue isn't used to justify anyone's actions. I'm not claiming that the "is" of something being blue justifies an "ought" with regard to someone's behaviour.

  44. Apparently I am guilty of having an opinion about whether something is right or wrong.

    My sincerest apologies.

  45. No, you're guilty of thinking that your opinion (or anyone's opinion) about whether something is right or wrong is at all valuable or useful to other people.

    Justified beliefs have value. Baseless assertions do not.

  46. Wow. You can cut the irony in that comment with a knife.

  47. Thanks John,
    but your post left me feeling like a little schoolgirl, rather then a Real Man.

    Might as well give it a go thou.

    Excellent article by Colby Cosh on Insite, and federal/provincial juristiction:


    Very cool, Thanks again.

    I'll probably forget how to do it in 5 mins., but I feel good now

  48. Eric, Liberal, please let me demonstrate your error.

    Your claim is that the taxes you pay are going to the party you vote for. This is incorrect.

    Your taxes go to pay for core services, for the military, for debt payments, for everything really.

    Only if you pay more taxes then you use in services can you say that your taxes actually pay for the political subsidy. This is questionable because a great deal of taxes come from corporations and bussiness.

    Also, remember we have a staggering deficit, so technicallly your taxes aren't really paying off any program completely.

    Now, if you do happen to be a net contributer then you're likely paying for OTHER voters.

    For instance, since Albertans contribute the most money to our confederation they are paying for the Bloc!

    People who vote and don't pay taxes (some students, the unemployed) also have other people paying for their subsidy.

  49. That's only ironic if you assume an exlcuded middle. The rational default position is one of uncertainty - Ockham's razor writ large. I can accept that a ruleset is a ruleset, because that's definitionally true, but you're positing the existence of some sort of meta-content that identifies aspects of the ruleset as loopholes, and I'd like to know why.

  50. I'd like to reiterate a previous comment. "who gets to choose what is a loophole"

    As has been said a loophole or "in the spirit of" is based largely on the morals one carries. And a couple stark examples have been provided to bolster the argument.

    But morals.... aren't written in stone, nor are they static across all groups.

    One might look at a strapping young Omish fellow on the nude beaches in Nice, France as one example. Others are closer to home. Like giving someone some money so you can go on polluting (carbon credits are not used solely by faceless corporations either). Some feel needle safe houses like insight in Vancouver are beneficial, while others question the value. Some people think there should be a social program to take care of every conceivable need a person could have... and others think that personal responsibility should be paramount.

    Just today a new story came up about a 12yr old girl having an epileptic seizure in a KFC and receiving 2nd degree burns after she ended up face down in the poutine (which.. obviously was hot). And several people had some outcry about how hot the food was, how fast she was attended to, and why it was a patron that had to use the KFC phone to call 911. But on the other side some of us question why you would buy hot food for a 12 yr old you knew had a history of seizures not to mention being a kid who is still learning about how hot some things are..... and then leave her unattended while you head off to the bathroom.

    So who makes the judgment call? Who decides what is "in the spirit of" or a loophole. Who's morals are paramount? The people who believe in honor killings? The people running the Spanish inquisition? The people who think the earthquake in Haiti is the result of a deal with the devil 200 years ago? The one who thinks it is a result of doing not enough on global warming at Copenhagen?

    Nearly all of them have large followings. Why is one set of morals more important than another?? Because it isn't yours?

    ....sounds like just one more loophole.


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