Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two New Polls: 6-pt or 1.6-pt Conservative Lead

Two new polls to report on, one released last night by Angus-Reid and the other this morning by EKOS.

Let's get to it.A larger Conservative lead than the Strategic Counsel poll, but 34% nevertheless puts the Tories at lower than both their 2008 and 2006 electoral results. But still the Liberals refuse to make significant gains, stuck at 28%. The NDP, however, is flying high at 19%. This is a three point gain for them from their December 9-10 poll.

A few important regional variations. The Conservatives, at 40%, are doing alright in British Columbia. In Ontario, the Conservatives have a four-point lead (37%-33%), which itself is relatively close. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals lead here but the NDP is in second.

This poll helps confirm a few new 2010 realities: the Liberals seem to be back in front in Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives are down to troubling levels in Quebec, the race in Ontario is an actual race, and British Columbia remains a battlefield.EKOS is more interesting. It is a larger poll than both Angus-Reid and Strategic Counsel, and was taken over a week.

This poll mirrors the Strategic Counsel poll very closely. At 30.9%, the Tories are in trouble. At 29.3%, the Liberals aren't making huge gains but are up. This is a 2.2-point loss for the Conservatives since EKOS's last poll, and a 1.5-point gain for the Liberals. The NDP is down, however, 0.7 points to 15.3%.

EKOS is now prompting with "OTHER", so we're going to see some tall gray bars in the future. Interestingly, but maybe coincidentally, this brought the Green result down 1.5 points. "Other" got 2.3% in total.

British Columbia is very close to SC's poll, but is also close to EKOS's last poll. So, we might be led to believe that 32.8% is closer to the real Conservative level than AR's 40%.

In Ontario, EKOS has the Liberals with a substantial lead, 38.4% to 31.4%. The Liberals jumped two points, but the Conservatives dropped four.

In Quebec, the Bloc is up to 40.7%, while the Liberals are down five points to 23.0%. The Conservatives see a small gain, three points to 17.5%.

Atlantic Canada is much closer than the AR poll, with only 0.5 points separating the Liberals (33.4%) from the Conservatives (32.9%).

The Angus-Reid poll results in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 133
Liberals - 93
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 32

So far from majority for the Tories, but comfortably ahead. The Liberals have a slightly more respectable caucus, and the NDP has a slight smaller one. The Conservatives take 49 seats in Ontario to the Liberals' 39.The EKOS result is far more interesting:

Liberals - 112
Conservatives - 111
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 31
Greens - 1

When was the last time the Liberals were ahead in the seat totals? They win 60 seats in Ontario while the Conservatives take only 31.

Clearly, we're somewhere in between. But with Strategic Counsel and EKOS agreeing, we're probably closer to a tight race than we are to just a smaller Conservative lead. These three polls were taken generally over the same period, so let's average them out at the national level and see what we get:

Conservatives - 32.0%
Liberals - 29.1%
New Democrats - 17.4%
Greens - 10.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.4%

So, a close race. The NDP is flirting with their 18% of 2008, while the Liberals are back flirting with 30%. The Conservatives are worryingly close to their 2004 electoral result. An interesting time.

Now Ontario:

Liberals - 36.8%
Conservatives - 33.8%
New Democrats - 17.1%
Greens - 10.5%

The Liberals have opened up a nice little lead, but the race is still close. The NDP is, again, slightly below their 2008 result but within striking distance.

And Quebec:

Bloc Quebecois - 38.6%
Liberals - 23.3%
Conservatives - 16.5%
New Democrats - 11.2%
Greens - 7.0%

The Bloc is inching upwards from their 2008 result, while the Liberals seem to be stuck in the low-20s. The one party that has to be worried is the Conservatives, as they are half-way between their no-seats result of 2004 and their 10-seat result of 2006. The NDP is right where they were on election night, 2008.

We thought things would stroll along smoothly until after the Olympics, but instead we're being given a New Year's treat of political turmoil.


  1. I'm guessing the wacky new inclusion of prompting for the political party "other" by EKOS has handed the Liberals a seat in Alberta and given them the PM'ship in your projection ?

    Regardless, it IS going to be smooth political sailing until march because there is no chance of non-confidence until then!

  2. J. Kenneth Yurchuk14 January, 2010 10:21

    Eric, I am a relative newcomer to your Blog. Could you explain some of your methodology? I understand that you use a moving average of some sort, and weight some polls more tha others.

    It all seems to work pretty well, but I'd like to understand it better.

  3. "How convenient!"

    Not really, because its the same circumstance that is making an election impossible that is also making it desirable.

    Then again, desiring an election also makes one impossible (see 10 point drop last fall for "Harper you're time is up".)

    So you can have it only if you don't want it, but not when you actually want it, and only if all three parties want it ...

    Basically election timing remains up to Harper and with numbers these poor I don't think we're looking at an election this spring after all.

  4. I think the idea should have been to prompt for "other" instead of "Green" not in addition to it - but what the hell. It just means that the non-quadripartite vote (ie: CPC/LIB/NDP/BQ) is even more grossly exagerrated than before!

  5. DL: 'I think the idea should have been to prompt for "other" instead of "Green" not in addition to it - but what the hell. It just means that the non-quadripartite vote (ie: CPC/LIB/NDP/BQ) is even more grossly exagerrated than before!'

    Or EKOS could just prompt for "Conservative" or "Liberal", since only those parties could realistically lead a government. Nah, too complicated; just prompt for "Conservative".

    This poll shows the Green Party polling at over a third of the two largest parties' numbers, over three quarters of the next party and ahead of the fifth party. You can argue that Angus-Reid is right to not prompt at all, but if prompting is done, the Greens are solidly in the mix.

  6. Goaltender Interference14 January, 2010 11:27

    I don't see the logic in prompting for "other", either. "Other" got significantly less than 1% of the vote in 2008.
    Maybe the pollsters thought Greens were polling artificially high from responders who weren't planning to vote/spoil ballot etc. and were trying to test for this.
    But I think the main result was to confuse some Wildrose Alliance supporters into thinking that they were answering a provincial poll.

  7. Kenneth,

    Each poll is weighted according to the reliability of the polling firm (determined by how close they were to predicting the 2008 result), the size of the poll, and its age. At the beginning of every month, I age each poll by a month's time. As new polls are released, they replace the least-weighted polls in the projection system.

    So, it is a rolling average with other factors thrown into it. It isn't just "last month's polls" or something.

    The results of this rolling average then give the projection. In general, I work with a X% = X seats, the percentage determined by the historical results since 2004.

    That's generally how it is done. It is interesting to note that EKOS mentioned a seat projection to Jane Taber, and the results were 112 CPC, 107 LPC, 33 NDP, and 53 BQ. That doesn't differ much from my own.

  8. I should point out that this is also explained in the "About this Site" and "Weighting System" links at the bottom of the page.

  9. Angus Reid with their no prompting policy seems to have the highest weighting, a little greater than EKOS + Strategic Counsel combined.

    Wouldn't it be great to get a Leger and break the tie and tell us if the Conservatives are really tied with the Liberals or not ??

  10. Angus Reid did have the most accurate prediction of the 2008 election.

    Though the most accurate prediction of the 2006 election came from Nanos.

    What those two pollsters have in common is that they don't prompt for Green (Nanos doesn't prompt at all - I don't know if Angus Reid does), so I really am moer inclined to trust the sub-10 Green numbers we see consistently from Nanos and AR rather than the over-10 Green numbers EKOS always shows us.

  11. With Ekos' BC's 19% Green voting intention, you can divide that by 1/2 and get a truer picture.

    I mean, I have not seen any Green Martians roaming the BC landscape lately. Nor have I seen "Maymania" take root either.

  12. Do tax payer's foot the bill for the EKOS poll via the CBC ?

    Maybe as their boss we could e-mail them and tell them to stop prompting greens + non-existant "other" party.

  13. Try using that line with a government-funded police officer.

  14. My brain fade: I meant that Nanos doesn't prompt for parties, not Angus-Reid.

    I suspect that prompting gives a better reporting of people's intentions, but not prompting gives a better prediction of historical votes for the Green Party.

    The Greens haven't had as mature a political machine as the other parties and therefore haven't been as effective in getting out the vote. Also, Greens poll better in younger demographics, whereas older voters are more likely to show up in the booth.

    So Nanos has combined two errors to come up with more accurate results on past election days. Fair enough. The Green Machine is steadily improving but so is unprompted Party recognition, so the errors may even decrease roughly equally.

    This is why the most important indicator isn't the numbers from any given poll; it's the trend over time within each pollster's results.

  15. I like to think that tax payer funded police are already keenly aware that they serve the community.

    Not sure you could say the same thing about our "public" broadcaster.

  16. Police officers don't serve the anti-social community. The same goes with the CBC.

    (tongue firmly in cheek)

  17. If we're anti-social, can we be properly described as a community?

    Hell, I'm a nominalist. I don't even believe that society exists.

  18. Does that include polite society?

  19. This is excellent news for the Conservatives!

    And like my alter ego says...since the dastardly socialists have their insidious mitts on the EKOS in cahoots with the Stalinists at the CBC (insert dun dun duuuun) we need to disregard that poll or tell them to conduct it in a different way so the results are what we want them to be!

  20. Things that don't exist can't exhibit characteristics.

  21. Harris Decima too. 34-30-16

    How is it they all took a month off and decided to do polls the same week???

    and why don't the results all match?


    Are the tories at 34? or 31? are the NDP at 16 or 18? ARe the greens at 8, 10, or 12.The only semi consistent number is the liberals at about 29.

  22. Barcs perhaps pollsters that prompt are catching temporarily disaffected Conservative voters.

    Although seeing Harper in action busting though bureaucratic hurdles to help Haiti is enough to make somebody forget prorogation.

    CTV actually reported that some idiot told Harper:

    "sir, we can't send help without recieving an official invitation from Haiti"

    Of course Harper wasn't interested in silly diplomatic rules or excuses and told everyone to get moving.

    The decision to get those military transport planes is vindicated right now and saving lives.

    Getting the dart off the ground NOW as opposed to waiting a week and hitching a ride during the tsunami is a huge contrast.

    Bold, decisive leadership can sometime seem arrogant and ruthless. It turns a lot of Canadians off.

    But when it comes time to get things done its far and away superior to the feckless sort of dithering we saw from Paul martin.

  23. Actually, those numbers are remarkably consistent, considering the MOE.

  24. Ugh, I'm sick of these Harris-Decima numbers that never have any details to go with them.

  25. Shadow said...

    "How convenient!"

    Not really, because its (prorogation) the same circumstance that is making an election impossible that is also (prorogation) making it desirable.

    14 January, 2010 10:47


    That was yesterday and todays new reason is...gah I don't even know anymore, he changes his tune as fast as Harper does, lol.

  26. Kudos to the government for acting quickly to get relief in to Haiti.

    Now is not the time to try for political points in the face of this disaster.

  27. "I don't even know anymore, he changes his tune as fast as Harper does, lol."

    You must mean Iggy


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