Thursday, February 11, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 2-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has its weekly poll out, and it shows some movement.For one party, at least. The Conservatives stay put at 31%, but that is good enough to give them a two point lead, as the Liberals drop 2.9 points down to 29%.

The NDP only gain 0.1 points to reach 15.5%, while the Greens gain 0.4 points. The Bloc Quebecois jumps 2.1 points nationally, as they gain about seven points in Quebec.

Where is this Liberal drop coming from? Well, primarily in the three largest provinces. In Ontario, the Liberals drop about five points and are at 36.2%. That is still good enough to give them a 5.2-point lead over the Conservatives, who are at 31%. In Quebec, the Liberals drop four points, and are at 23.1%. And in British Columbia, the party dropped four points, but at 24.1% are still doing alright.

The Conservatives were stable in BC, which is bad news at 30.3%. They made gains in Alberta and the Prairies, but dropped one point in Ontario and two in Quebec, where they are down to 16%.

The NDP made two important gains: four points in BC (26.9%) and three points in Ontario (16.7%). However, they also dropped two points in Quebec (8.3%) and thirteen in the Prairies (17.6%). We'll chalk that last one up to the small sample size.

As said, the Bloc is up seven points to 41.7% - an almost 20-point gap between them and the Liberals.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 110
Liberals - 108
Bloc Quebecois - 54
New Democrats - 36

So, that's pretty close. Weak results in BC, Ontario, and Quebec are to blame for the narrow gap despite the two-point national spread.

EKOS also asked when people want an election. They had the silly options of "as soon as possible", "within the next four months", "before the end of 2010", and "at the end of the four year term in 2012". Those are silly because the two first ones are almost the same, and the difference between a June election (four months from now) and a September election (seven months from now), is negligible.

To put it in better terms, 48% favour an election in 2010 while 42% favour an election in 2012. That is not a bad pro-election number, considering that only a few more people voted in 2008.

EKOS also had the "second choice" question, which I love.

Conservative supporters were the most dedicated (or most partisan, depending on how you want to look at it), with 51.6% saying they had no second choice. The next most popular option for them are the Liberals, with 21.1%.

Liberals are a bit more willing to consider other options, with 34.7% saying they'd vote NDP. But 26.1% said they would not vote for anyone else.

The NDP showed a similar spread, with 37.4% choosing the Liberals and 22.7% choosing no one.

30% of Bloc supporters (and Green supporters) have no second choice, while 23.1% of Bloc voters would choose the NDP. 26.1% of Green voters would choose the Liberals.

And, most interestingly, 30.8% of supporters of the "Other" parties have no second choice, while 22.6% choose the Greens. This indicates they are contrarians.

This poll is demonstrating that the Liberals might have swung a little above their weight, and are starting to fade again. But the Conservatives did not make any steps forward. They are still well behind in Ontario, polling badly in Quebec, and flooring in British Columbia.

Next week's EKOS poll will hopefully give us a good indication of what's going on.


  1. I suspect that this is only the normal "vibration" in the numbers. We will know if next weeks shows the Liberals back up.

  2. I see no good new for the Tories here. They have been flat at 31% for several weeks in a row and the only reason this poll has them in the lead compared to last week is that the Liberals lost a lot of ground to the BQ in Quebec - which really doesn't help the Tories at all.

  3. Ok, seriously, what's with this "Other"? It's one thing if they are confused Wildrosers in Alberta, but 4% of B.C. respondents said "Other"?

    Are the respondents prompted with the response "other" (in which case, it is completely useless and just indicates people messing with the pollsters), or are people actually naming "other" parties? If the latter, I'd be really curious as to what these "other" parties are, because there aren't any federal parties outside the "big five" that are even close to being able to aim for 1% of the vote.

  4. The great news is that the liberals dropped 3% IN ONE WEEK!!!! Alot was made of the conservatives dropping 10% in 3.5 months(14 weeks)-this is major. Paying for abortions, and daycare with no answers to where the money is going to come from in a time of restraint-maybe???!!! Keep up the round table discussions Iggy!!!

  5. The coup, or at least silver lining, for the Grits here in an otherwise mediocre poll for them, is being only two seats back in the seat projection despite being only at 29%. They do just enough in the regionals and the Conservatives have the inefficient vote inflated by high Alberta and prairie numbers--is that what you're seeing, Eric?

    Also, contrary to what Ekos pollster Graves said, these numbers may not indicate that the prorogation and detainee issues (very connected issues too) are 'exhausted.' Seems to me that after parliament is allowed to sit, and after the budget, getting at the truth of detainee torture will be front and center again.

  6. You will see a jump for the Tories when two things happen - news gets out that *gasp* the BC Government is proroguing for the Olympics too, and *gasp* the House resumes sitting on March 3rd, thus proving that Mr. Harper isn't quite the dictator he was being made out to be in January.

  7. I think the poll, and the numbers in the previous polls, suggest that the matter has 'peaked'.
    This does not mean that the Liberals or Conservatives will move back to where they were before; as you'd need more polls before you could make that claim. So Graves could very well be wrong that anger is dissipating. (His comments had generally been more bullish on the Tories prospects re: prorogation if I'm recalling correctly)

    What I've seen with the polls is that generally the Tories fell to a little above 30% and the Liberals up to around 30% during this mess. Further variations of a point or two between the polls don't seem to indicate a trend so much as they do variation around the new levels.

  8. Overall, Peter nailed it at the beginning: we're seeing noise in the Conservative-Liberal gap, not any clear shift at this point. Likewise, the Green gain is at the noise level unless we see it in future weeks as well. Stay tuned...

  9. The irritating thing about the "when do you want an election?" question is that it left out a key contender: 2011. To me, that renders the results meaningless.

    Ekos should be able to do better than that.

  10. The numbers show that opposition supporters generally wouldn't mind an election at some point this year. This seems significant in that even if it's framed that Ignatieff himself forced an election this year, he wouldn't in this case be punished by traditional supporters (like he would have been last fall, apparently).

  11. Lol! Gotta love how hard the conservatives are trying to make Harper's prorouging of parliament on the same level as the legit prorouging of parliament that takes place constantly in democracies.

    Just makes me laugh. The only people buying it are the conservatives themselves. Clear-thinking Canadians know that shutting down government when there is 30+ pieces of legislation running through it, shutting down commitiees investigating things, and coming up with various and contradictory claims as to why they are doing so, just isn't the same.

    You see, it's like flushing a toilet. There are legit reasons to flush a toilet, and then there are people who flush a toilet to get rid of things other than what you normally get rid of... The cons did the latter.

    Please don't insult the intelligence of the canadian people by claiming they can't tell the difference.

  12. Hi Josh.

    The Conservatives prorogued parliament so they could gain control of the senate.

    The Liberals had just gutted a consumer protection bill and a crime bill.

    Also it takes about 2 days to reform the committee and it'll start in on Afghanistan again. No big deal, the country didn't dissapear in a few months!.

    And every piece of legislation can be reintroduced at the exact same stage it was at provided the opposition doesn't obstruct.

    You seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill.

  13. It depends what the CPC cabinet ministers do in the next two weeks. If they go out of their way to take pictures with the gold medallists (and they definitely were planning this before the anti-prorogue backlash became intense) then Canadians will take this as vacationing on the public dime. If they fade into obscurity, then the Liberals may make opportunistic noise about that, which Canadians may take as whining.

    Anyway, the elephant in the room is this: if the CPC cannot win a majority in the next election (and that is pretty much certain barring Iggy being seen eating kittens), then the knives will come out. And with the glue which holds the CPC removed while *another* populist, right-wing party emerges in Alberta, things could get pretty nasty.

  14. Oh, and just for Shadow's information, the Liberals didn't hold a gun to Harper's head and tell him to prorogue Parliament, causing those bills to be gutted.

    And it isn't random bloggers who decide elections; it's Canadians. And Canadians simply aren't buying this BS.

  15. From a Green perspective, the really big news in this poll comes from the Second Choice question. The Green Party has by far the largest share of the Undecided vote at 23%. Second choices are where campaigns are won and lost. The most valuable second choices are the Undecideds: they only need to be moved to a party, not moved away from another party. The Green potential is tremendous.

    As always, proper execution is everything.

  16. Interesting about Conservatives being the most dedicated.

    I'm guessing Ignatieff's abortion grenade has the base out for blood and spoiling for a fight.

    All the media reports has Donolo and Iggy saying "no election". However, what if that's a play?

    What if they want an election but don't want to be blamed for one?

    Maybe we will go the polls soon.

  17. John,

    More big green news here: Ekos' Graves is predicting TWO green seats (both Ontario) in his projection.

  18. Doctor Cynic you have it backwards.

    The bills were gutted BEFORE prorogation by the Liberal senate.

    What's the point of continuing on with the 30+ bills if their fate was going to be the same? You can't say prorogation killed something that didn't have any chance at life.

    Now with the senate exciting options like senate reform become avilable !!

    Anyways, only the most cynical person would believe Harper prorogued parliament to shut down the committees.

  19. 'Abortion grenade'? I feel it is a stretch to use this kind of language when referring to Ignatieff's call for safe abortions and greater maternal health at home and abroad.

    I realize the phrase is meant politically, but perhaps we can assume that he really does care about this issue, as most Liberals do.

    Also, I'm not a Liberal and do not belong to any party, but I feel that bandying about a term like 'abortion grenade' may be insulting to women, and to debate.

    Who wants to talk numbers, people?

  20. Shadow: The Conservatives prorogued parliament so they could gain control of the senate.

    The Liberals had just gutted a consumer protection bill and a crime bill.

    Some dreary facts on who has been responsible for killing law'n'order bills. Of course, the plant count change can be used as evidence of "gutting". Perhaps it was so heinous an act that the Commmons could not have soiled themselves by removing that hideous stain through further action on the bill.

    I have great respect for our Senate and the work they do. The good news is that the Conservative Party of Canada does not have Senate control yet; they have a plurality, not a majority. There are still Independent and Progressive Conservative senators. I have confidence in their integrity. I even believe that Conservative senators will vote against party lines if their consciences demand this act. After all, that's their job.

  21. Davor its a pretty apt description judging by the way it came about.

    Ignatieff had just finished an aid roundtable with a pro-life Liberal MP.

    Then this weird idea gets thrown out there, the guy beside him had no idea what he was talking about.

    Then another pro-life Liberal MP Paul Szabo has to tell Iggy to back down.

    But it sounds like the orders came from Donolo, wanting an American style wedge issue to play politics with.

    The OLO then blasted out past anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage statements by CPC members.

    The message: GASP! They're Republicans!!

    SO lets not pretend this is anything more than a political wedge issue. Its an abortion grenade. Pure an simple.

  22. Nobody believes the talking point: Let's de-spin the spin and move on.

    Parliament was prorogued primarily to stop the committee from investigating the detainee cover-up.

    The senate held up only one bill out of all the crime bills. The Cons were the ones that stalled them: when they broke their own election law and let them die on the order paper; and again, they were held up in the HOUSE during the last session.

    So, numbers: the lack of Conservative 2nd choice might mean their supporters don't realize there are other parties?? Or maybe we can assume they are the most loyal. I know my dad is!

    What happens if the Cons' Ontario number dips below 30?

    All best

  23. Hi John i'm sorry to dissapoint you but the Conservatives DO have an effective majority.

    There's a Liberal senator still embroiled in a scandal who never shows up to work.

    Then there's always one or two more who aren't there for some reason.

    Marjory Lebreton can get every Tory member there for the votes.

  24. Hey Davor we're going to have to agree to disagree.

    Because I think what you're saying is the partisan spin.

    You think what i'm saying is the partisan spin.

    Funny how that works.

    (But on the factual matter of bills dying, they really can be reintroduced EXACTLY where they were before prorogation if there is opposition consent.)

  25. Looks to me as if the prorogation nonsense is wearing off and we'll soon the CPC back at 35 - 36 percent.

    In my mind the outrage at prorogation was manufactured by the media. Much the same as the noise over the Afghan detainee issue has and will be a media driven event.

  26. So first one states that the senate gutted/blocked all the crime bills, then they retreat to this:
    "(But on the factual matter of bills dying, they really can be reintroduced EXACTLY where they were before prorogation if there is opposition consent.)"
    Seems like a tacit admission that their previous statement was a lie.
    And maybe they wouldn't have prorogued if they really cared about 'crime' bills, and if it wasn't about pleasing their base.

    Does anyone want to talk numbers sometime instead?

  27. Doctor Cynic:

    The glue that holds the CPC together is the thought of another split on the right that hands power to LPC for another generation or two. We learned our lesson.

    Canada had a dictator and a ditherer because of our split. Our party is more willing to accommodate now. Don't hold your breath waiting for a split. Another strong minority win would be fine with me, although I believe the nation needs a majority government to undertake the road back to fiscal responsibility.

  28. Earl,

    I seriously disagree. I saw nothing manufactured about it among those in the rally and those that planned the rally and those still upset about the incident. You have to remember that Harper damaged himself with this, and it is absolutely evident with the multitude of pollings that have come out. There is no denying it.

    What is more, if it was completely manufactured, the Conservatives should have already gone back up - they haven't. In fact, those numbers fled to other Opposition parties. If it was supposed to have "worn down," this would have already occurred. Don't get your hopes up.

  29. This crap about the Liberal senate "gutting" the crime bill etc... as a reason to prorogue is a total red herring. In our system of government, the senate can suggest amendments and the house of commons can choose to either agree to those amendments or it can send the bill back to the senate unamended and then the senate MUST pass the bill as is. The House of Commons always gets the last word in the end.

    If the house had come back as scheduled on Jan. 23, the house could have rejected those senate amendments and sent the bills back to the senate in their original forms and the bills in question would already be in the process of receiving royal assent. Instead, they all have to be reintroduced and go through the whole process all over again. As a result of the prorogation, all those bills have been stalled by several months.

    Parliament was prorogued so that Harper could shut down the inquiry in the detainees which was getting dangerously close to uncovering some very damaging stuff. Being able to reorganize senate committees might have been a small side bonus - but the fact is that under NORMAL circumstances (not that anything is ever "normal" under the dictatorship of Herr Harper), the house would sit until June pass all the bills on the docket and then be prorogued over the summer so that the government could come back with a new Throne Speech in September.

    Once again Harper outsmarted himself and i'll be interested to see which heads roll in the PMO over this. I'm sure he'll have his usual temper tantrum and start hurling computer monitors at people and will blame everyone except himself.

  30. Well said, DL.

    I wish the word 'gutting' could be prorogued from use in any sentence containing 'senate' or 'crime bills.'

    Perhaps 'gutting' would fit better in the sentences which include 'democracy' or 'truth' or 'human rights' or those other nasty things.

    Volkov, Edmonton Centre Liberals will be buoyed by the Liberal 22 in Alberta (not that it really translates into anything yet..)

  31. Hehe, I know Davor - Edmonton Centre should actually almost be a shoe-in with numbers like that. Even McLellan hung around at 20% support. 22% would be a godsend.

  32. Earl, isn't every single issue "media driven"? I mean, that's how the general public knows about things-- they're discussed in the media.

    What I'm guessing you mean is that you don't find prorogation as important as the amount of attention it received. But I'm not sure why people would think this. Last year's prorogation was probably the biggest political story of the decade in Canada. Why would anyone think that having another prorogation a year later would go almost unnoticed?

    Conservatives should simply suck it up and learn the lesson that a large number of Canadians DO care about this.

  33. Anyone wanna guess how much of the pro-NDP sentiment in the past week is caused by sympathy towards Jack Layton's cancer? We're all sympathetic to those with cancer.

  34. What pro-NDP sentiment? an increase of 0.1% from the previous poll?

  35. As has been demonstrated on this Board prorogation at the Federal level has been widely used over the years, in particular by J. Chretien. No-one got upset about that.

    The opposition with the media's aid and assistance created an issue. In retrospect Harper made a mistake, I'll gladly admit that. I've often lamented Harper's inability to anticipate what would arouse the ire of Canadians and the opposition. It's one I didn't see coming. Most Canadians don't know how widely prorogation has been used in the past or what it really is.

    Let's wait and see if the effects are lasting.

  36. Well lets review the facs then.

    The senate gutted a consumer protection bill and a crime bill.

    If the house had rejected the ammendments they could have blocked the bill by endlessly suggesting new ammendments, calling new witnesses, or simply scheduling debate time (endless debate permitted in the senate).

    Now the Conservatives have a plurality (in practice a majority because Liberals don't show up for work) in the senate. So all that is behind us.

    And all those house bills that died they can simply be reintroduced where they were.

    A win win all around and a good reason for prorogation!

    None of this nonsense about a detainee scandal that documents show was the fault of the Liberals.

    If a scandal hurts the Liberals why would the Conservatives want to shut it down ??

  37. I find the right track, wrong track numbers interesting.

    Any thoughts?

  38. Earl,

    And as was similarly pointed out on this site's comments and among many of the other sites out there where this myth persists, Chretien never did it within a year; Chretien never destroyed any major bills with prorogation; Chretien had a majority, Harper did not, making parliamentary ethics unclear; Chretien never had one of these investigative committees breathing down his neck that mysteriously disappeared when he prorogued; and on, and on, and on.

    You cannot compare Harper's prorogation with that of Chretien's. But even so, what does it matter now? Harper did it in such a way that it got attention. Now people are saying curb it for all parties and all Prime Ministers. This isn't just an Opposition "rah rah rah down with Harper" chant - this is Canadians saying GET BACK TO WORK.

  39. Hey Volkov all those bright orange signs didn't provide any hints that these rallies were partisan in nature ?

    Also maybe they should provide you a little worry since I didn't see much Liberal red out there ...

  40. Shadow writes;

    The Conservatives prorogued parliament so they could gain control of the senate.

    Hi Shadow

    Thank you for helping me make the case that the conservatives prorouging parliament has nothing to do with the legitimate prorougations of parliament by other levels of government.

    Perhaps there is cause for hope regarding your contributions to this blog after all.

    I'll grant you a bit of lee-way for the rest of the day, assuming you remain honest.


  41. Josh i'm glad you agree that taking control of the senate was the reason for prorogation.

    I consider it a valid reason, why shouldn't the senate committee structure represent the structure of the Committee of the Whole ?

    As for that weird bit about honesty, just because somebody has a different opinion then you doesn't mean they are a liar.

    They just have a different opinion! Learnt that in primary school, "tolerance"!

    BTW did you check the last thread ?

    You had challenged the validity of two of my statements so I provided more support to back them up.

  42. Shadow, the only thing the orange signs at the rallies proves, is that the NDP are shameless opportunists who want to seize on any piece of public discontent whether it's relevant to them or not.

    The fact that the protesters are overwhelmingly non-partisan and come from all walks of life (I was shocked at how much gray hair was present) is a much greater cause for concern for the ruling party.

  43. The government could have prorogued the day before parliament was set to resume and the senate committees would have been reset, so the senate theory just doesn't hold up. They didn't need to prorogue back at New Year's to change the senate.

    The timing of the prorogue, ie. asap, was to disrupt the serious work, and potentially damaging findings of, of the afghan detainee hearings.

    When someone called 'shadow' honest I choked and got coffee up my nose. (and also: I can't get over talking to someone named 'shadow'-- I mean what are these monikers)

  44. Davor why is the BC legislature not sitting ?

    Because if you're going to prorogue anyways you may as well take the time off for the Olympics and to prepare a budget.

    No sitting time is lost though, two week long spring breaks have been cancelled.

  45. >Ok, seriously, what's with this
    >"Other"? It's one thing if they are
    >confused Wildrosers in Alberta, but
    >4% of B.C. respondents said "Other"?
    I wish the pollsters had a special section or a drop-down where those answering "Other" (or "None of the above") could specify their choice. I left a few feedbacks at Angus-Reid but they've done nothing so far :(

  46. One thing for sure - the prorogation scandal clearly has the Tories on the defensive. look at the thousands of words poor Shadow has had to write all in defense mode trying to explain and defend the indefensible.

    There is a saying in politics that when you have to explain, you lose. It's now been over five weeks since the prorogation scandal began and the Tories are still explaining and explaining and explaining and all the debate is on the opposition's chosen terrain of "is there any justification for the Tories shutting down parliament?"

    In the end that is all that matters. harper and his acolytes have been thrown totally off message for most of the winter!

  47. I still don't see why anyone is objecting to the proroguation. It's a power the Prime Minister has. He used it. It's not like he made it up or broke the law.

    Even Ignatieff has said that perhaps the rule should be changed. This isn't a problem with Stephen Harper; this is a problem with the rules of parliament. Calling the proroguation indefensible is absurd.

    As for this poll, those Ekos Green numbers just get bigger. We need to find a way to adjust for Ekos's pro-Green bias, because that 11% number is abject nonsense.

  48. Vote "right" to save what's "left"

  49. The Green number and the Other number really, really lower the two main parties numbers.

    Together Green + Other total about 14%, when they only got about half that in the last election.

    EKOS has the main parties tied around 30 when in actuality they are tied around 36.

    Will be wrong in the next election embarras EKOS into adopting a sensible approach ?

    They're the CBC's pollster. They get paid with public tax payer money which allows them to have the largest sample size in the bussiness so they should at least provide us with accurate results.

  50. Volkov:

    No Chretien didn't prorogue when faced with embarrassing revelations on Somalia, he went a step further and simply shut down the enquiry he had commissioned. That was contempt of Democracy:

    The fact that the government has a majority or a minority has absolutely nothing to with prorogation unless the government is refusing to meet the house. While Harper has delayed meeting the house, he has done so, passed a budget and withstood many motions of non confidence. There is no doubt he currently holds the confidence of the house. The issue of majority/minority then is a red herring.

    You are correct Chretien didn't prorogue twice within a year. I'm not so sure that the Government in this case wanted the bills passed after the Liberal senate had watered them down. So I don't hold that against them. I've admitted prorogation was a questionable call because of the Afghan detainee mess. What I don't see is that the Afghan detainee "problem" is solely a Conservative problem and that it isn't merely part of fighting a war. Were I Harper, I think I'd face the thing head on and call a spade a spade.

    I know we disagree on this but it is time for political correctness to end on this issue. We are fighting a WAR against people and with people who have very different values than we do. We are a minor military presence doing more than our share under very difficult conditions. War is neither clean nor pretty. If we are to fight wars successfully we have to get over the idea that we will fight war by some set of rules while our adversaries and allies will play by an entirely different set of rules. The torture and abuse of Afghan detainees is unfortunate. It is wrong. However we are not doing nor sanctioning either. As long as we are there and your party (Chretien) got us into this mess, what specifically do you suggest we do about detainee abuse? Please. Or is it merely a partisan issue to be exploited for votes?


  51. I have said before that Ekos keeps grossly exaggerating the Green and Other vote. The latest poll has Greens at 11.3 and "Other at 2.8 - that makes a total of 14.1%. In the last election Green/Other was about 7% so this is clearly a gross overestimate.

    But if i were a Tory I would take no comfort from this since the Green /Other people tend to almost unformly reject the Tofries as a second choice.

  52. I think that if Ekos says Tories 31%, Libs 29%, NDP 15.5% and Green/Other 14%. It probably means that its really more like Tories 33%, Liberals 32%, NDP 17.5% and Green/Other 7%

  53. DL I disagree.

    I think a lot of those Green voters and Other voters are likely to stay home instead of switching to other parties.

  54. Alright, let's see. We'll drop the Green's to 7% and the Other to 1%. Since we have the second choice in this poll, we can portion those out accurately, with the ones saying "no second choice" staying home.

    The result we get, nationally, is:

    Conservatives - 31.7%
    Liberals - 30.4%
    New Democrats - 17.0%
    Bloc Quebecois - 10.7%
    Greens - 7.0%
    Other - 1.0%

    Does it really make all that much of a difference? These are all within the MOE (except the Greens, of course). We learn more from how the numbers move.

  55. DL (following on Ira's theme): I have said before that Ekos keeps grossly exaggerating the Green and Other vote. The latest poll has Greens at 11.3 and "Other at 2.8 - that makes a total of 14.1%. In the last election Green/Other was about 7% so this is clearly a gross overestimate.

    Ummmmm... by that logic we've had Tory governments since 1867, since Sir John A. won a majority in the first Parliament. Voter sentiments do change over time, especially when parliamentarians don't behave themselves.

    Ekos has reflected Green preferences pretty well. Look at the graph at the bottom of page 3 of the latest Ekos poll. The December 2008 poll is not too far off the 2008 election results. The remaining difference could be ascribed to poor messaging on strategic voting and buyer's remorse after the election outcome, but that's overly simplistic. There's more to it as I've commented in past; the Green Machine GOTV (Get Out the Vote) machinery is still maturing and the younger voters who support the Green Party most strongly are less likely to vote. However, that discount is probably in the 1-2% range at this point. With a well-executed Green campaign it will be less.

    Harping on my tired theme, the absolute numbers aren't the important thing to look at. It's the trends. The Green numbers have changed slowly, but they've been changing steadily since the lasts election. An overestimate? Perhaps, but not by much. And that will be a game-changer for many riding associations.

  56. But we keep having byelections ( you know - where real voters actually make an "x" and drop a ballot in a box) and Green support ends up being 3%.

    Look at the provincial byelection last week in Toronto Centre - a riding where the Ontario Greens had 10% in the last election and where SUPPOSEDLY the Ontario Greens are polling at 11-12% - and they got THREE PERCENT - barely ahead of the Canada Action party etc...

  57. Eric there is no reason to believe those new numbers are accurate.

    You're assuming that when you drop Greens from 11.3 to their 6.8 that everybody splits according to the preferences of the whole sample.

    But the sample is spoiled by prompting. To correct for that you need to make assumptions about which portion of people who say Green aren't really going to vote Green.

    For instance the voters who have no second option wouldn't stay home, they're the most partisan and most likely to come out and vote !

  58. Fine, they all vote Tory and Harper is swept to a majority. Better?

    Every week I hear this griping about EKOS's Green numbers. They aren't the only ones who show high Green totals. Maybe people are actually answering Green, and actually want to vote Green, and as far as they are concerned will vote Green. They've been increasing in every election the last few times, and I believe they will do better in 2010-2012. I stand by my projection's number for them.

  59. If the Tories are counting on getting a last minute surge of support from Green/Tory switchers to get them their majority - dream on.

  60. Earl: I know we disagree on this but it is time for political correctness to end on this issue. We are fighting a WAR against people and with people who have very different values than we do.

    Are we fighting a war? Or a counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign? Or a counterterrorism (CT) campaign? Who's the enemy: the Taliban? Al Qaeda? Pashtun tribes? And what are our goals and (for ISAF as a whole) success and exit criteria?

    For any set of coherent answers, torture is (in Talleyrand's words) worse than a crime; it's a blunder. Torture has strong negative value in COIN and is by far the least effective approach in CT, even for people with no morals. Don't trust me; read the statements of many interrogation experts who have said the same thing, loudly.

    If you can't immediately and cogently answer the questions above, I suggest considerable research before responding. We're in the mess we are today because people right at the top had no idea what they were doing or what they wanted to accomplish.

  61. --- "For instance the voters who have no second option wouldn't stay home, they're the most partisan and most likely to come out and vote !"

    And no, that is not what that means. Not having a second choice doesn't mean you lovelovelove the party you support. While it can mean that, it can also mean you couldn't be bothered to vote for anyone else, if you vote at all.

  62. Wow that was a bit of a temper tantrum Eric.

    I was just pointing out that you can't correct a bad sample by moving numbers around.

    Nobody suggested that they'd all vote Harper and he'd get a majority.

    Although weirdly enough the last poll EKOS had for the '08 result had Greens 2.8 higher then what they got and the CPC 2.8 lower then what they got...

  63. John:

    I completely agree as regards torture. We, as in Canada are not doing the torturing, unlike in Somalia. Nor does our government condone it. They are in a quandary. When Canadian troops take Taliban prisoners do they release them, kill them, or hand them over to the Afghans on our side. Our military and government have conveyed to the Afghan government that we expect the prisoners we handover to be well treated. I will ask you as I asked Volkov, please tell me what we should do?

    In 2011 we will at last be free of the place. Were I the Americans and NATO, I'd withdraw if they could on a month's notice. I think Karazi is corrupt and that the war is a lost cause. My understanding is that NATO could watch what is going on in Afghanistan and use air power to prevent it from turning into the terrorist staging area it was before 9/11. We will not bring either liberation or democracy to the people of Afghanistan. Let's get out.

  64. No, Ekos is not the only pollster who overstates Green support, but their larger sample size legitimises their overstatement.

    I think the adjustments you presented were quite useful.

    When next we have an election, I think we will once again see the actual voting results closely match the Nanos and Angus Reid poll numbers immediately preceding the vote - both of which are very hard on the Greens.

  65. Eric forget the noise. I used to question your seat totals when I first found your blog. You have developed a good methodology. It might not always be 100% accurate but what is. As you know polls are polls and good only for the days they were taken. Why people, including me, quibble over a point or two in these polls or a seat or two in the totals is beyond me. We all want our party to do well, but we're not in a campaign and even if we were, the poll that really counts is the one on election day.

    Relax folks. Eric does a great job.

  66. We, as in Canada are not doing the torturing, unlike in Somalia.
    Was it not basically rogue soldiers? How high up did anyone really know?

    Nor does our government condone it.
    I believe that to be the case, but the evidence says they did not want to hear about it. That can be construed as condoning. I don't consider them to be ghouls condoning because they want the torture to happen, more likely they are condoning by omission because they are more concerned about domestic politics. They were using patriotism heavily to bludgeon all who oppose them. If they truly believe the rest of the voting public are lily livered nervous nellies who will turn against the war if someone gets hurt, then their actions of trying to coverup any possible problems would make sense.

    They are in a quandary.
    Largely of their own making.

    When Canadian troops take Taliban prisoners do they release them, kill them, or hand them over to the Afghans on our side. Our military and government have conveyed to the Afghan government that we expect the prisoners we handover to be well treated. I will ask you as I asked Volkov, please tell me what we should do?
    First of all, the reports should never have been suppressed. Orders should never have been given to stop reporting about it. "Who knew what and when" is just what the hearings were finally zeroing in on after being up and running for most of the year, when they were preemptively shut down. That action to me is the real problem in all this. It is understood that the detainee transfers can be a cat and mouse game, where we have expectations, see they are not being met, then we sign a transfer agreement, we see evidence of it being violated, we stop transfers and get it rectified, then something else goes wrong and we deal with that. Maybe we have observers stationed in the prisons staying with the guards or something.
    However, there is a big difference between paying attention and trying to deal with it, and trying to stop the reports coming in.

    In 2011 we will at last be free of the place. Were I the Americans and NATO, I'd withdraw if they could on a month's notice. I think Karazi is corrupt and that the war is a lost cause. My understanding is that NATO could watch what is going on in Afghanistan and use air power to prevent it from turning into the terrorist staging area it was before 9/11. We will not bring either liberation or democracy to the people of Afghanistan. Let's get out.
    I supported the mission, and I still do support its goals. They are noble goals and I believe we are making a difference there.

    But it is my view that the current government here has botched the mission by attempting to use it to further their majority ambitions. Everything they have done with regard to the mission is warped by their overriding partisan ambition. So when we heard about talking with the Taliban, the government's response amounted to sniggering about Jack Layton traveling unarmed with his wife into the Taliban held areas, to presumably be killed. Even though Karzai was talking with them, we couldn't entertain such an idea since that would go against the political ambitions of our government. When we hear about torture of detainees, we're patted on the head and told a) don't worry about it b) they're not properly dressed and organized soldiers so Geneva does not apply and c) why do you care about these evil scum?

    I believe we are losing the initiative and more of the Afghans are seeing us as yet another occupying foreign power. When we show up with high sounding principles, then break those principles when convenient, we harm the hearts and minds campaign, without which we will never get anywhere there.

  67. Earl, I agree, Eric does a great job with the info he has, and we learn more from polling trends than actual numbers for any given poll.

    I guess my concern is how a poll can claim it's accurate within 3%, 19/20 times, when it is consistently recording 4-7% in some provinces for a party that doesn't exist (the mysterious "other" party). I'm less fussed by the Green numbers, since it's not uncommon for some parties to poll much higher between elections than on actual voting day (eg., Chretien's Liberals), but this "Other" nonsense needs to be explained. Maybe it doesn't substantially affect Eric's model, but one can question the predictive value of any poll that reports results for imaginary parties.

  68. Earl: I will ask you as I asked Volkov, please tell me what we should do?

    Now? At the detailed level, avoid being complicit in torture. A few specific items are:
    * Report prisoner handover to the Red Cross in Afghanistan, not back at their head office.
    * Report the handover of prisoners before we do so, not 72 hours later; ideally, have the Red Cross present at handover to verify the condition of the prisoners.
    * Publicly report prisoner handover numbers as the Brits and the Dutch do.
    * Stop stonewalling, redacting and concealing our civilian and military commanders' past actions in this area.

    Our troops deserve our support, and part of supporting them is not putting them in untenable situations. The soldiers on the ground have behaved to the highest standard and I am proud of them. The orders they were given are shameful. The attempted concealment of these orders is cowardly. The claim that supporting our troops by identifying their commanders' errors is an attack on our soldiers is reprehensible.

    With respect to the conduct of the war, we should live up to our commitment to stay until 2011. And then we should leave, because we're now part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  69. Éric does indeed do a wonderful job both in reporting and in his seat projections. You don't have to believe him; if you don't like his methodology or numbers, just substitute your own. He won't mind. It will be interesting to compare his projections and those from the pros immediately before the next election.

    I'll stick my neck out: Nanos and Angus-Reid won't do nearly as well as they have done previously. It's not that I have it in for them; I just believe polls are inherently approximate and luck plays a large role in determining who's closest after the fact.

    There's a strong analogy to choosing a financial investor.

  70. Liberal Supporter and John:

    All good ideas but in the end they to can be circumvented. Nevertheless I would try them.

    I'm not especially pleased with this governments's handling of the detainee issue.

    As to the war and our success or lack thereof I wonder if you read the Globe and Mail's week long series on Afghanistan last fall. It reported that neither us nor the rest of NATO has changed much as regards Afghan culture.

    If we have made a difference I'd like to know what it is. Up until I read that series I too supported our military presence there. I no longer do.

    Reports of detainee abuse date back to 2002 when Chretien was still PM. Many of the hyena's on the Liberal benches calling out the government about this issue have as much blood on their hands as do the Conservatives, if indeed there is much blood. John McCallum the former defence minister is one of the worst, accusing the current government of war crimes. I would say that it is the opposition that has been trying to make political hay out of the entire Afghan situation. Jack Layton is laughable. I'll leave it at that.

    All of that said, I do believe Harper is being to be too cute by half in trying to suppress the information. As I've said call a spade a spade. From a strictly political point of view he doesn't need more than 45% of the country to agree with him. His actions arouse public interest and make him look guilty of something. I'll tell you Trudeau and Chretien would have dared the country to criticize their handling of the war if they were in Stephen's shoes. That is exactly what he should have and still should do.

  71. I disagree with Stephen Harper on the detainee issue.

    I think a full judicial inquiry is needed.

    Both for the Liberals who created the detainee mess and the Conservatives who might have taken too long to clean it up.

    That way we can have a legal framework in place if we ever are in a similiar situation.

    I just happen to think it shouldn't start until after the summer 2011 pull out date.

    The kind of over heated rhetoric we see coming from the opposition is bad for the morale of the troops and hurts recruitng efforts.

    So please, wait till the men and women are back home before the anti-war left starts the attacks !

  72. Shadow: I just happen to think it shouldn't start until after the summer 2011 pull out date.

    The kind of over heated rhetoric we see coming from the opposition is bad for the morale of the troops and hurts recruitng efforts.

    So please, wait till the men and women are back home before the anti-war left starts the attacks !

    No, this has to be taken off the table as quickly as possible for the good of our military. I have never heard a single opposition speaker connect our soldiers on the ground to war crimes. I have repeatedly heard the government make this insinuation in a cynical and cowardly attempt to deflect blame from themselves. We need to get this in the open, now, so these baseless claims can be put to rest.

    Anything less is a failure to support our troops.

  73. John please drop this good of the miltiary language.

    Its an undeniable fact that certain opposition members have made regretable remarks that have undermined our military.

    They've said this is "about the conduct of our troops in the field", suggsted there could be prosecutions for "war crimes", and called Gen. Hillier "morally weak and legally flimsy."

    I know the anti-war left has learnt that directly attacking soldiers isn't good press anymore so now they attack their leadership, their generals, their mission, attempt to stop their funding, and make peace with their enemies all while claiming to love and support the soldiers.

    Its as though anything less than treason counts as supporting our troops!

    The problem has been fixed and there is new leadership from top to bottom.

    The only possible motivation for having an inquiry now, at the expense of our troops, is to sabatoge the war effort.

  74. Shadow, those kinds of comments are unacceptable.

  75. "I have never heard a single opposition speaker connect our soldiers on the ground to war crimes."

    I have, but beyond what you or I believe we heard when people like McCallum or Dosanjh speak...

    Do you believe it is Harper and the cabinet that fly over and walk the prisoners from our camp to the afghan jail??? I am betting it is troops under orders that transfer do the transfers.

    Ordering the act and being complicit with the act under orders... its the same thing under international law.

    So are you only suggesting that our government is responsible as the giver of the order?? Or are you really saying that the troops are complicit to. And then turning around and saying "that it is ok that they did... they didn't really... it was someone else, not the troops... we like them" That line you are spinning is a bunch of BS.

  76. Eric it would help if you would point to a specific part of my comment you object to,

    otherwise one is left with the impression that you find it unacceptable to defend the troops from opposition attacks.

    If somebody is anti-war then they should proudly proclaim themselves a pacifist.

    Don't try to dig up dirt to turn the public off a mission in the name of supporting the troops.

    Everybody knows pulling out of Afghanistan ASAP is the policy of the NDP, the BQ, and most of the Liberal caucus.

    I guess they figure if they turn Canadians against the mission it'll be so unpopular that the government will be forced to pull out.

    Sabatoging the war effort is what is actually unacceptable !


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