Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Ipsos Poll: 8-pt Conservative Lead

Ipsos-Reid has released a week-old poll that shows some very different results than those we have been seeing lately.Since their January 19-21 poll, the Conservatives have gained three points (37%), the Liberals have lost two (29%), and the NDP has lost one (16%). The Greens have also lost one and the Bloc is stable, nationally.

Because I saw some premature exaltation in the comments yesterday, I feel the need to point out that the EKOS poll (taken between February 17 and February 23) had a result of 33.4% CPC, 30.3% LPC, 15.8% NDP, while the Environics poll (taken between February 22 and February 24) had a result of 31% CPC, 30% LPC, 16% NDP. As it stands, that puts this Ipsos-Reid poll in the position of having the burden of proof. We need some others to confirm that there has been a sea change.

Anyway, to the regionals.

In Ontario, the Liberals have gained two points and are at a very strong 40%. The Conservatives remain stable at 37%, as do the NDP at 15%.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois gains two points to reach 39%. The Liberals are down five (25%), and both the Conservatives and NDP are up two (17% and 11%, respectively).

Then the MOE comes into play. In British Columbia, the Conservatives are up 11 points to 47%, while the Liberals are down six (18%) and the NDP is down five (22%). Considering how close the race has been in BC since the beginning of the year, these numbers mark a huge change.

There are even bigger changes in the small regions, namely a 13-point loss for the Conservatives in Alberta, a 15-point gain for them in the Prairies (alongside a 20 point loss for the NDP), and a 16-point gain for the Conservatives in Atlantic Canada. The Liberals lose 10 and the NDP loses nine.

When a poll is at odds with others taken at the same time, and shows huge variations like this, we can't help but feel the need to wait for some more corroborating results. This is the problem with releasing polls more than a week after polling stopped - it gives the impression of movement when instead, had it been released a few days after the end of polling, we would have been discussing why the polls are so different from one another.

This poll would give the Conservatives 138 seats, 77 of them in the West, 43 in Ontario, 7 in Quebec, and 11 in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals would win 97 seats: 11 of them out West, 52 in Ontario, 16 in Quebec, and 18 in Atlantic Canada.

The NDP would win 7 out West, 11 in Ontario, 1 in Quebec, and 3 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 22.

The Bloc wins 51 seats.

The poll also asked who would make the best Prime Minister. Stephen Harper received 46% (and reached 78% in Alberta), Jack Layton received 33% (53% in Quebec), and Michael Ignatieff had 21% (26% in British Columbia). This seems to demonstrate that people don't vote for leaders.


  1. I don't think these results are at odds with each other all that much.

    Both Ipsos and EKOS had a similiar change from their previous poll, CPC up 3 and 2.2 respectively.

    If you correct for the leanings of the pollsters their top line numbers meet in the middle.

    I think what happened is a pollster who's methods lean towards the CPC took numbers the same time as a pollster who's methods lean against the CPC.

    As for Environics their previous poll had the Liberals way up and their newest poll had them down 7 which seems extreme.

    Until they get their act together i'm not going to be paying them much attention.

  2. Harris Decima just released a poll and it is literally almost identical to the Environics poll - Tories and Liberals at 31% each, NDP 16%


  3. Whoa Greens at 13 in environics and at 12 in the HD ?

    That'll make the green commenter here happy.

  4. Its actually more than a little odd that if you compare the Ipsos poll to Environics and HD - they all have the Liberals and NDP and BQ at about the same place. Its just that Ipsos has the Greens 5 or 6 poinst lower than the others and the Tories about 5 or 6 points higher.

    I think there is some truth to the fact that Green support tends to be grossly exagerrated in polls - but I think its a spurious comparison to say that 5% of the electorate are Tory/Green switchers!

  5. Hi DL in the last poll of the election EKOS was right about LPC, NDP, BQ and then -3 CPC, +3 Greens from the actual result.

    Look at Eric's chart of pollster leanings:


    HD is -2.5 CPC and +2 and a bit Greens.

    This doesn't nessecarily mean people are Green/Tory vote switchers either. It seems more likely to be 2 seperate but related factors:

    1) Greens stay home
    2) CPC has really good GOTV

  6. Yes, but we are comparing three polls - not comparing an election-eve poll with actual results on election day. In any case, while you might be able to argue that polls tend to overestimate Green support (I agree) and underestimate Tory support (this is less consistent) - I don't think anyone suggests that its as much as a 6 point for the Tories underestimate

  7. and now Angus Reid has a new poll:

    Tories 33%, Libs 29%, NDP 20% (!)


  8. I don't think anybody suggested a 6 point swing, that only comes about if you directly compare Ipsos to HD/Environics.

    As I said these things meet in the middle if you adjust for leanings and consider the MOE.

    That is why Eric weights the polls and aggregates them. HD and Environics having similiar results doesn't mean Ipsos is "wrong" or an outlier.

    I would want to see Angus Reid and Leger to get a better picture of where things stand.

    Those are the 2 most reliable pollsters according to Eric's weighting system.

  9. Ask and you shall recieve,

    wow those AR numbers are something aren't they?.

    HD, Environics, and Ipsos has NDP at 14 and they have them at 20.

    That's the difference between a HELL NO or an ABSTAIN from the NDP on the budget.

  10. *Sorry that should say 16 NDP. Which is what EKOS is saying too.

  11. Actually HD, Ipsos and Environics have the NDP at 16 not 14 - and while 16 is not fantastic its also close enough to what the NDP got in the last election that there would be reason to believe that in an election campaign it would quickly be bumped up a couple of points.

  12. This is before the pro-Canada rallies on Yonge Street celebrating the new bash confident Canada. It will be interesting to see what sort of post Olympic bump the CPC get.

    The non-partisan Pro-Canada rallies blew the non-partisan anti-prorogation rallies out of the water.

    The pundits and commentators are already preparing for a post Olympic bump that should not be taken seriously..... However there is a good chance that the new Canada being developed by Harper has a broad appeal to a lot of traditional Liberal supporters who never thought a strong Canada possible.

  13. Hi BC VOR,

    I'll add that Chretien/Martin's mushy, European style internationalism has been replaced with a far more assertive, exceptionalist Canada on the international stage.

    Touting the success of our financial markets, defending our oil sands, our military power in Haiti and Afghanistan, our claim on the arctic, our attempt to gain control of NATO, our attempt to gain a temporary seat on the UN security council, our support of Israel and condemnation of Iran at the UN general assembly, and our record breaking gold medal haul at the Olympics are all examples of this.

  14. Lol @ "strong Canada." Just because we win a few pretty medals at a sporting event doesn't make Canada "strong." Canada has been losing its relevance in the world for a long time now, buts its accelerated under Harper. If 14 gold medals is what makes this country "strong," then I'm starting to believe in all those conspiracy theories about how the lunar missions were just a distraction to keep the US population in line.

    Anyways, anyone notice something amusing? Everyone here who raised hell over the Environics result that had 37% for the Liberals, are now defending this clearly out-of-place poll as perfectly fine and proof of Conservative dominance that is undeniable.

    I'm sure the Conservatives are up, but I seriously doubt they're up this much. This seems like a manufactured result if anything, especially given the huge variations across the board, even in places like BC. I don't trust it, not until I see some others back its findings up. Anyone with a scintilla of intellectual honesty would do the same.

  15. Hi Volkov,

    Just a quick question for you

    Doesn't Darrell Bricker, always over estimate tory strength?

    It's interesting that even he has the Liberals at 40% in Ontario.

    That tells me there is a lot liberal strength in Ontario.

  16. Shadow,

    How is Canada a "strong international presence?" For Christ's sake, we can barely manage to muster enough diplomatic power to even be considered as a candidate for a Security Council seat. During Chretien's reign, we barely had to ask before we were offered it!

    What's more, how many times has Canada been left out of major operations in Afghanistan, or has been chastised for not only our inaction and America coat-tail riding stance on climate change, but for also for our international aid program, for our lack of transparency with our allies and our own domestic legislatures, for our big puffing up on the Arctic only to back down when the US tells us to get in line, our "big moves" in Latin America, the joke that they are, and our lack of doing much of anything with India and China except cursory visits. I can go on, too. I have a long list of foreign policy stupidity that I'd love to share.

    The words "Canada" and "strong international presence" do not go into the same sentence. Not with Harper in charge.

  17. Volkov care to answer for this:

    "Everyone here who raised hell over the Environics result ... are now defending this clearly out-of-place poll as perfectly fine"

    Not sure who everyone is since AJR79 urged caution on the previous thread pointing out that Ipsos leans CPC.

    And on this thread I also pointed out the CPC lean and mentioned the MOE.

    You're better then inventing strawmen to fight Volkov.

  18. 49 Steps,

    Ipsos Reid has never been my favourite pollster for that reason. They're oodles away from their British counterpart, Ipsos Mori, which always seems to get results that not only seem credible, but the most reliable too. IR just goes off on weird tangents and they never seem to be in the consensus. I don't know if its just the "Reid" part of the equation, or what.

    But, yeah, 40% in Ontario is good, though at 37%, the Conservatives are doing good too. Who's hurting is the NDP, because they're the ones everyone is essentially stealing votes from.

    Or think of it this way; take the Conservative result from 2008, and drop it two points. Then take the NDP result from 2008, and drop it three points. Then take the Liberal result from 2008, and ramp it up 7 points. What do you get, especially in northern Ontario? Strong Conservative results, similar to 2008; strong Liberal results, similar to 2006, where they won all but two Northern Ontario ridings; and all thats left is a shrivelled NDP, because the majority of those Liberal votes are, on paper, coming from the NDP, since the Conservatives are strong still.

  19. You're right, my apologies, Shadow, though that's not a strawman. A strawman would be me attacking something unrelated; I didn't attack anything unrelated, I just made a mistake. Big difference.

  20. Volkov a "strong international presence" is obviously a subjective matter that revolves around whether you're seeking influence in Washington or in Brussels.

    If climate change, foriegn aid, and some tut tutting from the Economist over prorogation are your key issues then your interpretation is correct.

    On the other hand if defence of Israel, opening up free trade agreements in Latin America (US still hasn't got their Colombia deal), and exerting Canadian economic and military power around the world are your idea of a strong international presence then we indeed are.

    As for the Afghanistan critique it seems way, way off base.

    Canada is one of only a handful that will do front line combat, its been involved in almost every major combat operation.

    Not to mention we're the only country that the US will let command its troops.

  21. Volkov,

    Apparently the polls are coming fast and furious today.

    I was just over at Scott's Diatribes and there are 2 more out.

    Lets see

  22. Volkov,

    I don't know if you've noticed, but most of the "conbots" here are somewhat savvy when it comes to pollster leanings.

    The link Shadow provided is a pretty good rule of thumb, in my experience.

    The trend in this Ipsos is positive as compared to the last one. That is what matters.

    Eric strongly implied in one of his posts that the Environics poll you mentioned, may have been a push poll.

    I believe that some examples of the questions in the poll were brought up, but no one kicked up to much fuss about it being included, since we knew that Environics doesn't carry much weight.

    Angus Reid is my gold standard at the moment.

    I think their latest poll is probably closest.

  23. I love how consistent the Liberal results are. Regardless of pollster, or randomness of other results, the last eight polls read:

    30, 30, 29, 29, 30.3, 30, 29, 31

    Those are remarkably stable numbers.

  24. Angus Reid did nail the last election result the closest, but remember that they were also the only pollster who did any polling on the last day (it was Thanksgiving). Prior to that weekend the pollster with the closest result was Nanos.

    Both excellent pollsters, I think (and the two who traditionally show the lowest Green support).

  25. Shadow,

    We don't even have that much power in Washington, despite Harper's insistence on it. I'll admit that relations are smoother, especially with Gary Doer, but our influence is still tiny. Otherwise we would already have that Security Council seat. Otherwise we would have had a Buy American exemption 12 months ago. Otherwise we would have been able to work on keeping our borders open. Otherwise we would have had government members stop Republicans spurning our healthcare system as some sort of Communist Russia look-alike. Otherwise we would have had candidate Obama and Clinton not come out and attack our free trade agreements, and not have forced an apology with a leak of info.

    Again - I can go on, and on, and on. And just to note, to have a "strong international presence," you need to do stuff outside of just Washington DC.

    As for Afghanistan; being trusted does not follow being involved. The Americans are discussing right now in DC how they can keep Canadians from taking over any reconstruction duties, instead opting for American firms and military. We've also been left out of the last, either two or three, can't remember the number, major operations in Afghanistan.

    Now, that's actually not a bad thing for Afghanis, because the Americans are taking charge and actually doing stuff, because not only do they have more manpower than us Canadians, they have better technology and more money. But for Canada, it's bad, because it means even before we start entering the winding down phase for our troops to get out of there, we're losing influence already. And what objections are raised in Ottawa? Hm? None. Zero. Nada.

    That's not what I call a "strong international presence."

  26. Ira,

    Those are stable. I didn't notice that.


    I don't know about AR. I know they have a good reputation here, yet I look at a lot of British polling, and their results are always a little wonky. The Labour result is always under par, or the Conservative vote is way too high, and I won't even begin with the Lib Dem vote... it's complicating my opinion of AR.

    49 Steps,

    Scott's got new polls!? Away I go!

  27. Wow... Layton is above Harper in AR's leadership scores. It's Layton 39, Harper 29, and Iggy 19.

    I'm starting to wonder if his cancer really has had that much of an affect.

  28. Volkov,

    If the Liberals want to adopt a "Canada is so weak and horrible under Harper", I suspect they will be in big trouble.

    Our "international presence" is at an all time high, at least within my living memory.

  29. Volkov,

    Of course the cancer has had an effect.

    People (like me) who never had a reason to root for Jack, now have a good one.

    It's human nature, and not un-PC to say it.

    (Not that I really care about being PC)

  30. Volkov you'll get no arguement from me that protectionist democrats and Obama aren't all that friendly to Canada.

    In the new foriegn policy traditional allies have suffered, Israel has been neglected to appease the Muslim world, the Dalai Lama was refused a meeting to appease China, Honduras was sanctioned to appease Chavez and Poland/Czech Republic were stiffed to appease Russia.

    But at least we get lipservice from Clinton.

    And compared to the insults that the British have suffered we're doing pretty good by that standard.

    In his first days Obama returned a bust of Churchill that had special symbolic meaning, gave the Queen an IPOD with pictures of himself loaded in it, gave Brown some dvds he already has, and now they are refusing to support the British claim on the Falkland islands !

    Relatively speaking we're doing pretty well with the new admin.

  31. Volkov,

    I have to admit that Jack Layton has handled his health issues with a great deal of class and dignity.

    I think a lot of people are responding to that.

  32. As for Afghanistan we've already proved ourselves and had tremendous influence.

    But now we're getting out. So its natural that our influence will fall off sharply.

    Some CPC supporters are making the fair point that he has thrown Afghanistan under the bus.

    We have but Obama is getting out too so there's not much we can do. And is it really worth losing gov't and blowing the budget over ??

  33. AJR79,

    It isn't a "Liberal" position - it's mine. I have no illusions about Canada's diminishing role in the world, even under Chretien and Martin. I just look at the facts, and the facts are saying that Canada has little to no role in the world, and nothing Harper has done has changed that stance.

    And Shadow - the only reason we're "doing good" is because we have nothing to run under the bus! And you are really stepping into something you know nothing of, Shadow.

    The US has not only failed in regards to standing against Netanyahu and Lieberman in Israel on issues like the settlements, but they've failed to change anything in regards to the relationship with other Muslim nations, "traditional relationships" that need some serious changing, like the entire debacle with Saudi Arabia. It's laughable that you accuse the US of throwing Israel under the bus, when no such thing has happened.

    Furthermore, the US has offered to mediate the British-Argentina dispute, but they've remained neutral on the issue otherwise. The US knows better than to meddle; you apparently do not. Not only that, but the US and Canada have been rejected out of a new coalition of American countries that decided to throw their support behind Argentina. That's not just for giggles.

    And just to put the icing on the cake, it isn't just the Democrats we need be wary of, Shadow. The GOP aren't any more friendlier to us, not in their current form. Even when Bush and Harper were in power at the same time, relations were still fairly poor. The GOP doesn't care about Canada any more than you accuse the Democrats. If they did, we wouldn't have bloody Minutemen patrolling our borders and Senate leaders invoking "Canada's socialist system" against the Democrat's public option legislation!

  34. Hey cool your jets a bit Volkov, this seems unnessecarily personal:

    "And you are really stepping into something you know nothing of, Shadow."

    I actually keep an eye on international affairs and I am fully aware of the points you're bringing up.

    On settlements they have changed from the Bush position to remove the exemption for natural growth. Telling West Bank Israelis not to have kids is a pretty good example of throwing them under the bus if you ask me.

    There is no British-Argentinian dispute to mediate. Ronald Reagan was unequivocal in his support of Britain's territorial claims. This isn't meddling its a full out abandonment of the transatlantic "special relationship".

    How many British soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan ?? And this is their thanks ?

    Our exclusion from the new Americas group isn't really all that troubling. It actually strengthens the hand of the anti-Chavez forces beause they're not percieved as being America's lapdog in meetings.

    "The GOP aren't any more friendlier to us"

    That's simply not true. On national security matters, the border, and the Arctic/Beaufort sea dispute the democrats and republican are identical.

    But on trade issues it was John McCain and the GOP who fought against Buy American.

  35. "The non-partisan Pro-Canada rallies blew the non-partisan anti-prorogation rallies out of the water."

    This is a joke, right?? I mean seriously what does one have to do with the other. People who went to anti-prorogation rallies were there to take sides on a political issue. People who went out to celebrate Canada winning a hockey game - were celebrating a sports event and i'm sure that lots people honking their horns up and down Yonge St. on Sunday ALSO despise Harper.

    A better comparison would be of how many people showed up sat Pro-prorogation rallies in January - but the Tories didn't even bother to try to organize any of those - probably because they knew they were so out of step with their base that they would never be able to get them to turn out.

  36. Actually DL a better comparison would be NDP MP Libby Davies and her Olympic welcoming committee.

    The violent olympic protests were an utter failure, broke up after the first day after Canadians expressed universal disgust at them.

    And then on the last day hockey fans streamed through the streets of Vancouver, encountered some Olympic protesters, heckled them and chanted "get a job".

  37. @DL There are happy pro-Canada rallies.... the pictures I saw Yonge street was closed (more than honking car horns) and bitter anti-prorogation rallies.

    I said that both were non-partisan. The anti-prorogation movement made a big point that they were non-partisan.

    You however decided to make them partisan political rallies and have the Tories lack of organizing counter rallies as a main point in your comparison.

    On one hand a bitter negative Canada / democracy / war crimes rally that was fully organized and orchestrated.

    On the other hand a spontaneous, peacefully show of new-found National pride and identity that was triggered by a sporting event but has been building across this great nation since the start of the torch run. (that the Liberals formally complained about)

    I will leave it to you to decide which rally/events are associated with which political parties and which concepts a vast majority of Canadians want to be part of.

    Martin and Chretien were right... You won't be able to recognize Canada once Harper is done with it. They Left out how much better it will be.

  38. Ira,

    It is my understanding Angus was the most accurate in prediction the Oct 14, 2008 outcome.

    Do you have a link of a Pollster doing better?

  39. Shadow: This doesn't nessecarily mean people are Green/Tory vote switchers either. It seems more likely to be 2 seperate but related factors:

    1) Greens stay home
    2) CPC has really good GOTV

    Historically correct and a good analysis; Green voters did not shift to the Tories en masse in 2008. The CPC GOTV machinery is unlikely to weaken. I do, however see the Green GOTV maturing greatly.

    I'll add another point:
    3) Late Green mixed messages on strategic voting in 2008.

    That's a one-time factor which will most definitely not be repeated. Combine items 1) and 3) and the Green drop will be considerably less in the next election. Probably not zero for demographic reasons; Greens are young and the young don't vote, while Tories are old and the old vote enthusiastically. But definitely less.

    It's not clear how much 2008 pollster accuracy is due to skill and how much is due to luck. It would be interesting to compare their predicitions against results for the last three or four elections. (Éric, have you crunched those numbers?) I'm guessing that (as the fund sellers say), past performance is no guarantee of future results.

  40. Shadow: Whoa Greens at 13 in environics and at 12 in the HD ?

    That'll make the green commenter here happy.

    Green commenter--now who would that be?

    Anyway, it doesn't make me any happier than Ipsos-Reid's Green value of 7% makes me unhappy. My reaction to IR was a small shrug. They're definitely low. Environics looks a bit high. Harris Decima might be a point or so high. Or not.

    Harping on a well-worn theme, the trends are way more important than the single polls.

  41. CanadianSense - that's what I said. Angus Reid had the best prediction for the 2008 election, but they were also the only pollster who polled on the final day (Thanksgiving).

  42. More from Ipsos on which issues are most important to Canadians.


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