Wednesday, April 7, 2010

March Averages

Time to look at March's polling. Nine national polls were taken during this month (three fewer than last month), totaling about 18,550 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 33.3% (+0.5)
Liberals - 29.2% (-1.6)
New Democrats - 16.7% (+0.5)
Greens - 9.8% (unchanged)
Bloc Québécois - 9.1% (+0.2)

The Conservatives have another month of gain, totaling a gain of 0.9 points since January. The Liberals show a large drop after making steady gains, and are back below 30%. The NDP makes a good gain, while the Greens remain steady and the Bloc makes a tiny national gain.

The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 126 (+5)
Liberals - 102 (-7)
Bloc Québécois - 50 (+1)
New Democrats - 30 (+1)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

The Conservatives make a seat rebound, but are still in weak-minority territory. The Liberals take a step backwards, while the Bloc and NDP take small steps forward.The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (9 polls - about 2,260 people)

Conservatives - 34.9% (+0.6)
New Democrats - 24.5% (unchanged)
Liberals - 24.4% (-1.9)
Greens - 13.8% (+1.1)

The Conservatives are up in the province, but still well below where they want to be. The Liberals make a big two-point drop, and are now in third place in the province behind the NDP, who are steady. The Greens make a good gain.

ALBERTA (8 polls - about 1,690 people)

Conservatives - 57.2% (+2.8)
Liberals - 18.3% (-2.9)
Greens - 11.4% (+0.8)
New Democrats - 9.8% (-0.8)

The Conservatives make a big gain in their stronghold, while the Liberals drop. However, this drop is about as much as their gain in February, so it may just be a bit of a reset. The NDP have dropped a total of 1.1 points in the last two months, and have relinquished third place to the Greens, who are up 0.8 points.

PRAIRIES (8 polls - about 1,050 people)

Conservatives - 46.2% (-0.8)
Liberals - 21.6% (+0.3)
New Democrats - 20.4% (-1.3)
Greens - 10.2% (+1.3)

The Conservatives drop a little in the Prairies, but are still well in front. An interesting note about Tory performance in the province: there was incredibly little variation. Despite the small sample sizes in the region, every pollster had the party at around 46%. The Liberals are up a little, a gain of 2.5 points in the last two months. The NDP is down again, dropping to third as the party loses 3.2 points in two months.

In all, the Conservatives take 67 seats in the West, one more than in February. The Liberals win 17 (one less) and the NDP win 11 (unchanged).

ONTARIO (9 polls - about 6,020 people)

Liberals - 36.5% (-1.6)
Conservatives - 35.4% (+0.5)
New Democrats - 16.7% (+1.4)
Greens - 9.6% (unchanged)

The Liberals drop, erasing a 0.7-point gain in February. However, they maintain the lead as the Tories gain only 0.5 points. The NDP makes a huge gain, while the Greens lose a point.

The Liberals win 49 seats (down four), the Tories win 44 (up three), and the NDP takes 13 (up one).

QUEBEC (10 polls - about 5,150 people)

Bloc Quebecois - 37.2% (+0.8)
Liberals - 24.5% (-2.0)
Conservatives - 17.1% (+0.7)
New Democrats - 11.7% (+0.7)
Greens - 8.5% (+0.2)

As expected, the Bloc erases the losses suffered in February. The Liberals take a big step backward, while the Tories take a small step forward. The NDP is up a little, but they were down about that much in February.

The Bloc wins 50 seats (up one) while the Liberals win 16 (down two). The Conservatives win 7 seats (up one) and the NDP win 2 (unchanged).

ATLANTIC CANADA (9 polls - about 1,300 people)

Liberals - 35.5% (-2.0)
Conservatives - 29.7% (-1.2)
New Democrats - 24.5% (+1.4)
Greens - 7.9% (+0.4)

The Liberals are down, back to where they were in January. The Tories are also down to where they were at the beginning of 2010. The NDP is making up some of the ground lost in a disastrous February, while the Greens continue to lag well behind.

The Liberals win 20 seats (unchanged), while the Conservatives win 8 (unchanged) and the NDP wins 4 (unchanged).March was good to the Conservatives, who make gains in four of the six regions. Their losses in the Prairies are relatively unimportant, considering their overall strength, and the Atlantic region was never going to be strong for them. Rebounding in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia is very important.

The Liberals, on the other hand, had a very bad month. They dropped in five regions, including losses of two or more points in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Alberta. Their losses in British Columbia and Ontario were also significant. In light of these numbers, their tiny gain in the Prairies is little comfort.

The NDP had a terrific month, gaining in three regions and remaining steady in one. Their gain in Ontario is very important, and showing life in Quebec and Atlantic Canada is good news as well. Something needs to be done in Alberta and the Prairies, however.

The Bloc had a decent month, but are still below their 2008 electoral support level.

The Greens made gains or were stable in all six regions, but are still not in a position to win any seats.

March's winner has to be the Tories, as they made important gains in important regions, and have opened up a decent little lead nationally. The silver medal would go to the NDP, but the Liberals take home the title of March Loser.


  1. Essentially stagnant or stationary.

    Still the seat projection shows the Lib-NDP alliance with more than the Tories so that's always good.

  2. Peter I only hope the LPC and NDP let people know their plans during the election campaign. That's only fair isn't it? BTW see my post about under ON results about the small power projects!

  3. I think one "problem" with doing these monthly averages is that because Ekos puts out weekly polls and has such large sample sizes - inevitably the Ekos polls end up being about 75% of what is being averaged. There may or may not be a problem with that - but gi ven that it seems pretty clear that Ekos systematically overestimates the Green/Other vote - it tends to have an impact.

    I wonder what would happen to the monthly average if each polling company were given equal weight and so Ekos was not the "elephant in the room" as a result of its frequency and sample sizes.

  4. "I only hope the LPC and NDP let people know their plans during the election campaign."

    What plans?? All any of the parties have to say is "we are campaigning to win the election and after the election all options are on the table".

    If we want to start forcing parties to make ironclad commitments before the election to help us make up their minds then here are some other questions I'd like to see each party leader make an IRONCLAD commitment on:

    1. Mr. Ignatieff, I don't want any more Tory government, I will only vote for you if you tell us in advance that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will you prop up a Tory minority government. What do you say?

    2. Mr. Harper, will you make a commitment that you will not accept any support from the BQ and that if you federalist parties outvote you on a throne speech, you will resign? I have a right to know in advance if the Tory party is going to govern with BQ support.

  5. Earl:

    Afraid DL is quite correct. There is no reason to present the public with the possibility of an alliance at election time.

    To all intents and purposes that would be insane !

    Re power. Indeed if you look around there are literally dozens of old water powered grist mills abandoned. But the sluice ways and most of the dams are still there. Why not use them for clean hydro power ?

  6. DL what is with this CPC/BQ cannard ?

    The BQ voting for the Tory agenda is completely welcome on the throne speech or any other vote.

    The Tories forming a coalition or accord with the BQ based around shared policies is not.

    You can't seem to understand that they are two fundementally different things.

  7. Let's face it.

    If a coalition happens it'll follow this pattern:

    Harper: there's going to be a coalition !

    Iggy + Media: nope. no proof. what are you talking about ?

    After election a coalition is formed.

    Dion lied to us.

    Don't see why Iggy won't.

  8. I see no difference. Harper has to come clean and announce that he renounces BQ support and that if the federalist opposition parties get more seats than he does - he will admit that he lost the election and resign. Tory voters deserve to know in advance that their party will got accept support from "separatists".

  9. EKOS always has four or five polls per month, which in a month of little polling (like this one) means they have a large weight. In other months (there were 12 polls in February) they have a smaller weight.

    This month, EKOS had 56% of the polls, with Nanos, Angus-Reid, Ipsos-Reid, and Harris-Decima each having 11%.

    If we gave each pollster equal weight, we would get the following results (nationally, with overall averages in brackets):

    Conservatives - 33.9% (33.3%)
    Liberals - 29.8% (29.2%)
    New Democrats - 17.5% (16.7%)
    Bloc Quebecois - 9.0% (9.1%)
    Greens - 8.9% (9.8%)

    So, some differences, but not really ground-breaking. And while EKOS polled a total of 12,607 people in March, I'd be giving them equal weight with Nanos (1,000 people), Angus Reid (1,004), Ipsos-Reid (1,001) and Harris-Decima (2,936).

    There is something to be said for either method, but in terms of comparing how each party is doing month-to-month, I think it is a secondary concern.

  10. OK, I was just curious. It seems like Ekos compared to the other companies always low-balls the NDP and high-balls Green/Other.

  11. Shadow, Harper has lied to us countless times. How do we KNOW that he won't form a coalition with the BQ??? He was all set to form one in 2004 as we all know. Would you put anything past him now?

    What I suspect will happen is Iggy will reiterate that he won't form a coalition with anyone...and after the election, he will form a minority government which the NDP will support in exchange for policy concessions. It won't be a coalition, it will be a return to the Martin/Layton accord of 2005 or the Trudeau/Lewis or Peterson/Rae deals of the past.

  12. Hey DL while I commend the responsible action Dexter took on the NS deficit I do note that he broke his promise on tax increases. Now that we have Campbell in BC, a putative Liberal, McGuinty in ON, a real Liberal and Dexter in NS all breaking campaign promises on taxes maybe we can stop trying to attack the Harper Conservatives for the EI hike which is mandated by law. Every party breaks promises out of necessity. Not to do so would reflect a closed mind and not a flexible one.

  13. I see the HD full results are out now

  14. DL and Peter I and most Conservatives will be quite happy if the NDP are honest and say they campaigning to win and after the election all options are on the table. No problem with that wording. Fact is we all know that is the case now. As to the CPC accepting vote by vote support from the BQ I am unconcerned. If the CPC were to enter into any formal agreement with the BQ I would no longer support the CPC as long as Harper was leader.

  15. Peter OT. Repost:

    Earl said...
    Peter totally agree with your point about small hydro electric plants. Indeed many of them like the one at Lake Eugenia were deliberately allowed to rot away. Bad idea and one that continues to be ignored.

    There are big possibilities as well in our North just as Quebec has built major power plants in the James Bay region.

    07 April, 2010 08:23

    It's great that we can agree on some things. You're a lot easier to communicate with. Don't know if it is you or me but I like that change.

  16. New Harris-Decima out to-day. No great shocks except for BIG jump for the NDP in BC

  17. DL if you don't see the difference between these two scenarios you are either dense or willfully ignorant:

    1) Harper and team put forward an agenda. BQ votes for it.

    2) Harper and BQ work out a coalition or accord based around shared policy goals. Harper + BQ puts it forward. BQ votes for it.

    Everyone I know is comfortable with option 1, for any leader be they CPC or LPC.

    Option 2 is a completely different thing altogether which a great many people are not comfortable with.

  18. NDP is the party of the HST !

    Not only did Dexter not repeal it he actually increased it.

    Any Dipper who is campaigning anywhere that tells you they are against the HST cannot be trusted.

    (Hey DL, he kind of stepped all over your messaging didn't he ?

    I've been getting letters from Jack Layton about once a month attacking the Liberal-Conservative HST)

  19. Of course, if Libs+NDP promise a coalition and either the Libs or the NDP end up with a majority after the election, there's not actually going to be a coalition.

    Promising a coalition is stupid. Either merge entirely or form a coalition after the election based on the will of the voters like in 2008. To promise one ahead of time is to assume an election outcome before it actually happens.

    Disclaimer: Unless the Libs come up with an amazing transit or energy plan, I will likely be voting Green.

  20. If the BQ props up Harper - it will be obvious that secret talks were held to gain their support.

    I think that what is more likely is that on election night, the Liberals and NDP announce that they will negotiate an accord and will not support a Tory throne speech. Then the ball will be in Duceppe's court. If Harper wants to stay in power he will have to hold a summit with Duceppe and agree to laundry list of demands. Otherwise, the BQ will also vote no to the Throne speech...then when the Liberals armed with an accord with the NDP get invited to try their hand at forming a government - either the BQ gives them the benefit of the doubt and supports it - or they simply abstain and then the combined NDP and Liberal MPs outvote the Tories and Iggy becomes PM....You heard it here. That is what will happen sometime in the next year.

  21. That sounds plausible, but only if I thought Ignatieff would be willing to enter into this type of agreement. I think he wouldn't be.

  22. Why would anyone want to do away with the Conservative management of the economy ??

    Turns out their predictions were absolutely right. We are leading all G7 countries out of the recession by a mile:

    I have a feeling we're not going to see an election this year. Or the next.

    Not until the Tories bring down a balanced budget in spring 2012.

  23. Eric, Ignatieff will have NO CHOICE. He will have to either form a minority government the way I described or else he will be forced to step down as Liberal leader. There is no other alternative for him. He has to either find a way to return his party to power or else he is politically dead. What choice does he have???

  24. The only way I can see a Liberal-NDP coalition/accord/whatever form it wants to take, is if the Liberals and the NDP combined have more seats than the Conservatives. Otherwise, the coalition would need to directly rely on the Bloc to out-vote the Conservatives. That'd just bad PR right there.

  25. Shadow,

    "Balanced budget by 2012."

    LOL. Give me a break. The only way they'll manage that is with cuts deeper than Thatcherite Britain. You're going to tell me they'll reinstitute trick-down theory next, right?

  26. I agree Volkov, and that is why I think that the key number on election night will be whether Liberal+NDP is > than CPC. Right now I think it probably will be.

  27. Volkov the budget called for growth around 2.3%. OECD is predicting 6.2 Q1 and 4.5 Q2.

    That may cool in Q3-4 because of rising interest rates. Although it may not because that's when the bulk of the stimulus construction will take place.

    Fiscal year 2010 ends soon and we're on track for a lower than expected deficit, in fact we almost had a balanced return a few months back (due to corporate returns but still psychologically significant).

    If we really are in a robust V shaped recovery and don't double dip then its a perfectly reasonable expectation to have a fiscal year 2012-2013 balanced budget w/o cuts of any kind, just restraining the rate of growth.

    You need to stop listening to Kevin Page ! He's been completely discredited by recent events.

  28. I'm still holding out on that Liberal majority. xD

    But, no, if the two party leaders say something to that affect before the actual election day, I think that would make it legitimate in the eyes of the voters. Give voters the chance to vote on such an idea, don't spring it on them at the last minute.

    However, there's a certain lure about waiting until the results. If you tell voters before hand, you give an easy line to the Conservatives to attack on, even while you're giving voters the chance to legitimize such an ideal. I suppose you have to strike a balance between principle and practicality.

  29. Shadow,

    Growth does not equal immediate income! Don't you understand that?

    While the economy may grow, the coffers do not see an immediate effect from it until after everything is all said and done. Spending priorities must be sorted out. This crazy system of tax credits and deductions must be sorted out. Only after everything else is done can deficit reduction be tackled directly. And it'll take a helluva lot more than 7% growth in a year to reduce the deficit we have right now!

  30. Volkov i'm actually a little surprised you're falling for an old Liberal trick.

    Remember how their budgets would always have a "surprise!!" surplus at the end of the year ?

    The Tories were slightly more accurate but even they had a modest surprise at the end of every year as well (until the crash).

    Did you notice oil is at $86.5 ? I heard an American analyst say $4 a gallon gas (don't ask me to translate) and pre-crash highs of $150 a barrel.

    That would be an insane development that would reap a cash bonanza.

    Of course there is still considerable downside risk to everything out there. But as of right now we're on track for a balanced budget much, much sooner then expected.

  31. Shadow,

    Not 2012 soon, thats for sure. Not unless they cut drastically. I don't get where people have this idea that, oh, look, the economy is growing again, it means we'll have a surplus by the end of this year! It doesn't work that way, people.

    Even Martin's budget was done during an economic rebound with modest growth, but with lots of cuts and lots of downloading. That's how we got our balanced budget in the first place. You can't just rely on growth.

    Difference is, though, the services were eventually put back; I doubt the Conservatives will do that.

  32. Good, I want the economy to boom and the budget to balance etc... that way the economy becomes a non-issue and we can fight the next election on "which leader is the most personally unpleasant and abrasive?"

  33. Volkov I need to clarify some of your statements:

    "Growth does not equal immediate income! Don't you understand that?"

    Growth is a derivative so you mean to say an immediate INCREASE in income.

    And of course it does since taxes are fully integrated into the economic system.

    Growth that happens in Q1 and Q2 will show up in the back half of this fiscal year (2009-2010).

    There's usually a three month lag for the monthly estimates and then everything is revised and finalized later on.

    "And it'll take a helluva lot more than 7% growth in a year to reduce the deficit we have right now!"

    I never said we'd have a balanced budget this year, stimulus is still happening.

    Next year's budget, fiscal year 2011-2012, is stimulus free. If 7% growth took place in THAT year we'd easily have a balanced budget and actually a surplus.

  34. Volkov as is the projection is around 2.3% next year that slowly steps up and returns to a more healthy increase in growth in about 5 years times when the budget balances.

    My point is that if we are in a V recover and not a U recovery the budget WILL balance itself.

    It DOES work like that people !

  35. Shadow,

    "Next year's budget, fiscal year 2011-2012, is stimulus free. If 7% growth took place in THAT year we'd easily have a balanced budget and actually a surplus."

    Oh give me a break. I said it'll take more than a 7% increase in a year to get us to a balanced budget, and I stick by that. No growth this year will put us anywhere close to that target either.

    And Shadow, you completely went around what I said. If you actually read what I put there, I said there is no immediate benefit until after you sift through everything else. After that's done, how much do you think will be there for deficit reduction, given that there are zero cuts, zero downloads, and zero increases? Hm?

    You're not getting a 2012 balanced budget without cuts, Shadow. You simply can't do it. The Canadian economy isn't Superman. We work within the bounds of reality, at least we still do, at least until Flaherty's next budget.

    And when Margaret Harper does start slashing our services, be prepared for a fight.

  36. Volkov you don't seem to be aware of what normal GDP growth is.

    Go here:

    Select Canada, select "GDP, Annual Rate of Growth - Percentage". Select ALL years.

    GDP growth in '04 was 3.1%, in '05 was 2.9%, and in '06 was 3.1%. Those were pre-crash years of normal growth with modest surpluses.

    Since 1971 we have had 7% GDP growth ONCE. Its unheard of. Its astronomically high.

    For you to suggest it wouldn't balance the budget it laughable.

    Now i'm not sure why you chose that number because nobody is suggesting it...

    What we are seeing is projected Q1 and Q2 growth this year that IS going to balance the budget for a couple of monthly returns.

    Nobody knows if it will extend into the future. If we are in a V and not U expect a balanced budget to be introduced in spring 2012 for fiscal year 2012-2013.

    "And Shadow, you completely went around what I said. ... how much do you think will be there for deficit reduction"

    You are aware that the gov't doesn't spend money on deficit reduction right ? That's a contradiction. Government spending IS THE DEFICIT.

    Provided you're not adding new spending above the rate of inflation its not budgeting that balances the budget its tax returns from the private sector.

    "You're not getting a 2012 balanced budget without cuts, Shadow. You simply can't do it. The Canadian economy isn't Superman."

    It depends completely on the rate of growth in GDP and is 100% within the realm of possibility depending on the strength of the economy going forward.

    "And when Margaret Harper does start slashing our services, be prepared for a fight."

    Transfers to individuals and provinces are off limits. Not sure what you're talking about.

  37. Earl
    As long as we stay away from "rhetoric" we're probably fine.

    I've been pushing this idea of small plants for years. Not getting much success sadly. it's also the idea of distributed production as well. With the modern remote control around now the grid can still be run from a central point but if one small plant goes down it is very easy to shift the grid around to compensate. If one of these big plants so beloved of the Big Power people goes down it's a hell of a job to keep the grid running.


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