Thursday, September 2, 2010

New EKOS poll: 0.3-pt CPC Lead (down 4.3)

Yep, a 0.3 point gap. In other words, TIED! Finally, something interesting in this week's EKOS poll.So we have both major parties under 30%, with the Conservatives at 29.4% and the Liberals at 29.1%. Compared to two weeks ago, that is a drop of 3.1 points for the Conservatives and a gain of 1.2 points for the Liberals. Nothing to sneeze at in EKOS polling. Compared to last week (as EKOS polled over the last two weeks), this represents a drop of 1.7 points for the Conservatives and a gain of 1.5 points for the Liberals. It seems that most of the movement has taken place in the last week.

The New Democrats are also down, dropping 1.7 points from two weeks ago. They now stand at 15.7%, which is one point lower than they were one week ago.

The Greens make a gain of 2.7 points and are at 13.0%. The Bloc Québécois is at 10.9%.

The Conservatives lead among males, with 35.3% to the Liberals' 30.8%. However, the Liberals lead among females, with 27.4% to the Conservatives' 23.6%.

One of the reasons for this drop off in support for the Tories could be the census issue. EKOS asked their respondents about it, and only 26% agreed that the mandatory long form was "unnecessary" and a "violation of privacy". Fully 56% said that it would lead to vital information being lost. Key is that among Conservative supporters only 33% thought that it was an unnecessary violation of privacy. Appealing to their base, it seems, wasn't a good idea.

In Ontario, the Liberals have stormed ahead with a gain of three points over the last two weeks and lead with 39.1%. The Conservatives have gained one and are at 32.5%. That is, however, about three points lower than the 35.3% the Tories had a week ago. The NDP is at 15.5%, down two. The Liberals lead in Toronto with 45.4%, compared to 27.2% for the Conservatives. They also lead in Ottawa with 49.9% to the Tories' 32.3%.

The Bloc is well ahead in Quebec, jumping eight points to 44.3%. To show that isn't a fluke, the Bloc was at 42.9% in the first week of polling. The Liberals have fallen back, dropping five points to 20.1%. The Greens are next with 12.4%. The Conservatives are down five to 11.9% and the NDP is down one to 8.9%. This means virtually no opposition to the Bloc, who lead in Montreal with 45.1% to the Liberals' 21.9%.

This last week of polling saw a huge shift in British Columbia, with the NDP picking up seven points and leading with 31.1%. The Conservatives dropped 15 to 25.6% (11 of those points in the last week) while the Liberals are steady at 22.2%. The Greens are up six to 18.1%. The Conservatives lead in Vancouver with 34.8%, with the NDP close behind at 34.0%.

The Liberals jump eight points in Atlantic Canada with 44.3%, followed by the Greens at 19.4% (up 13). This is a bit wonky. The Conservatives are down 12 to 18.7% while the NDP is down 11 to 15.0%. Far more likely is the result from the first week of polling: 34.2% for the Liberals, 27.2% for the Tories, and 21.7% for the NDP.

The Conservatives lead in Alberta with 58.0%, followed by the Liberals at 15.5%.

The Conservatives also lead in the Prairies, where they have picked up 10 points. They're at 51.2%. The Liberals are up nine to 23.1% and the NDP is down 18 to 16.1%.

More than a few big changes, but we are comparing polls with two weeks passing between them, and August has been relatively tumultuous.

The Liberals (yes, they're first) win 59 seats in Ontario, 25 in Atlantic Canada, 15 in Quebec, and 14 in the West and North for a total of 113. Enough to form a minority, though they could've done better in the West and in Quebec.

The Conservatives win 61 seats in the West, 34 in Ontario, four in Atlantic Canada, and three in Quebec for a total of 102.

The Bloc wins 57 seats in Quebec against virtually no opposition.

The NDP wins 19 seats in the West, 13 in Ontario, and two in Atlantic Canada for a total of 34.

The Greens win one seat in British Columbia and one in Atlantic Canada for a total of two.

It's been awhile since one of these polls has put the Liberals on top. It would be a tiny minority, requiring support from either the Bloc or the Conservatives to get legislation passed. But, a minority nevertheless.

There are a few things in this poll that tell me there are a few dangerous things in it for the Conservatives that shouldn't be chalked up to polling error. First, this is not the only poll to show little or no gap between the two parties. Second, the Liberals have a significant lead among women, which is not new. Third, the census result is not very good, especially when only 1/3 of Conservatives support it.

For the Conservatives, volatility in British Columbia, faltering in Ontario, mid-to-low teens in Quebec, and strong Liberal performances in Atlantic Canada are not unique to this poll.

Going into the fall session, the Conservatives are on the defensive. They need to avoid pushing the opposition into an election for the time-being. While they hold the advantage, the momentum is not on their side. Their one ace-in-the-hole is that the Liberals scuppered this kind of lead last year at exactly this time. It will be up to Michael Ignatieff not to do it again.