Thursday, November 11, 2010

Conservatives and Liberal below 30% in new EKOS poll

The latest poll from EKOS is a little more interesting than it usually has been, showing the Conservatives losing to the benefit of the New Democrats. But the poll has some odd regionals, as all polls seem to nowadays.The Conservatives have dropped 4.5 points since EKOS's last poll two weeks ago, and have dropped below 30% again. The Liberals haven't really taken advantage, as they are up only 0.8 points to 28.6%.

The New Democrats, however, are up 4.2 points to 19.3%, thanks to big, and perhaps improbable, gains in the Prairies, Atlantic Canada, and Ontario.

The Bloc Québécois is steady at 9.3% while the Greens are at 10.7% (down 0.9 points).

Interestingly, the Conservatives lead among men with 34% to the Liberals' 29%. But Michael Ignatieff's party has the advantage among women, with 28% to the Conservatives' 25%.

The number of undecideds in this automated telephone poll (calling both landlines and cell phones) was 13%.

The Liberals now lead in Ontario with 34.8%, down one point from two weeks ago. The Conservatives have dropped eight to 32.9%, while the NDP is up six to 19.6%. None of these numbers are particularly suspect, though the variations are a little too large. Meanwhile, the Greens are up one to 10.3%. The Liberals lead in Toronto with 35.9% and in Ottawa with 42.3%, followed by the Conservatives with 34% and 31.2%, respectively.

The Bloc leads in Quebec with 37.2% and is holding steady. The Liberals are up one to 23%, while the Conservatives are up four to 15.7%. The NDP is down one to 11%. The Bloc leads comfortably in Montreal with 41.6% to 22.6% for the Liberals.

In British Columbia, the Liberals have soared ahead and lead with 30.3%, up 11 points from two weeks ago. While that looks odd, we have seen a few other polls with the Liberals leading or performing very well. So, at the very least, we can say that there is some real potential for Liberal growth on the West Coast.

The Conservatives have dropped three points in BC to 28.2%, and are followed by the NDP at 20.6% (down six) and the Greens at 16.5% (down three). The Conservatives lead in Vancouver with 33.7% to the Liberals' 33%.

After single-handedly saving Atlantic Canada from a flood, Jack Layton now leads there with 44.5%, up 29 points. The Liberals are down six to 30.6% while the Conservatives, who caused the flood in the first place, are down 17 points to 17%.

Or, rather, probably not. This East Coast result is yet another example of why people need to look at polls with a critical eye. It's also a demonstration of why rolling averages and projection models like the one here at are a better indication of what is actually going on. I get annoyed sometimes when individual polls are treated like gospel, when they are really just another dart on the board. For example, in Atlantic Canada and with the latest polls incorporated, the Liberals are projected to take 38.4% of the vote, compared to 31.2% for the Conservatives and 22.2% for the NDP. Which seems more likely?

In Alberta, the Conservatives lead with 55.7% to the Liberals' 21% (and in Calgary with 61.6% to 26.1%), while in the Prairies the Tories are ahead with 39.4%. The NDP has jumped 17 points here and is now second with 29.3%, while the Liberals are down seven points to 19.1%.

With this poll, the Conservatives would win 38 seats in Ontario (down 17 from the last EKOS projection), 27 in Alberta, 20 in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 18 in British Columbia (+1), six in Quebec (+3), and five in Atlantic Canada (-4) for a total of 115. That is a drop of 17 seats from the projection based on the last EKOS poll.

The Liberals would win 49 seats in Ontario (+8), 20 in Atlantic Canada, 16 in Quebec (-1), 12 in British Columbia (+5), three in the Prairies (-3), and one in Alberta for a total of 103. That is a gain of nine seats from the last projection.

The Bloc would win 52 seats in Quebec, a drop of two from last time.

The NDP smack up hard against the ceiling in Atlantic Canada, but would win 19 seats in Ontario (+9), seven in Atlantic Canada (+4), six in British Columbia (-5), five in the Prairies (+3), and one in Quebec for a total of 38. That is a gain of 11 seats.

The Greens lose the seat they were projected to win in British Columbia two weeks ago.

Also in this poll was a question about the F-35 purchase. Opinion is split, but 54% oppose the purchase of these new aircraft. Opposition is highest among Bloc Québécois (77%) and Liberal (64%) supporters, while support is highest among Conservative (70%) and New Democratic (47%) supporters.

But back to the voting intention numbers. Are the Conservatives and Liberals really both below 30%? I highly doubt it. Has the NDP surged forward in the Prairies, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada? Not likely. But what this poll does tell us is what every other poll has told us recently - Ontario and British Columbia are tight races, and a significant Tory advantage is far from in the cards.