Thursday, November 25, 2010

Conservatives gain in new EKOS poll

The Conservatives have made a gain of almost four points since EKOS's last publicly released poll two weeks ago, putting the gap between themselves and the Liberals back to a little over six points.Compared to two weeks ago, the Conservatives have gained 3.9 points and now lead with 33.3% of the vote. Polling over the last two weeks have shown some progression for the Tories, as they were at 32.4% support last week.

The Liberals are down 1.5 points from two weeks ago, and are now at 27.1%. They were holding relatively steady at 28.7% last week.

The New Democrats have sunk from their high in EKOS's last poll, and are down 2.7 points to 16.6%. About four-fifths of this loss, however, is due to the results in Atlantic Canada resetting themselves to something more plausible than the 46% the party had in the region two weeks ago.

The Greens are at 9.5%, down 1.2 points, while the Bloc Québécois is also at 9.5%, down 0.2 points.

The proportion of undecideds in this automated telephone poll was 14%, up one from two weeks ago.

The Liberals and Conservatives are tied in Ontario with 35.5% apiece, representing a gain of one point for the Liberals (from two weeks ago, which will be the comparison point for the remainder of this post) and a gain of three points for the Conservatives. The NDP is down four points to 15.6%, while the Greens are down one to 9.4%. Note the high "Other" result here: 4%.

On that note, let me take this opportunity to say that the projection model has been tweaked to do away with these high and virtually impossible "Other" results. This will be shown in the next update.

The Liberals still lead in Toronto with 39.6% to the Conservatives' 36.1%, but the narrow margin does not bode well for Tony Genco and the Liberals in the Vaughan by-election. The Tories have taken the lead in Ottawa after trailing for several months, with 45.3% to the Liberals' 28.2%.

The Bloc is steady in Quebec with 37.4%, followed by the Liberals at 23.5% (up one). The Conservatives are down two to 14.1% while the NDP is up two to 12.8%. The Bloc narrowly leads in Montreal with 32.9% to 30% for the Liberals.

Big movement in British Columbia, as the Conservatives jump eight points to 35.7%. The NDP has also made a large gain, up nine points to 29.2%. The Liberals have dropped 15 to 15.4%, while the Greens are down three to 14.4%. One wonders whether the Campbell resignation has played a role in these wide variations. The Tories lead in Vancouver with 36.5%, followed by the Liberals at 20.7%.

As noted, things have swung the other way in Atlantic Canada. But it appears the swing might have been too violent, as the Conservatives have gained 22 points and now lead with 38.9%, followed by the Liberals at 35.2% (up four). The NDP is down 32 (!) points to 12.5%. Clearly, these changes are due to the small sample size, but having the Liberals and Conservatives in the 30s and the NDP in the teens is more likely than the odd result two weeks ago.

In Alberta, the Conservatives have gained 10 points and lead with 66.4%, followed by the Liberals at 13.5% (down seven) and the NDP at 10.7% (steady). While the Conservatives lead in Calgary (51.7% to 26.8% for the Liberals), the interesting thing to watch here will be whether the government's refusal to fund Edmonton's 2017 World Expo bid will hurt the Conservatives in the province. The Edmonton Journal published a scathing editorial against the Conservatives earlier this week.

Finally, in the Prairies the Conservatives are down four but still lead with 35.1%. The NDP is down three to 25.9% while the Liberals are up six to 25.3%.

The poll also asked whether Canadians see themselves as "small 'c' conservatives" or "small 'l' liberals". About 28% said they saw themselves as conservatives while 32% said they saw themselves as liberals. The rest saw themselves as neither, an opinion most heavily concentrated among New Democratic and Bloc voters. Interestingly, 60% of Conservative voters consider themselves conservative, compared to 67% of Liberal voters who consider themselves liberals.

With this poll, the Conservatives would win 19 seats in British Columbia (+1 from the projection result of EKOS's last poll), 28 in Alberta (+1), 19 in the Prairies (-1), 46 in Ontario (+8), five in Quebec (-1), 12 in Atlantic Canada (+7) and one in the North for a total of 130 seats. That is 15 more than two weeks ago, due almost entirely to gains in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals would win four in British Columbia (-8), none in Alberta (-1), five in the Prairies (+2), 47 in Ontario (-2), 16 in Quebec (=), 18 in Atlantic Canada (-2), and two in the North for a total of 92. That is 11 fewer than two weeks ago, with British Columbia being the culprit.

The Bloc Québécois would win 53 seats in Quebec, up one from the last poll.

The New Democrats would win 13 seats in British Columbia (+7), none in Alberta (=), four in the Prairies (-1), 13 in Ontario (-6), one in Quebec (=), and two in Atlantic Canada (-5) for a total of 33. That is five fewer than the last projection.

There's not much to say about this poll. As I pointed out in my Hill Times column this week, this size of a Conservative lead has been the standard since April 2010. It is narrow enough to entail a good deal of risk for both the Liberals and Conservatives. Both parties could do much worse than 2008, much better, or about the same in a new election - there are no guarantees or even a strong likelihood of any result at this point.