Saturday, January 30, 2010

Projection: CPC 136, LPC 92, BQ 50, NDP 30

A new projection shows the Conservatives losing and the Liberals gaining.The Tories drop two seats to 136 and 0.6 points to 34.9%. The Liberals have gained two seats to 92 and 0.4 points to 28.6%. The NDP is down 0.1 points and the Greens are up 0.1 points.

This is one of the largest Liberal gains we've seen in some time. And once the older polls are aged next month, we could see them make some serious gains.

The Conservatives are losing ground in every part of the country. Their seats losses come in the Prairies (where they are also down 0.3 points) and Ontario (down a massive 0.7 points). They've dropped 1.1 points in Alberta, 0.4 points in British Columbia, 0.3 points in Quebec and the North, and 0.1 points in Atlantic Canada. In short, it was a bad two weeks for them.

The Liberals made some important gains in some parts of the country, but are stable elsewhere. Their seat gains came in the Prairies (down 0.1 points, however) and Ontario (up 0.5 points). They also gained 0.4 points in Alberta, 0.2 points in British Columbia, and 0.1 points in Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the North. A decent month for them, but they have yet to take full advantage of Conservative losses.

The Bloc Quebecois was steady, losing only 0.1 points and maintaining their 50 seats.

The NDP did not have a good two weeks, but it wasn't bad either. They had a big gain of 0.5 points in Quebec and also won 0.2 points in the Prairies. They're stable in Atlantic Canada and the North, but are down 0.1 points in Ontario, 0.2 points in British Columbia, and 0.3 points in Alberta.

The Greens made a 0.5 point gain in Alberta but also a 0.3 point loss in Quebec. They're up 0.2 points in British Columbia.

Assuming the trends stay where they are for another month or so, we could easily see the Liberals back over 100 seats by the end of February. In a way, this new political reality demonstrates why it is not a good idea to throw out old polls in the projection. They act as rudders, steering the projection away from snap changes in the mood of the electorate.

Friday, January 29, 2010

CROP Quebec Provincial Poll

Earlier this week, I wrote about the federal results of the recent CROP poll. Now it's time to review the provincial results.This is a similar result to the recent Léger poll, with differences within the margin of error. The province is divided between the two major parties.

This poll confirms what Léger first discovered: the ADQ has dropped to fourth or even fifth place among the parties in Quebec. Here, the ADQ is down to 6% while Québec Solidaire and the Greens are up to 8%. That is pretty dramatic.

There are few other details available. The PQ is ahead among francophones, 45% to 33%, and important lead. And the ADQ is at 17% in the Quebec City region, which is low for them.

I project the following seat totals from this poll:

Liberals - 62
Parti Québécois - 61
Québec Solidaire - 2

Divided straight down the middle. The PQ and QS could govern together with the slimmest of coalition majorities.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New AR Poll: 4-pt Conservative Lead

Angus-Reid, not wanting to let EKOS have their way or give me a moment's rest, has released their latest poll.This one shows a larger margin between the Tories and the Liberals, as well as giving the Conservatives the lead. But, the poll is smaller and the margin of error larger, so this doesn't disprove the EKOS poll. What it does show is that the gap perceived by Angus-Reid is narrowing, as the Conservatives have dropped one point to 33% and the Liberals have gained one point to 29%, as compared with their January 12-13 poll. This is a good poll for the NDP, who are steady at 19%.

The Tories maintain a lead in Ontario, but lose one point to reach 36%. The Liberals have gained two points to reach 35%. The NDP drops three points to 19%.

In Quebec, the Bloc gains five points to reach 42%. The Liberals gain two and stand at 38%. The NDP gains one and stands at 14%, and the Conservatives lose five points to reach 11%. That is one of their lowest results in the province in ages.

British Columbia shows a close race, but the NDP is the big winner, up eight points to 30%. The Tories are down five to 35% and the Liberals are steady at 25%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 127
Liberals - 88
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 40

A very good result for the NDP. The Liberals suffer from weak results in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada.

The poll had some other notable questions. As to the question of prorogation, only 18% agree that it was a good idea. Fully 61% disagreed.

As to what government Canadians want, 34% said Conservative of some kind (24% majority, 10% minority) and 36% said Liberal of some kind (20% majority, 16% minority). Looking at these numbers, it shows the Liberals have much more room for growth than the Conservatives.

New EKOS Poll: 0.5-pt Liberal...Lead?

EKOS has it Thursday poll out, and it is a doozy.The Liberals are back in front, a position they haven't held since early September 2009. Obviously, this is a tiny, statistically insignificant lead, but it was only a few weeks ago that the margin between these two parties was in the double-digits.

Of course, 31.6% isn't exactly a strong mandate. But it is their best result so far in 2010 and represents a 0.7-point gain since EKOS's poll last week. At 31.1%, the Tories have to be near their floor, most likely represented by their 2004 electoral result. They're down 0.4 points.

The NDP did not fare well in this poll, however, at a low 14.6%, down 0.3 points. The Greens are still high, though down 0.5 poitns to 11.0%, while the "Others" are storming forward with an unstoppable 2.6%!

It is interesting to look at the daily results. Prior to the weekend of January 23-24, the Tories were leading with an average of 32.3% to the Liberals' 30.4%. Following the weekend, when parliament would have begun sitting, the Liberals led with 32.7% to the Conservatives' 30.1%. The NDP also improved its score. A daily blip, or the start of a trend?

Ontario is showing a huge Liberal lead, 39.2% to 31.6%. But this is actually an indication of stabilisation, as the Liberals are up about a point and the Tories are down two. The NDP is up about two to 14.8%.

The Bloc gains about a point in Quebec to stand at 37%, while the Liberals gain about three points to reach 29.1%. That is a strong result for them. 16.2%, down about two points, is a weak result for the Tories.

British Columbia is showing a closing race, as the Tories have dropped about four points to 32.4%. The Liberals and NDP are up about two points, to 27.1% and 21.9%, respectively.

The other three areas do not have any big surprises, though the 6.4% "Other" result in Alberta is strange. In Atlantic Canada, the Tories and Liberals swapped about 8-9 points, likely a result of the smaller sample size.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Liberals - 117
Conservatives - 114
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 27

The Liberals re-gain the lead in seats, though it is marginal. With the tacit support of the NDP or the Bloc, an Ignatieff government would be safe.

The Liberals win 44 seats in Ontario and 35 seats in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The Tories take 69 seats in the West, 49 in Ontario, and only 17 in Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Prorogation has to be the reason for this new trend. Harper has looked relatively good on the Haiti issue and in Davos, while the opposition is making political hay with the prorogation issue and nothing else. It will be very interesting to see if the numbers will continue to move in opposite directions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New HD Poll: 1-pt Conservative Lead

CTV has information on the latest Harris-Decima poll, taken between January 21 and January 24 and involving 1,000 Canadians. No details on the HD site yet, but we have:

Conservatives - 32%
Liberals - 31%
New Democrats - 15%
Bloc Quebecois - 10%
Greens - 10%

Once HD puts the details on their site, I'll do a full report. There's enough information here, though, to add this poll to the national projection for the time-being.

Nothing ground-breaking in those numbers, though. The race is still close. on Twitter

I decided to stop being a dinosaur and get on Twitter. I'll post there when I have new updates to the blog, but I'll also do "Behind the Scenes" projections. Every time a new poll comes out, I add it to the projection. I only make projection updates when several polls have been released. These BtS updates will tell you where my projection is between updates to the site.

If you do choose to follow me, I'd appreciate it if you "retweet" one of my tweets so that other people who are following you could become interested in this site.

New CROP Poll: 10-pt Bloc Lead

As usual, CROP has released new polling data to La Presse without making the full results available on their (rarely updated) website. Also, as usual, La Presse has not made the details available. However, unlike most media reports, there is enough here to do a full analysis and include it into the projection.So, this poll has the Bloc a few points lower at 34%, though with the 3% MOE, and considering it is CROP, that isn't very significant.

The Liberals are low at 24%, however, and the Conservatives are high at 21%. But these are still not outside of what we've been seeing over the last few months. Oddly enough, while Ontario and Atlantic Canada are showing great movement, Quebec's voting intentions have hardly changed since last the spring of 2009.

At 17%, the NDP is flying high. Though CROP tends to put the NDP high at the expense of the Bloc.

The Green result wasn't reported, but only 4% remains so we'll assume that was their result.

40% of francophones support the Bloc, compared to 20% who support the Conservatives and 19% who support the Liberals. Considering everything else, that is a decent result for the Tories.

In and around Montreal, the Bloc leads with 32%, followed closely by the Liberals at 30%.

In and around Quebec, unlike in the recent Léger poll, the Conservatives have a significant lead with 33%. The Bloc follows at 24% and the Liberals are third with 22%.

Finally, in the "Rest of Quebec" category, the Bloc has 39% to the Conservatives' 25% and the Liberals' 16%.

This poll tells us that not much has changed since the 2008 election. The NDP is showing strength, but they do not have the kind of regional strength that the Conservatives and Liberals have. This puts them in a good position to hold on to Outremont and maybe take a seat in the Outaouais, but nothing else. The Quebec City and ROQ results show that the Tories will be strong around the capital city and the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region. The Liberals look like they won't break-out off of the island of Montreal, while the Bloc is in a comfortable position to keep what they currently have.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New IR Poll: 3-pt Conservative Lead

Ipsos-Reid has released a new poll, confirming some of the new story lines of 2010. There are some problems, however.So, at 34% the Conservatives are polling at the higher end of what we've seen so far this year, while at 31% the Liberals are higher than they've been for quite some time. The 17% for the NDP is well within their norms. This marks a three point loss for the Tories since Ipsos-Reid's last poll at the end of November. It's a seven point gain for the Liberals, and a loss of two points each for the NDP and the Greens.

Let's start with the reliable regionals. In Ontario, the race is very close, with 38% for the Liberals and 37% for the Conservatives. At 15%, the NDP is polling at its usual, and a little unrealistic, low. This is a nine point gain for the Liberals, while the NDP has dropped six and the Conservatives two.

In Quebec, the Bloc is down only one point to 37%, while the Liberals make a big six-point gain and stand at 30%, very healthy. The Conservatives are down five points to a problematic 15%, and the NDP is down three points to 9%, also problematic.

British Columbia is showing what we've been seeing lately, namely that the Conservatives hold the lead but are relatively low for them, while the NDP and the Liberals duke it out for second. At 36%, the Tories have lost one point while the Liberals at 24% have gained seven points and the NDP at 27% has lost seven points.

Alberta also looks good, with the Tories at 64%, the Liberals at 17% (up three) and the NDP at 11% (up two).

We then run into problems in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, which isn't surprising as the samples were about 60 people. In the Prairies, the NDP make a massive 21-point gain to reach 36%, while the Conservatives drop 12 points and the Liberals five. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals make a similarly massive 22-point gain, while the Conservatives drop eight and the NDP drops three. The problem here is that the Greens have gone from 21% in November to 3% this time. So, in all likelihood, these numbers are relatively accurate while the November numbers were the problem.

One interesting breakdown was by income. For those who make less than $30,000/year, the Liberals lead with 31%, followed by the Conservatives at 27% and the NDP at 20%. For those who make between $30,000 and $60,000 per year, the Liberals lead with 33% followed by the Conservatives at 27% and the NDP at 21%. For those who make $60,000 per year or more, the Conservatives lead with 39%, followed by the Liberals at 30% and the NDP at 14%.

So, contrary to public perception, the "Tim Horton's crowd" actually support the Liberals more than the Tories. And the NDP over-performs here. In other words, we can call Conservative supporters the "Starbucks crowd".

In fact, the Liberals have the most constant support level among the three income brackets, indicating they aren't the party of one particular class.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 124
Liberals - 105
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 29

The Liberals make up for their shut-out in the Prairies by winning 44 seats in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The Conservatives win 70 of their seats in the West and North. So, a similar result to the 2006 election.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Léger Provincial Poll

Léger Marketing released a provincial voting intentions poll along with its federal voting intentions poll earlier this week. Here are the results:Overall, not much change since Léger's last poll at the end of November 2009.

At 41%, the Parti Québécois remains stable, while the Liberals (PLQ) have gained two points to close to within two points of the PQ. Québec Solidaire has managed to wrest away third place, and stands at 7% (no change from November). The Action Démocratique du Québec, at 6%, is down two points while the Greens (PVQ) are down two points as well.

It is worth noting that the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois have managed to return to parity. In every demographic and region, the difference in support is no more than 2-points, except in Quebec City, and that likely because of the weakness of the ADQ.

The PQ dominates the francophone vote, 50% to the PLQ's 30%. The non-francophone vote is much more unanimous, however, with a massive 77% supporting the PLQ. The PVQ is actually second in this demographic, with 8%, followed by the PQ at 7%. The ADQ, at 1%, has been completely abandoned by non-francophones.

In the Montreal area, the PLQ has a slight lead over the PQ, 40% to 37%. QS is doing well, with 9%, and could elect Françoise David along with Amir Khadir next time around. The PVQ also hits above their weight in Montreal, with 7%. We saw indications of potential Green strength in Western Montreal in the last election. Apparently, for anglophones who do not like Jean Charest's Liberals, they are a safe alternative.

In Quebec City, the PLQ has a small lead as well, 37% to 35%. The ADQ has lost a lot of its strength in this region, with only 15% support. In the "Rest of Quebec", the PQ is well ahead with 47% to the Liberals' 39%. The ADQ, which also used to show strength in this area, is at a woeful 5%.

This means that the PLQ and PQ are in a death-grip in every part of the province, while the ADQ has been completed eradicated everywhere except (most likely) in the ridings that are currently represented by ADQ MNAs.

Here are my seat projections for this poll:

Parti Québécois - 66
Liberals - 57
Québec Solidaire - 2

That's it. No ADQ, who are wiped from the political map of Quebec. The PQ gains a slim majority. In the case of defections or retirements, the two QS MNAs ensure that the PQ would remain solidly in power.

With the ADQ dropping to the level of fringe party, politics in Quebec are returning to a two-horse race. However, there is still plenty of time before the next election. What happens federally can have a huge impact on what happens provincially.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 0.6-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS has their weekly poll out, and it is another close one.The margin between the two parties is tiny, 31.5% for the Conservatives and 30.9% for the Liberals. Compared to the last EKOS poll, this is a 0.6-point gain for the Conservatives and a 1.6-point gain for the Liberals. While both are modest gains, it is a new thing to see the Liberals gaining as much as they did in this poll.

The NDP dropped 0.4 points to 14.9%, as did the Greens to 11.5%. While the two major parties have re-grouped over the past week, it seems the other parties are taking the brunt of those losses.

In British Columbia, the Tories are up about three points and the Liberals are up about two points. At 35.7% the Conservatives are well ahead of the 25.2% of the Liberals, but the race is still, well, a race.

Another race is in Alberta, against all expectations. The Conservatives have dropped another four points to 47.2% while the Liberals are up five points to 23.9%. They'll sweep Edmonton! Maybe not, but that is a good score for the Liberals.

Nothing unexpected in the Prairies (the Liberals drop five, the NDP gain three and the Tories two) but the Liberals have maintained the lead in Ontario, 37.7% to 33.5%. That is about a three point gain for the Conservatives, and a one point loss for the Liberals. The NDP are down two points to 13.3%, tied with the Greens.

In Quebec, the Bloc drops five points but is still solidly in the lead at 36.0%. The Liberals are up three points to 25.5%, and the Conservatives are steady at 18.1%. However, all parties should be unhappy with these numbers.

Atlantic Canada gives us the most unlikely result, as the Liberals have gained nine points and stand at 41.8%. The Tories are down five to 28.0%, and the NDP is up one to 22.6%.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 121
Liberals - 114
Bloc Quebecois - 49
New Democrats - 24

The government and the official opposition would be separated by only a few seats. For the Conservatives, 68 of their seats come from the West and North, while the Liberals have 77 of theirs in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

This was a good poll for the Liberals, and only the Liberals. They are making gains, and have re-established leads in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. They are doing okay in Quebec and British Columbia, and very well in Alberta.

The Conservatives had a better poll than last week's, but they are still very low. Nothing to be happy about here - they're almost at their floor.

The NDP had bad results everywhere. When the Liberals were down and out, the NDP seemed like a potential alternative. Now that swing-voters have moved over to the Liberals, it seems that left-wing fence-sitters are moving back to the more-likely winner.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Léger Poll: 17-pt Bloc Lead

Léger Marketing has a new Quebec poll out.The last Léger poll was taken at the end of November. Since then, the Bloc and the Liberals have gained three points each. At 40% the Bloc is doing well, but the 23% of the Liberals is still too low.

The Conservatives drop three points to 17%, while the NDP drops two points to 15% and the Greens one point to 4%.

Among the francophone population, the Bloc dominates with 48%. The Liberals (18%), Conservatives (15%), and NDP (14%) grapple for second place among this group. Non-francophones are slightly less monolithic, with 43% supporting the Liberals, 22% the Conservatives, and 19% the NDP. The Bloc garners 7% among this group.

It is interesting to note that the Tories are making gains among this demographic. While that could be seen as positive, it actually gives them nothing. The West Island will not be voting blue (of any hue) anytime soon.

In and around Montreal, the Bloc has the lead with 36%. Most of that is undoubtedly from the eastern part of the island and area around it. The Liberals are at 27%, the NDP at 18% (good news for Thomas Mulcair), and the Conservatives are at 12%.

That 12% for the Conservatives would seem to indicate that any hopes of making in-roads in Montérégie are illusory. The 22% non-francophone vote seems to mean that most of that RMR Montreal support is coming from the barren political wasteland of the West Island.

The Tories are doing much better in the Quebec City region, where they are tied with the Bloc at 30%. Being tied, however, is good news for the Bloc. The NDP is surprisingly doing well in this region, at 20%. The Liberals have fallen off the face of the earth here with 14%.

Finally, in the "Rest of Quebec" category (which comprises a lot of the seats in the province), the Bloc is at no risk of losing ground. They lead this category with 48%, followed by the Liberals at 20% and the Conservatives at 18%. This would seem to put the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean seats at play.

The poll also had some Quebec provincial political results, but I'll keep those (including a provincial seat projection) for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Projection: 138 CPC, 90 LPC, 50 BQ, 30 NDP

With all of the polls that came out after the holidays, a projection update was long overdue. And here it is!Small changes, but significant changes.

The Conservatives, who have been growing update after update since September, post their first major loss, almost an entire point nationally. They now stand at 35.5%, lower than both their 2008 and 2008 electoral results. They are also down three seats, all of them in Ontario, and stand at 138. Compared to the mid-December projection, the Conservatives haven't posted a gain anywhere, and the only small losses they have were in Atlantic Canada and the North (0.2 points each). Their biggest loss comes in Ontario (1.2 points) where they now stand at 38.0%. They're also down 0.8 points in the Prairies, 0.6 points in British Columbia, 0.5 points in Alberta, and 0.4 points in Quebec.

Nationally, the Liberals posted a tiny, 0.1-point gain to 28.2%. But more importantly they are up two seats to 90. They did not post gains throughout the country, however. They are down 0.2 points in Atlantic Canada (and one seat) and 0.3 points in Alberta and Quebec. Their gains came in the North (0.1 points), British Columbia (0.2 points), the Prairies (0.3 points) and Ontario (0.6 points and three seats). Being up in BC and Ontario is important for the Liberals, but losing ground in Atlantic Canada and Quebec is not a good sign.

The NDP make the largest national gain, up 0.3 points to 16.3% and up one seat to 30. Their regional results remained stable however, only losing 0.1 points in Quebec but not gaining more than 0.3 points anywhere else. They are up 0.1 points in British Columbia, the Prairies, Atlantic Canada (where they pick up their seat) and the North. They're up 0.2 points in Ontario and 0.3 points in Alberta.

The Bloc Quebecois had a good month, as they are 0.4 points in the province up to 38.1%, matching their 2008 electoral results.

The Greens are up a tiny bit (0.1 points), and remained unchanged in Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and the North. They're up 0.1 points in British Columbia, down 0.1 in Alberta, and up 0.4 in the Prairies.

So, every party makes some gains at the expense of the Conservatives. The winner this month has to be the NDP, as they are posting slow but steady growth. The Bloc is also doing well, while the Liberals are showing mixed, but overall, improvement. Only the Tories had a uniformly bad month.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Opinion Polling Trends

As the polling chart on the left (which has been updated) will be tracking the last 12 months only, I'm posting the 2009 polling trend charts for posterity. I'm planning to have a projection update tomorrow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Harris-Decima Poll: 4-pt Conservative Lead

Harris-Decima has a new poll out.This is more or less in line with the numbers we've been seeing lately, but it should be noted that Harris-Decima has had smaller Conservative numbers throughout the last few months. In fact, the 34% result for the Tories is unchanged from HD's poll in December. The 30% Liberal result, however, is an improvement.

Only the details from Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia were released. The BC result looks a little wonky, but if we take it in the context of the closer race other pollsters have shown, it isn't out of the question. The Liberals lead there with 34%, while the NDP and Conservatives are tied at 25%.

In Ontario, HD has the Conservatives at 41%, much higher than the other pollsters have shown. But at 36% the Liberals are still healthy. The NDP, at 13%, is not.

In Quebec, the Bloc leads with 36%, followed by the Liberals at a disappointing 22%. The Conservatives, too, are low with 15% and are statistically tied with the NDP at 13%.

This poll doesn't tell us anything new, but adds to the body of evidence that the political situation in Canada is closer than it has been since early September 2009.

I'll have a projection update as soon as we have a poll-less day.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two New Polls: 6-pt or 1.6-pt Conservative Lead

Two new polls to report on, one released last night by Angus-Reid and the other this morning by EKOS.

Let's get to it.A larger Conservative lead than the Strategic Counsel poll, but 34% nevertheless puts the Tories at lower than both their 2008 and 2006 electoral results. But still the Liberals refuse to make significant gains, stuck at 28%. The NDP, however, is flying high at 19%. This is a three point gain for them from their December 9-10 poll.

A few important regional variations. The Conservatives, at 40%, are doing alright in British Columbia. In Ontario, the Conservatives have a four-point lead (37%-33%), which itself is relatively close. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals lead here but the NDP is in second.

This poll helps confirm a few new 2010 realities: the Liberals seem to be back in front in Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives are down to troubling levels in Quebec, the race in Ontario is an actual race, and British Columbia remains a battlefield.EKOS is more interesting. It is a larger poll than both Angus-Reid and Strategic Counsel, and was taken over a week.

This poll mirrors the Strategic Counsel poll very closely. At 30.9%, the Tories are in trouble. At 29.3%, the Liberals aren't making huge gains but are up. This is a 2.2-point loss for the Conservatives since EKOS's last poll, and a 1.5-point gain for the Liberals. The NDP is down, however, 0.7 points to 15.3%.

EKOS is now prompting with "OTHER", so we're going to see some tall gray bars in the future. Interestingly, but maybe coincidentally, this brought the Green result down 1.5 points. "Other" got 2.3% in total.

British Columbia is very close to SC's poll, but is also close to EKOS's last poll. So, we might be led to believe that 32.8% is closer to the real Conservative level than AR's 40%.

In Ontario, EKOS has the Liberals with a substantial lead, 38.4% to 31.4%. The Liberals jumped two points, but the Conservatives dropped four.

In Quebec, the Bloc is up to 40.7%, while the Liberals are down five points to 23.0%. The Conservatives see a small gain, three points to 17.5%.

Atlantic Canada is much closer than the AR poll, with only 0.5 points separating the Liberals (33.4%) from the Conservatives (32.9%).

The Angus-Reid poll results in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 133
Liberals - 93
Bloc Quebecois - 50
New Democrats - 32

So far from majority for the Tories, but comfortably ahead. The Liberals have a slightly more respectable caucus, and the NDP has a slight smaller one. The Conservatives take 49 seats in Ontario to the Liberals' 39.The EKOS result is far more interesting:

Liberals - 112
Conservatives - 111
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 31
Greens - 1

When was the last time the Liberals were ahead in the seat totals? They win 60 seats in Ontario while the Conservatives take only 31.

Clearly, we're somewhere in between. But with Strategic Counsel and EKOS agreeing, we're probably closer to a tight race than we are to just a smaller Conservative lead. These three polls were taken generally over the same period, so let's average them out at the national level and see what we get:

Conservatives - 32.0%
Liberals - 29.1%
New Democrats - 17.4%
Greens - 10.0%
Bloc Quebecois - 9.4%

So, a close race. The NDP is flirting with their 18% of 2008, while the Liberals are back flirting with 30%. The Conservatives are worryingly close to their 2004 electoral result. An interesting time.

Now Ontario:

Liberals - 36.8%
Conservatives - 33.8%
New Democrats - 17.1%
Greens - 10.5%

The Liberals have opened up a nice little lead, but the race is still close. The NDP is, again, slightly below their 2008 result but within striking distance.

And Quebec:

Bloc Quebecois - 38.6%
Liberals - 23.3%
Conservatives - 16.5%
New Democrats - 11.2%
Greens - 7.0%

The Bloc is inching upwards from their 2008 result, while the Liberals seem to be stuck in the low-20s. The one party that has to be worried is the Conservatives, as they are half-way between their no-seats result of 2004 and their 10-seat result of 2006. The NDP is right where they were on election night, 2008.

We thought things would stroll along smoothly until after the Olympics, but instead we're being given a New Year's treat of political turmoil.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Strategic Counsel Poll: 1-pt Conservative Lead

Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star has the scoop on a new poll from Strategic Counsel. Game changer? Maybe.The Conservatives are down huge, to 31%. That is a loss of ten points since the last Strategic Counsel poll in October, and puts them in a statistical tie with the Liberals.

Interestingly, at 30% the Liberals aren't exactly reaping all the benefits. But with 30% they are doing better than they have recently. This is a big poll, and a result like this can't be ignored, particularly when the regionals have no significant anomaly.

The NDP is also doing well, at 18%. The Greens are at 10%, certainly not unreasonable.

The race is really close at both ends of the country. In British Columbia, all three parties are statistically tied, the Tories at 32%, the NDP at 31%, and the Liberals at 28%. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are back on top with 35%, followed by the Conservatives at 30% and the NDP at 29%.

The big story is in Ontario, where the Liberals are leading the Conservatives - and by a significant amount. They are at 39%, with the Tories at 33%. The NDP, though, is only at 14%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is well in front with 38%, but the Liberals are struggling at 21%. The Tories are doing worse, with 16%, but the NDP is alright with 12%.

The Prairie numbers are good for the Conservatives, but Alberta is not - considering the usual. At 51%, a few ridings begin to get competitive.

This poll would give the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 112
Liberals - 106
Bloc Quebecois - 53
New Democrats - 37

A tiny lead gives the Conservatives a minority government. But with such numbers it would be virtually impossible for Stephen Harper to remain as Prime Minister. The NDP maintains their current level, while the Bloc picks up a few.

The Liberal strength comes in Ontario, where they win 58 seats. The Conservatives are reduced to 36 in the province.

Clearly, and with the EKOS poll as back-up, the prorogation issue is having an effect. And, as the spokesperson from Strategic Counsel explains, the explanation for the prorogation coming from the Conservatives is extremely shaky. The big question is whether this will be a momentary dip, or whether this is something that could endure.

But, any way you look at it, that 5%-10% of Canadians have recently decided NOT to support the Conservatives cannot be a good thing for the party. It will take work to re-gain that support, since that 5%-10% likely makes up almost all of the on-the-fencers in Canada.

Of course, the terrible event in Haiti is much more important than this. Before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the most troubled countries in the world. For such a horrible natural disaster to take place in such a struggling country is just a catastrophe. The president of Haiti has already said the death toll could be six figures. Hopefully those still trapped will be saved and the country can begin to recover soon.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

IR Ontario Provincial Poll

Ipsos-Reid has a newish poll out on Ontario politics. It was taken in mid-December, but is the most current provincial poll.So, the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty hang on to a lead with 38% but, as Ipsos-Reid points out, that is seven points lower than where they were this time last year. The Progressive Conservatives are within striking distance, and the MOE, with 34%. The NDP is at 15% and the Greens are at 10%.

The Liberals lead in the GTA and in southwestern and northern Ontario. Their biggest number is in the GTA, where they lead with 45%.

The Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak lead in central and eastern Ontario. Their 45% in central Ontario is their best result.

The New Democrats do not lead in any part of the province, but have their best results (22%) in southwestern and northern Ontario.

The last poll that was released concerning this subject was by Angus-Reid at the end of November 2009. In that poll, the Progressive Conservatives were at 41% to the Liberals' 27%. Of course, at that time, the HST issue was tops. It could be that the results their methods provide are different, or it could be that people have lost a bit of their anger.

In any case, unlike the last go-around, the next election in Ontario should be hotly contested.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New EKOS Poll: 5.3-pt Conservative Lead

EKOS is back, with a vengeance. The Conservative lead has been reduced to almost five points, and they are polling at a level not seen since the heady days of late August.At 33.1%, this is the lowest the Conservatives have polled since an Angus-Reid poll of September 2. Has the proroguing of Parliament had an effect? This indicates that it has. The party is down 2.8 points since the last EKOS poll in mid-December.

However, the Liberals have only benefited a little bit. They are up 1.1 points to 27.8%, which isn't exactly terrific. In fact, the Greens made the biggest jump forward, with a gain of 2.2 points to 13.4%. The NDP is down one point to 16.0%.

The big story seems to be in Ontario, where the Conservatives are down four points to 35.4%. The Liberals have gained about five points and are at 36.0%. The Greens are also standing at better than the NDP, with 14.3% to 14.2%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is up one point to 38.2% while the Liberals are up three to 27.5%. The Conservatives seem to be floundering, down about two points to 14.6%.

The biggest movement for the Greens came in British Columbia, where the party has gained six points. They stand at 18.5%. The Tories dropped one to 34.2%, the NDP dropped three to 25.9%, and the Liberals dropped three to 21.4%.

In the Prairies, the Liberals have lost six points and are at a woeful 12.4%. The NDP was the beneficiary, with a gain of six points to reach 27.3%.

The race is getting close in Atlantic Canada, as the Conservatives are down about two to 32.6%, the Liberals down three to 28.4%, and the NDP relatively stable at 27.2%.

This poll would result in the following seat totals:

Conservatives - 132
Liberals - 90
Bloc Quebecois - 52
New Democrats - 33
Greens - 1

So, the Conservatives are moving back towards a 2006 electoral result, but the Liberals are still not in a strong position. The Greens, however, manage to elect Elizabeth May in British Columbia.

This is the first post-holidays poll that has been released. That time away from the news and with family, where politics are sometimes discussed, can have an effect on the polls. This is a big change. We will have to wait and see whether another pollster can confirm these results.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Long December

Time to look at December's polling. Four national polls were taken during this month (two fewer than last month), totalling about 10,200 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 36.8% (-0.5)
Liberals - 28.1% (+2.0)
New Democrats - 17.1% (unchanged)
Bloc Quebecois - 9.5% (unchanged)
Greens - 8.1% (-1.7)

The Liberals, for once, are the big winners this month. They are the only party that has grown at the national level, jumping up two points. This gain seems to have come primarily from the Conservatives and the Greens. The Conservatives are only down half-a-point, but the Greens are down almost two. The current party standings are very close to the 2008 election results. They are also pretty close to the 2006 results. We're somewhere in between.

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

Conservatives - 140 (-9)
Liberals - 86 (+7)
Bloc Quebecois - 50 (unchanged)
New Democrats - 32 (+2)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

The Conservatives drop quite a bit, moving them below their 2008 electoral results and far from a majority. Both the Liberals and the New Democrats gain as compared to November, but the situation would still not be much different than it is right now. A result like this would be good enough for Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe to stay as leaders of their parties, but one wonders whether Michael Ignatieff, with only a ten seat gain over Stephane Dion's result, and Stephen Harper, with fewer seats and another minority, would want to stick around.The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (4 polls - about 1,180 people)

Conservatives - 38.8% (+0.3)
New Democrats - 26.3% (+0.4)
Liberals - 25.1% (+3.1)
Greens - 9.6% (-3.6)

The Conservatives gain a teeny bit of ground, but it doesn't make up for the 2.7 points lost in November. The Liberals make a big jump, but are still behind the NDP. The Greens take a plunge, erasing the gains they made in November. The province is becoming a bit of a battle ground once again.

ALBERTA (3 polls - about 850 people)

Conservatives - 58.5% (-1.6)
Liberals - 19.6% (+2.5)
Greens - 11.1% (-0.7)
New Democrats - 10.8% (+0.2)

The Conservatives drop, but overall they're steady as they had gained a point in November. Most of that support has gone to the Liberals, as they are up quite a bit. The NDP is steady but is still behind the Greens, who have managed to hold on to a lot of their November gains.

PRAIRIES (3 polls - about 500 people)

Conservatives - 52.4% (+0.8)
New Democrats - 21.4% (-1.1)
Liberals - 18.2% (+0.6)
Greens - 7.9% (-0.1)

The Conservatives are up almost a full point, and are comfortably over the psychological 50% milestone. The Liberals are also up, but still far too low overall. The NDP appears to be bleeding some support, but they are still in a decent second spot.

ONTARIO (4 polls - about 3,050 people)

Conservatives - 39.1% (-0.9)
Liberals - 34.3% (+2.0)
New Democrats - 16.5% (-0.5)
Greens - 10.0% (-0.3)

The Conservatives are down almost a full point, marking losses of more than three points over the last two months. They are still, however, in a very comfortable lead. The Liberals have another month of gain in the province, and are getting back to respectable levels of support. The NDP is down, but is still within range of where they want to be on election night. The Greens barely keep themselves in double-digits, which would be a moral victory for them.

QUEBEC (5 polls - about 2,320 people)

Bloc Quebecois - 37.8% (+0.2)
Liberals - 25.5% (+2.9)
Conservatives - 18.7% (-1.9)
New Democrats - 10.8% (-1.4)
Greens - 6.6% (-0.5)

The Bloc is very steady, as they have erased their small loss of November. The Liberals have recovered from November's losses, and are riding higher than their 2008 results. The Conservatives are down almost two entire points, and are dropping away from the 20% they need to be at. The NDP throws away most of the gains they made in November, but are still in a decent position (for them).

ATLANTIC CANADA (4 polls - about 660 people)

Conservatives - 35.7% (+0.6)
Liberals - 31.7% (unchanged)
New Democrats - 28.8% (+3.8)
Greens - 4.0% (-4.4)

The Conservatives make some gains, and have a decent lead in the region. The Liberals are steady, which is a bad thing considering they lost more than four points in November. Their former, and sole remaining, "bastion" is now a troublesome region for the party. Not so for the NDP, who gain almost four points in the region. That marks a nearly eight point gain over two months. The NDP has real momentum in the region, and it would not be surprising to see them jump into second place in January. The Greens are down big.

The Conservatives did not have a very good month, which isn't too surprising considering what was going on in December with the detainee issue. But, they had no big losses, nor any big gains, so it really was a relatively stable month for them, with a small down-tick. However, as they seem to have lost ground almost exclusively to the Liberals, that makes it a bad month.

The Liberals had a terrific month, considering how bad things have been going for them since September. They had gains in all regions except Atlantic Canada, where they were stable. And they had big gains in important places, like British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

The NDP had a so-so month, with small gains in British Columbia and Alberta and small losses in Ontario and the Prairies. The bright spot is the steady improvement in Atlantic Canada.

The Bloc had another stable month in Quebec, while the Greens posted big losses in British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

In short, 2010 begins with the same things we saw at the end of 2008. However, some potential story lines are emerging. The Liberals appear to be recovering in the battleground provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. The Conservatives still have a government-forming lead, but are showing signs of weakness, particularly in Quebec. The NDP is back to being competitive, and could make some noise in Atlantic Canada. The Bloc is not going away and the Greens aren't electing anyone.

Things should be relatively quiet until March, when Parliament resumes. There still could be some interesting political events, however. And things should ramp up very quickly after the Olympics, as some of the pundits are saying a Spring 2010 election is a distinct possibility. But, then again, a 2009 election was a distinct possibility. I was absolutely certain that we were going to the polls in October. I'm starting to believe that the various parties have realised it is easier to eat their hats for a little while rather than go back to the polls. It used to be that parties would go to any length to get an election (remember Cadman?). Now, they will go to any length to avoid one (proroguing, doing a 180 on basic principles). After five years, are politicians beginning to learn the tricks of a minority parliament?