Friday, January 28, 2011

Little change in EKOS poll, 52% want an election in 2011

Typos in graphics corrected. Liberals at 27.9% nationally, not 29.9%, and this would give 94 seats, not 92. My apologies.

A new poll from EKOS shows that little has changed in the last two weeks.Compared to EKOS's last poll, the Conservatives have picked up 0.9 points and now lead with 35.4%. The Liberals are also up: 0.6 points to 27.9%. For those keeping score, that's an increase of the Tory lead by a tiny 0.3 points.

The New Democrats, however, are stable at 14.8%, well below where they need to be.

The Bloc Québécois is at 9.7%, while the Greens are down 0.5 points to 9.8%.

Note: Check out the EKOS PDF as they have a very neat breakdown of the differing results of various polling methods.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are up a point to 37.5%, while the Liberals are down one to 34.3%. The NDP is up one to 15.1%, while the Greens are stable at 10.5%. The Liberals are leading in Toronto with 38.2% to the Conservatives' 37.4%, but the Tories are up in Ottawa with 47.3% to the Liberals' 32.4%.

The Bloc is down one point in Quebec but still leads with 38.8%. The Liberals are up one to 22.4%, the Conservatives are down one to 18%, and the New Democrats have gained a point and are in fourth with 11.4%. The Bloc leads in Montreal with 41%, while the Liberals trail with 22.7%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are holding steady with 37.8% support, while the Liberals have picked up three points and are in second with 23.5%. The New Democrats have dropped four points to 18.9%, a result that is more likely than not on the low side. The Greens are at the opposite end, with a three point gain to 16.7%. The Conservatives are dominating in the Vancouver area, with 49.2%. The Liberals are running second with 17.9%.

Both the Liberals and Tories are up in Atlantic Canada, with 36% for the former (+4) and 34.4% for the latter (+2). That gain has come from the NDP, which is down six points to 19.8%.

Little movement in Alberta, where the Conservatives are leading with 59%. The Liberals are still doing alright with 20.3% support. In Calgary, the Conservatives lead the Liberals by 55.7% to 26.5%.

Finally, in the Prairies things have reset themselves after the unusually close race of two weeks ago. The Conservatives are up 10 points to 48.1%, the Liberals are down nine points to 23.4%, and the NDP is up four points to 19.7%. That's more what you'd expect to see.

With the results of this poll, I would project the Conservatives to win 23 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 21 in the Prairies, 51 in Ontario, seven in Quebec, and 10 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 140. That is a gain of four seats from my projection for EKOS' last poll, with the gains coming primarily in the Prairies and Ontario.

The Liberals would win 10 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, five in the Prairies, 42 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, and 19 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 94, one more than last time.

The Bloc Québécois would win 52 seats in Quebec, unchanged from two weeks ago.

The New Democrats would win three seats in British Columbia, none in Alberta, two in the Prairies, 13 in Ontario, one in Quebec, and three in Atlantic Canada for a total of 22. That's down five from last time, in large part due to the sorry result in BC.

Generally speaking, this poll is very similar to my current projection.

But it had other interesting tidbits, too. Forty percent of Canadians would prefer that the next government be Conservative (28% said a majority, 12% a minority), while 37% said they wanted it to be Liberal (17% minority and 20% majority). That is surprisingly close, as is the poll on a Conservative government vs. a coalition government: 41% would choose the Tories (likely the party's ceiling in general), 39% would choose the coalition. One worrying note for the coalition, however, would be that they've narrowly lost Ontario to the Conservatives. Only Quebec and Atlantic Canada have a plurality who would prefer a coalition government.

A little less than one-third of Canadians (30%) want the election to take place soon, while fully 52% want it to take place sometime in 2011, despite 41% believing it will end up with another Conservative minority. But of all party supporters, only a majority of those who vote Conservative want the next election to take place in 2012.

So, more fuel for the election fire. Conservatives doing well enough, Liberals still in it, Bloc still up, NDP still at risk. One wonders if the speculation will continue for the next two months, which is when the budget is rumoured to be introduced. I'm not sure if that kind of rampant speculation can be sustained for eight weeks!


  1. I wonder how many Liberal supporters want an election just so they can have justification to discard Michael Ignatieff.

  2. Eric, there is an error in your first plot: Liberals are at 27.9, not 29.9.

  3. Thanks for catching that, First. I've corrected the graphic.

  4. Good job as usual Eric.
    I'm a long-time follower of this blog but a first-time commenter. I'm in the camp that beleives we're not likely to see an election for several months yet. With consistently poor poll results showing they would lose a considerable number of seats should an election be held soon, the NDP will likely attempt to get some concession from the Conservatives so they can save face when they support the upcoming budget. And with the polls showing the Tories would lose some seats or at best end up with about the same result, short of the much coveted majority, they will likely be in the mood to compromise. On the other hand, the Liberals seem to be the (relatively big)winner these days, even with an almost eight percent spread between them and the government, because they would win at least several seats should an election be held soon. And I believe if the Tories were polling in the range of a majority at election time, a lot of NDP and Green supporters in ridings where their parties aren't doing so well will vote Liberal to block a Harper majority.
    And that's my two pennies worth.

  5. The NDP is just going through the motions of wanting a deal on the budget. They want an election and have already rented the campaign plane and filmed campaign ads. An election is a certainty. take it to the bank.

  6. Whoops my eyes apparently can't keep up to my fingers. I missed a word in my previous comment.
    It should read "because they (Liberals) would win at least several more seats..."

  7. Ugh, where's my head at. Thanks Bryan. The number in the text is correct, just another mistake on the graphic. Will fix it.

  8. DL if the NDP wants an election they must know something everyone else doesn't or they are suicidal. Why would a party that stands to lose approximately one third of its seats, want an election?

    I think Harper is happy to try and get his majority now or in 2012. Iggy will be surprised at how wide and shallow his support is.

    One caveat: I think the Liberal ads attacking the corporate tax cuts might bite. Doesn't matter if it is good policy or not it may be that voters in ON and BC feel they've done more than enough for corporations with the HST.

  9. Every election has risks and potential gains. If you don't put money on the table - you can never win. It really doesn't matter to the NDP whether the latest poll says 15%, 18% or 20% - everyone knows that it will all boil down to what happens in the campaign. You can be in the low teens the day the election is called and be in the 20s by election day or vice versa. The important thing is that the party is flush with cash, has candidates lined up, ads shot and is ready to go. Now is as good a time as any. There was a risk of losing seats when the plug was pulled on the Martin gov't in 2006 and there was a risk of losing seats when the NDP was ready to force an election in 2008 (before Harper pre-emptorily called an election). In fact when the writs were dropped in both 2006 and 2008, the pundits all solemnly intones that the NDP would be crushed only to see them gain ground when the votes were counted.

    The NDP WANTS an election this spring. Its the only time that works. The Fall is out because of all those provincial elections and waiting a whole year more won't change the polls but will mean another year of harper doing damage. Now is the time!

    Mark my words - no matter what is in the budget - the NDP will vote it down. The decision has been made - full steam ahead to an election in early May.

  10. 1) NDP and Liberals DO NOT want an election.

    2) NDP and Liberals DO NOT want to support the next budget.


    3) Liberals and NDP will say they WANT an election to try and force the other guy to pass the budget.

  11. pinkobme: "With consistently poor poll results showing they would lose a considerable number of seats should an election be held soon, the NDP will likely attempt to get some concession from the Conservatives so they can save face when they support the upcoming budget."

    That's a pretty plausible scneario for a number of reasons.

    First, as you touched upon, right now it doesn't look like an election has a lot of upside for either the NDP or the Tories.

    Second, based on the first 8 months of the year, it looks like the Tories are going to undershoot their deficit target for 2010-11, by a fair margin. In the fall fiscal update, they were predicting a $45B deficit for the year, but based on actual revenue and expenditure over the course of the first 8 months of the period (compared with the same 8 months last year), a deficit in the $35-40B range seems more plausible. That gives the Tories room to make concessions to the NDP without appearing to be too fiscally reckless.

    Third, I think both the NDP and the Tories figure that time is on their side in terms of dealing with the Liberals. Both of them have more efficient financing structures in place than the Liberals so an extra year of fundraising won't hurt them. Moreover, the NDP's anti-Tory bona fides are pretty strong. The Liberals won't get much traction attacking them for foregoing an election on corporate taxes given that the NDP actually voted against the current corporate tax cuts while the Liberals (and Michael Ignatieff) were mysteriously absent (as an aside, the NDP will almost certainly run an ad in the next election highlighting the fact that when the Liberals had a chance to vote against corporate tax cuts, they didn't bother to show up). Same with Harper in dealing with the NDP, they both have a nixon going to China element about them.

    We'll see, but I'd bet that we don't see an election this spring.

  12. Anyone catch this fascinating poll question in EKOS ?

    What makes people vote the way they do:

    20% The Leader
    17% Local Candidate
    44% Party Platform
    19% NA

    Are these factors already baked into the poll numbers we've been seeing lately ?

    Or when it actually comes time to vote do they change things ?

    If they do then advantage HARPER on all fronts.

  13. Although I project (as usual) the NDP higher than you, I'm skeptical of DL's comment. I fail to see what does the NDP have to win by having an early election. They're very likely to lose a couple of seats, at best.

    I'm also very amused by the fact that 44% cited the platform as the main element of decision for their vote. When studies consistently show that the vast majority of voters don't have a clue what the platforms are!

    Bryan Breguet

  14. I don't see much gain for the tories in an election.

    And both the tories and the ndp would be risking alot to go. They could both lose seats.

    But I don't think they are on their own in election avoidance mode.

    Assuming the polls and predictions are true, I really don't think Iggy wants an election either. Even if it will improve the liberal party standings. Is a sub-20 seat gain for the party enough to save his job given the party infighting that we have seen the past 5 years??

    I think the liberals have some to gain at the moment by going to the polls. But for the leader, I think it would be signing a suicide pact.

    Iggy has been improving as a politician. (despite following up MacKay's gaffe by talking about secretary of defense Bill? Gates...) And it's funny how MacKay's got more press... Maybe the media is feeling better this month about their chances. But really I think that Iggy should delay an election as long as he can... until a vote of no confidence late into the last session before next years election.

    Supporting the Torie agenda a couple more times can't hurt him much more than the last couple hundred. And he will have more time to polish his delivery.

  15. Interesting that the CPC is up Federally in Ont. whereas the provincial party is losing ground rapidly as that poll link I sent you Eric showed.

  16. If they do then advantage HARPER on all fronts.

    Only in your fondest dreams.

  17. Peter, will have something on the Ontario poll soon.

  18. Actually there seems to be a remarkable convergence in Ontario between the federal and provincial polls. Ipsos has the Tories 3% ahead provincially and most polls also have the federal Tories slightly ahead federally.

  19. Peter there have been polls showing that Harper has superior leadership numbers and handles the issues better than his opponents.

    By virtue of being in government he'll always have better candidates.

    Not to mention more money and a better organization.

    The polls may have him down slightly from '08, at 35% instead of 37%. But the writ hasn't been dropped yet.

    A majority CPC government is a very real possibility after the next election.

    Anyone who doesn't think its possible needs to take off the partisan blinders.

  20. It will be an interesting election. Harper has a clear lead and the Liberals look weak but... Iggy has never been the leader for an election thus a wildcard element exists. I don't care for him but that hardly matters (never have voted Liberal) what matters is how soft CPC and soft Liberals see him. I know a few and they have no real opinion one way or the other (they aren't political junkies by any stretch and I suspect the same is true for most swing voters).

    How will voters respond if the Liberals have something in their back pocket they are saving for late in the campaign? They could steal from the Greens again, but save it for late as a 'Hail Mary' pass - push for a big reduction in how much is sucked off our paycheques in payroll taxes while pointing out how Harper is going to skyrocket those job killing taxes. The fact they, to this point, have been in favour of them won't matter (everyone expects a Liberal to flip flop) but the optics could be strong - CPC=corporate tax breaks, while Liberals go for reducing taxes that hit every last working person.

    I know it will be a talking point for myself when the campaign starts (Greens in favour of slashing them 33% and funding via other sources while the CPC wants to skyrocket them by 35%) and from what I've seen from talking with non-political junkies it sells well. If I had to guess, that is what I'd expect to see happen and late enough to prevent a CPC ad blitz attacking the idea.

  21. The CPC are way ahead of where they were in the polls in August 2008 ( the month before the election call). If they with their money and seasoned campaign machine can't pick up 4-5% over the campaign then they will never get a majority.

    Ignatieff's little tours have been a disaster as he has only been able to get hard core Liberals to attend and has not raised money or members. It would be shocking if he didn't make at least 3-4 blunders over the campaign especially when he wears down.

    Already the are you doing better than you were 5 years ago is a losing platform as only 30% of Canadians think they are worse off.

    Last time Harper lost his majority on the debates. This time the CPC would be idiots to allow the same format of 4 on one.

  22. As for the NDP wanting an election it might be Mr. Layton's personal motivation for having it now. It is fine and good to put on a brave face fighting cancer but different when having to deal with it in the middle of the night.

    How do the NDP change leaders? Jack has grown on the job (Doer style) and chances are the next guy will have the same impact as Sellinger (the Doer replacement).

    If Jack is willing to run one last time he gives the NDP 4 years to select and get the new guy up to speed. If NDP went with the new guy now it would do much much worse than they would do with Mr.Layton.

  23. YOu can't compare Layton and whooever succeeds him to Doer and Selinger. In Manitoba you have an incumbent government that has been in office for 12 years.

    Layton is in great shape physically and will lead the NDP in the next election whether its this year or a year from now. After that who knows. There are lots of interesting successors to Layton and for all we know some of them might be even more popular than Layton is.

  24. Shelly Glover is moving up in the world !

    She's now the new parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

    Won't be long now before she's in cabinet.

  25. Peter, will have something on the Ontario poll soon.

    Look forward to it. Thanks

  26. Hey folks.
    It's good to be positive Shadow but I think predicting a Tory majority is a tad optimistic. That ship has sailed. Their support has peaked and although the Libs are still relativley weak, they're getting their crap together and will have a motivated bunch of supporters come election day.
    BC Voice. The only reason the Conservatives did so well last time was because the Liberal supporters were so disillusioned and confused they didn't bother showing up. Even under Iggy, don't expect that to happen again.
    If there's a spring election, the Tories will win a weakened minority, the Libs will pick up about 20 seats and the NDP will lose at least 10 seats.
    That's two pennies worth and then some for this time.

  27. Pinkobme I never predicted a Tory majority.

    I said it was possible.

    (Small gains, no change, small losses all strike me as reasonable predictions for people to make based on these numbers.)

    Question: Why do you think things will be better under Ignatieff ?

    He's had worse poll numbers than Dion since day 1.

    Both party support and personal numbers are WORSE under Ignatieff. I don't know why people think he's a better leader ...

  28. Let's keep in mind that in Nov. 2005 Stephen Harper forced an election, even though polls showed the Liberals with a 10 point lead at the time and it looked like an early election would either result in the same configuration as in the 2004 election or else an increase in Liberal support. The conventional wisdom at the time was also that the NDP would lose support from people who didn't like the fact that they propped up Martin for six months and also lose support from people who didn't like the fact that they stopped propping up Martin after six months.

    As well all know when the votes were counted, there was a dramatic change and the Tories formed a government. I think that in the absence of a campaign, the default for most people is to say they will vote the same way that they did in the last election, but most of those convictions are very weak.

  29. Hey Shadow,some good points. To answer your quesiton about Iggy, notice I wrote the Liberals would improve their standing not win a spring election.I don't think we'll be saying Prime Minister Ignatieff -- ever. The difference this time is the electorate. We decide who governs and when we get tired of a certain party. In this case I think the electorate and more specifically the Liberal supporters who took a pass on the last election will trickle back. Harper's Tories haven't completely worn out their welcome but overall I think Canadians are growing weary of them. They probably have some time in government left yet.
    DL: Things have changed since the 2006 election when we dumped the Liberals. Then we were sick and tired of them and sent them off to purgatory. This time, many NDP a nd Green voters are frankly more concerned about a Tory majority then keeping up the Liberal punishment.
    My theory is Ignatieff is a caretaker leader. The Liberals need time to get their crap together and Iggy is providing that, but he's likely got one election left and then that'll be it -- unless he wins.

  30. supposedly in 2008 people were supposed to be frantic about getting rid of Harper and would vote Liberal to get rid of him (or at least that was the Liberal spin at the time) instead NDP and Green support went up even more.

    If people want to prevent a Tory majority - all they have to do is re-elect Liberal and NDP incumbents everywhere and avoid ever voting Green. But in the real world (as opposed to the world of political junkies like us) - people don't think tactically when they vote - they vote for who they like.

  31. Given that Ignatieff polls so poorly on his personal numbers with Canadians it would be interesting, to see a comparison of the polls that deal with the personal numbers for the three leaders and to extrapolate out would the possible outcome might be for Ignatieff when he is exposed to Canadians 24/7 for 30 days.

  32. But we don't know if the people who don't like Ignatieff are primarily the people who aren't paying attention. If that were the case, an election campaign could increase his personal favourability numbers. Only time will tell, really.

  33. How about these stats Shadow?
    2005 GDP-1.4 trillion
    2010 GDP 1.5 trillion
    2005 tax revenue-102 billion
    2010 tax revenue-110 billion.
    2005 Defense spending 15 billion
    2010 Defense spending 20 biliion Thats 5 years of econmic stagnation with a 33% defense budget increase under Harper.I agree with shadow that the ekos question showing that the party platform is a sleeping giant.I think that the libs actually will benefit the most by this, IF they can put together a good solid platform appealing to the middle class(whats left of it)and suburban voters. Ignatief himself has nowhere to go but up in popularity. The Harper tories are very vulnerable on economic issues, I think 6 billion in corporate tax cuts, 16 billion for jets, 9 billion for jails and a 5 billion defense budget increase will be hard to defend especially with such a huge defecit. If the tories don't give in on the tax cuts there will be an election- the NDP can't support them now that the libs aren't. This is really the last opportunity for the opposition until next fall when the govt will expire naturally.

  34. eric rw even the most die hard Liberal partisans don't blame a global recession on Stephen Harper.

    I'm not convinced the fighter jets is a good issue for the Liberals either given what happened the last time they cancelled a program and our men and women in uniform started falling from the sky.

    Nobody wants to go back to the decade of darkness. Noobdy wants to lose those aerospace jobs in Manitoba and Quebec.

    Oh and the deficit you'll be running against will be like 20-24 billion dollars.

  35. Eric RW said:
    "2005 GDP-1.4 trillion
    2010 GDP 1.5 trillion
    2005 tax revenue-102 billion
    2010 tax revenue-110 billion.
    2005 Defense spending 15 billion
    2010 Defense spending 20 biliion"

    I don't know why people try to make up things on the internet. Fact are so readily available and falsehoods are so readily disproved.

    Let's take Eric RW's numbers. He says tax revenue was $102 billion in 2005 and $110 billion in 2010. OK. Let's be clear that those numbers are fiction. In 2009/10 tax revenue from all sources was $180 billion, approximately $14 billion more than they were 5 years earlier in 2004/05 (this, it must be noted, despite a recession that depressed 2009/10 revenues and a number of tax cuts). (These numbers are all drawn from the Department of Finance's fiscal updates for year after the relevant years).

    OK, so he was making up "facts" on tax revenue, but maybe he right about other things. Let's look at what Statscan has to say on Canada's GDP. In 2005, Canada's real GDP was $1.245 trillion, in the 3rd quarter of 2010 it was $1.32 trillion. Obviously, those aren't the same as Eric RW's numbers (which, as an aside, are clearly made-up, there is no "final" number of 2010. (Ironically, whatever point he thinks he's making, he could have made it just as readily by using the real numbers).

    Now, Eric RW isn' wrong about national defense spending increasing by $5 billion since 2000. So I'll give him that. But gee, what has changed in national defense since 2005? Could it be that Canada started deploying troops in large numbers in Southern Afghanistan, oh, in early 2006(the initial deployment, in fact, started in July of the previous year, but the full task force wasn't deployed until 2006), which mission was dedidly larger and more dangerous than the previous mission and which entailed a significant increase in costs. It would be nice to blame the Tories for that. It would also be disingenous.

  36. Shadow and Carl,thanks for your comments.My bad, I was quoting a recent star article from memory so the figures were off but not the changes from 2005-2010. However the basic point is that GDP and tax revenue (because of tax breaks and reductions) have been stagnant since Harper came to power.Some estimates of 60 billion/year in forgone $ Carl. This while defense spending has increased by 33% for whatever reason. Nanos says there is massive opposition to the corporate tax cuts(only 10% support) and the fighter jets are not popular either. I still stick to my point that the tories are vulnerable on economic issues. It's a matter of optics and that's why they are going on the publicity offensive now.

  37. Eric RW you should quit while you're behind.

    Inflation adjusted GDP was around 2.3% for the final 2 years of Martin and the first two years of Harper. 2008/2009 were flat. 2010 has been great.

    So claiming that GDP has been "stagnant" since Harper is ridiculous.

    Other than the world wide recession our GDP growth has been typical of an advanced economy. So has employment.

    As for corporate tax revenues they've INCREASED even as the rate itself has decreased.

    In the final year before the recession we were looking at a record reciepts for corporate tax revenue even though we had been steadily reducing the rates under Martin and Harper.

    These corporate tax reductions have basically been free.

    The effective rate in the US for many industries is 25% after you include all the loopholes and subsidies.

    That's what we've been moving towards.


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