Friday, February 18, 2011

Conservatives make big gain in new projection

With all of the hubbub surrounding the latest polling results, a projection update seems timely. As I have an article for The Globe and Mail appearing on Monday about political marketing, a projection update couldn't wait any longer. And the shift is significant.Compared to my last projection of February 7, the Conservatives have gained 1.1 points nationally, giving them six more seats. That now puts them at 144 in total, a gain of one seat over their current standing in the House of Commons, not counting the seats recently vacated by Jim Prentice and Jay Hill.

The Liberals, on the other hand, are sinking. They've dropped a full point and are down four seats to 92. That still represents a gain of 15 seats compared to now.

The New Democrats are down 0.4 points to 15.1%, and have dropped one seat in the projection to 20. That's a loss of 16 seats.

The Bloc Québécois is up 0.1 points to 10.0%, while the Greens are up 0.2 points to 8.5%. This projection is, of course, an indication of what Canadians could expect if an election were held today.

Regionally, the Conservatives have gained everywhere except in British Columbia. We'll start there.

The Conservatives are down one point to 38.4% in the province, and are trailed by the Liberals. They're up 1.3 points to 26%. The New Democrats, meanwhile, are down 0.5 points to 21.2% and the Greens are up 0.1 points to 12.1%. The Conservatives would win 22 seats (-1 from February 7th), the Liberals 10 (+1), and the NDP four (unchanged).

In Alberta, the Conservatives have gained 0.8 points and are projected to be at 60.8% support. The Liberals are down 0.8 points to 18.9%, while the NDP is up one point to 10.7%. The Greens are down 0.4 points to 7.8%. The Conservatives would win 27 seats and the Liberals one, unchanged from the last projection.

The Conservatives have gained 0.5 points in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and lead with 46.6%. The Liberals are down 0.2 points to 24% in the Prairies, while the NDP is down 0.5 points to 20.2%. The Greens, at 7.5%, have gained 0.3 points. The Conservatives would win 21 seats, the Liberals five, and the New Democrats two, unchanged from last time.

Ontario is showing some real movement, with the Conservatives gaining 2.1 points and getting over the 40% mark. They now lead with 40.4%, while the Liberals have dropped 1.5 points to 35.2%. The New Democrats are down 0.9 points to only 14.2%, while the Greens are up 0.2 points to 9%. The Conservatives are projected to win 54 seats (+4), the Liberals 42 (-3), and the New Democrats 10 (-1).

In Quebec, the Bloc has dropped 0.3 points but still leads with 39.7%. The Liberals have slipped one point to 20.4%, while the Conservatives are up a point to 19%. The New Democrats have gained 0.6 points and stand at 13.7%, and the Greens are down 0.2 points to 6.3%. The Bloc is projected to win 52 seats (-1), while the Liberals would win 14 (unchanged), the Conservatives would win eight (+1), and the New Democrats would win one (unchanged).

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the lead has swapped. The Conservatives are now in front with 36.2% (+2.3), representing their largest gain in the country. It follows that the Liberals would have their largest loss in the country, as they have dropped 3.4 points to 35.8%. It wasn't so long ago that the Liberals were well over 40%. The New Democrats are showing a little life, and have gained 0.7 points. They are now at 19.5%, ahead of the Greens who are up 0.8 points to 6.3%. The Conservatives are projected to win 11 seats in the region, up two, while the Liberals would win 18 (-2) and the New Democrats three.

The one lifeline for the Liberals in all of this is the weakness of the New Democrats. My projection for them is relatively low, but it is difficult to see the New Democrats making significant gains or keeping the seats they currently hold when they have dropped five points in British Columbia, five points in the Prairies, four points in Ontario, and six points in Atlantic Canada. At 15.1% nationally, the New Democrats would be at their lowest level of support since the 2000 election.

But if the Conservatives are able to maintain this level of support, they will enter the next election campaign from a very strong position. They can stand to lose some support and still form government, and would be well within reach of a slim majority. Will this make the Conservatives more bullish, pushing them to engineer the downfall of their government? I think not - while a majority is a possibility, it is not anywhere near a certainty or even a likelihood. Far safer to continue governing as if they have a majority, which they have done for several years.

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  1. the Cons won't do anything to provoke an election since they stand to gain only marginally. The Libs will say they want an election but fear it, unless they're looking for a reason to dump iggy. The dippers will 'do what's right for canadians' and ensure the budget passes, when it's really just about saving their own skin. the bloc doesn't give a shit and will sabre rattle and fight an election at the drop of a hat.

    no election till 2012

  2. Again this is where these national polls and projections break down. In Alberta, if anything, the NDP are poised to keep their seat and pick up two more. But the Liberals? Please. They have no organization nor chance in any riding here.

  3. Anon,

    Taking a page from Eric's usual comments, you honestly don't think the Liberals would have a chance in any riding, consider that they would increase their vote share in the province by 60%? Really? Hm. It seems its not just national polls and projections that are breaking down around here...

    But, hey, don't let intelligence get in the way of a good Liberal bashin'.

  4. It's not that. I would prefer to see Lib seats over NDP. Its just that the reality on the ground is that they have no chance in any riding.

  5. That's a fair enough point, Anon, but I think that the Liberals, if they have enough momentum in the province (and if these polls are right, even the crappy ones recently, they do), will be able to have a good hand to play in a couple of ridings. It's just a matter of whether or not they can capitalize fully or not.

  6. Volkov,

    In fairness, 18.9% might not be enought to put them over the hump in Alberta. Forget about how much their vote has grown, because that's not terrribly useful given how hopeless they were last time out. Compare their current standing the polls to the last time they won any seats in Alberta.

    In 2004, they got 22% of the vote and managed to win two seats by the thinnest of margins in Edmonton (130 votes in one case, 700 odd votes in the other). And both those candidates were long-serving incumbents: (1) Anne McClelland (the then deputy prime minister), and (2) David Kilgour (a former Tory and minister).

    So right now the polls show them running significantly behind that level of support and probably don't have candidates with that level of profile. Eric does his projections, and that's fine, but set against that background, I wouldn't put money on the Liberals winning seats in Alberta.

  7. Considering that Cons gain one seat in this projection explain to me how that is a big gain? It may be a gain in the polls however what counts is the seats and it appears the liberals would gain the most seats at election time! So Cons are status quo, oh unless Harper and his ego think it's time for him to have and win a majority!
    I think Harper is going to try for that majority but I think this time Canadians have had enough of his brand of politics and he will be surprised to find out we have had enough of his games!

  8. Volkov they actually probably could.

    Only problem is you need decent candidates.

    And nobody likes to step forward if there is a perception that you can't win as a Liberal.

    And i'm going to guess that all the Liberal resources will be in Ontario, NOT Alberta.

  9. I was just having a further prediction (i mean thought)
    If Harper wants to pull the trigger and brings a Budget in he knows won't fly, we may rather then see an election see a new coalition forming, one that would see the 3 parties working together to show the people that better government is available.
    They would have many reasons to cooperate and ride along until the fixed election (or Harpers fall from leadership), by then Harper is nothing and gone from politics and for good and the less i hear about a coalition the more it may happen!
    This would be a sure fire way of stopping Harper dead in his tracks!

  10. It's a big gain because it is a gain of six seats from the last projection.

  11. Harper needs seats not projections, there up and down all the time and in the end the seats are what matter. So lets not make something of nothing! So really they are projecting that Harper is back were he once was and the Liberals made huge gains! So having said that if an election actually followed the projections then we have another minority government.
    There is a better chance of a coalition then an election, it appears if you believe the projections that status quo will prevail.
    Canadians don't want an election and to have one and end up with another minority with Harper leading just won't cut it. So whether a coalition happens before or after an election is the better question!

  12. "we may rather then see an election see a new coalition forming, one that would see the 3 parties working together"

    We may see that. We may also see Jack Layton cross the floor and sit as a Tory cabinet minister (like his old man), but I wouldn't bet on it.

  13. "the Liberals made huge gains!"

    Talk about making something out of nothing.

    "So whether a coalition happens before or after an election is the better question?"

    That isn't really a question since, if Iggy was interested in a coalition he could have done it at any time since he turned it down in January 2009. And, realistically, a coalition without an election at this point is not possible since, if Harper were defeated in a confidence motion in the house, the governor general would, with 100% certainty, dissolve parliament and call an election. Sorry, mate.

    extra 15 seats is better than nothing. But at the end of the day, the gains don't mean anything because they don't change the overall situation. If Eric's predictions are right, the Liberals are right back in the same position they were in October 2008.

  14. The Conservatives are on solid ground with the support to go with it and this latest projection shows that...I'm surprised they are projected as a stable minority government...this projection looks more like a strong minority.Why the liberal party would want to force an election I will never know as they are far behind in a rash of recent polls,unless they are hoping for a coalition - that's not in the cards i'm afraid as the Liberal and NDP seat count will be cruelly behind the Conservative count...if there is an election it will be interesting to see...i believe the end result will be another strong minority mandate for the Conservatives but majority status is a real possibility...effective campaigning and the mood of the electorate on voting night come into play - swing voters - the undecided...the "bandwagon effect"....

  15. Well, it may all be moot, the NDP has apparently backed down from its demands on corporate tax cuts, meaning that the Tories have a road to maintain their government if they want. I'll say this about the NDP, they're much more savvy about handling minority governments than the Liberals are.

  16. Re AB. There was a recent poll done in AB, and it shows liberals losing support province wide. A safe liberal seat in the South is in danger. Re David K winning, my son lived in that riding and said, David will win, even if he ran as a Rhino. That was his seat, not a liberal seat. And once the truth come out re Anne and her voters list, she was gone. We have a leadership race going and possibly another one coming with the liberals. And people do get mixed up re prov and federal when polled.
    The only thing liberals will gain in AB is a possible vote increase and their 1.95 from it. No seats.
    Liberal support in AB is falling fast. Maybe Holland's stmt that they would take our oil has something to do with it, and of course the NEP still lingers in our memories.

  17. Carl is quite correct, the GG would dissolve Parliament and send the country to the polls.

    Furniture doesn't apparently understand the issue of "timing" ??

    Coalition or other arrangement right after an election? Yes, of course possible.

    After more than a year, not going to happen, period !!


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