Monday, February 7, 2011

NDP weakness sets up two-way race between Harper and Ignatieff

While national voting intentions remain stubborn, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have made some small gains throughout the country and look set to win a minority government virtually identical to the one currently sitting in Parliament. But the political race outside of Quebec is increasingly becoming one between only the Tories and the Liberals.

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website.

On a related note, I'm still working on the new projection model. I will definitely have it in place before the election if it begins at the end of March as many people think. For the moment, I'm running some tests, and I hope to present a comparison of different projection methods soon.

In the meantime, here are the details of the latest projection update covered in the Globe article. As usual, if you're looking for something quick and easy to read with a dash of analysis, please check out the Globe article. The below will be just the numbers.Nationally, the Conservatives are up 0.5 points to 35.9%, followed by the Liberals at 29.1% (+0.1), the New Democrats at 15.5% (-0.2), the Bloc Québécois at 10.1% (-0.2) and the Greens at 8.3% (+0.1). The Conservatives are now projected to win 138 seats (+3), the Liberals 96 (-2), the Bloc 53 (+1), and the NDP 21 (-2).

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are up 0.3 points to 39.5%, followed by the Liberals at 24.7% (+1.8), the NDP at 21.7% (-2.5), and the Greens at 12% (+0.7). The Conservatives and Liberals each pick up a seat, and are projected to win 23 and nine, respectively. The NDP is down two to four.

The Conservatives are down 0.7 points to 60% in Alberta, while the Liberals are up 1.7 points to 19.7%. The NDP is down 0.4 to 9.7% and the Greens are down 0.5 to 8.2%. The Conservatives are projected to win 27 seats and the Liberals one, unchanged.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives are up 1.3 points to 46%. The Liberals are at 24.3% (+0.3), the NDP at 20.7% (-1.7), and the Greens at 7.2% (unchanged). The Conservatives would win 21 seats, the Liberals five, and the NDP two. That is a gain of one seat for the Tories at the expense of the NDP.

The Conservatives are unchanged at 38.3% and 50 seats in Ontario, but the Liberals are up 0.7 points to 36.7%. The NDP is at 15.1% (-0.2) and the Greens are at 8.8% (-0.5). The Liberals would win 45 seats and the NDP 11, unchanged.

In Quebec, the Bloc is down 0.2 points to 40%, while the Liberals are down one point to 21.4%. The Conservatives are up 0.2 to 17.9%. The NDP is at 13.1% (+0.7) and the Greens are at 6.6% (+0.5). The Bloc would win 53 seats (+1), the Liberals 14 (-1), the Conservatives seven (unchanged), and the NDP one (also unchanged).

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Liberals are down 2.2 points to 39.2% and two seats to 20. The Conservatives are up 2.1 points to 33.9% and one seat to nine. The NDP is up 0.2 points to 18.8% and one seat to three. The Greens are up 0.4 points to 5.5%.

29 comments:

  1. a two way "race" where one of the 2 Leaders is considered by 3 times the people as the better PM. 75 - 25 in direct leadership comparison.

    Eric your articles are painting a picture of a huge CPC majority while your prediction model says other wise.

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  2. Yep, Tories down by two points, Liberals up by two points over 2008. Definite Conservative majority.

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  3. What I really wonder is if those polls are accurate. I mean, in 2008, before the election, Stephane Dion and the Liberals were almost neck-to-neck with the Tories. Yet, as soon as the election was called, we saw a huge drop for the Liberals. A drop that persisted all campaign long.

    http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/polls-2008.html

    Then, last year, we saw a similar effect when Iggy said he wanted an election.

    http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/polls.html

    All that to say that I think some people would quickly change their minds if an election was called tomorrow. I think some people are saying they would vote Liberals, but only when they don't really have to make the choice. So I really think it will be hard for Ignatieff to win or even reduce the lead of Harper by a good margin. I mean, come on, the Liberals are now consistently under 30%, and more often than usual, they flirt with the 2008 election's results.

    What do you think Eric?

    Bryan Breguet
    2closetocall.blogspot.com

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  4. I think things will change in the next election, we just can't know how. How the numbers moved for the Liberals in 2008 was a result of the campaign in 2008, not because of how Liberal voters always react.

    I highlighted something along these lines in my column about the NDP in last week's Hill Times. In 2008, NDP numbers improved during the campaign. But in 2006, they worsened. What will happen in 2011?

    These projections are, of course, a picture of what would happen now. Things could change radically in the next campaign, or they could stay virtually the same.

    As to the accuracy of the polls, I have no reason to believe they aren't an accurate reflection of how Canadians would vote NOW. Are they an accurate reflection of how people will vote at the end of the next election campaign? Well, no, but that's not the question the pollsters are asking.

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  5. No I agree, I should have used another term than "accuracy".

    But I disagree about the effect of the campaing of the Liberals. Again, if you check the figure I "attached" to my first comment, you see that the Liberals dropped at the very beginning of the election, basically right after the election was triggered. After that, they mostly stayed stable.

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  6. No, I get that, but if the Liberals have a really good first few days or the Conservatives have a really bad first few days, we could see a Liberal gain right off the bat that stays steady throughout the campaign.

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  7. My question is.

    Do the current polls reflect a new reality that LPC support has grown, or are the companies such as Harris Decima, Ekos understating the true strength of the CPC and over stating the support levels for the LPC to create as false picture of the political landscape.

    Considering the actual to the real, I would have to suggest that it is the latter.

    As these companies clearly understated the strength of the CPC and over stated the strength of the LPC in the run down to the 2008 election, as the 2008 elections results clearly show, as the CPC received 37.7%, LPC 26.3%, NDP 18.2%, GRN 6.8%.

    10/13/08 H/D; CPC 34%, LPC 25%, NDP 19%, GRN 9%, MOE +/-2.7, SAMPLE 1,279
    10/13/08 EK; CPC 34%, LPC 26%, NDP 18%, GRN 11%, MOE +/-2.0, SAMPLE 2,470
    10/12/08 NAN; CPC 33%, LPC 27%, NDP 22%, GRN 9%, MOE +/-2.9, SAMPLE 1,161
    10/12/08 ARS; CPC 38%, LPC 28%, NDP 19%, GRN 6%, MOE +/-2.2, SAMPLE 2,000
    10/11/08 H/D; CPC 35%, LPC 25%, NDP18%, GRN 11%, MOE +/-2.7, SAMPLE 1,273
    10/10/08 H/D; CPC 34%, LPC 26%, NDP 18%, GRN 12%, MOE +/-2.7, SAMPLE 1,282
    10/09/08 EK; CPC 36%, LPC 24%, NDP 19%, GRN 11%, MOE +/-1.8, SAMPLE 2,934
    10/10/08 NAN; CPC 33%, LPC 27%, NDP 22%, GRN 8%, MOE +/-3.1, SAMPLE 1,006
    10/09/08 NAN; CPC 33%, LPC 29%, NDP 20%, GRN 7%, MOE +/-3.1, SAMPLE 1,031
    10/09/08 H/D; CPC 32%, LPC 27%, NDP 19%, GRN 12%, MOE+/-2.7, SAMPLE 1,282
    10/08/08 NAN; CPC 33%, LPC 29%, NDP 20%, GRN 7%, MOE +/-3.1, SAMPLE 1,016
    10/08/08 H/D; CPC 31%, LPC 27%, NDP 20%, GRN 12%, MOE +/-2.7, SAMPLE 1,282

    http://www.thestar.com/federal%20election/article/419595--federal-poll-tracker

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  8. Recent CPC results:

    Angus-Reid - 34%
    Ipsos-Reid - 34%
    Abacus - 35%
    EKOS - 35.4%
    Harris-Decima - 36%

    I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

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  9. Bryan,

    People start paying more attention when elections are called, most people probably didn't have a clue about the green shift till the first week of the campaign.

    The Liberals have the potential to see a big rise in the polls when the election is called because according to polls their policies are what people want right now. Only 15% of people are following politics right now.

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  10. Elections are all about marketing. Who can market their brand the best. Last time Dion proved himself to be a terrible person at marketing. Some simple changes to how he sold the Green Shift could've changed everything (blanket ads early on about the Tories increasing income taxes [at the start of their first mandate but that is a nuance they wouldn't mention] mixed with how they'd drop them by taxing carbon could've worked).

    This time we'll see how they do. Meanwhile the Green's, NDP, and non-BQ parties will be struggling to get their supporters A) out to vote and B) to not support someone else ('strategic voting').

    The FPTP system really, really sucks for the majority of voters. Mine is a riding that would vote in a donkey if it had the conservative banner beside its name thus making it a waste of time to vote unless the per-vote funding sticks around.

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  11. Is the NDP dying? That would be a shame. You have 2+ paries (forget the Bloc) and it works somewhat. Its better than we have down here. :-\

    Also, couldnt you say that the Tory "dominance" is just a correction of all the years of Liberal dominance?

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  12. PT what demographic do you think makes up the 15% of people who pay attention to politics ?

    We know the Liberals lead with more educated voters. The NDP usually lead with the activists.


    Maybe the remaining 45% of Canadians (40% don't vote) are tim hortons types.

    Perhaps when an election is called the numbers will actually get WORSE for the Liberals.

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  13. Shadow,

    It's quite possible they may but according to some recent polls Canadians want some of things the Liberals have been proposing to do ie. corporate tax rollback. Ignatieff should be able to do well, but I guess we'll see if he can.

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  14. "but according to some recent polls Canadians want some of things the Liberals have been proposing to do"

    Where do you think they got that policy from? The poll came before the policy. (as it often does in all parties)


    Why does Iggy want corporate taxes rolled back? The ones they helped implement in 07 no less? Even Dion approved of reducing corporate income taxes.

    I have also been noting about the 6 billion spin the liberals have been using. Promising to utilize the full extent of the tax rollback, but only promising to roll it back 1 of the 4 steps. Was "yes yes yes" any more out of context than the liberal talk on corporate tax cuts?? Is Iggy really running farther to the left than Dion's Dive?

    Is people paying attention really what you want? Or do you think they will only pay attention to the smoke and mirrors?


    And one final note about the spin... Both the NDP and the Liberals have stated they will not vote for a budget containing implementation of the corporate tax cuts. Conveniently, since they were approved in 07... Those cuts will not be in the budget. They have left themselves an out. Either one could still end up supporting the Tory Budget (again)

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  15. way to put the CRITICAL back into critical thinking shadow..
    hey eric - is their any riding specific polling for Elizabeth May's riding in saanich gulf islands? did u read about the out of control motorist that crashed into her campaign office in s. saanich? Seeing that all publicity is good publicity I found this interesting.. on the other hand it's quite metaphoric of where she's been able to take the green party under her tenure.. basically nowhere.. of all the party leaders I would say her job security is weakest(ie if she dosnt win a seat in the house of commons her stint as
    leader is probably done)... I know that your focus is on federal and provincial politics but I had the thought that the citizens of Toronto could really use to remove themselves from the mega city that was created.. this way they wouldn't have a suburban abomination holding the mayoralty of their city.. anyone have any thoughts on this? it seems to me it would be relatively unprecedented but not totally out of the question..
    lastly - if the ndp only wins 20plus seats(as predicted in your projection) and the lib ndp total comes in at less than the cpc total I say Layton is done.. if iggy can win at least 100 seats he probly gets to stay regardless of whether there is a coalition scenario or not.. it looks as though gilles is untouchable and for harper to keep his job he just has to win a strong minority

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  16. PT you're right about the corporate tax cuts.

    Nearly everyone who knows tax policy agrees going to 15% is a good idea, including almost all Liberals.

    But its hard to explain the economics to Canadians in a sound bite.

    This may be a case where cheap politics wins over evidence based decision making.


    Although i'm not so sure the Liberal position is all that clear cut either.

    They say they still support the cuts, they just think we can't afford them with our deficit.

    If that's the case then why were corporate tax cuts part of the coalition agreement Michael Ignatieff signed ?

    We were in a deficit then and the cuts were fine by him.

    Its a flip flop without a good explanation, other than the Liberals needed NDP voters.

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  17. Shadow,

    Most people are stupid and will forget things that happened a few years ago, minor things anyway.

    The Liberal message of rolling back corporate tax cuts during a deficit SHOULD definitely help them, though they may screw it up.

    A Liberal message of focusing on the middle-class, education and health care should be able to beat the Conservative message of focusing on the economy, military spending and being tough on crime. But it's unlikely due to Ignatieff, the Conservatives will get re-elected. I'd love to see a close race though, like in 2006!

    Hopefully we'll have all new leaders for the 2013 or 2014 election.

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  18. "As these companies clearly understated the strength of the CPC and over stated the strength of the LPC in the run down to the 2008 election, as the 2008 elections results clearly show, as the CPC received 37.7%, LPC 26.3%, NDP 18.2%, GRN 6.8%"

    If you average out those polls you showed, they overstate LPC support by 0.4%. They overstate NDP support by 1.3%

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  19. PT I think at some point though the Liberals will have to release a detailed and fully costed platform.

    So the deficit issue kind of becomes pointless.

    They're planning to spend any "savings" from rolling back corporate tax cuts on social programs anyways.


    The contrast they can make is what type of spending do Canadians want from their government.

    They can't get anywhere talking about the debt/deficits because they're not actually planning to cut spending.

    Its not really a good subject for them anyways because the public has a pre-existing notion that Conservatives are more restrained in their spending habits.

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  20. the point that Bryan B. was trying to make was that the first polls immediately after Harper called an "illegal" election, the time when the CPC were expected to take a hit calling a wasteful election.....


    before the Green shift was exposed as a job killing tax grab....

    The CPC jumped 4 pts in the polls and basically stayed there throughout the disastrous Liberal campaign.

    might the CPC really 4 pts higher now? What will the first polls say after the coalition votes down the budget and forces a wasteful election?

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  21. Shadow,

    If the Liberals were smart they should be saying that they believe during hard economic times that if there is going to be tax cuts they should be going to directly to "families" instead of corporations, being careful not to say that they would cut taxes if elected.

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  22. But its hard to explain the economics to Canadians in a sound bite.

    Let me try

    Do you or your immediate family have jobs with a major Canadian corporation that the lower corporate tax will help? Do these companies compete globally? Would your family be willing to relocate to China, India, Brazil or the USA?

    Do you have a pension plan or any savings in the stock market? Would you like to have the major Canadian corporations reduce dividends that provide retirement income? Would you rather rely on the government to bail out your retirement plans?

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  23. Whether you agree with corporate tax cuts or not the fact is the majority of Canadians are not going to agree with them. The majority of people aren't going to take the time to read up and make an educated decision on whether they are good or bad.

    All they need to hear is that the multi-billion dollar corporations are getting big tax cuts while ordinary citizens are not.

    I myself don't agree or disagree with them and I pay more atttention to what's going on then 90% of Canadians.

    "Do you or your immediate family have jobs with a major Canadian corporation that the lower corporate tax will help? Do these companies compete globally? Would your family be willing to relocate to China, India, Brazil or the USA?

    Do you have a pension plan or any savings in the stock market? Would you like to have the major Canadian corporations reduce dividends that provide retirement income? Would you rather rely on the government to bail out your retirement plans?"

    Not a sound bite!

    The Liberals and NDP will have the most support for their stance on the corporate tax cuts, whether they can use that to win support in the polls, well we will have to wait and see.

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  24. PT. I agree that most people don't care about.. well about the bulk of policys that any one party might have.

    It's the soundbite spin that matters.

    Which is unfortunate in politics. You end up lowering discourse, and more importantly the right decisions down to popular decisions.

    It makes bribing people and groups (with money that should be ours anyway) too easy.

    It makes panning good policy easy, stuff that isn't popular, but necessary. Like prisons to protect society, or planes to defend us or aid us in protecting others.


    There was a poll out a week or two ago. Around 1/2 of people said that the platform was the most important factor in their vote..... I am willing to bet that 99% of those have never seen a party platform. Let alone read it.

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  25. "All they need to hear is that the multi-billion dollar corporations are getting big tax cuts while ordinary citizens are not."


    I wonder why it is so hard for people to learn that Corporations don't pay taxes. Their customers do.

    If you raise taxes on them.. They aren't going to choose to lose money. They either raise their prices So you pay more. Or they choose to fold up or move, and you look for works somewhere else.

    I know they could find efficiencies elsewhere to minimize their price increase. But as a good company that is trying to maximize their profits..... They are already doing that. There isn't the magical room to do it that some people seem to think.

    And as to competition forcing them to keep the price down, I call BS. If you raise the tax on every company, then everyone's cost of production goes up. Everyone's prices go up by the taxes. There is no incentive for 1 to take a bigger hit to profits than others. Haven't you driven down the street and watched gas prices being changed all within minutes to the same price??

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  26. That people continue to think that the government can increase revenue by simply by raising taxes is a failure of our education system.

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  27. When it comes to the average voter and education about taxes bet against logic and good policy. The 2 points cut from the GST by the CPC was great politics, horrible tax policy. Any economist will tell you that corporate tax cuts are far better, as are payroll tax cuts (CPC planning to skyrocket those, as are Liberals & NDP & Bloc with only the Greens pushing for a cut), and that a carbon tax makes a ton of sense as long as it is kept revenue neutral via cuts to payroll & income taxes (agreed that Dion was planning to jump spending thus not following this rule).

    What sells? Jumping hidden taxes (as payroll taxes & corporate income taxes tend to be) and cutting visible ones (like the GST). Sigh.

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  28. Ira I don't know if concepts like deadweight loss or the Laffer curve are really high school material.

    Although everyone should be able to spot the problem with reports saying these cuts will have cost $60 billion in revenue by 2013.

    Obviously you shouldn't use static based budgeting for multiyear projections of tax receipts when one of your inputs (economic activty) will be directly impacted by the policy change in question !!


    Even though on paper the US has a rate of around 40% its effectively 25% for many industries when you factor in subsidies and loopholes.

    So moving towards 25% in Canada might actually cost NOTHING while creating jobs and wealth for Canadians.

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  29. Barcs: "I wonder why it is so hard for people to learn that Corporations don't pay taxes. Their customers do."

    Actually, in a small open economy like Canada, it isn'customers who pay the corporate tax. Since Canadian corporations generally ahve to compete in an international market, their ability to pass on corporate tax liability to consumers is limited. For the same reason, it's hard to pass on the cost of the corporate tax to shareholders or creditors. The group that generally bears the burden of the corporate income tax (and I think there's an abundance of empirical literature on the point) is workers, at leaast in the medium to long-term.

    In any event, I suspect the dynamics of rationalizing corporate income tax cuts will be the same as the dynamic for rationalizing free-trade. Although there's knee-jerk opposition, a good campaign can explain it to enough people to get elected. And here the Tories have an advantage over Multroney's campaign in 1988, since their opponents are split three ways rather than 2. And while it's true it's a hard concept to explain in a sound bite, the Tories won't have to, because they have a ton of sound bite from prominent Liberals over the years extolling the virtues of corporate income tax reductions. Even if it doesn't pursuade people to vote for the Tories, it might pursuade people for whom corporate income tax cuts are a deal breaker to vote for the NDP or the Bloc (who at least have some credibility on the point), which is almost as good.

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