Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tories unjustified in criticisms of new EKOS poll

"In the past, pollsters, have sometimes reported support for our Party that is unusually high relative to the prevailing data, only to have the anomaly corrected in a subsequent poll, giving the artificial impression of negative momentum," says the Conservative talking points memo sent out to staffers and supporters, as well as some journalists in Ottawa like Jane Taber.

This is in response to EKOS's new poll, which gives the Conservatives a wide lead of 12.5 points. According to the Conservatives, this poll is "inconsistent" with "recent published surveys" and their own "internal polling". The Tories are warning people not to get caught up in the results, as the Conservatives will probably drop in EKOS's next poll, giving them negative headlines.

Though they didn't say it explicitly, given the Tories' history of problems with Frank Graves it stands to reason that they are implying more than just a statistical anomaly.

"The polls are cooked!" kind of talk is nothing new. I see it in the comments written in response to my posts here and my articles for The Globe and Mail. It's tin-foil-hat, Moon-landing-was-faked kind of talk.

But why don't we see if the Conservatives are on to something? Is this poll inconsistent with other recent polls?

Well, for starters, the most recent poll that was released before EKOS's was by Ipsos-Reid, and it ended on February 2, two days before the EKOS poll entered the field.

And as the following chart shows, taking into account the +/- 2.4 margin of error of this EKOS poll and the +/- 2.2 to 3.1 margins of error in other recent polls puts EKOS's results well within the range of the other pollsters.If the next EKOS poll does bring things back to what we've been seeing for months, it will either be a natural correction of the margin of error or a real return to normal behaviour for Canadian voters after two weeks of support switching. It's not necessarily an anomaly.

In their memo, the Conservatives say "as always, we do not comment on polling." In this case, they probably should have followed their own directive. It's just one poll, after all. But I suppose it hedges their bets just in case things do reset themselves in two weeks.

What of the poll? Well, here are the results:Compared to EKOS's last poll, the Conservatives have gained 1.9 points and now lead with 37.3%. The Liberals have dropped 3.1 points to 24.8%, while the New Democrats are down 0.6 points to 14.2%.

Yes, the Liberal number is very low. But according to a comment made by Ipsos-Reid to CTV's Robert Fife, reported on Twitter, they are seeing similar results in their polling. EKOS might be on the low end of their MOE, or they might be catching something before any other pollster. We'll just have to wait and see.

The Bloc Québécois is at 9.9%, up 0.2 points, while the Greens are up 0.9 points to 10.7%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives are up four points to 41.5%, while the Liberals are down four points to 30.3%. The NDP is down one point to 13.6%, while the Greens are up one to 12%. The Conservatives lead in both Toronto and Ottawa with 43.7% and 41.6%, followed by the Liberals at 33.3% and 40.8%.

In Quebec, the Bloc is steady at 38.7%. The Conservatives are up two to 20.1%, a great number for them considering where they have been the last few months. The Liberals are down six points to a disastrous 16.2%, while the NDP is up one to 11.9%. In Montreal, the Bloc leads the Liberals 38.4% to 18.2%.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia with 37.4% (-1), followed by the Liberals at 26.5% (+3). The NDP is steady at 18.5%, while the Greens are down three to 13.5%. The Tories lead in Vancouver with 38.1% to the Liberals' 30.9%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives have gained five points and lead with 64.4%. The Liberals are down five points to 14.5%, and trail the Conservatives in Calgary by 15.7% to 69.6%.

The Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada with 37.1%, followed by the Conservatives at 32.1%. In the Prairies, the Tories are down three points to 44.8%, while the Liberals are up three points to 25.8%.

With this poll, the Conservatives would win 22 seats in British Columbia, 28 in Alberta, 20 in the Prairies, 62 in Ontario, nine in Quebec, and nine in Atlantic Canada for a total of 151. That's 11 more than in the projection for EKOS's last poll, but still not a majority.

The Liberals would win 11 seats in British Columbia, none in Alberta, six in the Prairies, 33 in Ontario, 11 in Quebec, and 20 in Atlantic Canada for a total of 83, 11 fewer than last time.

The Bloc would win 54 seats in Quebec, up two.

The New Democrats would win three seats in British Columbia, none in Alberta, two in the Prairies, 11 in Ontario, one in Quebec, and three in Atlantic Canada for a total of 20, down two. Sorry, but 14.2% is not enough for the NDP to keep 30 or more seats. While the Conservatives can take advantage of Liberal and NDP weakness to win six more seats than they have now (eight more if we don't count Prentice's and Hill's vacated seats), the Liberals can take advantage of the NDP and gain six as well.

As always when a poll shows some major changes, we need to wait and see if they will be confirmed by others. So don't freak out yet.


  1. I agree with the Tories in their criticism of Ekos. And, I'm not talking about this one poll. As a political junkie, I read lots of polls and I have noticed for sometime that Ekos polls seem to match what the Liberal party wants voters to think. Of course, it's not arguable in one particular instance; nor is it provable with many. However, in my own mind (and, I know, countless others at political forums), the circumstantial evidence is over-whelming over the past 20 years or so. The pattern is fixed. Ekos tries to show a big Conservative lead prior to an election and then "closing the gap" during the election to get non-Conservative voters to flock to the Liberals. It is done over and over again. Actually, it's sort of tedious.

  2. Model problems?

    Just based on this one poll compared to the last election:

    CPC are down .3
    Liberal are down 1.4
    NDP are down 4.6
    Bloc is down .1
    Green is up 3.9

    the liberals GAIN 6 seats?
    The BLOC gain 7 seats?
    The CPC gain 8 seats

    the NDP lose 16 !!!!????

    what seats will the Bloc pick up? They lost none to the NDP. If they pick up 2 from the CPC ... (no real reason for that the happen seeing as the CPC are above 20% in Quebec and the Bloc is exactly the same as last election) That means they would pick up 5 Liberal seats.

    The Liberals are therefor going to pick up 11 seats in the RoC , while dropping in popularity??

    The NDP had 12 close wins to the CPC (15%) and 9 to the Liberal so their drop of 4.6% knocks them out of almost all their close wins?

  3. Perception is not reality. EKOS doesn't get millions of dollars' worth of contracts from the federal government (this Conservative federal government) because they try to boost Liberal numbers.

    Pollsters wouldn't last very long in the business if they falsified their numbers.

    Like every conspiracy, it falls apart when you get into the details. If EKOS has been doing this for 20 years, why hasn't anyone come forward with this information? Two decades' worth of employees, who undoubtedly got into the business because they believe in the truth of statistics, and none of them come forward?

  4. BCVoR,

    The NDP loses about 1/4th of their support, the Liberals about, oh, 1/17th. Do you think that would have a bigger effect on the Liberals or the NDP?

    In Quebec, the Bloc would probably win Haute-Gaspesie, Brossard - La Prairie, Portneuf - Jacques Cartier, Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean, Beauport - Limoilou, Papineau, and Montmagny. There's your seven seats.

    That would drop the Tories to eight. So let's give them Lac-Saint-Louis. They now have nine.

    This drops the Liberals to 11.

    The Bloc is up slightly and the Conservatives are down slightly. This gives them the edge in Quebec City, particularly in light of the arena-funding issue. And since the Liberals are down significantly, we can assume most of the vote is coming from the Liberals - which helps the Tories little in Quebec City.

  5. To clarify that last bit, the Liberal drop is probably benefiting the Conservatives, which helps them win Lac-Saint-Louis but doesn't help them very much in Quebec City.

  6. This poll still has 3% other and 10% Green.

    Don't know where that would go but probably most of it to the NDP.

  7. I really get confused with polls like these, simply because they're so random. And margin of error or not, Eric, it's still the odd man out in terms of the drop it's seen for the Libs and how high the CPC has gone, and it's the odd man out even with its own historical trendline. As I said, it's just very... confusing. xD

    As you said though, we'll just have to wait and see.

  8. That's exactly it. A new poll can be an outlier - that is until it becomes part of the trend, if it is a new trend.

  9. What caused the spike of CPC support ? The LPC losses ?

    Harper + Obama = best friends ?

    Apparently the idea of integration with the US on security and trade is very popular with Canadians (according to a poll.)

    Ignatieff came out strongly against any deal.

    That's the only event that's been in the news lately hasn't it ?

    Anyone else have any idea in terms of news items ?

    Graves seemed to suggest that this is the natural voting intention of Canadians.

    Scandals of the day temporarily lower CPC numbers for a time but after a few months of smooth sailing they always creep back up to this level.

    He thinks everyone has simply moved past any controsverial issues.

  10. Shadow,

    All that occurred after Ekos was out in the field, same with the min. sentencing stuff. I had someone say to me on my blog that it could be the entire fact that Iggy is pressing for an election, which could actually be the reason why the numbers are dropping, and infinitely more plausible than what you're talking about (no one really cares about that stuff except, well, us). But we do have to wait and see if the trend continues.

    As for the "natural" voting intentions of Canadians... no. There's nothing "natural" about voting intentions whether they benefit anyone. Unless you mean something else and are just coming across as horribly arrogant.

  11. Volkov most of Canada's population is within a couple hours of the border.

    Its one of the few Ottawa issues that i've actually heard people care about in a long time.

    The response is very, very positive.

    "There's nothing "natural" about voting intentions whether they benefit anyone."

    Sure there is.

    Voting intentions can remain fixed for extended periods of time if the political configuration and policy positions are static.

    Increases and decreases are ephemeral. When news out of Ottawa dies down and people percieve things as running smoothly the numbers seem to revert to the '08 election.

  12. You tweeted that "Results well within the MOE of all other [recent] polls"

    But the EKOS Lib number of 24.8 is definitely outside the MOE of latest Ipsos-Reid and Harris-Decima. I'm not a statistician, but that seems notable.

    I'm not sure why you found the CPC statement to be unfair. Isn't your own concluding graf basically saying the same thing as them, i.e. wait and see and don't freak out?

  13. Brian,

    As my graph shows, when we take into account the margins of error for all the polls, the EKOS result is within the range of the other pollsters.

    The Conservative statement is not "wait and see", but seems to be more along the lines of "this poll is wrong".

  14. Eric,

    "A new poll can be an outlier"

    I don't see any reason to interpret the Conservatives' comments in any more accusing light than your statement about outliers.

    There is a tendency in the media and amongst the public to latch on to a single newsworthy poll and assume that it represents the true state of affairs.

    Were I a Conservative strategist, I would be keen to temper party enthusiasm over this one poll unless and until it is confirmed by other pollsters and/or over time.

    We have seen enough polls to suggest that the Tories have a non-trivial lead over the Liberals, but a single poll does not convince me that that lead is near 13 points.

  15. Shadow,

    Again, um, not within the time period that they were out in the field. Glossed over that didn't ya.

    And no, there's nothing natural about voting intentions. All electorate is fluid, in terms of support, of enthusiasm, of beliefs, of motivation, of allegiance. There can never be a true "settling" of an electorate until that electorate is finalized - or, in regular terms, dead and/or suspended.

    You can say that the Conservative lead is a "new normal," but it's not a natural state of Canadian politics. It's a trend of artificial inflation of support and allegiance that will vary over time, not something that will never change it's form. The same can easily be said about a Liberal lead.

  16. There is an interesting notation in Ekos' commentary:

    "The Conservatives also now lead the Liberal ... among those born outside Canada, which is a major turnaround."

    But there are no supporting numbers for this in this report -- nor to my knowledge has Ekos traditionally broken out this category.

    Eric, do you happen to have any additional information on this?

  17. No, sorry. It doesn't come as a surprise, though, with the work Jason Kenney has been doing to bolster Conservative support in ethnic communities.

  18. It should be noted that the last poll EKOS released surveyed 4,622. This one surveys only 1,652.

  19. Polls taken outside of actual election seldom come to anything, so I retain significant distrust in polls showing wide swings not predicated by anything in the news. They end up just being grist for partisans.

  20. Volkov I see no difference between "new normal" and natural other than the length of time implied by the terms.

    I'm speaking about two year periods here.

    I"m not making any claim that the CPC is Canada's natural governing party. Perhaps the term "natural" is loaded.

    If you prefer "new normal" then new normal it is.

    Back to the main point, voter intention isn't nearly as fluid as you're making it out to be.

    Each party has a base. 40% of the population doesn't vote.

    The amount of swing voters isn't huge. Its maybe 12 points that all the parties are fighting over.

    Didn't the meeting in Washington happen last friday ?

    SO wasn't border talk the final week of this EKOS poll where CPC support spiked ?

  21. Shadow,

    "New normal" it is, but I disagree with your assessment of the typical "each party has its base" rule. No one before ever thought that the Liberal Party's base was below 30%, but we know it is (20-25%). No one thought the Conservatives settle near 30% and not budge lower, either. So, there, fluidity.

    Anyways, Ekos was in the field from the 4th to the 9th, so its possible, but I don't remember the issue becoming major until just this past Thursday tbh. Besides, I still doubt that's actually what caused the spike. No one I've talked to yet really shows an interest, "popular" or not.

    If anything, I think its the electioneering.

  22. Volkov I think most people can agree to the following:

    Tories justified in criticisms of new EKOS poll

    My guess is it was statistical noise and we'll see the NDP gaining a few points next week at the expense of the CPC.

    With others at 3% and Greens at 10% (very, very unrealistic) there just aren't enough points left to allow for such a large CPC lead.

  23. Eric,

    The Tory response to this poll is interesting, though not for the reasons you suggest. For the past month they've been telling everyone who will listen that they don't want an election. Now, out comes a poll that, if it's accurate, will all but guarantee that neither the Liberals nor the NDP will be keen on forcing an election. And how do the Tories respond? By downplaying it, and suggesting that it's inconsistent not only with other public polls but also their own internal polling. If true (big IF), that would tend to encourage the opposition parties to force an election.

    If I were a cynic, I might think that the Tories are trying to bluff the opposition parties into forcing an election that the Tories don't want to call directly, by downplaying "good" polls and suggesting that their internal polling is bad. Moreover, the suggestion of a close race might serve to motivate Tory supporters to give money and volunteer in a way they might not if the election is expected to be a cakewalk.

    In any event, I don't think this is the Tories attacking Frank Graves, I think this is the Tories trying to play games with the Liberals. One might think that the Liberals aren't stupid enough to fall for this sort of stunt, but then again, the had a choice between Rae and Iggy and chose Dion, so I wouldn't rule anything out for them. If nothing else, it's the sort of statement that'll convince some of the more gullible members of the Liberal party (you know, the ones who think that "Canadian values" are whatever they happen to believe in) that the Tories are running scared and will put more pressure on Iggy to try to do so (and create more dissension in the ranks if he doesn't).

    The numbers themselves don't really surprise me, given all the election talk over the past month. The last time Iggy threatened to bring the country to the polls, Liberal support plummeted and the Tory supported soared. I'm not sure why anyone would expect a different result now, given that the big picture in Ottawa hasn't changed over the past year. The Liberals still haven't come out with a compelling reasons for replacing the Tories other than, well, that they're not the Liberals. And in the absence of such a reason, or a compelling message from the Liberals, I don't see there being much desire for an election among the voting public.

  24. Carl,

    The Liberals have their own internal pollster just like the Tories do. I would assume that neither party is making decisions based on EKOS or Ipsos-Reid or any other public pollster.

    With that in mind I'm pretty sure no rational person would decide to call an election because Stephen Harper thinks that Ekos polls show him too high.

    Making decisions like that when you are paying your own, trusted pollster to get that information for you would be pretty stupid.

  25. Hi Carl,

    "[...] The last time Iggy threatened to bring the country to the polls, Liberal support plummeted and the Tory supported soared. I'm not sure why anyone would expect a different result now, given that the big picture in Ottawa hasn't changed over the past year. The Liberals still haven't come out with a compelling reasons for replacing the Tories other than, well, that they're not the Liberals. And in the absence of such a reason, or a compelling message from the Liberals, I don't see there being much desire for an election among the voting public."

    But Carl, there is positively never, ever, any desire on the part of the public in general -- not to mention voters for an election, period. That never changes.

    As you rightly point out, the opposition narrative and the Liberal one in particular will be key. Step one is to get us into a campaign. Step two will quite naturally follow if Liberal homework has been properly accomplished. Step three will be left up to the voters, if they are so inclined.

    If this Prime Minister really wants a vote bad, logic dictates he is on the cusp of a majority. I seriously doubt that. Harper, ever the cautious politician would prefer to coast for another year to increase the odds from 60-40 against to 60-40 in favour and that means PLAYING FOR TIME...for as long as is necessary. It's our job as an opposition to cut him off at the pass. Are we up to it? We'll soon find out...

  26. the new Angus Reid poll...

    cpc 34 lib 28 NDP 17 makes Graves EKOS poll look like a desperate attempt to scare the NDP into voting with the government on corporate tax cuts to save their political lives.


    In BC cpc 42 - Lib 21
    In Que cpc 13

    Ekos BC - Cpc 37 lib 26
    Que cpc 21

    The only thing consistent is both have the BLOC at 38% in Quebec... the same as they had in the 2008 election. Almost certainly they will lose seats as they won 12 seats (1/4 of their seats) last time by narrow margins. Given the same popular vote they likely would not be so fortunate

  27. Gee even with Ekos "warp" the CRAP still don't get a majority !!

  28. BCVoR,

    I think you are referring to Angus-Reid's poll taken in early January.

  29. Peter,

    "the CRAP"

    OMG, seriously?

    You do know that that never made any sense, right?

    What are you, in grade 2?

  30. Peter instead of sparking these constant fights about your use of American style hate rhetoric could you please stop using terms like "CRAP" ?

    Or better yet maybe Eric could make it a rule not to post anything with these silly terms.

    And i'm not just targeting Peter because he's a Liberal partisan.

    NDP and CPC supporter who use terms like "libtards" need to grow up.

    The internet is just filled with too much of this trash.

  31. OMG, seriously?


  32. "The Liberals have their own internal pollster just like the Tories do. I would assume that neither party is making decisions based on EKOS or Ipsos-Reid or any other public pollster.

    With that in mind I'm pretty sure no rational person would decide to call an election because Stephen Harper thinks that Ekos polls show him too high."

    That makes sense, except for two points. First, the Liberals have their internal pollsters, but we have no idea what sort of numbers they're coming out with, they could be all over the map too - in which case the suggestion that the Tory's internal numbers are low (which may or may not be true) could be given some weight. Second, Iggy and company will be able to see the Liberal's internal polling numbers, but Joe and Jill Q Liberal won't - they're the type of people who might buy the running scared argument. And its the grassroots who are likely chomping on the bit to "get Harper out". If it's a close call for Iggy as to whether to do it or not, grassroots pressure might put him over the top.

    And of course, there's still the point that, for the Tories, a close race is more likely to energy their base (in terms of fundraising and getting out the vote).

  33. "But Carl, there is positively never, ever, any desire on the part of the public in general -- not to mention voters for an election, period. That never changes."

    Fair enough, but typically the opposition parties can tell a story about why they want to replace the government. What's Iggy's story? He wants to replace the government because he's tired of voting FOR their budgets? Because he's tired of agreeing with them on Afghanistan? For now, it seems to be that he disagrees with them over their corporate tax policy, a corporate tax policy that is less aggressive than the one Iggy ran on in 2008.

    Maybe he can tell a story during an election campaign (although I doubt it), but he hasn't done so yet, which is why it's not too surprising to see Liberal support dropping.

  34. "The Liberals have their own internal pollster"

    Actually I don't believe the Liberals have a weekly tracking poll.

    They're broke and its a waste of money. A general survey is useless anyways, instead parties like to use market survey type polls where they look at support from specific demographic groups.

    As far as I know the Liberals conduct a very large, very expensive survey before the fall and spring session.

    Usually the results get shared with caucus.

    Then Ignatieff decides whether he wants to spark an election or not.

    The strategic decision to try and force an election was made by the Liberals long ago.

    Its gone from a game of chicken (wanting to force the NDP to vote for the budget) to everybody jumping off the cliff, consequences be damned.

  35. Peter,

    There are several reasons your posting makes no sense:

    A) There is no such political entity with the name Conservative Reform Alliance. It doesn't exist.

    B) It is a dubious claim as to whether such an entity ever existed. Although, that was initially floated as a name for entity that is called the Conservative Party of Canada, they never even exited their founding convention with that name.

    C) It is not logical or legitimate to simply "add" letters arbitrarily to the name of an organization. It doesn't even make sense to add 'Party' in that case because there is already a noun in the name that is a synonym of 'Party'.

    We do not, for example say the BQP -- because saying Bloc Quebecois Party makes no sense as there is already an group-type noun in the name.

    Similarly, it was the 'Canadian Alliance' or CA -- not the 'Canadian Alliance Party', and CCF and not CCFP.

  36. I recently read Lawrence Martin's HARPERLAND, and he consistently called the Canadian Alliance the "Alliance party". It annoyed the bejeezus out of me.

  37. "A) There is no such political entity with the name Conservative Reform Alliance. It doesn't exist.

    I see Henry you like historical revisionism, a poor idea I might add.

    At some point in its existence the current CPC carried each of those names, First as Reform, that became Alliance and that in turn became Conservative.

    There is NO denying it !! So stringing them together is legit, like it or lump it but you can't re-write History !!

  38. Peter,

    If you are talking about a current entity (which you plainly did in your posting), then it is not legitimate to refer to that entity by an arbitrary and selective string of letters, that do not reflect that entity's name, for the sole reason that you can use a synonym for feces.

    If you were really interested in history, you would have more reasonably used PCPCA (Progressive Conservative Party - Canadian Alliance) to reflect the two entities that merged. (But then, you'd have more credibility if you henceforth referred to the NDP as CCFNDP.)

    But that wouldn't have let use a synonym for shit, so of course you don't do that.

    I'm disappointed by your lack of intellectual integrity, but let's face it, the only real reason to use 'CRAP', is as an excuse for infantile toilet humour.

  39. "I'm disappointed by your lack of intellectual integrity, but let's face it, the only real reason to use 'CRAP', is as an excuse for infantile toilet humour. "

    Actually it is you who do the infantile toilet humour thing. All I have done is quote mainstream political pundits of years past and use an acceptable acronym. You have chosen to turn it upside down and profess to be insulted when all you are really doing is trying to rescue your poor excuse for a political party !!

  40. Future posts using derogatory pet names for political parties or leaders will be automatically deleted. Clear?

  41. It is a safe bet that each party has internal polling which tracks stuff other than the national numbers. Why? Because national numbers mean very little in a FPTP system, especially if the CPC gets rid of per-vote funding post-next election.

    They would run local polls in swing ridings, as there is no point in running them in blowout ridings (most of Alberta for example) where a party can run a pet fish and win.

    There would be polls seeing how people react to different campaign issues/ideas (the Liberals should've done a heck of a lot more of these pre-2008's election). Ones that ask about general viewpoints, ones that check how likely you are to shift your vote, etc.

    National polling numbers are fun, and having so many companies run them is great for all of us here, but there is no point in the CPC/Liberals paying for one.

  42. If often wonder if the Harper government's support among new Canadians would not be even higher if it did not appear to be so stridently pro-Israel.

    Muslims are a large and fast-growing segment of the population. Most immigrants come from countries where, at the very least, Israel has a PR problem.

    Obviously, the Prime Minister has his own philosophical and tactical reasons for aligning himself so strongly with the pro-Zionist vote -- both Jewish and Christian.

    But does this contribute to the "ceiling" on Harper's support? Eric, what would you say? And the posters as well. Thanks.

  43. Shawn,

    If we had vote intention broken down by religion or ethnicity we might be able to guess at it. But it wouldn't surprise me if the Conservatives are trying to play both sides. They've been campaigning hard to raise their profile within ethnic communities, but at the same time have spoken about promoting Canadian values and being more selective in terms of immigration and refugee claimants.

    Not all Muslims are anti-Israel, of course, and their proportion of the population is still small enough (2%) that they aren't a determinant factor in any national campaign. In individual races, however, they can play a big role.

  44. Thanks Eric. And I do not mean to suggest that only Muslims are opposed to Israel.

    In fact, for reasons both, well, reasonable and unsavoury, I would guess there's an opposition to Israel and its policies across a broad segment of Canadian society. And not just in Quebec, either. I'm a non-religious Jew myself, and I know what's out there.

    I suppose it comes down to how engaged Canadians are on this issue. I would love to know.

  45. The Tories are saying this for an obvious reason. The best predictor of a fall in CPC support is high CPC poll numbers. Enough Canadians fear a CPC majority that a big CPC lead causes teh anti-CPC vote to consolidate that that's a bad result for the Conservatives.

    If the Tories are going to win a majority, it needs to come as a surprise to the votersthat it was even likely.

  46. One consideration for the Conservatives in their response to this poll could be fundraising. Sure, they don't want to be too triumphalist too soon. But urging caution and implying that the race is closer than it actually is would be the smart way to keep supporters coughing up donations. "We're cruising, folks, we are so gonna nail this election thing" is not only arrogant but it causes unhelpful relaxation amongst donors and supporters.

  47. I agree with Ira and what's more, I can't think of any precedent in Canadian political history, where voters appear to be so spooked by the idea of giving a party full reign to do what people think or fear they really want to do.

  48. Polygonic said: "One consideration for the Conservatives in their response to this poll could be fundraising."

    This is something that always bothers me and is part of why I hate the idea of parties counting on fundraising to survive. When parties in power do things so they can make more cash rather than because it will earn votes it concerns me. In Ontario we still have corporate funding of parties and the raw dollars collected by the Liberals is scary. Nationally the CPC will announce things that enrage/engage their core supporters thus encouraging them to donate more cash.

    Of course, if you are part of that base it is very good as it keeps the CPC bringing out policies that their base will enjoy, regardless of how the vast majority of people feel. The CPC, with the largest base of donors, still had just 101k people donating in 2009 (the most recent year for returns). Thus they have a strong incentive to do whatever it takes to keep those 101k people happy regardless of how the 30 million other Canadians feel.

    As I said above though, it all depends on what you feel political parties should focus on - their base or getting that extra 10% to gain full power.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. I don't understand panray.

    How is the subsidy.... or the votes different?

    You are still asking people to support you by giving them something in order to get power or money.

    The group you are asking is just a little different.

    Quebec for example played on the fiscal imbalance for a long time.

    You might remember "The west wants in" in response to the liberals playing to their base in Ontario/Quebec and ignoring a segment of people.

    It can be quite regional as well. In Saskatchewan for example the NDP held most of the city seats in the last campaign, while the saskparty appealed to the people outside Saskatoon and Regina. It is a split that until the last election was basically split to a seat.

    Gun control is another good example doesn't matter in most of Canada. Except for The big city, and the western/northern rural.

    So why is it different when the tories use policies to energize their base than when the liberals or the NDP do the same?

    I don't think its not really different except for the group that gets played to.


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