Tuesday, March 8, 2011

February 2011 Polling Averages

Time to look at February's polling. Ten national polls were released during this month (five more than last month), totaling about 21,020 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 37.5% (+2.5)
Liberals - 26.4% (-1.2)
New Democrats - 16.1% (+0.2)
Bloc Québécois - 9.9% (=)
Greens - 8.6% (-0.6)
Others - 1.5% (-0.8)

(As always, scroll down for the monthly polling averages tracking chart, stretching back to January 2009. Also, take a look at the results of the projection tests for Alberta.)

Obviously, February was a good polling month for the Conservatives. Along with a gain of 2.5 points, they widened the gap over the Liberals to 11.1 points from 7.4 points. For the Liberals, they have now dropped 2.2 points over the last four months. This is the highest the Conservatives have been since they averaged about 39% in October 2009, while this Liberal result is the worst since November 2009.
The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 150 (+14)
Liberals - 72 (-21)
Bloc Québécois - 52 (-1)
New Democrats - 33 (+7)
Independents - 1 (+1)
Greens - 0 (=)

A good deal of these seat changes are due to the new projection model. But clearly the Conservatives are in a strong position.

The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (11 polls - about 2,980 people)

Conservatives - 39.4% (+0.9)
New Democrats - 24.2% (+0.2)
Liberals - 23.5% (+0.3)
Greens - 11.6% (-0.8)
Others - 1.2%

The Conservatives increase their lead in the province, while the NDP continues to grow. They are now up 0.6 points over the last two months. The Greens, however, are down 3.1 points over the same period. With these numbers, the Conservatives win 22 seats, the New Democrats eight, and the Liberals six.

ALBERTA (9 polls - about 2,000 people)

Conservatives - 61.5% (+1.4)
Liberals - 18.4% (+0.3)
New Democrats - 9.7% (+0.5)
Greens - 8.6% (-0.8)
Others - 1.8%

The Conservatives are up a little more in Alberta, but have gained 7.1 points over the last two months. At 62%, this is the highest the Conservatives have been since February 2009. The New Democrats have made a modest gain, but with it have re-taken the third spot from the Greens. With these levels of support, the Conservatives win all 28 seats in the province.

SASKATCHEWAN & MANITOBA (9 polls - about 2,940 people)

Conservatives - 47.8% (+3.2)
New Democrats - 21.7% (-2.0)
Liberals - 21.2% (+0.3)
Greens - 7.5% (-1.5)
Others - 1.7%

The Conservatives have made gains on the backs of the NDP, who are now only holding a lead of 0.5 points over the Liberals. The Conservatives win 22 seats, the NDP wins four, and the Liberals win two.

ONTARIO (10 polls - about 5,780 people)

Conservatives - 40.3% (+2.5)
Liberals - 33.5% (-1.5)
New Democrats - 15.8% (+0.5)
Greens - 8.7% (-1.5)
Others - 1.7%

A big gain for the Conservatives, and they are now over 40%. This is the highest they've been since November 2009. The Conservatives win 53 seats, the Liberals win 37, and the New Democrats win 16.

QUEBEC (12 polls - about 6,360 people)

Bloc Québécois - 39.9% (+0.1)
Liberals - 19.5% (-0.9)
Conservatives - 19.0% (+1.9)
New Democrats - 13.3% (-0.8)
Greens - 6.8% (+0.6)
Others - 1.5%

Once again, the Bloc holds steady. They have now been at around 40% for the last three months, and have not dipped below 38% since March 2010. The Liberals are down again, representing a loss of 4.6 points over the last three months. This puts the Conservatives within range, as they stand at their highest level of support since December 2009. The Greens are up 0.9 points over the last two months. The Bloc wins 52 seats, the Liberals win 12, the Conservatives win nine, the NDP wins one, and one independent (André Arthur) is elected.

ATLANTIC CANADA (10 polls - about 2,100 people)

Conservatives - 38.4% (+7.6)
Liberals - 32.8% (-7.8)
New Democrats - 19.7% (+0.9)
Greens - 8.0% (+3.1)
Others - 1.1%

What happened to the Liberals here? The Conservatives take almost eight points from them, and the lead. The Liberals have now lost 8.4 points over the last two months, while the NDP has gained 1.4 points over that time period. Even the Greens are up 3.2 points over the last two months. At about 38%, the Conservatives are at their highest standing since, well, since I've started doing monthly averages. So, we're talking pre-2009. The Liberals, meanwhile, are at their lowest level of support since December 2009. The Conservatives win 14 seats, as do the Liberals, while the NDP wins four.
This was an excellent month for the Conservatives, at least in terms of their polling. They gained in every part of the country, and most importantly made a large 2.5-point gain in Ontario. The New Democrats had a good month as well, gaining in all provinces but Quebec, though no gains were very large. The Liberals, meanwhile, were mostly stagnant, gaining a little in the West, losing in the East. These sorts of numbers should embolden the Tories and the NDP, and make the Liberals a little wary of an election. But the recent press has been bad for the Conservatives, so we will have to wait and see whether these levels of support will hold.

Alberta Projection Test Results

I completed the projection tests for the 2006 and 2008 federal elections in Alberta. In 2006, the model would have called all 28 races accurately, including the Liberal defeats in Anne McLellan and David Kilgour's ridings. In 2008, the model caught 27 out of 28 races, missing Edmonton - Strathcona.

Adding these results to the test results for British Columbia in 2006 and 2008 puts the accuracy rate of the model at 96.1%. I have updated the Methodology and Projection Tests post to reflect this new rating.