Monday, April 4, 2011

Double-digit leads for everyone!

Along with the routine Nanos polls conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail released Saturday, Sunday, and this morning, the past few days have also seen reports from the likes of EKOS Research for iPolitics and Léger Marketing for the QMI Agency. Despite a few variations from one poll to the other, they are all relatively consistent throughout the country. And one thing they are all sure of is that the Conservatives currently hold an 11 to 14 point lead.
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All of the results of these polls are well within the statistical margin of error of one another (including the online poll conducted by Léger Marketing, which is not technically the kind of sample that can have an MOE applied to it), and we also see that they are all showing very little change from one poll to the next. Both EKOS and Nanos are recording a small Conservative creep upwards, while Léger sees a tiny Conservative slide. Taken together, what that likely means is that support is holding steady.
The polls are also pretty consistent for the Liberals, placing them between 26% and 30% support, while the NDP are somewhere between 16% and 18%. Voting intentions are, for all intents and purposes, stuck.

But that could change. It takes time for the effects of the campaign to sink in, particularly in the first week when a large part of the Canadian electorate is not paying attention. Once the "not again!" sentiment wears off, Canadians will start thinking about the decision they are going to make on May 2. That is not to say, of course, that their decision will be any different than what it is now.

In Ontario the lead is hard to pin down. Nanos and Léger are seeing a relatively close race between the Tories and the Liberals, while EKOS has a larger lead. This isn't anything to worry about, of course, as these pollsters all use different methods and sampled different numbers of people. But that the Conservatives are doing better in Ontario than they had been doing in the run up to the campaign is undeniable. These polls also indicate, or at least hint at, an improvement in Liberal numbers.

Over in Quebec, both the NDP and the Bloc are showing consistent numbers, though the Bloc seems to be on a very slow decline in the province. All of these polls also show that the Conservatives are either tied with or leading the Liberals in Quebec, which seems to be a bit of a change in the province in this campaign. We shall see whether it will hold. Another thing to watch is whether Jack Layton's generally good appearance last night on Tout le monde en parle, a show watched by roughly 1 in 7 Quebecers, will boost his numbers.

In British Columbia, the Conservative lead is undisputed (Nanos putting the party at 50% today) while the Liberals and NDP are neck-and-neck. That is bad news for the NDP but good news for the Liberals. And in Atlantic Canada, the race is very close between the two main parties, while the NDP seems to be doing somewhat better than they've been doing in the region for months.

Of note in the EKOS poll is the Conservative lead in Toronto: 40.9% to 34.8%. This is, of course, the all-important battleground. But the Liberals are leading in Ottawa with 43.8% to the Tories' 38.4%. It's unlikely, though, that it will result in any seat changes.

In the Léger poll, respondents were asked who would make the best Prime Minister. Stephen Harper was on top with 36% outside of Quebec, followed by Jack Layton at 20% and Michael Ignatieff at 14%. Inside Quebec, Gilles Duceppe is the most trusted leader at 30%. He's followed closely by Layton at 28%, and less closely by Harper (14%).

And according to Léger, 60% of Canadians think the next government will be a Conservative one, but only 21% think it will be a majority. That's a prospect that "scares" 44% of the country.

The questions asked by each of the pollsters are as follows: "For those parties you would consider voting federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences?" (Nanos). "If a federal election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?" (EKOS). "If FEDERAL elections were held today, for which of the following parties would you be most likely to vote, would it be for...?"(Léger).


  1. This election is about if the Tories can get a majority or not. The Liberals, IMO, are completely out of the race and look like winning no more seats than they hold now or even losing seats. Im still saying BC and Ontario are going to decide this election. I still say the Tories should campaign in the GTA and the Quebec City region more to shore up support there.

    I still think we are looking at a 4-8 seat Tory majority. I have a gut feeling that Canadians are going to take one look at the prospect of another minority government and dive in to support the Tories.

  2. The Conservatives don't hold a single seat in Toronto. How could they be ahead in the city, and not gain a seat? It doesn't make any sense (unless you mean they are ahead in the GTA, but way behind in the City of Toronto...)

  3. So Ekos has the Tories with a 6-pt lead in Toronto? Am I the only one finding this totally incomprehensible?

    The Tories haven't won a seat in Toronto since 1988, now they have a six-point lead?

    I wonder if by "Toronto" he really means the "Greater Toronto Area", in which case the numbers don't sound so far-fetched ...

  4. Things tightening up - HD:

  5. hosertohoosier04 April, 2011 16:29

    It is pretty clear that by Toronto they mean the GTA. The Tories didn't even lead in the 416 in 1984. This is trouble for Ruby Dhalla, but not so much for Gerard Kennedy and Bob Rae.

  6. Only a 7 pt CPC lead 35-28 from Allan Greg at Harris Decima.

    However this was the 2nd week of a 2 week poll. The combined 2 week poll has CPC ahead 37-26.

    That would mean that the first week (not worth publishing) had the CPC at 39 and Liberals 24.

    7 point swing over the second week. Next week Liberal lead is expected to be 1 points 31-32. Mr. Gregg did not state this trend

  7. "Toronto" will likely be the Toronto CMA not "City of Toronto". "GTA" has no solid, official definition (while CMA does), so it is the less likely of the two.

  8. Goaltender Interference04 April, 2011 17:26

    These polls are almost exactly where we were in 2008. What a pointless three years we've had.

    I still think we are looking at a 4-8 seat Tory majority
    That's a pretty narrow margin to be predicting this early. In a quiet election like this (much like 1997 or 2006), any little thing could push the polls one way or the other. Jean Charest got applause for four seconds in the leaders' debate in 1997 and his party went up 5% in the polls.

  9. Look what Harper is up against though. A guy who flip-flops more than a fish out of water and who is actually running the NDP campaign. And Im not talking about Jack Layton either. Past elections have shown the Tory support is underestimated and I hope it is this time.

  10. I have to laugh aloud at P, calling the election 10 days into it. I mean, who are you trying to convince? Anybody who pays attention to this blog probably knows enough no to swallow it whole, so why even bother?

    And for Toronto vs GTA, Ford has long ago turned all his data over to the CPC, so it is not impossible that the CPC has turned a corner. Stilll, I find it hard to credit that the CPC is ahead in the City proper...

  11. Too bad no one bothered to read the HD polling numbers that Earl posted. They have a break-down (over the past two weeks) between voters in the 416 and the 905. Not surprisingly the Tories are well ahead in the 905 (a 10% lead, although they don't report the margin of error, and given the likely small sample size, query how statistically significant that is). Somewhat more surprisingly, the Tories are only 5% behind in the 416 proper (a gap that is almost certainly not statistically significant). Given that the Tory vote is likely to be lumpy (i.e., they're not going to get many votes in the downtown ridings - i.e., the ones that voted for George Smitherman), if those numbers are correct (big "IF"), look for them to win some seats in Toronto proper.

  12. Bluegreenblogger, just call it my gut feeling. :)

  13. In terms of the Tories being ahead in Toronto, I think they mean the GTA which would include the Durham Regional Municipality, York Regional Municipality, Peel Regional Municipality, and Halton Regional Municipality. In fact under both the predictions here as well as I also saw a Nanos breakdown, it should the Tories ahead in the GTA but still being shut out of the 416 although a coule of squeakers. The 905 belt has just as many people if not more so the Tories are probably ahead here. Most Liberals are more concerned about their 905 seats than 416 seats and likewise the Tories are focusing more on the 905 ridings than 416 ones.

  14. For those who are worried that it's hopeless for the Liberals being 14 points down with four weeks to go ... here's a poll from 2008 showing the Libs 15 points down with just two weeks to go. And we know how that turned out.

  15. Anecdotally at least I see no evidence of a Tory breakthrough in the 416 so far. Certainly not if lawn signs are to be trusted. I guess we'll see but I'd be surprised to see more than one or two Tory seats in the 416.

  16. Bungle Jerry - There are only three 416 ridings I can realistically see them winning (Don Valley West, Eglinton-Lawrence, and York Centre) and I would still give the Liberals an edge at this point. Even in the 905 belt, not every riding is winneable, for example I don't see John McCallum losing his seat, but he is perhaps one of the few if not the only Liberal who is entirely safe.

  17. Take a look at what nightly tracking by Nanos was saying about 8 days into the 2005/2006 election campaign:

    Liberals had a 15 POINT lead...remember what the results of that election ended up being?

  18. This election will play out like 2006 and 2008. It's the lead party's to lose. Paul Martin had a lead and was expected to win a majority. He blew it. (Well, Scott Reid helped). In 2008 Harper was expected to win a majority against the extremely weak Dion. Harper blew it. Harper has a clear lead and few are doubting he will win. Whether he gets that majority is up to him. That's why he's playing it safe. The problem with playing it safe of course is it gives the Liberals an opportunity to at least deny him the majority if they do it right. I don't agree that Canadians will give Harper a majority based on minority government fatigue. It will actually play out on a vision for the country, Harper's vs. Ignatieff's. And I'm not putting money down on either outcome.


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