Friday, April 1, 2011

The polls are not a-changin in new Nanos

The day has gotten a little away from me, but nevertheless here is the belated poll summary for yesterday's single poll, taken in the context of Conservative promises on the Lower Churchill, Liberal promises on child care, and New Democratic promises on the end of subsidies for the oil sands. Over to you, Nanos Research!
Yes, there is a new EKOS poll out this afternoon, but it won't be added to the projection until Monday's update so I will leave coverage of it to then. In the meantime, I invite you to look at their release.

Not only do I invite you to do it, I encourage you to do it. This Nanos/Globe/CTV poll does not have much new in it. Normally, that would be fine. When we have a plethora of polls every day we will be able to tell whether things actually are stable or not, and one poll with a steady line might act as a bit of an anchor for wilder variations in others. But as Nanos is, at this point, the only polling firm conducting daily tracking the results are a little dull.

And the new EKOS poll shouldn't break the drudgery, as at this point they are planning weekly releases. I've heard from a few other pollsters that have said they are planning some things for the campaign, but so far no word of another polling firm that will be conducting daily tracking. At this point, all we can do is hope.

What this poll shows is another tiny uptick for the Conservatives, who are now at 39.4%. The Liberals are down one point to 31.7%, a relatively large drop in a rolling poll. The NDP is stuck at 16.1% (-0.2), indicating that Liberal and NDP fortunes aren't necessarily tied. But all of these movements are within the poll's sampling error.

British Columbia and Ontario had little movement worth noting, while the Conservatives dropped almost five points in Atlantic Canada. I think their support for the Lower Churchill project, however, will see them making gains in the next few days in the region. Whether the pledge to finalize a deal for the HST with Quebec will balance the situation for them in that province, however, remains to be seen.

The next projection update will be on Monday morning. If you need a fix this weekend, you can read Saturday's projection in Le Devoir (which will include the EKOS) and Sunday's on The Globe and Mail website and (to be confirmed) in the Monday edition of the newspaper. If any polls come out tomorrow morning, they will be included in the G&M update.

Note: Nanos Research asked respondents "For those parties you would consider voting federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences?"


  1. Historically IPSOS has released polls on Saturday.

  2. I believe this is going to be a fairly stable election period numbers wise for the parties. However,because of where the Conservatives are sitting, a 3 point swing can be a difference of 37 seats from 137 to 174 seats on Democratic Space's seat projection model.

    Because of the fulcrum the Cons are at, I'm not sure if we will know how this is going to play out on election day. A standard margin of error in one direction is the difference between a really bad day for the Tories or a momentous day.

    Is 39% on election day in the polls really 41%, or 38% both completely possible with very different results?

    I think it will be a whole lot of knowing nothing until the votes are counted, with relatively stable polls.

  3. I'm a little shocked at some of the Quebec opposition to the Lower Churchill development.

    Duceppe is saying that its being built with Quebecker's money. Ha! Only people from a "have" province like Alberta could make such a claim.

    Charest is saying that Quebec built its own energy infrastructure. Maybe Newfoundland could have done the same without the historic rip off they suffered on the Upper Churchill.

    Of course, everyone knows that the transmission end of this project - going to the island of Newfoundland and then through Nova Scotia - is a needless step.

    In a properly functioning country the energy would go through Quebec transmission lines and be sold to US markets. But Hydro Quebec wouldn't like that scenario. Even though Canadian and NAFTA law says its Newfoundland's right to do so.

    Its just sad really. And short sighted.

    SNC Lavalin is building the thing. Cheaper power helps consumers everywhere. Hydro helps clean up the air.

    This project is going to benefit Quebec too.

    Just not the well connected power lobbyists who seem to have the politicians under their control.

  4. Cheaper power helps consumers everywhere.

    Indeed it does.

    But Muskrat Falls, if built, would be among the most expensive non-diesel power generation in Canada.

  5. "the most expensive non-diesel power generation in Canada."

    There's no such thing as a Canada wide electricity market.

    What matters is the relative cost of fossil fuel alternatives for the market in question.

    Wind, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and nuclear are all more expensive and/or less reliable.

    Helping Atlantic Canada stand on its own two feet is well worth it for the rest of us.

    BTW - the only difference between the profitable upper churchill is the route being taken.

    Adding in the multi-billion dollar cost of energy infrastructure makes the per kw hour more $.

    But that infrastructure would need to be built anyways.

    Its very misleading to expense the energy that way. Its still a money maker, of course.

    Critics aren't arguing that. They're arguing oppertunity costs.

  6. I wont make a bunch of friends here with the new Nanos poll (released april 2) that has the CPC at 41.3 and the Liberals at 30.

    Doing my extraction guess it make the April 1 poll as CPC 45 (39,39,45) Liberals at 18 (45,28,18).

    Tomorrow will be an interesting

    I realized that yet another flaw in my extraction numbers is unbalance daily sample sizes "Random telephone sample of 983 Decided Canadians, Mar 30 to Apr 1, accurate ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20." If they sample 400 night they have 217 undecided that are being thrown away when the numbers are published.

  7. So the CPC has gained 2.9% this week ?

    During their supposedly losing campaign ??

    I'm glad I took that chill pill! Hope Earl, HtH, and the national media did too !

    Last night on Power Play the Liberal friendly reporter Roger Smith tried to downplay these developments by saying "polls lag".

    That's what they've been saying for months about each new ethics issue - it hasn't sunk in yet.

    That's what they've been saying about Ignatieff for years now! - he hasn't caught on just yet.

  8. BC Voice of Reason, how are you doing that extracting? I've done it myself (assuming the first three days are all the same) and I have CPC (40.5, 39.3, 44.1) and LPC (40.7, 25.7, 23.6). Perhaps you h ave a more sophisticated technique?

    And yes, I realize doing this isn't really statistically justifiable. But then neither is comparing two days of rolling polls as if they were distinct polls.

  9. The polling results are a result of two factors working against the Liberals.

    First, they're fighting a two-front war. On the one hand they have to play to the left, to keep votes from stripping off to the NDP, on the other hand they can't afford to lose votes on the right to the conservatives. The end result is that they're announcing policies which give a nod to the left, but which are so modest (or funded by cancelling similar programs) that they won't piss off the right - in theory. The flip side is that they don't really impress anyone on either the right or the left. So it's not entirely surprising to see them not making huge gains (indeed, given the modesty of some of their announcements,even compared to previous Liberal promises, you almost wonder if there's a risk that they could leave a big opening for the NDP).

    In contrast, the Tory base is rock solid (and we've seen polling numbers showing how committed Tory voter are) so that they can make gains by targeting key voters in swing ridings (hydro-electric projects in Newfoundland, being a great example).

    The second problem for the Liberals is a more fundamental one, and I think Shadow's nailed it. By rushing an early election , they haven't built up an "election question" in the public's mind (think "hidden agenda" in 2004, "Liberal corruption" in 2006 or "Green plan" in 20080. Think about it, what are the two critical issues that the Liberals purport to be fighting over? (1) Ethics and (2) corporate tax cuts. Neither issues are ones in which the Grits have a great deal of credibility (recent polls show the Tories being ahead of the Liberals on ethics and the Liberal position on corporate taxes is a rather recent flip-flop from the position they have taken until last year, it's hard to take their criticisms seriously).

    That's not to say that those aren't issues the Liberals could play to in an election, but they have to take the time BEFORE the election to build them up as issues in the public mind. In this respect, pursuing a spring election may have been a major strategic error.

    Take ethics, why rush a finding of contempt of parliament through a parliamentary committee to force an early election? Why not drag the committee hearing on for weeks, trying to get the issue in the public eye (and treating it as if it were a genuine inquiry rather than an opposition kangaroo court)? Why force an election BEFORE a trial on the "in-and-out" scheme. I doubt the Tory organizers will ultimately be convicted, but if they were, wouldn't that be a great kick-off for an election campaign? And even if they're acquitted, the very appearance of the Conservative party and senior Tories on trial makes for great optics for the Grits.

    By not taking the time to build up those issues (or letting them be built up by others), the Liberals end up in scenario where they're fighting an election over, in the view of Joe Q Public, nothing. Worse, without those issues on the public radar screen, the Liberals are playing into the Tory message (which I note, Harper was playing to yesterday in his party financing announcement) that anything less than a conservative majority will result in ongoing instability (and note the contrast. The Tories have been framing their election question for this campaign - coalition or no - since January 2009).

  10. Oh wow Jack Mintz just DESTROYS the Liberal position on corporate tax rates:

    The $6 billion in new money the Liberals are suggesting by jacking the rates back up is actually only 100 million !

    That's combined provincial/federal. Even if you accept the 1.7 billion they'd be taking from the tax base of the provinces you're only getting 1.8 billion.

    There you have it folks. Vote for the Liberals and get a $4.2 billion higher yearly federal deficit ! And 1.7 billion (combined) higher on the provincial side.

    This is why there was so much discussion last year on raising the GST.

    At the time the Liberals new the only way to pay for their platform was to hike it.

    But they've made a political calculation to try and grab NDP voters by abandoning sound fiscal management.

    John Manley must be so painfully embarrased by his party these days.

  11. winston

    I was absolutely in error. I put the liberals at 45 for Wednesday when they were actually (my previous calculation) at 40...(45 is almost as believable as 40 in my mind)

    You are doing the exact same thing as me with a greater degree of precision.

    when their 40.7 falls off tomorrow and gets replaced with a more reasonable 25... they will show as a drop from 30 to 25. Then the panic starts.

  12. Shadow

    Sorry to argue with you again but noted economists Don Martin and Roger Smith of CTV news in discussing the cost of the Liberal promises to date CLEARLY stated that Mr. Ignatieff has only spent 2/3 of the money be will raise in raising corporate taxes so far. Why would you persist in not believing these guys??

    Mr. Ignatieff has the very utmost integrity on accurate estimates. He voted in the HOC for the first time in the Westminster parliament in the History of the world to hold the Harper Government in contempt BECAUSE of inaccurate estimates.

    What kind of guy would Mr. Ignatieff be if he were to drop this political Nuclear Bomb on someone and then not have accurate estimates of his own a week later? His revenue estimates and spending estimates must be worked out to fine accurate and verifiable detail.

    He certainly must have taken into account what the long term costs to the provinces would be to handle the incremental students he is expecting to go to University. It must be there... Really it is probably there but I just did not see it...

  13. I don't think we can necessarily expect a big drop tomorrow. It's certainly possible that the Liberals had a really good night Wednesday, but its also equally probable that they had a bad night Sunday, and the jump was merely the effect of that falling out of the rolling sample.

    If I construct a scenario along that idea, we get the LPC as (31.6, 30.0, 28.4) for the past three days. We don't, as far as I know, have any reason to prefer the one scenario over the other.

    Even if we do accept that the liberals had an unusually high result on Wednesday night, that provides evidence that the 25/23 on Thursday and Friday are probably low. i.e. its not valid to attempt to throw out outlying polls.

    Regardless, tomorrow should be interesting as the poll falls out. The degree of change should indicate something about the underlying data.

  14. I will just note (because i'm a stickler for these things) that the committee reports were never debated or acted on.

    Technically speaking the Conservative government was NOT held in contempt.


    Not that it really matters. During the entire sponsorship scandal the Liberal government was never held in contempt.

    The people who get to decide contempt or not are Canadians!

    Not the speaker and a kangaroo court.

  15. I think the concept of "ceilings" is integral to gauging the state of politics in our country and the outcome of this election.

    The stubbornly apparent 38% ceiling of Conservative support, and the slightly higher 'tolerant' approval/reelection rating shows that there's no room for growth for them.

    This is evidenced by the fact that the majority of non-Conservative voters would support an NDP led coalition rather than a Liberal-led government were another minority to occur. The fact of the matter is that the right wing, for what it's worth in Canada, has saturated its coalescence around the Convervatives at this juncture (and for the past half decade, arguably).

    It's likely that Conservative strategists are aware of this and are therefore engaging in a contemporary kamakaze endeavour to try to secure a majority government.

    This is reasonable and, as this post indicates, potentially a succesful route.

    The slimmest of slim majorities, as a best case scenario and possibly the most likely scenario of this election, will not provide for more stable government. The unequivocal "kiss-off" to Quebec notwithstanding, the fact remains that a true majority of Canadians do not, have not, and never will support a Conservative government.

    The lack of a plausable and capable alternative to the Conservatives is the only thing pushing them over the the 155.

    The question that begs to be asked at this juncture is whether the NDP/Liberal/Bloc/Green stew can organize or cannibalize themselves in such a way so as to provide a meaningful option for the average left-leaning voter that would actually *like* to vote for them? This is the 8-10% that are the "soft" Conservative vote. those that we're watching, truly in the "swing" ridings, those that dance with them to a pinsqueek majority or dump them into perpetual oppositional marginality.


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