Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Three-way race in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean

New polls from Environics and EKOS were added to the projection this morning, but already EKOS has updated their latest missive. That particular poll will be dealt with tomorrow. For now, we'll focus on yesterday's numbers.

We'll also take a look at four riding polls conducted in Quebec, three of them in the Saguenay region and one in the Centre-du-Québec/Eastern Townships. The ridings in the Kingdom of the Saguenay show some very interesting races between the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois, and the New Democrats.
These two national polls were taken on different days, so their findings aren't exactly comparable. But at the national level it is worth noting that they both peg the New Democrats in second, ahead of the Liberals.

But for Environics this result isn't strikingly different than their poll from April 12-17. At that point, they had the spread as 39% for the Tories, 24% for the Liberals, and 22% for the NDP. Since then the NDP has gained three points and the Liberals have lost two, but neither of those variations are statistically significant.

The same does not go for EKOS, however. Since their April 18-20 poll, the NDP has grown by 3.3 points - just outside of the margin of error for comparing the NDP's support over two polls. The Liberals have dropped one point to 23.7% while the Conservatives are down 0.7 points to 33.7%.

The NDP's growth comes in both Ontario and Quebec, where the party is up 3.3 points and 7.3 points, respectively. In Quebec, the NDP has taken the lead forcefully, pushing the Bloc down two points to 25.2%. Note that the Conservatives are down to 14.7% while the Liberals are at a very low 13.1%.

It is a similar story in the Environics poll. Since April 12-17, they have the NDP up 15 points in Quebec to 41%, followed by the Bloc at 28% (-9). The Liberals (15%) and Conservatives (12%) are hardly in it at all.

And that has been a bit of an overlooked state of affairs in Quebec. The Conservatives are not doing very well. Are nationalist Quebecers moving back to the Bloc now that the NDP seems to be on the upswing?

Perhaps some riding polls from the province will shed some light on the situation. And, really, thank you Quebec for providing so many riding polls in this election. The rest of the country has really been lazy!
Let's start with the poll for Richmond - Arthabaska, a riding that straddles the Centre-du-Québec (Victoriaville) and part of the Eastern Townships. The poll was conducted by local firm Cara Telecom for La Nouvelle Union. The Bloc has a big lead here with 47%, virtually unchanged from 2008. The Conservative candidate, Jean-Philippe Bachand, is second with 21% but that represents a drop of eight points for the Tories since the last election. The NDP has gained 11 and stands at 20%, demonstrating how some of the NDP's new found support in the province will not translate into seats in every part of the province.

While Richmond - Arthabaska is a bit of a landslide, the two ridings in Saguenay are very close. Conducted for Le Courrier du Saguenay, and a smattering of other local papers, by Segma, the poll found that in Chicoutimi - Le Fjord and Jonquière - Alma, the two ridings that make up the city of Saguenay and outlying regions, there is a three-way race.

In Chicoutimi - Le Fjord, the incumbent Bloc candidate Robert Bouchard is leading with 35%, a drop of six points since the last election. He is followed closely by the Conservative Carol Néron at 29%, a drop of five for that party. Running in a surprising third is the New Democrat Dany Morin at 23%, a gain of 15 points.

It is much the same story in Jonquière - Alma, represented by Conservative cabinet minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn. He is still leading with 36%, but that is a drop of 17 points. The NDP's Claude Patry (a local labour leader) is running second at 30%, an astonishing 25-point gain for the party. The Bloc is in third at 26%, a drop of 12 points. The NDP spoke grandiosely at the beginning of the campaign about Patry's likelihood of being elected, but it now looks like it wasn't an unreasonable proposition.

Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean, which was supposed to be a target seat for the Bloc, looks safely in the hands of Conservative incumbent Denis Lebel with 54%, a gain of 10 points since the last election. The Bloc is well behind at 28%, a drop of 12 points.

These three riding polls in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region show just how far the NDP surge has reached. Where they have a decent candidate, they can come from absolutely nowhere to be competitive. And even when they don't have a particularly good candidate they can still push 20%. But while the NDP is performing excellently in Quebec, the Bloc is certainly not out of it, and Conservative incumbents still appear to be on the road to re-election.

Another thing to take from all four of these riding polls is the complete non-existence of the Liberals, though none of these ridings were particularly good for them in 2008.

The projection compares more or less well with these riding polls. Richmond - Arthabaska was very close, all of the parties in the projection being within five points of the poll. Chicoutimi - Le Fjord was also very close, all parties being with two points except for the NDP, which was off by seven.

Jonquière - Alma and Roberval - Lac-Saint-Jean compared less favourably. In the former, the difference ranged from eight to 20 points for the three main parties, while in the latter that range was within four points for the NDP, Liberals and Green but within 11 for the Tories and Bloc.


  1. I think the NDP will pick up Jonquiere-Alma. That poll had them within 6 points last week and there may have been even more momentum since then. Also, seeing the BQ firmly in third place could unleash a wave of strategic voting by Bloquistes who will vote NDP to defeat the Tory incumbent.

  2. Isn't Jonqiuere-Alma the place where in 2008 they had a poll out expecting the Conservatives and Bloc to be in a super tight race, and it never happened?

  3. Ekos is an outlier with the CPC in the low 30's, Compass and IR are outliers with the CPC in the low 40's.

    Nanos and now Environics and several other pollsters all seem to agree the proper number is somewhere between 37-39%.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the final E-day numbers were as follows:

    CPC - 39%, NDP - 24%, LPC - 24%, BQ - 8%, Green - 5%

  4. Out of curiosity, what would the seat projection be if you left EKOS out of the model? It's the only one to show any significant drop for the Tories, and has had them consistently much lower than any other poll. They could of course be right and all the others wrong, but if we assume that for some reason their numbers are off, what would that yield?

  5. This is a fascinating example of the "network effect". Once support for a protest party reaches a certain critical mass, it suddenly becomes a mainstream choice for others within a region. Voting NDP in Quebec is no longer throwing away a vote, if such a crass label can be applied, but holds the probability of actually electing an alternative voice. I have a feeling that this NDP wave isn't going to fizzle over the next few days, unless there is a major unforced error from the orange party.

  6. "Isn't Jonqiuere-Alma the place where in 2008 they had a poll out expecting the Conservatives and Bloc to be in a super tight race, and it never happened?"


  7. From the EKOS report of April 15 (http://ipolitics.ca/2011/04/15/debates-hold-little-sway-on-voters-ekos-research/):

    Despite the wildly inconsistent results that have come out of other polling organizations, we are very comfortable with our numbers and the well-behaved patterns that have emerged.

    Now what pollster admits in the first paragraph that they are an outlier, but please, keep reading anyway? When I read that two weeks ago, I stopped giving EKOS much credit. They almost seemed embarrassed by their results.

  8. Its hard to say that Ekos is an "outlier" when at the moment they and Nanos are the ONLY polling companies who have put out any numbers over and after the Easter weekend. All the other polls we are referring to are from a week ago. If tomorrow we get a flood of new polls from Ipsos, HD, ARS etc... that all have the Tories much higher then yes, we can refer to Ekos as an outlier - but right now they are almost alone in terms of polling during these past few days.

  9. Taking margins of error into account, I don't see any outliers among results reported this last week (EKOS, Nanos, Ipsos-Reid).

    The levels of support for the NDP were:
    24.0% with a 3.1% MOE for Ipsos-Reid
    23.6% with a 2.8% MOE for Nanos, and
    28.0% with a 1.8% MOE for EKOS.

    These are consistent results, in the sense that if the NDP's true level of support were, for example, 26.4%, this would be within the margin of error for all three polls.

    The LPC results are similarly consistent; the CPC results are only slightly inconsistent.

  10. Not related to this article but...

    The CBC is quoting Iggy as saying he remained confident that with "a vast 60 per cent" of Canadians opposing Stephen Harper's Conservativesenough will turn to the Liberals on election day Monday.

    Am I reading this wrong, or did Iggy just say the Liberals internal polling has the Tories at 40%....?

    The Vorlon


  11. DL,

    "Also, seeing the BQ firmly in third place could unleash a wave of strategic voting by Bloquistes who will vote NDP to defeat the Tory incumbent."

    "firmly" in third place??

    This poll has the BQ only behind the NDP by 4 points in that riding.

    And given the sample size for the single riding, "firmly in third place" does not seem to be a realistic assessment.

  12. SGI riding level poll has May in the lead

  13. Eric,

    Given the plethora of riding polls in Quebec recently are there any larger trends we can infer from that data? For example, are the NDP making gains mostly in urban areas? Or is there some other discernible trait? Since it is unlikely that they are gaining support uniformly across the province (indeed, these riding polls seem to suggest the opposite), perhaps there is some analysis to give a better indication of which Quebec ridings will see an orange burst on May 2.

  14. (Taking margins of error into account, I don't see any outliers )

    Given the mathematics behind MOE, I don't think that's a meaningful comparison. In order to view those as non-outlier you have to have the real value as pretty much as far as out possible from all the polls while still remaining in the MOE. But within the MOE, that's the least likely place for it to be.

    Also, some of the difference are consistent by the polling company. The conclusion must be that differences in companies affect the sample of Canadians they ask.

  15. Angus Reid poll: Cons at 35, NDP 30 and 22 for Libs.

    According to Robert Fife's twitter feed.

  16. I think Eric's seat projection formula is about to explode!!

  17. DL

    Have to agree given the latest EKOS off Power Play !!

  18. @ajbeecroft, oh no, another outlier!

    Add that to the 6 or so consecutive polls with NDP on top in Quebec - more outliers!

    In fact, all the polls these days seem to be outliers.

  19. Over 2 million at advanced polls

    Friday &Monday at all time record levels !!

    34.5% !!

  20. This is all rather amazing....

    Looks like Iggy will be the LAST leader of the Liberal Party of Canada....

  21. Ekos may be lowballing the tories, but I think all pollsters agree that the NDP is soaring, especially in Q. Before we say 100 seats is crazy, who would have predicted the Ontario NDP majority in 1990? Harris's majority in 95 at the start of the campaign? Or the Libs winning ALL Ontario seats in 3 federal elections? How about the total destruction of the tories in 93? The point is ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN during an election-it's an organic thing that takes on its own life. Oh delicious irony if Harper's character assasination of Iggy(and the libs) results in the NDP taking enough seats to deny him his majority anyway.

  22. Liberal senator Larry Campbell just endorsed an NDP-Liberal merger.

    If Harper doesn't his majority its Prime Minister Jack Layton, Deputy PM Michael Ignatieff, finance minister Tom Mulcair, etc etc


    Would any Liberals cross the floor rather than have Jack become Prime Minister ?

    Blue Liberals ? Pro-life Liberals ? Foriegn policy hawks ?

    I can't imagine someone like Irwin Cotler wanting to support Libby Davis ...

  23. Re: Anon,

    Getting ahead of yourself regarding the LPC. Boisclair wasn't the last leader of the PQ, and it doesn't look like Bouchard will have been the last PQ premier either despite what the ADQ did. Heck, the PCs did even worse than the LPC is looking to do, and Kampbell wasn't even the second last PC leader.

    As for the polls. Wow. AR confirming EKOS. That's pretty big.

    While I don't buy EKOS's seat projection's specifics; were the result to be 35/30 like AR says I could see 130/100 seats as those top line figures would mirror 2006.

    The advance poll surge also seems to indicate something. While I suspect adv. polling is always gaining in popularity, it confirms what we saw with the high ratings for the debates. The polling companies were wrong about interest lacking. I had figured that interest would be increased over the previous election, but that was mostly instinct. This seems to be for real.

  24. Ontario Dipper

    An Angus Reid poll out Tuesday evening pretty much confirms much of what EKOS found. They reported the Cons at 35%, the NDP at 30%! the Libs at 22%. Three way tie in Atlantic Canada, Big NDP lead in Quebec (12 points ahead of the Bloc) NDP up to 27% in Ontario (The first real sign the Orange Crush has started to affect Ontario) 33% for the Dippers in BC, and also Man and Sask. Even in Alta they are at 22%, unprecedented for them.

  25. Angus-Reid now up:


  26. Yes yes...NDP 30% nationally.....27 in Ontario....Insane..just insane..But so exciting :)


  27. It would be worth it for everyone to vote NDP just to see Harper's face when the results come in.


  28. new polls release today by green party put them at 45% in the Saanich--Gulf Islands riding. Which is apparently May's riding. This has her squeaking ahead of the conservatives in that same riding. More infor here: http://greenparty.ca/media-release/2011-04-26/elizabeth-may-leading-saanich-gulf-islands

    Thoughts on this info.

    Also can't wait to hear your break down of new info about liberals being in third from today's national poll.

  29. Ekos Apr 26

    Seat Count

    CPC 133

    NDP 97

    Lib 64

    Grn 0

    Bloc 13

    Ind 1

    From Ekos website

  30. Even Nanos today shows Cons 36.4 per cent support compared to the NDP with 31.2 per cent, up slightly from the day before. The Liberals are at 22 per cent.
    308 better wake up to these national numbers or be red faced on election day. Continuing to score the NDP way lower than the polls say makes no sense to me.


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