Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend polls - Montreal ridings steady, Ontario looking blue

Today's poll summary will touch on the Ipsos Reid poll released on the weekend, the three Nanos polls released over the last three days, the regional results that were missing from the recent Forum Research poll, and two riding-level polls conducted by CROP. So let's get to it!
Generally speaking, there really hasn't been much change in these polls. The Nanos numbers are flickering up and down within the sampling margin of error, while Ipsos Reid has no real change to report since their last poll taken just before the election.

Obviously, the glaring difference between the national results for these polls is the level of support for the New Democrats. But the difference is just outside what you'd expect from the margin of error of these two polling firms, and the difference in methodology (Ipsos Reid prompts, Nanos doesn't) makes up for the rest. What these two polls do show, though, is relative stability.

But if we compare Nanos's polling results from today to their last complete three-day poll, conducted between April 5 and 7, there are a few changes worth noting at the regional level.

Most important is in Ontario, where the Conservatives have gained four points in those three days. The Liberals, meanwhile, have only gained one. The NDP and the Greens have both slipped to make room for the two parties. These aren't hugely significant shifts, but in other polls we have seen the Liberals look a little better in Ontario despite the Tories seeming to be able to outpace their opponents.

In Quebec, comparing the two Nanos polls tells us something we have seen from other firms: the Bloc is down and the NDP is up. Whether that will hold remains to be seen, but I've heard from another pollster that it appears the NDP is continuing to make some real headway in the province.

That brings us to the two riding polls released by CROP on Saturday for La Presse. I love riding polls - they allow me to see how my projection is doing and also give me the opportunity to fine tune the riding-level projections.

In general, though, both these riding polls were very close to what I was already projecting.

We'll start with Lac-Saint-Louis, where the Conservatives are trying to win a beachhead on the island of Montreal with Larry Smith.

So far, it appears the experiment is failing. We've seen poor polling numbers for the Conservatives in and around Montreal from EKOS, and CROP found the Tories to be running at only 26% in the riding, well behind Liberal incumbent Francis Scarpaleggia's result of 46%. Alain Ackad of the NDP is third with 12%, Bruno Tremblay of the Greens is fourth with 8%, and Éric Taillefer of the Bloc brings up the rear with 7%.

On Saturday morning, before I added this riding poll to the model, I had Scarpaleggia at 41%, Smith at 23%, Ackad at 20%, Tremblay at 11%, and Taillefer at 5%.

In Outremont, the scene of the epic battle between NDP incumbent Thomas Mulcair and former Liberal cabinet minister Martin Cauchon, the NDP has the edge. CROP found Mulcair to be at 47%, Cauchon at 27%, Bloc candidate Élise Daoust at 14%, Conservative Rodolphe Husny at 7%, and Green candidate Francois Pilon at 5%. Clearly, Mulcair is on the road to re-election.

Before entering this poll in the projection model, I had Mulcair at 46%, Cauchon at 29%, Daoust at 11%, Husny at 9%, and Pilon at 5%.

Of course, this week is turning out to be a whole different ball game. We have the leaked report on G8 spending that is dominating the news and two debates that will be taking place in the next 54 hours. The Auditor General has made a statement poo-pooing some of the talk concerning the leaked report, but the damage might be already done. In the 2006 campaign, an investigation into the practices of Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, which turned out to be completely misplaced, was the nail in the coffin for the party.

If something similar happens here, by the week's end the polls could be showing something completely different than what we see today.

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). "Thinking of how you feel right now, if FEDERAL elections were held tomorrow, which of the following parties' candidates would you, yourself, be most likely to support?" (Ipsos Reid). "If the federal election were held today, which party would you be most likely to vote for?" (Forum). Questions asked by CROP are not available.


  1. Harris Decima's new numbers are 40% Conservative 28% Liberal. 15% NDP, 8% Bloc, 8% Green.

    Week 2: A lot of Liberal sound and fury amounting to nothing.

  2. btw Eric what damage?? These spending numbers are old news, and all the spending was accounted for. Canadians who didn't like Conservative spending on the G8 and in Muskoka before don't like it now, but it's hardly a revelation.

    And Sheila Fraser's statement was very strong and very critical of the leak and the reporting on it.

  3. I'll agree that the appearance of wrong-doing with regard to the Auditor General could be damaging. Shiela Fraser is one of the most well-liked and well-respected public figures in the country.

    That said, the debates are about to start, so those may well push the spending report from the headlines. Unless Stephen Harper says something silly about them during the debates - then all bets are off.

  4. Using an AG quote praising the Liberals fraudulently as being about the CPC is going to sink Harper now the damning AG report has also been leaked.

  5. Hi Eric,

    Why do Ispos-Reid polls seems to always (or at least very often) have a higher Conservative support level, and lower Liberal support level than other polling firms? I've noticed this for years, and to as a casual observer it seems to point to some bias on the part of Ipsos-Reid. What do you think?


  6. Anonymous,

    It could be an inadvertent effect of their methodology, but Ipsos Reid has a generally good track record.

  7. Larry Smith killed his chances awhile ago. There was no way he'd make it after the 'french doesn't need protecting' remarks.

    As per the AG report, considering people seem to be in the 'not care' mode re: Cons being ethically challenged, I doubt this will do much. Oh, the media will complain and so will the other parties, but nothing will really change.


  8. i'm afraid that this (illegally) leaked documentation, which by the way, isn't the final draft, will be perceived (already is being perceived) as yet more mud slinging from the desparate conservative haters and will have no effect on the conservatives numbers.after a swift,what could be called a rebuttle from the aditor general,the feeding frenzy by the opposition looked uncool and this has more of a chance of haunting them than it does the conservatives as the source of this "material" reeks of criminal activity-not to mention the timing....

  9. Considering that you're trying to cover 308 ridings, the match between those two riding polls and your projections are really impressive.

    Eric, any idea if anyone's going to be doing such riding polls for some of the key southern Ontario battleground ridings?

  10. I haven't heard anything, but I certainly hope so. I'm sure we'll hear from Segma and CROP again in Quebec. There seems to be more of a history of riding polls in Quebec, there was even one for the last provincial by-election.

  11. Down the road, it might be nice to add a feature where you chart the trend lines of your seat projections, too. For while they are driven by the poll trends, it's not identical.

  12. I am astounded at the sleepiness of Canadains. Wake up! Participate...

    apathy reigns supreme and we allow all parties to scare us into fearing the other.

    My observation: abc!!!! Harper shows no regard for democracy.

  13. With 3 polls in the last few days having the Tories at or above 40 and considering that in the '08 elections almost all Pollsters underestimated Tory support by a few points (source:,_2008 ), I think it's an easy majority Tory government

  14. Further on previous Anon's comment: Do we have any gauge of an "enthusiasm gap"? In the U.S., that was a huge factor in converting raw polling numbers into what happened on election day. Is there a typical calibrated enthusiasm gap between the different parties? Have any pollsters tried to measure it by subselecting likely voters?


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