Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Liberals gain in new Nanos poll, NDP drops in Quebec

If a federal election were held today, Stephen Harper’s Tories would be reduced to a minority government and the Liberals would have 48 more seats than they do now, sharing the balance of power with the NDP, seat projections based on a new poll show.

The Nanos Research poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV indicates that the Tories have dropped in public support by almost six points since June.

The poll also indicates a boost in support for the Liberal Party and a large drop in NDP support in Quebec following Jack Layton’s announcement that he was temporarily stepping down as party leader to fight a new form of cancer. (Note: The poll does not capture what impact, if any, the controversy over interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmell’s past association with the Bloc Quebecois has had on NDP support).

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

A seat projection accompanies the piece, and what is most fascinating to me is that the post-Bloc Québécois era (if we are, in fact, in one) can still deliver a minority government. But what has changed most dramatically is that with a three-party system instead of a four-party system, keeping the Conservatives to a minority means giving the New Democrats and the Liberals a combined majority of seats.

Quebec is thrown upside down - again - with a poll like this. The New Democrats win 43 seats in the province, down from 59 but still a good haul, while the Liberals and Conservatives each take 16.

In Ontario, a six-point gap between the Tories and the Liberals means only 48 seats for the Conservatives, 37 for the Liberals, and 21 for the New Democrats.

Put this together with weak Conservative results out west and you have a Conservative minority government that likely doesn't last the Throne Speech.

It is impossible to know for sure, but Jack Layton's health issues and temporary departure appear to have hurt his party in Quebec. But what I am very curious to see is how those numbers move, if at all, once a poll is conducted that captures the aftermath of the Nycole Turmel brouhaha. Will they go up? Will they go down? It is really anyone's guess, though I imagine their numbers will go down outside of Quebec.

One thing that is worth noting about the polls post-election is that they don't exactly agree with one another. Abacus Data (as well as CROP and Léger) has consistently put the Bloc in second in Quebec, while Nanos Research has consistently put them in fourth. In Ontario, Nanos has put the NDP in third while Abacus has them in second.

Obviously, the stakes are pretty low with a majority government in Ottawa. But it would be helpful to have some other polling data to get a better idea of what is actually going on.


  1. Any analysis on whether the recent resurgence of McGuinty's Liberals in Ontario might be propping up the federal numbers in Ontario ?

    This poll is slightly unrealistic in that in an actual election a lot of that Liberal support would bleed to the Conservatives.

  2. There is no recent Liberal resurgence in Ontario at the provincial level.

  3. Didn't they go up a few points and Hudak go down a few in the last provincial poll ?

    And there was a leaked poll to the Star that showed them romping Rossi.

    It is generally understood that the political fortunes of the Liberals HAVE improved in the last week or two. They're getting pumped and fighting back in the ad wars.

    Of course, a lot of that is based on local intelligence - things you don't include in your model.

    Which is all well and good for your model but NOT for general political analysis.

    Which is why statements like "there is no recent Liberal resurgence in Ontario at the provincial level" are indefensible.

    A more reasonable assertion might be "my model doesn't show any improvement ..."

  4. It isn't about my model, it is about the polls. The two most recent provincial polls have not shown any Liberal resurgence. Until a poll comes out showing the Liberals are making a real gain, anything else is speculation.

  5. Yeah Anon, I don't think a bump of 2 points from 26% to 28% is anything near a "resurgence," especially when the NDP sit at 24% right behind you.

  6. You're missing the point.

    There is more to politics than math. Polls do NOT tell the whole story.

    In fact polls can and do get the results massively wrong, far beyond their so called margin of error.

    Pundits agree that the Liberals are on the upswing. This isn't "speculation".

    This is local intelligence based on facts on the ground.

  7. Aren't the federal numbers for Ontario broadly consistent with the provincial polling now? IE, during the election the federal Liberals performed below the Ontario Liberal's poll numbers, and now they're roughly on par...?

  8. I also wonder to what extent the lunacy down south will help the CPC numbers. Stephen Harper and his party typically poll better when the economy is in the news, and with the USA getting downgraded the economy is definitely in the news.

  9. Ira the fact is that Harper has never been loved.

    However, he will continue to get elected because the alternatives we've seen from the other parties have just been so much worse over these past years.

    So we can expect poor CPC numbers between elections and then once people focus in on their choices the result is that Harper picks up votes and wins.

    Heaven help us if one of the opposition parties actually gets an Obama like figure.

  10. New AR Poll:


  11. How much faith do you put in this poll's numbers in Quebec? It seems to fly in the face of all previous numbers and information. Usually when politicians face personal tragedy their numbers go up, not down.

  12. SJL,

    Since both Nanos and Angus have pegged the NDP at around 35% in Quebec, I'd say that is relatively reliable.


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