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.