Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NDP soft in Quebec, strong in BC in new Angus-Reid poll

The latest federal poll from Angus-Reid, taken earlier this week, shows that the top-line numbers have moved very little for any of the parties. But at the regional level, some shifts have taken place.
Nationally, the Conservatives lead with 39%, followed by the New Democrats at 31% and the Liberals at 19%.

The Bloc Québécois stands at 6% and the Greens at 4%.

Aside from a few decimal-point changes, this is exactly what happened on election night.

But regionally, most of the results are quite different.

Except, oddly, in Ontario. There the Conservatives still lead with 44% and the Liberals and NDP are deadlocked in second, with 26%.

Nationally and in Ontario, this generally jives with what others polls have shown since the election. The Nanos poll conducted last week differs, but it was taken on completey separate days. Conceivably, both these polls could be correct.

Where they agree with one another is in Quebec. In the Angus-Reid poll, the NDP has dropped to 35% (Nanos had them at 34%), indicating that the departure of Jack Layton has had a real effect on votes there. The Conservatives and Bloc are tied in second with 22%, while the Liberals trail with 17%. As 85% of the last election's Bloc voters still support the party, according to one of the questions in this poll, it appears that most of the NDP's lost support has gone to the Conservatives and Liberals. It is possible, then, that some of the federalist votes the NDP picked up in the last election are reverting to the federalist parties they supported before the last election due to Nycole Turmel's past.

The NDP makes up for the drop in Quebec with a huge number in British Columbia. They lead there with 38%, ahead of the Tories at 37%. The Liberals are at 17%. The NDP also puts up good numbers in Alberta, and leads in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada. The Conservatives are still very strong in Alberta and competitive in Atlantic Canada, but their 44% in Ontario is what keeps them in power.

Stephen Harper's approval rating stands at 40%, to 41% disapproving (or a 49% approval rating if we take out the 'not sures'). Bob Rae's approval rating is at 23% (41% without the 'not sures') while Nycole Turmel's is at 22% (44% of decideds).

Angus-Reid, oddly, even asked what people thought of Vivian Barbot's performance as interim head of the Bloc. Considering she has barely been visible and isn't an MP, it comes as no surprise that she scored 5%.

This poll would result in the Conservatives winning 156 seats and holding on to their majority by the skin of their teeth. The New Democrats win 108 seats, the Liberals 39, the Bloc Québécois four and the Greens one.

The Conservatives win 17 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 11 in the Prairies, 70 in Ontario, 13 in Quebec, 16 in Atlantic Canada and two in the north.

The New Democrats win 14 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, 14 in the Prairies, 22 in Ontario, 47 in Quebec, nine in Atlantic Canada and one in the north.

The Liberals win four seats in British Columbia, three in the Prairies, 14 in Ontario, 11 in Quebec, and seven in Atlantic Canada.

Obviously, the four Bloc seats come in Quebec and the Greens hold on to their British Columbian seat.

The poll also looked into the Turmel affair, but I think the results are far less informative than they appear at first glance.

Firstly, 43% of Canadians followed the story very or moderately closely, with only 26% not following it closely at all. In other words, 74% of Canadians are aware of the issue.

While 41% of Canadians say they are concerned with having Turmel as interim leader of the NDP, 51% said they were not concerned. Demonstrating how this sort of thing isn't much of a problem in Quebec, 64% of respondents in that province were not concerned. A linguistic breakdown of that number would have been fascinating.

Now, 41% is a huge swathe of the population. Other parties don't have this kind of issue that would "concern" Canadians. But what would the response have been had Angus-Reid asked Canadians whether they were concerned with having Stephen Harper as Prime Minister, or Bob Rae as interim leader of the Liberals? I imagine those numbers would have been relatively significant, but nevertheless meaningless.

The same issue exists with the question of whether the NDP should replace Turmel. Only 34% of Quebecers said she should be replaced, while 45% of Canadians as a whole said so. That number drops to 29% among New Democratic supporters.

But again, ask Canadians if Harper or Rae should be replaced and at least one-third of respondents would probably say yes, broken down pretty clearly along party lines. People also generally dislike politicians, and putting them out of a job is always a popular opinion. So Angus-Reid should have asked about the replacement of Harper and Rae to give us some basis of comparison.

There is little that we can take this poll as conclusive evidence that something significant has happened. The only notable thing in this poll, in conjunction with Nanos's poll from last week, is that the New Democrats seem to be faltering in Quebec after polling above their election result for the first few months after the ballots had been cast. Is it a honeymoon effect, a mere statistical wobble, or something related to Jack Layton and Nycole Turmel? Time will tell.


  1. I wish that Angus Reid had also asked all Canadians how "concerned" they were that several Conservative cabinet ministers from Quebec have been past BQ members/supporters of Quebec independence. It would have been interesting to compare the level of "concern" over that with the level of concern about Turmel's past ties.

  2. What's with the McCarthyism DL ??

    Those associations by CPC members are all over a decade old.

    Heck, does anyone worry about arch-federalist Stephane Dion's committment to this country ?

    Hey Harper was once a young Liberal, do we need to worry that he's involved in some master plan to help the Grits ?


    Such a weak, you did it too!! defence by the NDP on this issue. You guys need some better talking points that's for sure.

    Nycole Turmel was involved in seperatist politics until a week ago. I have no interest in what people were doing a decade or more ago.

  3. The View From Steeltown10 August, 2011 13:00

    I think that this poll show that the NDP "surge" is no longer a Quebec phenomenon as demonstrated by the numbers in other regions (particularly BC and Prairies which are showing support higher than in Quebec). We can now begin to see the NDP asserting itself as the true alternative for the Conservative government. For a large number of voters the reflex is no longer to look at the Liberals but rather to look at the NDP as the party with a legitimate chance of replacing the current administration.

  4. This poll clearly demonstrates that the NDP has a chance of forming government because it leads in 8 provinces (except Alberta and Ontario). Alberta is unlikely to swing to the NDP given the little non-Conservative vote left (4%). Ontario will probably split the vote for another 1-2 elections because they probably have the hardest decision to make: either the Conservatives that have been in power for 9 years (if they can still look alive, which they really can't), the NDP (if they can erase the memories of the 90s), or the Liberals (if they can get their act together).

    But what is quite surprising is that the Conservatives still lead the NDP by 8 points because they have 75% in Alberta (that still gives them only 27 seats: something they could get with 50% of the vote)


  5. AW there will be more than 28 seats up for grabs in Alberta in the next election.

    Don't forget the new seats that are going to be added to the house of commons from BC, Alberta, and Ontario.

    With their superior fundraising, organization, and candidate recruitment abilities the CPC expect these new seats to be their majority insurance policy.

  6. Liberals narrow the gap in ON:

  7. 75% support for the Conservatives and 1% (!) support for the Liberals in Alberta approaches the level of comedy. Obviously the MOE for the regionals must be high (meaning the Libs could be in the negative percentiles!) but still...

  8. Only 400 sampled in that Ontario poll.

  9. Thanks for the link Earl.

    That Ontario poll just adds to the long line of items pointing towards a Liberal resurgence in Ontario in the past two weeks.

    This is going to be a good old fashioned bare knuckle scrap right to the finish.

    My money is still on PC minority, NDP oppo, and Liberal rump.

    I think Hudak and McGuinty will destroy each other and allow Horwath to come up the middle with her positive vision !

  10. Anon 09:53

    "That Ontario poll just adds to the long line of items pointing towards a Liberal resurgence in Ontario in the past two weeks."

    Indeed it does and to all you nay sayers get used to the fact the Hudak Tories are distinctly on the edge of a serious defeat !!

  11. Anonymous 12:54, the CPC's BQ associations are not a decade old. One cabinet minister was a BQ member until 2008 when he ran for the Conservatives. Ridiculous for the CPC to jump on the NDP for something the CPC does too. Not to say that I care for Turmel's prior links to the BQ, but it is very hypocritical for the CPC to complain about it. Glass houses and all that.

  12. How can the Hudak Tories be on the edge of a serious defeat when they're not even in power?

  13. Peter I don't think the Hudak Tories are on the edge of a "serious defeat".

    We're talking about a Liberal resurgence from Oblivion.

    Ever hear of a dead cat bounce ?

    We're talking the difference between what once seemed like a Hudak majority to the now 100% likely occurence of a Hudak minority government.

  14. Eric, have you ever thought about rearranging the placement of the parties in the bar graph so they represent the left-right spectrum more closely? In the case of the Bloc and Green, the bloc could be place in the radical left while the Greens could be placed between NDP and Liberal.

  15. Surprised to see the Liberals are at 1% in Alberta. But once again it shows what is perhaps the permanent decline of the federal Liberals.

    The Liberals are only competitive in Ontario and the Atlantic. I can't speak for the Atlantic provinces, but I don't see the NDP replacing the Liberals in Ontario in the federal level for a while. The NDP would need huge policy shifts in order to appeal to the 905 and other suburban-type areas in Ontario.

    The Liberals were a close second place in many of these 905 and outer 416 ridings. The Liberals can win 15-20 of these seats in the next election if they went up by a few percentage points. The Liberals can still be competitive in Ontario cities like Ottawa, Kitchener, Kingston and London.

    - Maple

  16. Anon 01:17
    "Anonymous said...

    Peter I don't think the Hudak Tories are on the edge of a "serious defeat"."

    Anything less than majority Govt for the party that has been out of power for about 15 years IS a serious defeat!

    That Hudak can't win, which is very obvious to those of us who actually live in Ontario, signals yet another blow to the Provincial PC party.

    Until they get rid of the Mike Harris over wash they won't win either. This could be the second election in a row the party is out of power. Because be assured that if the Liberals get a minority the NDP/Horvath will support them. Anything is better than even a whiff of Harris !!

    Remember Average Canuck this is Ontario, not BC or some other place. Each province is unique in its political structure, check out the Sask poll piece here to see !! So spewing the CPC national mantra as you do only shows your lack of knowledge !

  17. Alberta Results are pretty hilarious and the Liberals were irrelevant in Edmonton in the last Federal election anyways, finishing in 3rd in the three "winnable ridings" for non-Conservatives in Edmonton (Edmonton-East, Strathcona and Center) and by extension the province. Hard to say if the Conservatives would ever get 75% provincewide but they should have 90 percent of the seats again easily, though it will be interesting to see what happens with any redistribution in the future.

    Would be interesting to see breakdowns of Atlantic provinces, but based on those numbers the NDP should probably be ahead slightly in NFLD over the Liberals and solidly in NS over both parties and pretty close to the Conservatives in NB, which would likely give them a plurality of seats in Atlantic Canada.

  18. @the previous "Anonymous"... "15 years"? Shouldn't that be more like "8 years" considering that McGuinty won his first mandate from Ernie Eves in 2003?

  19. I think the tory sweep on Ontario and Hudak/Harris+Ford will guarantee a Liberal minority in Oct. Actually I think Harper would be happy with that.


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