Friday, September 30, 2011

NDP gains in Manitoba and PEI, Selinger and Ghiz on track for re-election

Yesterday, I was alerted to a poll that was released by MarketQuest Omnifacts Research for Prince Edward Island. This is the same firm which broke the ice in the Newfoundland and Labrador campaign. Few media outlets picked up the poll, but I have the details and so the Prince Edward Island projection has been updated.

But before getting to the MQO poll and PEI, let's take a look at the new poll by Probe Research for the Winnipeg Free Press.

The telephone survey, taken between September 21 and 28 (and so dipping its toe into the survey dates of both the Viewpoints Research and Environics polls) and interviewing 1,000 Manitobans, found that 46% support Greg Selinger's New Democrats, with another 43% intending to vote for the Progressive Conservatives.

The Liberals stood at 7%, while the Greens are at 4%.

Considering the margin of error, this is no change at all since Probe's last poll from the end of June which put the NDP and PCs tied at 44% and the Liberals at 9%. But coupled with the polls from Viewpoints and Environics, we can say that the NDP is ahead.

They are particularly ahead in Winnipeg, with 53% to 35% for the Tories. Outside of the city, the vote intentions are flipped: 54% for the Tories and 34% for the NDP. A big problem for the PCs is that in Winnipeg they only lead in the southwestern part of the city, and there by a statistically insignificant three points. It doesn't seem that the Tories will have much luck in the city.

It's worth noting how the polls have changed over time in Manitoba. PC support has been remarkably consistent, hovering between 40% and 47% for at least a year. But the NDP has taken off, standing in the mid-40s after being in the mid-30s in the spring. And the Liberals have sunk below the symbolic 10% mark.
With this poll, which I suspect will be the last of the campaign, the New Democrats are projected to win 44.7% of the vote, with the Progressive Conservatives taking 43.3%.

The Liberals take 8.1% of the vote while the Greens take 3.5%.

This is a gain of 1.6 points for the NDP since the September 27 projection, and a loss of 0.6 points for the Tories. The Liberals are down 1.5 points while the Greens are up 0.6.

This has not resulted in any seat changes. The New Democrats are projected to win 36 seats, the Tories 20, and the Liberals one.

With the NDP gain, several seats have dropped out of the PCs' range. Only one Tory seat and one NDP are now considered close, putting the NDP range at between 35 and 37 seats and the PC range at between 19 and 21 seats.

The NDP's advantage in Winnipeg is extraordinarily important, as the city has over half of Manitoba's ridings.

Now to Prince Edward Island. The poll by MarketQuest Omnifacts was taken both over the telephone and online between September 23 and 25. Surveying 411 people, the poll is smaller and somewhat older than The Guardian's poll by CRA. But the results are not much different.

MQO found that Liberal support in PEI stood at 53%, exactly the same as the CRA poll. It differed on PC support, pegging them at 32%, and NDP support, finding them at 12%. The Greens stood at 3%.

The NDP level of support is problematic, as they aren't running a full slate of candidates. And this is where we run into a problem - how to adjust for something like that? Should we assume that survey respondents don't know whether or not an NDP candidate is running in their riding? Certainly many, maybe the majority, are aware of this and so the voting intentions number may not inaccurate. It is a bit of a puzzle, but in any case it is unlikely that the NDP will play a big role in Monday's election.
With this poll, the Liberals are now projected to win 52.9% of the vote, down 0.2 points since yesterday's projection.

The Progressive Conservatives are down 1.9 points to 34.2%, while the New Democrats are up 3.1 points to 8.1%. The Greens are down 0.9 points to 4.1%.
The seat projection has not changed: 26 seats for the Liberals and one for the Tories. The seat ranges are also unchanged: 25 to 26 seats for the Liberals and one to two seats for the Progressive Conservatives.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

PCs gain, but Liberals still poised for near sweep in PEI

The Charlottetown Guardian, which covers PEI like the morning dew, put out a new poll this morning for the provincial election scheduled to take place on the island on October 3rd.

The poll, conducted over the telephone by the Corporate Research Associates between September 23 and 27 and surveying 700 Prince Edward Islanders (amazingly, one of, if not the, largest samples ever taken in PEI), finds that the governing Liberals lead with 53%, down six points since CRA's pre-campaign poll conducted in August. The Progressive Conservatives are up five to 36%, while the NDP is down two and the Greens are up two to 5% apiece.

This is probably the only poll that will be released for PEI in this campaign. Thankfully, CRA nailed it in 2007 so let's hope they do so again this time around.
Being the only poll released during the campaign, it takes up virtually all of the projection. Accordingly, the Liberals are now projected to take 53.1% of the vote, with the Progressive Conservatives following at 36.1%.

The New Democrats and Greens are tied at 5% each.

Since the last projection of September 7, the Liberals have dropped 5.6 points while the Tories have picked up five. The New Democrats have slipped 3.7 points while the Greens are up 2.1.

If you look at the monthly provincial polling chart in the right-hand column, you'll see that movement is almost completely limited to vote swapping between the Liberals and Tories on the one hand, and between the NDP and the Greens on the other. It seems that in PEI the vast majority of the population switches between the two governing options, while a small minority can't decide for which fringe party they will cast their vote. In this election, the New Democrats are fielding fewer candidates than the Greens, so the odds that they will finish fourth in the popular vote again are decent.

 There are no seat changes in the projection, with the Tories still winning their lone seat in the eastern part of the island (Kings County). If they are to win a second or third seat, it will happen there.

Whereas in the last projection the Liberal range included a sweep of all 27 seats, the Tory gain has given them a chance of winning two seats.

This puts the Liberal range at between 25 and 26 seats, while the Progressive Conservatives could win one or two seats. A complete Liberal sweep seems unlikely at this stage.

Final projections for Prince Edward Island will be posted Monday morning. As I don't expect any other polls to be released, they will not be any different from today's. However, as I was partly burned by the polls in the 2011 federal campaign, I am going to present some other possible scenarios on Monday taking into account past polling error.

According to what I have read in the Winnipeg Free Press, a Probe Research poll for Manitoba should be revealed tomorrow. So check here in the morning for the latest (and likely last) projections for that province.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Topp or Mulcair? Angus-Reid says neither

Over the weekend, Angus-Reid released a new federal poll that delved into the NDP leadership race. In addition to surveying the voting intentions of Canadians as they stand at the moment, Angus-Reid also asked how Canadians would vote if Brian Topp or Thomas Mulcair was the leader of the New Democratic Party. The poll finds that Canadians like the idea of the NDP more than the idea of either of these two men at the helm.
But let's first look at the federal numbers without naming one of the leaders.

Compared to Angus-Reid's last poll in early August, the Conservatives are unchanged at 39% support. The New Democrats are down two points to 29% and the Liberals are up two to 21%.

None of these changes are statistically significant, remarkable considering that the August poll was taken before the passing of Jack Layton.

Things are unchanged in Ontario, where the Tories lead with 42% to the Liberals' 27% and the NDP's 26%.

But there were more changes in Quebec and British Columbia. In Quebec, the NDP is up five points to 40%, trailed by the Tories (22%, unchanged) and the Bloc Québécois (21%, down one). The Liberals have slipped three points to 14%.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives are back up by six points to 43%, with the NDP falling eight points to 30%. The Liberals at 19% and the Greens at 6% haven't budged much since the August poll.

Elsewhere, Atlantic Canada is a close race while the Prairies and Alberta is a walk for the Conservatives.

But what if Thomas Mulcair or Brian Topp take over as leader of the party?
Neither does as well as the NDP without a leader. Nationally, Brian Topp would garner 25% support to the Conservatives' 42% and the Liberals' 21%, while Thomas Mulcair would net the NDP 28% to the Conservatives' 41% and the Liberals' 21%.

Angus-Reid also looked at what the situation would be with Gary Doer as head of the NDP. It is the worst of all, with only 24% support. But Doer has said he isn't interested, so his numbers are moot.

Regionally, the New Democrats without a named leader do better than either Mulcair or Topp in every part of the country, except one. In Quebec, Mulcair would take 52% of the vote while Topp would only take 31% and the leaderless NDP 40%. In every other part of the country, though, Topp bests Mulcair.

However, the way the numbers breakdown is far less advantageous for the New Democrats under Topp.

With the poll results that did not name a leader of the NDP, the Conservatives would be projected to win 156 seats, with the NDP taking 100 and the Liberals 48. The Bloc wins three and the Greens one. This is a very, very slim majority for the Conservatives.

But under Topp, the NDP would only win 72 seats. The Conservatives would increase their caucus to 176, the Liberals would win 50 seats, and the Bloc would take 10 seats.

With Mulcair as NDP leader, the Conservatives win 164 seats, the New Democrats 101, the Liberals 42, and the Greens one. Except for the complete disappearance of the Bloc and the increase of the Liberal caucus by eight MPs, this doesn't represent much change from the current make-up of the House of Commons.

Regionally, it gets interesting. Mulcair's NDP caucus would include 70 MPs from Quebec, while Topp's would have only 37.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives win 21 seats (26 with Topp as NDP leader, 24 with Mulcair as leader), the New Democrats win 10 (six with Topp, six with Mulcair), and the Liberals four (four with Topp, three with Mulcair). In the Topp scenario, the Greens do not re-elect Elizabeth May.

In Alberta, the Conservatives win 27 seats and the New Democrats one in the generic and Topp scenarios, while under Mulcair the NDP loses their one seat in the province.

In all three scenarios, the Conservatives win 23 seats in the Prairies, the Liberals win three, and the New Democrats win two.

In Ontario, without an NDP leader being named the Conservatives win 62 seats, the New Democrats win 23, and the Liberals win 21. With Toronto-based Brian Topp leading the NDP, the Conservatives win 70 seats, the NDP 19, and the Liberals 17. And with Mulcair, the Conservatives win 69 seats, the Liberals 20, and the NDP 17.

In Quebec, the generic scenario gives 55 seats to the NDP, 12 to the Conservatives, five to the Liberals, and three to the Bloc Québécois. With Topp as leader, the NDP wins 37 seats in Quebec, with 16 going to the Conservatives, 12 to the Liberals, and 10 to the Bloc. With Mulcair, the New Democrats win 70 seats and the Tories win the remaining five.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Conservatives win 10 seats (13 with Topp, 14 with Mulcair), the New Democrats win eight seats (six with Topp, five with Mulcair), and the Liberals win 14 seats (13 with Topp or Mulcair).

It could very well be that most Canadians don't know much about either Brian Topp or Thomas Mulcair, so having them at the helm of the NDP makes the party less attractive. But it does give some warning to those who think Topp can win in the "Rest of Canada" and Mulcair can't. Yes, Topp would take 35 seats outside of Quebec to Mulcair's 31, but with Topp at the helm the NDP would lose 22 of its MPs in Quebec. Mulcair would have every NDP MP from Quebec re-elected, and add 11 to the province's caucus.

That is if nothing changes, of course. And things will. But as it stands, neither leader seems to be a slam dunk. Topp would do better in the rest of Canada, but would lose much of Quebec. Mulcair would struggle in the rest of Canada but keep Quebec. It's a difficult choice for a party in a delicate position.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Little change in Ontario, race narrows in Manitoba

A bevy of polls in two provinces were released over the last 24 hours, so we have a lot to get to. Let's start with Ontario before moving on to Manitoba.

Last night, Abacus Data released the results from its latest poll, taken between September 23 and 25. It showed the Progressive Conservatives leading with 37%, compared to 33% for the Liberals, 23% for the New Democrats, and 6% for the Greens. Regionally, Abacus had the Tories leading in eastern Ontario (51%), the GTA (37%), and southwestern Ontario (38%). The Liberals led in Toronto (45%), while the New Democrats were tied with the PCs in the north (37%).

Abacus used the standard voting intentions question for this poll, but also used the sliding scale they had experimented with earlier in the campaign. The results of that method of polling were not very different: 38% for the PCs, 30% for the Liberals, and 25% for the NDP. Compared to their last poll using this method, that is a drop of three points for the Tories, a drop of two for the Liberals, and a gain of five for the NDP.

Appearing this morning is a poll from EKOS Research, which hasn't waded into the provincial campaign yet and has been silent since the federal election. The EKOS poll, taken between September 21 and 25 using the IVR method, found that the Liberals lead with 34.9% of the vote, with the Progressive Conservatives at 31.4%, the NDP at 24.7%, and the Greens at 7.6%.

EKOS has the Liberals leading in Toronto (47%), while the New Democrats are ahead in "northeastern and central" Ontario (33%). The Tories hold a slight edge in the suburban GTA (35%), southwestern Ontario (34%), eastern Ontario (41%), and northwestern Ontario (34%).

Certainly, these polls differ. But they were taken over a few different days and we have no trend to look at in the EKOS poll for comparison, since this is their first.
With these polls added to the model, the Progressive Conservatives hold the slimmest of leads with 34.6% of the vote. The Liberals trail with 34.5%, while the New Democrats stand at 23.7% and the Greens at 6.0%.

This is a drop of 0.8 points for the Tories and 0.4 points for the Liberals. The NDP is up 0.3 points and the Greens are up a full point.

This does not result in any seat changes, so the Liberals are still projected to win 55, the Progressive Conservatives 32, and the New Democrats 20.

The ranges for the Tories and the Liberals have also not changed, though the New Democrats are now in range of one more seat.

That puts the NDP range at between 18 and 22 seats, while the Tories and Liberals are unchanged at between 28 and 43 and between 44 and 60 seats, respectively.
Now let's move on to Manitoba, where two polls were released yesterday.

The first, by Viewpoints Research for CJOB News and the Manitoba Real Estate Association, put the New Democrats ahead by a healthy amount.

After being provided the full details, I can say that with decided and leaning voters included, the New Democrats lead in the poll with 48.9%. The Progressive Conservatives follow with 40.3%, while the Liberals stand at 8.2% and the Greens at 2.6%.

This poll was taken by telephone between September 14 and 21. Some criticism of the poll has come from the fact that Viewpoints has a relationship with the provincial NDP. However, the poll was not ordered by the party.

In Winnipeg, the New Democrats lead with 54% to the Tories' 31%. The Liberals are third with 10%. Outside the provincial capital, the Tories are ahead with 53% to the NDP's 40%.

The second poll was by Environics, and was conducted online btween September 20 and 26, so this poll only overlaps with the Viewpoints poll on a few days. Environics found that the Tories are leading with 45% to the New Democrats' 42%, with the Liberals at 10% support.

Interestingly, on who would make the best premier it is NDP leader Greg Selinger who comes out on top with 33% support to Hugh McFadyen's 29%.

These polls tell a different story, but only at first glance. They were mostly taken over separate weeks, and with their respective margins of error (assuming the Environics poll had a random sample) are not actually at odds. We can take from these two polls that the race is very close, and that the PCs may have a little momentum.
With these polls, the Progressive Conservatives are back in front with 43.9% of the vote. The New Democrats are not far behind with 43.1%, while the Liberals are at 9.6%. The Greens trail with 2.9%.

This is a gain of 4.4 points for the PCs since yesterday, and a 7.1-point loss for the NDP. The Liberals are up 3.6 points, while the Greens are down one.

In terms of seats, the New Democrats are projected to win 36, down three from yesterday. The Progressive Conservatives win 20 (up two) and the Liberals win one (up one).

The Tories have picked up one seat in southwestern Manitoba and two more in Winnipeg, all from the New Democrats. The Liberals pick up one seat in Winnipeg from the Tories.

There are only four projected close races, and at this stage the New Democrats lead in all of them, with the Tories trailing. This means that the NDP is at the top of their seat range, while the Tories are at the bottom of theirs.

This means the NDP is on track to win 32 to 36 seats, the PCs 20 to 24 seats, and the Liberals one. With the new polls, they are comfortably ahead in Jon Gerrard's riding.
Only one week remains before the vote is held in Manitoba, and I am told that we can probably expect two more polls to come out of the province. It really is setting up to be a close race in the popular vote, but the NDP seems to have the geographic advantage.

Prince Edward Island is voting in less than a week, and a poll is supposed to come out sometime before the vote is held.

In Ontario, the debate is tonight and less than two weeks remain in the campaign. A lot is at stake, and with things as close as they are tonight's debate is extraordinarily important for all three parties. McGuinty needs to solidfy his support, Hudak needs to make gains, and Horwath needs to do well enough to ensure a minority government.

Monday, September 26, 2011

McGuinty and Selinger in majority territory

With less than two weeks to go in Ontario’s election campaign, voters remain split on who should form the province’s next government. But that is good news for the incumbent Liberals, since were an election held at the end of last week Dalton McGuinty would have likely won a razor-thin majority.

To read the full details of today's Ontario projection update, check out The Globe and Mail website here. The riding projection in the right-hand column is also updated.

A few words on the Forum Research poll that came out this Saturday. The size of the poll should not be over-emphasized. The +/- 0.5 point margin of error only applies to a truly random sample, and of course no poll is taken in a vacuum. As many pointed out during the census debate, increasing the sample size doesn't erase errors in the methodology. That is not to say there is a problem with Forum's methodology, only that a poll of 40,000 people isn't automatically the be-all and end-all of polling.

Because the poll was so large, riding level numbers were also released. Aside from a few cases, often in ridings that the firm itself called "anomalies", the riding polls in the GTA matched comfortably well with my own projections. I haven't seen many numbers outside of the GTA yet, however.
But the big news today is out of Manitoba. CJOB News is reporting on a new poll by Viewpoints Research. As it is radio, they are stretching out the release of details throughout the day, so for now all we have is the decided vote: 41% for the New Democrats, 32% for the Progressive Conservatives, and 5% for the Liberals. Another 19% are undecided, which means we can extrapolate that 51% of decided voters are supporting the NDP, 40% the Progressive Conservatives, 6% the Liberals, and 4% the Greens.

As I am starved for new information out of the province, I will use these numbers for the projection until the full decided/leaners details are released later today. Another poll is apparently scheduled for release tonight, so the situation in Manitoba is finally going to be a little clearer.
The New Democrats are now projected to take 50.2% of the vote, up 10.3 points since the last projection from the end of July. The Progressive Conservatives are down 4.8 points to 39.5%.

The Liberals have sunk 5.5 points to only six per cent support, while the Greens are down 0.1 point to 3.9%.

This results in the New Democrats winning 39 seats in the 57-seat legislature, a comfortable majority. The Progressive Conservatives win 18 and the Liberals are shut-out (though just barely). That is a gain of six seats for the NDP since the last projection and a loss of two for the Liberals and four for the Tories.

The New Democrats have picked up two seats in the southeast and four in Winnipeg, giving them 27 of the 31 seats in the capital. They are running close to the PCs in the rest of the province, however, with 12 seats to 14. The Tories have lost two seats in southeastern Manitoba and three in Winnipeg, but gained one seat from the Liberals in the capital. The New Democrats took the other.

There are only a few close races in the province, and the Liberals are implicated in one of them. Otherwise, the seat range for the NDP and Tories is between 16 and 20 seats for the PCs and 37 and 41 seats for the NDP.

The ranges chart gives a visual representation of the distance between the parties.
With the new numbers being put out by CJOB today and the rumoured other numbers appearing tonight, I should be able to update the Manitoba projection tomorrow as well. Prince Edward Island is going to report soon, and Manitoba is supposed to have at least one more poll at the end of the week. We'll undoubtedly have some new Ontario numbers soon as well.

Also, check out my column in today's The Hill Times. It requires a subscription to read online (the paper edition is available in many downtown kiosks in Ottawa), but is well worth it (the online subscription, that is).

Friday, September 23, 2011

NDP may hold balance of power in Ontario

In the next Ontario legislature, the New Democrats could very well hold the balance of power.

With that comes both opportunity and risk for the party.

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

It has certainly been a very light polling week. There has been nothing since Monday. I suspect we'll get a flurry of polls soon, however, especially with the Ontario debate scheduled for Tuesday. Manitoba might have to wait until the last week or so of the campaign before we get any indication of what support looks like in that province. I've put a caution sign with the projection at the top of the page, because three months is a long time.

But there was one Ontario riding poll that appeared recently, in Peterborough This Week. It's a little short on the details, but it was apparently conducted by telephone sometime in the week of September 11 to September 17 for the riding of Peterborough, surveying 629 people.

The poll found that Liberal MPP Jeff Leal is on track to be re-elected with 45.5% of the vote, well ahead of PC candidate Alan Wilson, who clocked in at 28.5%. The NDP's Dave Nickle came up third with 22.0%.
This isn't much different from the 2007 result in the riding, where Leal took 47.8%, the PCs 25.6%, and the NDP 16.6%. This is Nickle's fourth kick at the can for the NDP.

It also isn't too different from the current projection for the riding, which has the Liberals with 40% of the vote to 29% for the PCs and 24% for the NDP, so that is a positive sign for the projection.

I've updated the riding projection image, as the candidate information for Ontario, Manitoba, and PEI should now be up to date.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Liberals might not have hit rock bottom in 2011 election

A poll released by Léger Marketing earlier this week shows that the federal race is still very much between the Conservatives and the New Democrats, but also that the Liberals could potentially sink even further.

A full detailed report of the poll is not available on the Léger Marketing site (which is rare), but it was mentioned in various news reports. A helpful journalist sent along the report to me at my request. A CROP poll on the voting intentions of Quebecers was also released this week, and is included in the graph below.

In the Léger poll, the Conservatives stand at 39% support, compared to 33% for the New Democrats and 17% for the Liberals.

The Greens stood at 6%, while the Bloc took 5%.

This is the first federal Léger poll since the election was held on May 2.

In Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta, this poll is not much different from the results of that vote. Notable, though, is that the New Democrats are holding steady in Quebec and have marginally improved their position in Ontario. Both are important provinces for the NDP moving forward.

The results in Quebec are not very different from Léger's last poll in the province, conducted in June. Since that poll, the NDP has dropped three points, the Bloc has gained one, the Conservatives have gained four, and the Liberals have dropped three. None of these changes are especially significant, but it does suggest that the passing of Jack Layton has had no real effect on NDP support in the province.

British Columbia is interesting, as it echoes the recent Nanos poll putting the New Democrats and Tories in a statistical tie but with the NDP holding the edge. This is going to be a very, very important province for the New Democrats.

Elsewhere, we can see that the NDP is holding an unrealistic lead in small-sample Atlantic Canada, and that the Tories are doing well in the Prairies.

CROP found a very similar result in Quebec, but had the NDP at 46% and the Bloc at 17%. Where the Bloc's support stands is a subject of some dispute, as Nanos had them at 10%. Perhaps most significantly, virtually every poll released since the election has the Bloc at or below their vote share on election night.

CROP last released data on the federal situation in mid-August, just before Jack Layton passed away. Since then, the NDP is up six points, the Conservatives are down three, the Bloc is down three, and the Liberals are up two. The NDP's gain is statistically significant, providing further indication that NDP support in Quebec is not nearly as fragile as almost everyone has thought it would be.

This poll results in another Conservative majority with the New Democrats as the Official Opposition. The Tories drop one net seat and win 165 overall, while the New Democrats bump up their seat total from 103 (including Toronto-Danforth, that is) to 115. The Bloc holds on to its four seats while Elizabeth May is re-elected in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

But the Liberals lose 11 seats in this poll, taking only 23. An even more nightmarish scenario than the one in May can still play out for the Liberals in the future.

The Conservatives win 17 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 25 in the Prairies, 69 in Ontario, eight in Quebec, 17 in Atlantic Canada, and two in the North.

The New Democrats win 14 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, two in the Prairies, 24 in Ontario, 60 in Quebec, 13 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the North.

The Liberals win four seats in British Columbia, one in the Prairies, 13 in Ontario, three in Quebec, and two in Atlantic Canada.

The CROP poll would result in 61 seats for the NDP, eight for the Conservatives, five for the Liberals, and one for the Bloc Québécois. That would transform the national projection into 165 Tories, 116 New Democrats, 25 Liberals, and one seat apiece for the Bloc and Greens.

UPDATE: I should point out, as was done by a commenter, that much of the Liberal seat woe is due to an unlikely result in Atlantic Canada, where sample sizes are small (79, in this case). But even if the Liberals were at, say, 25% or so in the region they would still be somewhere around 17% and 18% nationally and in trouble in Quebec.

Yes, the New Democrats are still leaderless and, yes, the next election is four years away. But the sky has not yet fallen on the NDP and Canadians haven't yet recoiled from electing a Conservative majority. Believe it or not, real work will have to be done by the parties in order to move public opinion!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New poll boosts Newfoundland & Labrador NDP

A pleasant surprise appeared yesterday morning, when MarketQuest Omnifacts Research released a new poll for the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial election, the first of the campaign.

MQO appears to be a newcomer, at least under this name. From what I can tell, this is a successor organization of Omnifacts Bristol, which we last heard from in the 2006 New Brunswick election. They actually did a good job of calling that result.

The poll finds that Kathy Dunderdale's governing Progressive Conservatives lead the pack with 53%, a result very similar to the Corporate Research Associates' latest poll. The New Democrats followed with 29%, an excellent result for them and, again, within the margin of error of the CRA poll. The Liberals followed in third with only 18% support.

On leadership, Dunderdale came out on top with 64% saying she would be the best premier. Lorraine Michael of the NDP was well behind with 22% while Kevin Aylward of the Liberals was at 14%.

Being the first poll of the campaign, this MQO Research survey takes up an enormous portion of the new projection for Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Progressive Conservatives are projected to take 53% of the vote, down eight points from the September 1 projection. The New Democrats take 28.7%, up 11 points, while the Liberals take 18%, down 3.1 points.

This results in the Progressive Conservatives winning 40 seats, the Liberals four, and the New Democrats four. I believe that because of their having more of the popular vote the NDP would likely be called upon to form the Official Opposition, a first in their history.

It isn't a given, however. Parliamentary precedent exists that would bolster the cases of both the NDP and the Liberals. Being the incumbent Official Opposition, the Liberals may be called upon to stay in that role. It would appear to be up to the discretion of the Speaker.

The two seat gains for the New Democrats come in the Avalon and Burin region and the main part of the island. This gives the NDP one seat in each of the four regions.

Note, though, that current projections are based on parties running candidates in the same ridings as they did in 2007. The New Democrats are slated to run more candidates than they did in 2007, but I have to wait for the official candidate list before having the projection's list of candidates match the real one exactly.

Since the first projection on August 31, this has been a slow leak of seats from the PCs to the Liberals and now the NDP.

There are not a lot of projected close races, but the PCs and Liberals are each leading in two of them, the NDP in one. The PCs trail in three close races and the Liberals in two.
This puts the Progressive Conservative range at between 38 and 43 seats, the Liberal range at between 2 and 6 seats, and the New Democratic range at between 3 and 4 seats. In other words, the race for second is still up for grabs

Having MQO Research active is great news for Newfoundland and Labrador polling, as that means we could have as many as three firms conducting polls during the campaign. I imagine the Corporate Research Associates will weigh in at least once, and NTV has been doing polls with Telelink of late. Hopefully we'll hear from all three of these firms soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Possible seat ranges tighten in Ontario

Yesterday, the QMI Agency's network of newspapers released the results of a new Léger Marketing poll for Ontario, with one glaring error.

QMI reported Progressive Conservative support at 36%, Liberal support at 33%, and NDP support at 29%. That was wrong - the New Democrats were actually at 26% in the poll, with the Greens at 5% (rather than 2%).

As this poll echoed yesterday's projection almost exactly, there have been few changes. So let's take a look at this poll in depth before getting to today's projection.
For the first time in the campaign, we are starting to see real consistency in the polls. Aside from having the Liberals up one point, Léger's poll is exactly the same as Angus-Reid's. Both were taken over the same days (with Léger stretching back one day further) and both used an online panel. I'm looking forward to a new telephone poll from Nanos or Ipsos-Reid this week to see how it lines up.

This is the same statistically insignificant lead that we've now seen in four of the last five provincial polls. The race is neck-and-neck between the Liberals and the Tories, but the New Democrats are slowly creeping upwards.

Regionally, it is difficult to take much from this poll. No pollsters divide Ontario in the same way, and Léger uses the inscrutable "Western Ontario" and "Southern Ontario" regions. I imagine Western Ontario is generally what the other polls calls Central Ontario, because of the high Green result, while Southern Ontario is the standard Southwestern Ontario. How the boundaries compare, however, I cannot say.

Some of the results are odd, like the NDP leading in Eastern Ontario and a three-way race in Northern Ontario (though, if you include the area down to Lake Simcoe in Northern Ontario, it isn't so odd). What the regionals do show, however, is just how close the race is. In all but Southern and Western Ontario, the three parties are in a statistical tie.

On leadership, the advantage lies with the Liberals. Dalton McGuinty topped the poll as the first choice for premier with 28%, followed closely by Tim Hudak at 26%. The NDP is still having some trouble getting Andrea Horwath out there, as she stands at 14%. This is the opposite of what we have seen at the federal level, where Jack Layton always outpaced support for his own party.
With this poll now input into the model, the Progressive Conservatives are projected to win 36.2% of the vote, with the Liberals three points behind at 33.2%. The New Democrats stand at 24.5%, while the Greens are at 4.8%.

That represents a drop of 0.3 points for the Tories and 0.4 points for the Liberals. The NDP has gained 0.6 points since yesterday. The Greens are unchanged.

There have been no seat changes. The Liberals are still projected to win a minority with 50 seats, with 36 going to the PCs and 21 to the New Democrats.

The seat ranges have shifted slightly. The Tories are unchanged, but the upper limit of the Liberals has dropped while the New Democrats could now win as many as 24 seats.

Both the PCs and Liberals could win as much as a majority government, but with an upper limit of 55 and 56 seats, respectively, and the minimum needed for a majority being 54 seats, both parties are unlikely to win more than half the seats in the province. The New Democrats are moving up in the seat ranges, but are not yet close to moving into second place in Ontario.
Over the weekend, I tested the vote projection model on the 2007 Ontario election. The results were positive, with the average error per party being lower than that of the average of the 2007's campaign last week of polling. I was happy to see it perform well, so as long as the pollsters are as good this fall as they were in 2007, the model should give an accurate result.

Manitoba is still gnawing at me, however. The last poll is three months old and the projection as it stands is horribly out of date. The closest race going into the series of fall elections has inexplicably yet to be polled. If nothing comes out of the province and, unlike PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador, I haven't heard a thing about an upcoming poll, I'll have to remove the projection for lack of information. We shall see.

Blogger has changed the way images are viewed. For the most part, I think it is an improvement but only if you don't need to magnify the image, as you must with the Riding Projections. One solution to this problem is to open the image in a new window (you can right-click to choose that option), but the best solution is to click on the Riding Projections image at the top of the right-hand column. That is always up to date.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hudak’s Toronto stumble weighs down Tories after two weeks

After the second week of Ontario’s election campaign, the race between the Progressive Conservatives and the governing Liberals is still very close. But without the support of Toronto’s voters, Tim Hudak has little hope of becoming the province’s next premier. 

A weighted aggregation of the latest polls indicates the Progressive Conservatives are still in the lead with 36.5 per cent support in the province, a drop of almost two points since last week’s projection. The Liberals are up almost a point and trail with 33.6 per cent, while the New Democrats are up 1.8 points to 23.9 per cent. The Greens have slipped to 4.8 per cent support.

This after a topsy-turvy week in polling. Two telephone polls from Nanos Research and Ipsos-Reid pegged the gap between the Liberals and the Tories at one to three points, with Dalton McGuinty on top. Later in the week, two online polls from Abacus Data and Angus-Reid suggested a gap of four to nine points in favour of Mr. Hudak. But in three of the polls the gap between the Liberals and the Tories was statistically insignificant, demonstrating just how tight the race remains. 

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe and Mail website here.

Saturday's Toronto Star poll by Angus-Reid is the only new poll added to the model, the poll by Léger Marketing that appeared late last night for the QMI Agency will only be added tomorrow.

The Angus-Reid poll echoes the Léger poll that came out last night, indicating that the campaign has flipped again and that the Progressive Conservatives are back on top. But the performance of the NDP is worth noting. In the Angus-Reid poll, the NDP leads in the north (52%), in the Hamilton/Niagara region (40%) and, surprisingly, in the 416 part of Toronto (35%). The Liberals were at 34% in the city, however.

The Tories are ahead in southwestern and eastern Ontario, but the Liberals are ahead in the all-important GTA. As Adam Radwanski said yesterday, this points to a very messy result on October 6th.

The projection has shifted a little, but the ranges for the Tories and the Liberals are now overlaping to a great degree.
Indeed, the ranges overlap for almost their entirety. Note that the Liberals are straddling the majority line a little more comfortably than the Tories, and also note that the Liberal projection is close to their upper limit, while the Tories are close to their lower limit. There is a lot of possible movement between these two parties.

The details of today's projection are at The Globe and Mail site, but check back here tomorrow for a full update with the Léger poll. Also, I'll be appearing on Le Téléjournal Ontario tonight. It can be seen in most of Ontario at 6:00 PM and in the Ottawa region at 11:00 PM.