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.