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.


  1. Minor Hiccup..."..the Liberals and Tories are unchanged at between 28 and 43 and between 44 and 60 seats, respectively.". That's reversed.

    Still not fond of the Abacus sliding scale application to a horse race call - people don't make a voting decision that way.

  2. You said that in the Manitoba election that the Liberals were at 40% outside of Winnipeg. I'm just assuming that it's a typo, just thought I'd bring it up

  3. you state the Libs as #2 outside of Winnipeg... I think you meant NDP.

    I'm still skeptical of your seat projections in some areas. To have the Libs up 15-2 in the GTA with most polls showing the PCs with an edge there... it doesn't jive with me. I'm not supposing that they sweep like the federal Conservatives did, but surely the split has to be closer than that.

  4. About time that EKOS got themselves together. That Green number seems awfully high though, and the PC number seems low.

    An interesting side-note on the EKOS poll is the Ontario federal vote intention numbers, which have CPC 36.9, NDP 29.9, Liberal 25.4, Green 7.

  5. Thanks for pointing out those typos, guys. Fixed.

    Not That Jack,

    Abacus used the standard questioning as well, and that is what I am using in the model.

  6. Are the regionals being considered in your estimates? It appears that the 416 area code is skewing the Liberal lead with them approaching 50% there. Yet it also appears the 905 is a horse race. If I were Tim Hudak, I would forget about Toronto and try to solidify elsewhere.

    The 51% for the PCs in eastern Ontario suggests the conservative base that stayed home under John Tory might be coming back, since most conservatives in that region are of the Tea Party type.

  7. Regionals are not considered. There is no uniformity on how the polling firms divide up the regions of Ontario.

  8. Éric - it seems to me that, if you knew *how* they divided the regions, you could assign the regional numbers some limited weight in each of the associated ridings, regardless of whether they lined up with each other.

    This is the same issue as the "Is Alberta a separate region or part of 'Prairies'?" question in the federal election. Is there a mathematical reason that I'm missing why you can't apply a given region's numbers from one pollster to the ridings in that pollster's definition of the region, regardless of what other pollsters define?

  9. Bryan,

    One point to note I think is that Abacus' GTA region includes ridings in the Simcoe region as well as the Hamilton/Niagara region, so by my rough count it's more like 19 Liberals 14 PCs in the "Abacus GTA". So it looks to me like at least in the GTA Abacus' numbers and Eric's projection are pretty in synch.

  10. TS - Is 7 percent that high for the Greens in Ontario? They got 8 last time around and Abacus has them at 6...

  11. "Progressive Conservatives hold the slimmest of leads with 34.6% of the vote. The Liberals trail with 34.5%"

    To all intents and purposes a dead heat as we've seen from that BIG poll. So we can apparently expect McGuinty back in as Anonymous has kept on saying then ?

  12. BTW Ashley - you're not the same Ashley Morton who did Engineering at UofT by any chance?

  13. Ryan,

    The Greens are in the tank this election. I routinely visit five or six ridings in Toronto, and a couple more in Hamilton, and compared to the last provincial or any of the recent federals, the Green sign numbers have cratered. My street averaged probably six Green signs per block (both sides) in the 2007 provincial and the 2008 federal. That was down to two or three at most in May and it is about the same now. That pattern is being replicated in most ridings that I visit, and many polls have shown the Greens holding onto only about 50% of their 2007 voters. From all of that, I would peg Green support at 3.5-4%, not 7 or even 6.

  14. Would be interesting to see some riding polls from Toronto, specifically in seats that either the Conservatives or NDP won that were previous Liberal strongholds federally. After all, many of those ridings likely will receive a small bounce for either of these parties thanks to a federal victory in the recent election.

  15. Five 0 Six,

    For the riding polls -http://www.thestar.com/staticcontent/1058980

    The EKOS poll correlated federal support and provincial support, and it showed 12.6% of federal Conservative supporters voting Liberal provincially, and similarly 23.3% of federal NDPers voting Liberal provincially.

    So it seems the Ontario Liberals have much more resilient support than the Federal Liberals.

  16. Well that was an hour and a half of total crap!!

    Specifically from Hudak with nothing but a stream of accusations at McGuinty and a recipe of stuff that would have made the Tea Party happy.

    Horvath was reasonably competent although focused on McGuinty way to much.

    McGuinty the usual slick operator but with positive stuff to say.

    No winners, three losers !!

  17. Ryan - yep. Feel free to find me on Facebook since it seems I know you?

  18. Poll says the premier won the debate http://www.globalnews.ca/pages/story.aspx?id=6442490737

  19. Part of the problem for the Greens this election is the impossibility of getting decent coverage. If you are one of the big 3 (esp Liberal or PC) you get tons of air time on the news, you get in the debates, you get space in all daily newspapers. The Greens, despite having 8% last time and running in every last riding this time, are ignored by all but a few. Mix in the massive financial advantage the big 3 have (partial refund of expenses if you crack 15%, per vote funding if you crack another level, corporate & union funding, office budgets paid for by the taxpayers, etc.) and it is one heck of a hard road to travel.

    Greens have learned though. To win we need to focus 100% on winning individual ridings. Spending 1 second on province wide campaigns or trying to appeal to more than 1 riding is a waste of time and money. The media cares not if you have 350,000 voters on your side, they only care if you got 15-20,000 in one riding to vote for you (about what it takes in many to win). Pretty dumb, as it encourages regionalism but that is what FPTP does and it is time to stop fighting it and work with what we have.

  20. Don't feel McGuinty "won" the debate.

    I think that could be "Lost Least" !!

    The other two were to preoccupied with attacking McGuinty and not enough pushing whatever their own party platform was.

  21. Peter

    I think the numbers more or less agree with you. There was much change from expectations, except that Horwath seems to have improved people's impressions of her a bit (but they were low).

    Hard to predict how it'll be digested, but it seems like it was mostly a non-event.


  22. In MB the Tories get the majority of their votes from southern MB. With no scandal from the governing NDP things should pretty much stay the same after our election.


COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.