Thursday, November 10, 2011

October 2011 federal poll averages

There wasn't a lot of polling done at the federal level in October, with two national polls (both from Nanos Research) and two Quebec polls released during the month. But altogether, these four polls surveyed 4,416 people.
The Conservatives averaged 38.4% support in October, down 0.7 points from September.

The New Democrats averaged 29.5% support, down two points, while the Liberals were up 4.5 points to 24%.

For the Liberals, that is their high watermark since the May election.

The Bloc Québécois averaged 3.5% support nationally, while the Greens were down 1.3 points to 3.3%.

The Conservatives gained 3.3 points in British Columbia and averaged 42.3% in October, well ahead of the Liberals (up 7.2 points to 26.1%) and the New Democrats (down 9.6 points to 24.2%). The Greens were down 0.4 points to 6.9%. This Liberal gain and NDP drop is quite dramatic, and reverses what had been the state of affairs since April. It is something to keep an eye on.

Alberta and the Prairies are less interesting. The Conservatives are down 5.3 points in Alberta and 8.5 points in the Prairies, leading with 60.3% and 48.0%, respectively. The New Democrats are up 1.8 and 5.9 points to 19.4% and 32.4%, respectively, while the Liberals are up 2.9 and 3.4 points to 13.9% and 18.4%, respectively. Not much of a major shift in support, especially considering that we are working from smaller samples.
Ontario is the major reason for the national Liberal gain, as they are up 5.6 points to 31.2% in the province. The Conservatives still lead, gaining 2.4 points to hit 41.7%, but the New Democrats are down 5.6 points to 22.8% support. This is the lowest NDP monthly average in Ontario since April, and the best performance by the Liberals since then. Another province to keep an eye on.

Quebec, however, had almost zero changes. The New Democrats are down 0.2 points to 44.5%, the Conservatives are unchanged at 19.6%, the Bloc is down 0.4 points to 17.4%, and the Liberals are down 0.6 points to 13.2%. So, steady as a rock in the province. Aside from a blip in August, it has been that way since the election.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the Conservatives are down 2.2 points to 35.5%, ahead of the New Democrats at 30.7% (-4.8) and the Liberals at 29.4% (+4.9).

With these numbers, the Conservatives would win a minority of the seats in the current House of Commons with 149. The New Democrats would win 101 and the Liberals 56, with one seat apiece for the Greens and the Bloc Québécois.

Compared to September, this is an eight seat drop for the Tories and a nine seat drop for the New Democrats, with 17 more seats going to the Liberals.

The Conservatives win 22 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 19 in the Prairies, 58 in Ontario, eight in Quebec, 14 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The New Democrats win seven seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, six in the Prairies, 20 in Ontario, 60 in Quebec, six in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Liberals win six seats in British Columbia, three in the Prairies, 28 in Ontario, six in Quebec, 12 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

In a 338-seat House of Commons, I estimate that these numbers would be transformed into 167 seats for the Conservatives, 108 seats for the New Democrats, 61 seats for the Liberals, and one apiece for the Greens and Bloc. In other words, still a minority for the Tories but a much slimmer one.

This could be a simple bump in the road that will easily be corrected, but there is a bit of a theme in the October averages. The New Democrats have taken a step backwards in British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada, and in every case it has benefited the Liberals. Whether this is something that might continue into the future is worth watching.


  1. I suspect that the Ontario numbers are very much driven by the fact that all the focus in October was on the provincial scene and the Ontario Liberals run far ahead of the federal party. With regard to BC, I would want to see much more polling with much more sample - the BC sub-sample in Nanos polls are very skimpy

  2. The ongoing bloc-ification of the NDP is probably driving away more than a few of their swing voters from the last election

  3. I agree with DL on the BC issue - it'd be nice if polling other than Nanos came out for the province. I can see a credible rise for the Liberals in BC - there was one just before and in the firs half of the 2011 campaign - but it doesn't seem right under the current circumstances.

  4. It's really great that you're doing full seat projections now, even though we won't have a federal election for several years. It's rare that you get to see this kind of thorough analysis with an election so far in the distance. Keep up the good work, Eric!

  5. The irony! When the federal Liberals were reduced to a third party on May 2nd, some people blamed this on Dalton McGuinty. Now the reason the federal Liberals are keeping afloat is thanks to Dalton McGuinty's re-election in Ontario.

    Furthermore, interim Liberal leader Rae will be seen as the de facto leader of the opposition, until the NDP elects a new leader in March 2012.

    - Maple

  6. Eric could you possibly do a plot of the seats for each party over the last few months?

    I think I'm detecting a slow shift ??


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