Thursday, December 29, 2011

NDP up in Ontario, down in Quebec

After a vote that dramatically changed the federal political landscape and elections in half of the country’s provinces, 2012 promises to be a quieter year than 2011. But there are still a few things to keep an eye on over the next 12 months.

You can read the rest of my article on what to watch in 2012 at The Huffington Post Canada here.

But before looking at 2012, let's take a look at what the (likely) last federal poll of 2011 tells us.
For Nanos Research, which was last in the field in mid-November, there hasn't been much change at the national level. The biggest shift has been a 2.5-point drop for the Liberals to 25.6%, putting them behind the Conservatives (36.5%, +0.9) and the New Democrats (28.7%, +1.4). But all of these variations are within the margin of error.

Most of the regional shifts are also within the margin of error, except in Ontario. There, the Conservatives are at 34.5% but the Liberals have slipped seven points to 31.8%. The NDP has taken advantage, gaining 9.9 points to reach 29.5%.

The Conservatives have been on a bit of a downturn in Ontario in Nanos's polling, and this isn't the first poll to put the NDP at a decent amount of support after slipping to the low 20s in September and October.

In Quebec, the New Democrats have dropped again to 33.4%, echoing what other recent polls have shown. The Liberals are second with 22.9%, while the Conservatives stand at 20.8% and the Bloc Québécois at 19.9%. That is Nanos's highest result for the BQ since the election, but is still somewhat lower than what other surveys have suggested. Nevertheless, Nanos has been showing the Bloc on the rise of late.

The race in British Columbia is close, with the Tories at 34.4% and the NDP at 33.2%. The Liberals are up to 22.8%, while in the Prairies the Conservatives are doing quite well, as they are also doing in Atlantic Canada.

On the 308-seat map, the Conservatives would win 135 seats with this level of support. The New Democrats would win 97 seats and the Liberals 74, making them the big gainers. The Greens keep their one seat in British Columbia while the Bloc Québécois is reduced to one seat.

The Tories win 16 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 21 in the Prairies, 46 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, 14 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The NDP wins 13 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, two in the Prairies, 26 in Ontario, 49 in Quebec, five in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Liberals win six seats in British Columbia, five in the Prairies, 34 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, 13 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

On the 338-seat map (yet to be determined), we're looking at roughly 151 Conservative seats, 104 NDP seats, and 81 Liberal seats.

The year closes with three things to watch in federal polling. Firstly, will Ontario continue to be a close race, will one party move ahead, or will it return to a two-horse contest? Secondly, where is the NDP going in Quebec? And thirdly, who is going to take the lead for good in British Columbia? The battlegrounds and story lines for 2015 may already by forming.


  1. Looks like a reversion to the mean for Nanos.

  2. As a New Democrat, I would be comfortable with this outcome. The NDP and Liberals could combine for a comfortable majority, and could do it without the political kryptonite that is the BQ.

    A lot clearly depends on the NDP on picking the right leader to try to hold on to 35+% of the Quebec vote though. If someone like Topp gets picked, the NDP vote in Quebec could collapse again.

  3. TS - Who are you hoping wins the leadership race?

    I gotta say, as a Liberal I'd be satisfied with a result in this range too. Provided the coalition agreement adheres to principles of fiscal responsibility and hopefully includes electoral reform.

  4. Ryan, I am a supporter of Peggy Nash. I used to live in her riding and have gone door-knocking with her. She is, at least it is my impression, genuine and passionate. She is also a great debater and absolutely destroyed Gerard Kennedy in the all-candidates' debates in the May election.

    At this point, I though vote for any viable candidate who could win the leadership vote and is not Topp or Mulcair. Mulcair is too far to the right for my taste, and I found the way that Topp and the NDP establishment tried to clear the field very distasteful.

    And hey, fiscal responsibility is something the NDP does pretty well. NDP provincial governments have the lowest average deficit of any of the big three, and have the lowest average number of years in deficit. And that is counting the hideous disaster that was Bob Rae.

  5. I think this poll sums up the last six months of federal politics. The Tories may have gotten a majority May 2nd, but their electoral success in Ontario seems to be due to the weakness of the Liberals. Tory strategists boost on their successful courting of the "ethnic" vote, but I do not think this ambiguous demographic is a Conservative hold yet.

    On the other hand, the opposition is almost equally divided between the NDP and Liberals. This is the primary reason that the Tories are successful. The Liberals seem to be gaining at the expense of both the Tories and NDP, while the NDP is doing a respectable job despite having an incompetent interim leader.

  6. Another Dipper here and I would agree with TS and Ryan that this result would be fine and I would be OK with a Coalition provided electoral reform was a major issue.

    Personally, I will be backing Mulcair in the leadership race. I think he is best positioned to keep our numbers in Quebec and go toe to toe with Harper in QP. That being said, I do agree that Topp isn't the right guy for the job.

  7. As a Liberal, I'm not satisfied with these numbers - I tolerate them. I'll be satisfied when the Liberals are polling close to or above where the Conservatives are, and the NDP are sent back to the third party position(not fourth, mind you, no need for the Bloc to revive itself).

    But, overall Nanos shows the slight bump everyone else does - except just a tad higher. I'd say the Liberals, in reality, are sitting roughly 20-21%, the NDP 28-30%, and the Conservatives 36-38%.

    And guess what? That's probably not enough right then and there to knock down the Conservatives, even from a majority government, which would not be hard for them to scrape by with it.

    As May 2011 onward is showing, one of our two Opposition parties needs to ramp up momentum and knock the Cons down from that height to about 30%, with the NDP or Liberals moving to 35%+. That's the only way, folks. The only way.

  8. I'm in Peggy Nash's riding, and while I love her dearly, and she would make a great cabinet minister, I have to agree with KA; leaning to Mulcair. Jack Layton took the NDP to great heights in 2011, but to 2015, I think, will require something more than the Jack of 2011, even if he were still leader. I still haven't discounted Topp.

  9. I'm backing Mulcair as well. He is the most electable of the candidates which shows in his election successes in Outremont. I don't think Peggy Nash has appeal beyond NDP voters, because she wasn't able to win Parkdale High-Park many times despite the resources she had (compared to other NDP ridings). She won in 2006 but lost in 2008 as an incumbent despite the NDP gaining seats nationally. Comparatively, by comparing her election performances to the NDP nationally, i don't find her electability good enough. While Mulcair does much better. He held Outremont as an incumbent in 2008 and it was the only seat that the NDP held.

  10. Volkov you have it about right i'd say.

    This is the dynamic i've been predicting since the last election:

    Dead cat bounce for BQ and Liberals. NDP falters slightly.

    Harper gains backs a few Quebec seats on the splits, maybe something from the new seats, but is otherwise pretty static with a slim majority after the next election.

    That's basically what the polls are saying if you adjust for the chronic under polling of the CPC.

    If nothing changes (big if) then the question after the next election is:

    Merger ? NDP new leader ? (Stupid, stupid move if so.) Liberals keep up the push to regain power even if it means giving Harper a shot at a third majority ??

  11. In all fairness to Peggy, she did face a formidable opponent in Gerard Kennedy, who held the riding provincially for a number of years and was Education Minister in the Ontario Liberal government, also running for the leadership of both the provincial and federal Liberals. As well, he has a "left wing" reputation, relying heavily on his "founding" the Toronto Food bank in the 1980's. She lost to him in '08 but kicked his ass in '11.

  12. The Liberal push to regain power could, in theory, harm the Conservatives a lot more than the NDP.

    Just remember, we have by 2015 a 9-year government with an accumulated mass of scandals, a decade-long leader, and all possible successors are seen as part of the same cabal (aside from maybe Prentice).

    What would happen if a re-energized LPC and a megaNDP took all their guns, fired away at the Cons? What can happen, what maybe we should aim for, is to squeeze the Conservatives out.

    Imagine that, a NDP-Liberal dichotomy. That wouldn't seem half bad, would it?

    And it is entirely possible. It's happened before.

  13. Volkov, you do have a point. At the end of the day the Liberals are a centrist party and last time around they seemed to move to the left to try and take NDP votes. Problem is the NDP has also moved to the more to the Centre so they looked the same (that may have had something to do the the Quebec wins for the NDP).

    Perhaps pushing the CPC further to the right is the answer, they may lose a few people on the left but most of what has hung on are centrists and party faithful. It Might just work.

  14. Volkov it used to be the NDP who would protest against calls not to split the vote by making the claim that they could harm the Conservatives more than the Liberals.

    But what you're describing isn't the current polling (which as we all know shows artificially low CPC support just as it did pre-election), its a '93 scenario (even then the right wing still got 35% of the vote).

    The problem is an NDP-Liberal dichotomy can't exist unless the Liberals become a center-center right party, like the previous configuration of BC politics.

    With their steady leftward drift and now having the same position on corporate taxes as the NDP its clear that the John Manley type voters won't be interested in the Liberals without some policy shifts.

  15. Well let's just say that no Prime Minister has won more than four consecutive elections (Sir Wilfrid Laurier was the only one to have won four consecutively) so it's safe to say that Harper will probably lose the election following 2015 (2019 or sooner). I strongly dislike the Conservatives and Mr Hudak's recent performance just solidified my opinion.


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