Thursday, December 8, 2011

November 2011 federal poll averages

Six federal polls were released for the month of November, three of them national, two of them for Quebec, and one for British Columbia. In all, 6,804 Canadians were surveyed during the month. The weighted average of these polls indicates that, compared to the October averages, the Conservatives have shed the most support, but it is the Greens and the Bloc Québécois that have made the gains.
The Conservatives averaged 36.1% national support in November, down 2.3 points from October. The New Democrats and Liberals each dropped 0.5 points, to 29.0% and 23.5%, respectively.

The Greens made a 1.9-point gain and stood at 5.2%, while the Bloc Québécois was up 1.4 points to 4.9% nationally.

At this level of support, the Conservatives are back to where they were in August, when the death of Jack Layton resulted in a bump of sympathy for the New Democrats. At 29%, however, the NDP is at their lowest level of support since April.
The Conservatives dropped 3.6 points in Ontario and stood at 38.1% in November, ahead of the Liberals who, at 33.1%, were up 1.9 points. This is the highest the Liberals have reached in Ontario since before the federal election. The New Democrats were up 0.1 point to 22.9%, while the Greens were up 0.2 points to 4.5%.

In Quebec, the New Democrats dropped 7.5 points from October to November, a major shift in support. They averaged 37% last month, their lowest level of support since April. The Bloc Québécois gained 5.5 points to reach 22.9%, their highest since the election, while the Conservatives slipped 0.6 points to 19.0%. The Liberals were up 2.8 points to 16.0%, and the Greens were up 1.2 points to 3.2%.

The Conservatives dropped 5.6 points to 36.7% in British Columbia, allowing the New Democrats to pick up 8.3 points to reach 32.5%. The Liberals fell 8.7 points to 17.4%, while the Greens were up 6.2 points to 13.1%. This is the highest level of Green support in the province since January.

In Alberta, the Conservatives are unchanged at 60.3%, while the New Democrats are down only 0.7 points to 18.7%. The Liberals were down 2.1 points to 11.8%, and the Greens were up 5.1 points to 7.1%.

There was more change in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, as the Conservatives fell 7.5 points to 40.5%. The NDP picked up 1.7 points and stood at 34.1%, while the Liberals were down 0.4 points to 18.0%. The Greens were up 3.6 points to 4.8%. This is the lowest level of support I have for the Conservatives and the highest for the NDP in the Prairies since I started calculating monthly averages in January 2009. Have I been at this for that long?

Finally, in Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives fell one point to 34.5% while the New Democrats gained 4.1 points to reach 34.8%. The Liberals dropped 4.2 points to 25.2% and the Greens were down 0.2 points to 2.6%, below the 2.9% for "Others".

As you can see, I have changed the positioning of the parties on the seat projection pie chart. I placed the parties according to the left-right spectrum, since it gives a little more information than the random placement I had before. Placing the parties in this manner allows people to, if they wish, look at it from the perspective of left vs. right. You could say that on this chart the left-centre has a strong majority, or you could say that the right-centre has an even stronger majority. Or, you can not look at it this way at all. At least it provides the option.

With the November averages, the Conservatives are projected to win 134 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, a drop of 15 seats since October and 32 seats from their current standing. The New Democrats win 102 seats, up one from October and unchanged from their current standing, while the Liberals win 68 seats, a gain of 12 since October and a doubling of their current representation. The Bloc Québécois wins three seats, up two from October and down one from their current standing, while the Greens win one seat, unchanged.

The Conservatives take 19 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 15 in the Prairies, 51 in Ontario, eight in Quebec, 13 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. A rough estimate gives them 150 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons that is planned for the 2015 election.

The New Democrats take 12 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, eight in the Prairies, 19 in Ontario, 53 in Quebec, eight in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. Their 338-seat estimate is 110.

The Liberals win four seats in British Columbia, none in Alberta, five in the Prairies, 36 in Ontario, 11 in Quebec, 11 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. Their 338-seat estimate is 74.

The Bloc's three seats are, of course, in Quebec while the Green seat is in British Columbia. They would still win this many seats in the 338 scenario.

November was a bit of a rough month for the Conservatives, as they dropped in every part of the country except Alberta. Their slips in Atlantic Canada and Quebec were insignificant, but British Columbia, the Prairies, and Ontario look to be important battlegrounds going forward. Yes, I include the Prairies as I believe that Saskatchewan will be a much more competitive province in 2015.

For the NDP, they are looking good in the West and on the Atlantic coast, but they need to be doing much better in Ontario if they ever want to form government. Their drop in Quebec is not too worrisome just yet as the Bloc hasn't really taken off, but if they choose the wrong leader from the province's perspective things could get dangerous for them.

And the Liberals are not looking very good anywhere but in Ontario. They are generally back to where they were there prior to the May debacle, but they are shedding support in Atlantic Canada, the one region they salvaged in the federal election.

Of course, things are going to be shaken up on Sunday when the Bloc names its leader and in March when the NDP names theirs. But any gains will need to be maintained by these new leaders and any losses will need to be made good, making their current standings in the polls not insignificant.


  1. How is that if the gap in BC between the NDP and Tories shrinks from 13% in the election to 3% in these averages - the NDP is still at 12 seats. There is at least once Tory held seat that would shift to the NDP on that swing in BC.

  2. This looks like a likely scenario of how the Tory government would be defeated in 2015. The Tories would be reduced to a minority and either third party would be forced to prop up the second party, or get involved in a formal arrangement. With the way the NDP and Liberal egos work, I doubt they would engage in any formal agreement.

    In the past seven years the Tories have built too many strongholds in Western Canada and Southern Ontario. With a divided opposition, the Tories would at least with the plurality of seats in 2015.

    Eric, I don't know if you played with your projection but I'm guessing that if the Tory popular vote is tied with the NDP, the Tories would win the most seats. I think the same would go for a Tory-Liberal tie or a three way tie. It seems like the Tories has a strong grip over most of the country.

  3. DL, correct, but because of the Liberal gain the NDP loses a seat as well. There are several close NDP/CPC seats, however.

  4. Anon @ 13:01 I can assure you that the 2015 election will look nothing like this. It so far away I assume Harper will either be hated or still strong.

    Anyways without a formal agreement its very hard for opposition parties to leap frog an incumbent government.

    Not impossible in a constitutional sense but there's no incentive for a third party to risk annihilation by handing the second party victory without any tangible benefits.

    Also the media seems primed for a Liberal comeback.

    Liberals and NDP will probably tie each other in the seat counts and will probably wait one more cycle before getting serious about merging.

  5. "Anyways without a formal agreement its very hard for opposition parties to leap frog an incumbent government."

    Look up what the Liberals and NDP did in Ontario in 1985 - I suspect we would see something similar in Canada. If it becomes questionable whether the Liberals would back the NDP to get rid of Harper after the 2015 election (despite the Liberals usually being the party that engages in the most over-heated anti-Harper rhetoric) - it will give the NDP an enormous gift. They can appeal to people to vote "strategically" for the NDP since the only way to be 100% sure of getting rid of Harper is to make sure there are more NDPMPs than CPC MPs!

  6. Gotta agree with DL here... everything I hear from Liberals I know tells me that they would be willing to support the NDP on motions of supply and confidence in exchange for the right concessions (and visa versa). I don't think a pre-election pact is in the cards though, nor is it in either party's interest.

  7. DL/Ryan the big knock against Liberals is that they are an entitled brokerage party made up of self serving elites.

    While to the left they are certainly not left wing idealogues who will support the NDP for free because they're true believers in progressive causes.

    (If they really were why wouldn't they have just joined the NDP before ?)

    They're going to want Rae to be deputy PM or foriegn affairs minister and they're going to want 3 or 4 other ministeries.

    None of this needs to be done pre-election.

    If Harper is held to a weak enough minority then the NDP will make a power play and this will be settled in the backrooms once the election is over.

    But if you think the NDP will get Liberal support for free you're dreaming!

  8. Voting "strategically" - typical NDP arrogance talking. Tsk tsk. Will they ever learn?

    Anywho... this monthly average is great but c'mon, than Nanos poll is more than just a tiny outlier, don't you think Eric? I'd love for the Liberals to climb their way back up that high, especially in Ontario, but every other poll puts us 25-30%, not 38%. Same with Nanos' Quebec numbers - I'd like for us to be at 20-25%, but its more likely we're still mired around the 10-15% we got last May.

  9. Well, the averages smooths it out. Especially in Quebec, where the other polls are buried by the 2,000 surveyed by Leger and CROP.

  10. Could a drop in support for the Conservatives in the Prairies be attributed to their decision to meddle with the Wheat Board?

  11. Anon 00:20,

    I don't really see how - everyone knew their position before, and well over 50% still voted Conservative. Maybe it's a case of "I didn't think they'd actually do it," but more likely its just small sample sizes.

    That, or the CWB has affected their position in the Prairies but when push comes to shove, voters stick with the Cons anyways.

  12. BC's monthly averages seem to be changing quite dramatically- would there be any political reasons for this, or would it just be different polls?

  13. It's odd, as British Columbia was generally stable before the election. I think it is a combination of actual volatility (provincial politics, HST, etc.), smaller samples, and fewer polls.


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.