Friday, January 6, 2012

December 2011 federal poll averages

Though there has been little change at the national level since November, significant shifts in support did take place in Ontario and Quebec in the last month of 2011 - at the expense and benefit of different parties.
Six federal polls were released during the month of December. Four of them were national polls and two of them were Quebec-only polls. In all, 6,171 Canadians were surveyed in the six polls.

The Conservatives slipped 0.6 points since November and led with an average of 35.5% last month. The New Democrats were down 0.5 points to 28.5%, while the Liberals were down 1.6 points to 21.9%.

The Greens picked up 0.9 points and stood at 6.1%, while the Bloc Québécois gained 0.7 points to reach 5.6% support nationally.

The Conservatives continue to slide in Ontario, dropping 1.7 points since November to 36.4%. This is much lower than the 42% the party had in October. The Liberals dropped 3.8 points to 29.3% in December to the benefit of the NDP. They were at 26.6%, up 3.7 points since last month and their best result since September. The Greens were up 1.9 points to 6.4%.

But while the NDP is up in Ontario, they are dropping in Quebec. The party stood at 45% support in September and October, but they dropped to 32.7% in December, down 4.3 points since November alone. The Bloc Québécois, at 24% (up 1.1 since November), reached their highest level of support since before the May 2011 election. The Conservatives were up 0.5 points to 19.5% while the Liberals were up 1.4 points to 17.4%. That is the best Liberal score since before the election as well. The Greens picked up 1.3 points to reach 4.5%.
There was little real change in British Columbia in December, as the Conservatives picked up 1.9 points and averaged 38.6% in December. The New Democrats picked up 2.1 points to reach 34.6%, their highest total since August 2011. The Liberals were down 1.5 points to 15.9%, while the Greens were down 3.5 points to 9.6%. They had previously been at their peak last month since January 2011.

Atlantic Canada remains a close three-way race, as the Conservatives dropped 0.9 points to 33.6%. December was the third consecutive month of Tory decline in the four Atlantic provinces, however. The New Democrats dropped 4.5 points to 30.3%, their lowest result since the May 2011 election. The Liberals were up 2.7 points to 27.9%, while the Greens were up 2.5 points to 5.1%.

Alberta's voting intentions have been steady, with the Conservatives dropping only 0.3 points to 60%. The New Democrats were up 0.9 points to 19.6% while the Liberals were down 1.4 points to 10.4%. The Greens were stable at 7.1%.

The Conservatives recovered their losses from November in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, gaining 6.5 points to reach 47%. The NDP dropped 3.7 points to 30.4% while the Liberals were down 2.5 points to 15.5%. The Greens were up 2.3 points to 7.1%, their highest level of support since February 2011.

With these levels of support and using the current 308-seat electoral map, the Conservatives win 140 seats, a gain of six since November but a loss of 26 compared to their current standing in the House of Commons.

The New Democrats win 100 seats, a drop of two compared to November. The Liberals win 61 seats, seven fewer than they were projected to win in November but nevertheless 27 more than they currently hold.

The Bloc Québécois wins six seats, a gain of three since November, while the Greens win one.

The Conservatives win 19 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 19 in the Prairies, 52 in Ontario, eight in Quebec, 14 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The New Democrats win 12 in British Columbia, one in Alberta, six in the Prairies, 24 in Ontario, 50 in Quebec, six in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Liberals win four seats in British Columbia, three in the Prairies, 30 in Ontario, 11 in Quebec, 12 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.
But based on the level of uncertainty and error both in the projection and the polls, the Conservatives could win as few as 115 seats or as many as 189. This means that everything from Official Opposition to another majority is possible from these numbers, though a result around 140 is the most likely.

The New Democrats could win as few as 55 seats or as many as 126. This means an NDP minority government is possible with these numbers, though very unlikely. It is also possible that the NDP could finish behind the Liberals in terms of seats. That is more likely than the NDP coming out ahead of the Tories.

In all, the Conservatives would have about an 85% chance of forming government based on these numbers, while the NDP would have a 15% chance.

The Liberals could win as few as 26 seats or as many as 85, making it possible for them to surpass the NDP as the Official Opposition. However, they could also drop behind the Bloc Québécois as their seat range stands at between zero and 31 seats. The Greens could win between one and two. The potential exists, then, for the Greens to win more seats than the Bloc.

As the chart above shows, there is far more overlap between the New Democrats and the Liberals than there is between the Conservatives and the NDP. That is not to say that the battle is one between the NDP and the Liberals. Most of the NDP battles are against the Tories and the Bloc, while most of the Liberal battles are against the Conservatives (mostly in Ontario). The New Democrats, thus, have the most to gain but also the most to lose. I imagine that is going to remain a constant right through to 2015.