Friday, February 10, 2012

January 2012 Federal Poll Averages

Five national and two Quebec-only polls were released in January, surveying a total of 8,417 Canadians. Thanks to increases in Ontario and Quebec, both the Conservatives and Liberals made gains on their December 2011 averages.
The Conservatives averaged 35.1% support in January, up 0.7 points from December. The New Democrats averaged 27.8%, down one point, while the Liberals polled at 24.4%, up 1.7 points since the previous month.

The Greens were at 5.7% while the Bloc Québécois was at 5.5% nationally. Both had dropped 0.4 points.

This represents another month of decline for the New Democrats, who have fallen steadily since hitting 32% in September 2011. The Conservatives appear to have halted a slide of their own since September, while the Liberals have been around 23% or 24% for the last four months.
The Conservatives picked up three points in Ontario in January, averaging 38.8% support. The Liberals gained 1.6 points and stood at 31.7%, while the New Democrats were down 1.8 points to 24.2%. The Greens averaged 5.4%.

In Quebec, the New Democrats have continued to drop, this time by 2.9 points to only 30%. The party had averaged 45% in Quebec as recently as October 2011. The Bloc Québécois lost 0.7 points to reach 23.7% in January, while the Liberals were up 2.8 points to 20.3% in the province. This is the third consecutive month of Liberal increase in Quebec, and they are now at their highest point since March 2011. The Conservatives gained 0.2 points in Quebec and averaged 19.1% in January. Their support has been virtually constant since February 2011.

The Conservatives slipped 0.5 points in British Columbia to 35.5%, while the New Democrats dropped 1.5 points to 33.5%. The Liberals were up 3.5 points to 20.8% and the Greens were down 1.4 points to 9.3%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives picked up 2.4 points since December and averaged 60.9% support. The Liberals moved ahead of the New Democrats for the first time since before the May 2011 election by gaining 3.1 points to hit 15.3%. The NDP fell 4.4 points to 15.1%.

The New Democrats gained 4.9 points in Atlantic Canada, however, and averaged 34.7% in January. This is the first time since at least January 2009 that the NDP has held an outright lead in Atlantic Canada. The Liberals increased 1.5 points to 30.5% while the Conservatives slipped 4.9 points to 29.1%, their lowest result since August 2010.

And in the Prairies, the Conservatives were up 1.5 points to 47.2%, followed by the New Democrats at 31.4% (-1.1) and the Liberals at 15.9% (-0.2).

With these levels of support, and using the current 308-seat electoral map, the Conservatives would have won 137 seats in a January election, down three seats from their December 2011 projection. The New Democrats would have won 91 seats, down nine since December, while the Liberals would have won 69, a gain of eight.

Though this would point, at first, to a Conservative minority government, the NDP and Liberals could combine for a 160-seat majority.

The Conservatives would have won 17 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 19 in the Prairies, 53 in Ontario, 10 in Quebec, 10 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The New Democrats would have won 13 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, six in the Prairies, 20 in Ontario, 42 in Quebec, eight in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Liberals would have won five seats in British Columbia, three in the Prairies, 33 in Ontario, 13 in Quebec, 14 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Bloc Québécois would have won 10 seats in Quebec (up four since December) and the Greens would have won one in British Columbia.

Though this may seem like bad news for the NDP, the problem for them is Quebec and Quebec alone. The party is polling equal to or higher than their 2011 election results in British Columbia (+1 percentage points), the Prairies (+2), and Atlantic Canada (+6) and they have only slipped slightly in Alberta (-2) and Ontario (-2).

In Quebec, however, the party is down 13 points. What this means is that the New Democrats are still doing quite well in English Canada. They have consolidated the support they won in the last election, but in Quebec the party is in big trouble. Once the party slips below 30% in the province, they will start to lose seats in droves. With those seats will go their hopes for forming the next government.


  1. Do you have the numbers of the forum poll?

  2. Yes, I wrote about the Quebec ones here:

    For the rest, I'll post about it next week.

  3. Who benefits when the NDP dips below 30 in quebec? Do most of those seats go back to the Bloc, or the Libs (based on current polling trends)

  4. The Bloc starts winning them back. But if the Tories or Liberals are running higher, they start winning some as well. Forum poll would result in 29 NDP, 25 LPC, 15 CPC, 6 BQ, for example, as Bloc is at the back of the pack.

  5. Combined opposition from your numbers 160

    CPC 137

    We can assume the Bloc would probably support a coalition. Thus bye-bye Harper !!

  6. It is going to be interesting to see what happens once the NDP has a permanent leader. Under the interim leadership of Turmel the NDP has been essentially invisible, but that will change once the party has a permanent leader and people like Muclair, Nash and Dewer back on the front bench.

    It is clear, however, that whoever wins the NDP leadership is going to have to work hard on Quebec.

  7. More evidence that the NDP, should it seek to better in future, should pick Mulcair for the leadership. If the NDP leadership polls are any indication, Mulcair is perceived well in English Canada as well as in Quebec. The rest of the pack are okay otherwise, but if they want to shore up Quebec, he would be the way to go.

  8. The trouble is Mulcair turns them into the Liberals 2.0. Which a lot of NDPers would rather not be...

  9. Well the Forum polls does solidify the strong Québec numbers for the Liberals in the Nanos poll but it is still amazing how the NDP averages 28% in the poll ("the Liberals have risen to 26% support, slightly ahead of their result in the firm’s Jan. 13 poll and just two percentage points behind the Opposition NDP") with such low Québec numbers and it's doubtful they have higher than 30% in Ontario so it must mean they have strong support out west and out east.

  10. Eric,I am curious that in spite of the NDP leadinf the Liberals by 4% and the Conservatives by almost 6% in Atlantic Canada, yout projection gives both Liberals and Conservatives more seats. I know your model factors in things like incumbency, but this still seems rather counter-intuitive to me.

  11. "The trouble is Mulcair turns them into the Liberals 2.0. Which a lot of NDPers would rather not be..." I respectfully disagree with you Ryan. If Mulcair was not a committed New Democrat, why would he have run and won in a Liberal stronghold when the NDP was in single digits in Quebec and the NDP was in fourth place? It is also important to remember that unlike other political parties, the NDP membership sets and approves party policy.

  12. Anonymous 08:32, it has everything to do with vote concentration. The NDP has a few pockets of support in Atlantic Canada but not enough widespread support to win a lot of seats with only a narrow lead.

    1. I get what you are saying Eric, but at some point a spillover from the Metro St. John's and Halifax power bases for the NDP will have to happen if they continue to build on their lead. Since their vote in PEI and most of NB is pretty dismal, that would have to happen in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

    2. No doubt, but it doesn't appear that 35% is that spillover point. At this level of support, though, there are another three seats in which the NDP is within 10 points of the projected winner.

  13. I think Mulcair is the way to go. Anyway, winning in 2015 would be nice but should not be the be all and end all. Generally, New Democrats don't have the Liberal mindset of finding that "saviour" to hopefully propel them into power. Re-enforcing the foundation and building upon it is what is required, including developing realistic progressive policy and attracting quality candidates, the later becoming easier, being on the threshold of government. That being said, I can see Mulcair and the NDP actually succeeding in 2015, if not by themselves, then in some sort of arrangement with the Liberals, which might be preferable to many Canadian voters than an outright NDP government. Three years is a long way off and much can happen. Also, the leader will not be there forever, as we all know only too well, but the party will.


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