Friday, March 16, 2012

Conservatives lead by eight in three federal polls

Three federal polls released over the past week indicate that the Conservatives hold an average lead of eight points over the New Democrats, suggesting that the recent robocall kerfuffle has had little effect on voting intentions. But the three polls also show a remarkable rebound for the Bloc Québécois in Quebec, with the party edging out the NDP in two of the three polls and averaging 31% to the NDP's 29%.
The poll by Léger Marketing is the oldest of the three, having been conducted between February 28 and March 5 for the QMI Agency. Their poll surveyed 2,509 online panelists.

Léger was last in the field at the pan-Canadian level between September 12-15, 2011. Since then, the Conservatives have fallen five points to 34%, with the New Democrats falling seven points to 26%. The Liberals are up seven to 24%, while the Greens are up one to 7%.

The Conservatives lead in this poll in British Columbia with 36% (+1), Alberta with 59% (-9), the Prairies with 41% (-21), and Ontario with 39% (-2). The Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada with 37% (+23) while the Bloc Québécois has the edge in Quebec with 31% (+4 since their last Quebec poll from late January).

This poll generally aligns with what others have shown: a three-way race in Atlantic Canada, a neck-and-neck contest between the NDP and Conservatives in British Columbia, and a competitive race between the two parties in the Prairies. The Liberals hold second in Ontario and are performing well in Quebec, where the NDP and Bloc are maintaining around 30% support.
Ipsos-Reid was the next out of the gate for Postmedia and Global TV, surveying 3,154 Canadians in a hybrid telephone/online poll.

Ipsos-Reid was last in the field November 8-9, 2011 and since then the Conservatives have held steady with 37% support. The New Democrats are down two to 29% while the Liberals are up two to 23%. The Greens have increased their support by one point to 4%.

The Conservatives lead in British Columbia (43%, -1), Alberta (69%, +11), the Prairies (50%, +5), and Ontario (39%, unchanged). The New Democrats are ahead with 33% in Quebec (-5), while the Liberals (unchanged) and the Tories (+3) are tied for the lead in Atlantic Canada with 33%.

Again, we see the three-way race in Atlantic Canada, the NDP and Bloc at 30% or so in Quebec with the Liberals performing well, the Liberals holding second in Ontario, a close contest between the NDP and Conservatives in British Columbia, and a competitive NDP performance in the Prairies.
Abacus Data's numbers were out today for the Sun News Network. They have the newest set of numbers but their online poll is the smallest, though of standard size.

Abacus was last in the field January 16-19 and since then the Conservatives have held firm at 37% support. The NDP is also steady with 28%, while the Liberals are down one point to 20%. The Greens are unchanged at 7%.

The Conservatives lead everywhere but Quebec, with 39% in British Columbia (-8), 64% in Alberta (-8), 60% in the Prairies (+7), 38% in Ontario (-4), and 39% in Atlantic Canada (+13). The Bloc Québécois leads in Quebec with 33%, up 10 points.

But we still see some of the features of the other polls. The race in Atlantic Canada is less close, but the small sample size is likely to blame. The NDP and Bloc are at 30%-ish in Quebec, though the Liberals are not doing as well as they have elsewhere. Ontario is standard fare, as is Alberta and British Columbia, but the Conservatives hold a wide lead in the Prairies. Again, the sample size is smaller for this region.

But overall these three polls are in agreement. They put the Conservative lead at eight or nine points, with the Liberals far enough behind the NDP in two of three polls to confirm their third-place status. The results across the board are remarkably consistent with one another, particularly when taking into account the margins of error.
A straight-up average of the three polls, together taken over two weeks and surveying more than 6,000 people, puts Conservative support at 36%, with the New Democrats trailing with 28%. The Liberals stand with an average of 22% support, followed by the Bloc Québécois at 8% and the Greens at 6%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives lead with 39%, 10 points ahead of the Liberals. The NDP is not far behind the House's third party, with 25% support.

The Bloc Québécois holds a narrow lead in Quebec with 31% support, followed closely by the New Democrats at 29%. The Liberals stand at 20% while the Conservatives are well behind with only 14% support.

The race is close in British Columbia, where the Conservatives have 39% support and the New Democrats 36%. The Liberals have 16% support, double the 8% of the Greens.

Atlantic Canada has a tight three-way race, with the Conservatives at 33% to the Liberals' 32% and the NDP's 30%. The race is not nearly as close in Alberta, where the Conservatives averaged 64% to the NDP's 18% and the Liberals' 11%.

Finally, in the Prairies the Conservatives sit at 50% to 32% for the NDP and 13% for the Liberals.

Generally speaking, aside from the Bloc's lead in Quebec, these three polls are well within the norm of recent weeks and even months.
The average result of these three polls would give the Conservatives 143 seats, 12 short of a majority. The New Democrats would win 72 seats and the Liberals would win 59, with the Bloc Québécois taking 33 seats. The Greens hold on to their one seat in British Columbia.

The Conservatives win 19 seats in that province, 27 in Alberta, 20 in the Prairies, 58 in Ontario, seven in Quebec, 11 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. They would likely win 160 seats in a 338-seat House, 10 short of a majority. Their share increases from 46.4% of seats to 47.3%.

The New Democrats win 13 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, seven in the Prairies, 23 in Ontario, 22 in Quebec, five in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. They would likely win 78 seats in a 338-seat House of Commons, their share decreasing slightly from 23.4% to 23.1%.

The Liberals win three seats in British Columbia, one in the Prairies, 25 in Ontario, 13 in Quebec, 16 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north. They would likely win 65 seats in the expanded House, giving them 19.2% of seats, no different from the 308-seat projection.

The Bloc wins 33 seats in Quebec and likely one more with the province's allotment increasing to 78 seats.

The return of the Bloc Québécois dramatically changes the make-up of the House. If the Bloc is pushed back down to 23% or so with those lost eight points going to the NDP (which, as one poll indicated, is what would happen if Thomas Mulcair becomes leader of the party), about 30 seats would flip back to the New Democrats, giving them over 100 seats in the House of Commons and, perhaps most importantly, the potential to join up with the Liberals to form a majority coalition government.

But with the Bloc Québécois back in the lead in Quebec, the opposition is again divided three-ways, forcing any co-operation between the NDP and the Liberals to rely on Bloc support. It does not change anything for the Conservatives as they are not a factor in the province and have a solid grip on their few Quebec seats. But any hope for an NDP majority, minority, or majority coalition with the Liberals becomes virtually impossible with the Bloc Québécois having a serious shot at one-third or more of the seats in Quebec.


  1. That 16% for the Liberals in Québec (Abacus) seems odd considering all the recent polls have them above 20% in Québec, though it is only a drop of 1% from Abacus' last poll.

    With regards to the election fraud, it is doubtful Conservative support will drop until it is confirmed that they were behind the misleading robocalls.

  2. I guess everyone who says no-one gives a damn about the robocall scandal is right. I do not understand this country.

    1. Probably because nothing has been proven yet. And even if it was some conservative staffer in the riding, that shouldnt affect peoples views of the MPs and the PM as it wasnt their doing. Although by-elections would be necessary in this case.

    2. Try this for info !!

      Misleading robocalls went to voters ID'd as non-Tories

    3. It took 2 years before the sponsorship scandal had any impact on Liberal poll numbers. Patience...

    4. I agree that people shouldn't blame to Conservatives until something has been proven. But what happened to accountability? If staffers are committing election fraud, the MPs and PM must be called into question for the environment they foster. In a business, the boss is responsible for his subordinates, I don't see how this is different.

    5. John Ivison has an interesting explanation for the robocall fiasco.

      Basically, the story goes that Pierre Poutine used the Tory election list to call opposition supporters in Guelph. But because the Tories don't really care much about opposition supporters, that list had all sorts of incorrect information, so that Pierre Poutine called handfuls of people in all sorts of oddball ridings accross Ontario. To the extent people reported robocalls from ouside Ontario, those calls were likely live calls, likely dealing with actual changes in voting locations (although mistakes may have been made in some cases).

      Now, judging by his sources, this version is likely to Tory gloss. On the other hand, it gives enough specifics that it could be readily disproved if untrue. Moreover, there are two things that make this story somewhat plausible. First, it would explain the somewhat haphazard pattern of ridings affected by Robocalls (i.e., Robocalls in safe Tory seats, or safe opposition seats, where robocalling makes no sense, no Robocalls in a number of highly competitive ridings). Second, it would explain the relatively small number of complaints (i.e., had this been an orchestrated campaign in 80-odd ridings, we should be seeing tens of thousands of complaints, not 700).

      Moreover, it's a story that's got a little something for everyone. It's got individual (presumably) Tories behaving badly (which would have been a great story for the opposition parties had they not tried to blow this story up into something more than it now seems to be), on the other hand, it clears the Tories as an organization of wrong-doing.

  3. I think the one flaw in this though is the Abacus poll. In just about every poll they've released since the election they've had Conservative support around 40% while having Liberal support between 16% and 21%. Basically, except for the increase in Bloc support, the numbers would indicate that not much has changed since the election, when the opposite seems to be true.

    On a side note, what would the seat ranges be for this projection? With the Bloc taking so many seats (presumably mostly from the NDP), it would be interesting to see if thee are enough close races to limit the need for the Liberals and the NDP to rely on the Bloc.

  4. This very interesting. A resurgent Bloc means that a Liberal-NDP merger is no longer a lock for victory, especially since we can't expect a merged party to hold all of the support of both precursors.

    1. I don't think a Liberal-NDP merger ever was a lock for victory. Too many Liberals would prefer the Conservatives to the NDP, and too many NDPers prefer the Conservatives to the Liberals.

      Now a coalition government on the other hand could happen... though yah, with the Bloc this high, not too likely.

    2. This being said, a merged party would even with lesser votes combined, win more seats in the House, due to the-winner-takes-it-all system, by winning a simple majority per each riding. A question for Éric: Would you be able to calculate a possible scenario where there would be a combined NDP-LPC party be part of. Especially seat numbers could have an interesting outcome.


    4. There was a recent IPSO poll that showed 54% of Canadians approved of the way that the CPC are handling the runaway clear cut #1 issue: the economy.

      Lets break this down using the last elections numbers:

      100% of the 40% of the people that voted CP
      plus 0 % of the 6% voting Bloc
      plus 0% of the 31% voting NDP
      plus 0% of the 6% voting Green

      that leaves 14% that came from the people voting Liberal.. or 70% of people voting Liberal thinking the CPC are governing well.

      If you use the current polls you need to take the 36% CPC support and add 82% of the 22% Liberal support to like the CPC.

      I think that the remaining Liberals who have not already shifted to the NDP creating the coaltition of the `progressives` are far more likely to vote CPC than NDP or social-democrat.

      The CPC platform is much closer than what the Liberal would have as a platform if they could only come up with one than the NDP.

      Why would anyone who would ever vote NDP vote Liberal in 2011???? They liked IgnatieFf as leader rather than Layton?

    5. Bluh.....???

      Ok Eric you try to explain how 54% of Canadians in the IPSOS poll think that Harper and the CPC are doing a good job in running the economy.

      Who did these 54% vote for last election? Who will they vote for next election?

      The basic assumption is that 60% of Canadians voted against the CPC and can't stand them being in power is wrong.

    6. Your playing with the percentages makes no sense. Any poll would show you that not everyone who votes for a party or supports a party loves everything that it does, or hates what the other parties do. Assigning 0% support for the government's handling of the economy to supporters of the Bloc, Greens, and NDP is not realistic.

      Some Conservative supporters will think that the government is doing a bad job of running the economy, and some opposition supporters will think that the government is doing a good job.

      People support a party for a multitude of reasons. It is not impossible to imagine someone who thinks the Conservatives are doing a good job on the economy but disapproves of their social, foreign, and judicial policies. Likewise, it is not impossible to imagine a Conservative supporter who thinks they are doing a bad job with the economy but they agree with the party on everything else.

  5. Can't wait for poll results once the NDP leadership is settled ... they've been doing rather well considering they've been "lame and leaderless" for so long. What will a Mulcair led NDP do to the Bloc, to the Liberals? Exciting!!!

  6. Nanos is out today too with much the same numbers.

    The only other movement I see is the Leger poll dropping the tories a bit. (from several months ago). No other change from the last polls.

    We seem to be pretty locked in at the moment. robo-calls or scandal mongers aside.

    The latest Nanos poll does show some tho. Liberals down 9.5 (to match the low 20's of the other pollsters. Everyone else up. also to match these other numbers.

    So we are left with atleast an 8point lead for the tories, still on the cusp of a majority.. or just over it...

    A fairly strong NDP... stronger in RoC than election day (especially the praries) but marginally weaker in Que.

    And a liberal party still weaker than under Dion... And that without a leader. So people are still putting their hopes and aspirations into it until a new leader defines it.

    A recovering Bloc... back into the lead in Que will win a few seats back.

    And finally a Green party who is still polling as high as 6.... and scoring an actual on E day of as low as 3. Do we see their newly elected MP and leader more now than back in the early days of the first tory minority when the media decided she was the fad of the day and needed equal coverage?? Or more now that she is both a leader elected as an MP and a backbencher that noone pays attention to?

    1. What Nanos poll are you referring to?

    2. Yeah Barcs I can't find the new Nanos poll either. It wasn't posted on either of his sites, and there's no mention of anything on the CTV site since the last one. I also watched the CTV news loop this morning and no mention there either. I think if the Libs dropped 9 per cent in two weeks, CTV would be leading with that, but no mention. But I'll keep looking.

    3. Yaknow, I can't seem to find it either.

      It must have been a rough afternoon or something, because I wrote about it being a drop for the liberals to 20%. And it is Abacus that has them there.

      I have to apologize for mixin people up. Too many tabs open or something.

  7. Maybe he is confusing it with the Ekos poll that has the Tories at 35% NDP at 30% and the Liberals at 19%

    1. Thanks for pointing that one out, hadn't seen it.

    2. Very interesting poll and analysis on the EKOS website ... is the center moving as Mulcair envisions. Wish Broadbent had not been so undignified. Stephen Lewis responded as "the elder statesman". Also, opposites Gerald Caplan and James Laxer supporting Mulcair?!

  8. Yeah that was a very interesting At Issue !!

    Now to follow on what I think was the thrust Broadbent blew it BIG TIME !!

    If people wanted a shift to the centre they cot it with Layton !!!

    So now we've got Broadbent blowing it Big Time, Lewis being the Senior Statesman to a "T"

    At the same time I think this has Helped Mulcair !! Because the party NEEDS to move towards the Centre to keep and gain power !!

    1. any Liberal wanting to combine under the social democratic banner has to realize that Broadbent will have more influence in the new party than Paul Martin.....

      If Paul Martin, Manley and McKenna don't just follow Emerson to the CPC.


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