Thursday, March 1, 2012

NDP third in Quebec

When Forum Research last reported on the federal voting intentions of Quebecers, it made some waves by placing the New Democrats second behind the Liberals. Those waves continue to roll, as their latest survey of 1,589 Quebecers puts the NDP third behind the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals.
Forum was last in the field on February 6, and since then the New Democrats have slipped three more points to 22% support in the province, 21 points behind their May 2011 performance.

The Bloc Québécois has picked up nine points and stands at 29%, followed closely by the Liberals, down two points since early February.

The Conservatives are down seven points to 17%, while the Greens stand at 4%.

It might come as little surprise that a poll that found the Parti Québécois leading by nine points would also show decent results for the Bloc. Perhaps intentions are shifting back to the two sovereigntist parties in the province, or perhaps the poll's focus on provincial issues influenced respondents. However, the same has not appeared to happen in polls from CROP and Léger that survey the federal and provincial voting intentions of Quebecers at the same time.

Most significantly, the Bloc has moved ahead in the francophone electorate with 32% support, well ahead of the Liberals (23%) and the NDP (22%). Among non-francophones, the Liberals are dominant with 46% support to 22% for the NDP and 17% for the Conservatives.

The Bloc leads outside of Montreal and Quebec with roughly 33% support, compared to 23% for the Liberals and 22% for the NDP.

The Liberals are ahead in Montreal with 30% support to 26% for the Bloc and 24% for the NDP, while the Conservatives lead in Quebec City with 37%. The Bloc trails with 22% while the Liberals are third with 20%.

The significance of this poll is reduced by the fact that the NDP has not chosen its next leader - but it does give an indication of how low the party can dip if the choice does not jive with Quebecers. This same poll shows that Quebecers want Thomas Mulcair to lead the party. No other leader comes close to his numbers.

Just as the NDP's generally uniform support throughout Quebec in 2011 helped them win the vast majority of the province's seats, this uniformity means it loses the vast majority of their seats when they drop below their rivals.

With these levels of support, the New Democrats would be reduced to only four seats from their current haul of 58. The Bloc Québécois would fall just short of a majority with 37 seats, while the Liberals would win 22 and the Conservatives 12.

In other words, an unmitigated disaster for the NDP. Assuming nothing else would change outside of Quebec, this would reduce the NDP's representation in the House to only 47 seats, placing them third behind the Liberals, who would have 49 seats. There are, however, enough close races to make it possible for the NDP to retain its position as the Official Opposition, but this is a very simple demonstration of just how important their Quebec support is if the NDP is to keep that role.

Forum has been a bit of an outlier of late in Quebec, however, so we need some other results before we can confidently say that the NDP has slipped this much in the province. The most recent CROP poll would seem to suggest they haven't.

NDP second in Lethbridge

A poll from Lethbridge College on the federal voting intentions of residents in Lethbridge and Coaldale is also worth noting. The poll, conducted February 11-12 and surveying 738 people for an MOE of +/- 3.6%, found that the Conservatives are still comfortably ahead in the two cities with 53.1% support, down a mere 3.3 points since Lethbridge's last poll in 2011. (Note: Coaldale is located within the federal riding of Lethbridge, but parts of the riding, which stretches down to the American border, were not included in this survey.)

What's interesting, however, is how the New Democrats have moved into second in the area, as they have done in the province as a whole. The poll puts the NDP at 23% support in the region, up 12.6 points since a year ago. The Liberals have slipped 2.6 points to 17.9%.

Of course, this only changes the party the Conservatives hold a 30-point lead over. But this survey helps confirm the trend in Alberta that the New Democrats have become the alternative to the Tories in the province. They still have a long way to go, but an extra NDP seat or two in Alberta, particularly in Edmonton, is not impossible in 2015.

23 comments:

  1. Which seats do the NPD keep under this projection?

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  2. Abitibi--Baie-James--Nunavik--Eeyou, Drummond, Gatineau, and Trois-Rivières.

    Those might seem odd, but the four seats the Bloc held in May 2011 weren't exactly their best four seats either.

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    1. Not even Outremont? That's dangerous.

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    2. The Liberals lead in Montreal over the NDP by six points and among non-francophones by 24 points. Outremont is only 45% francophone.

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    3. Mulcair won the riding in 2008 when the Liberal to NDP margin was larger in Montreal...

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    4. Sure, Mulcair could resist the trend. But if you identified four Bloc ridings that would have survived the May 2011 election, Gilles Duceppe's probably would have been one of them. Michael Ignatieff was defeated while other Toronto-area Liberal MPs survived.

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    5. Mulcair won his riding when the NDP was at only 12% in Quebec. Neither Duceppe nor Ignatieff had a track record of victory in such a challenging partisan environment.

      The first time Ignatieff ran in Etobicoke-Lakeshore the LPC share of the vote actually went down 6%. Perhaps that should have been a warning sign lol.

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    6. Or to put it another way - Ignatieff was elected for being a Liberal. Duceppe was elected for being a member of the Bloc. Mulcair was elected for being Mulcair. :)

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  3. Eric was this poll taken after news of the robocall scandal broke ?

    If so a 7 point drop for the Conservatives is really, really bad new for them because its possible they're dropping all across the country.

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  4. Postmedia broke that story the night of Feb. 22, but I'm not sure how much play it had gotten in Quebec on Feb. 23, when this poll was taken. It might have had some influence, but probably not a lot.

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  5. With these numbers, would the Liberals be able to retain Saint Maurice - Champlain or would it go back to the BQ?

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  6. I have the Bloc narrowly winning it.

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    1. With the Liberals in second?

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  7. Can someone explain to me why the conservatives do so well in Québec City?

    Presumably cities tend to produce left-leaning voters, so it should be voting anything but conservative. Yet it's here that all the conservative voters in the province are located, why?

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  8. It is the same thing at the provincial level. The ADQ (now CAQ) do best there.

    Not all cities produce left-leaning voters: look at Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto. They have a lot of Conservative MPs. Quebec has just been a more conservative place - talk radio is big there. In a way it is somewhat similar to Ottawa, where the Conservatives do relatively well outside of the downtown area. A lot of government workers, middle class and relatively affluent. But downtown Quebec has left-leaning voters, it generally votes PQ, Bloc, and (in 2011) NDP.

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    1. In the context of Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton are much more left-wing than the rest of the province. It's a matter of perspective. The single albertan non-CP MP elected at the past two elections was a NDP candidate in Edmonton.

      Given that, I would expect Quebec City to be even more left-wing than the rest of the Province - but it's the opposite that actually happens. Odd.

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    2. I just don't really think it is a hard-and-fast rule. And in the case of Quebec, it isn't a Conservative sweep - like I said the core parts of the city are more left-wing and there are other parts of the province (Lac-Saint-Jean, Beauce, for example) that are strong Tory areas as well.

      But there's a lot of other factors that contribute. For example, there is a strong Montreal/Quebec rivalry, and the Liberals and Bloc have been seen as a Montreal-based party. That makes it all the more easier for a Conservative Party that flirts with nationalism in Quebec to make inroads in Quebec City.

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  9. These poll numbers benefit Mulcair. Traditional NDP voters have a choice here, they can vote with their heart for an ideologue like Nash or Topp, or vote with their brain for the only candidate that could solidify their Quebec gains and have a chance at forming government.

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  10. The four ridings listed as NDP holds make a lot of sense. Abitibi-James Bay-Nunavik is held by Romeo Saganash who has a high profile, has a large Aboriginal population who if vote en masse could determine the outcome. The NDP have historically done well in Gatineau (at least for NDP standards in Quebec). Obviously it has a large unionized population of civil servants and has in the recent past been a four way race. The NDP won Drummond and Trois-Rivieres by 30 point in 2011.

    As for Outremont many idiosyncracies of the riding would make it a likely candidate to abandon the NDP even with Mulcair. It has a large and prominent hasidic Jew population who are staunchly zionist. The majority of NDP members sympathise with the Palestinians and the policy of Mulcair and the NDP in this regard do not mesh. One could see how Israel/ Palestine could act as a wedge issue for either the Grits or Tories.

    As for where leftwing and rightwing voters reside I do not think one can be simplistic; urban=left rural=right. It is important to remember that both the Reform party and CCF started on the Prairies for instance.

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    1. To Derek Andrew....Please. How may hasidic Jews do you think voted for Mulcair to begin with? They were probably already in Harper's clutches. Also, trying for a more balanced approach doesn't mean your for "child pornography".

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    2. Thomas Mulcair is a strong supporter of Israel. His wife is Jewish, and he has worked closely with Montreal's English-speaking Jewish community since his days with Alliance Quebec. He represented Chomedey as an MLA, a riding with a prominent Jewish community, and won that regularly with over 50% of the vote. His strongest support comes from the Jewish community in and around Montreal. The Montreal Jewish community knows that, and al the Conservative bloggers and robocallers aren't going to change those facts.

      Moreover, Montreal Jews are more left wing than anyone else and have been since they elected Fred Rose, Canada's first Communist MP in the 1940's.

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  11. Good lord ... The Conservatives leading at 37% in Quebec City?

    This poll is deeply flawed.

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  12. No, it is deeply usual. The Conservatives have led in the last seven polls in Quebec City and have averaged 37.1% in them.

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