Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Massive NDP leads in Quebec, Ontario competitive

Two federal polls conducted recently in Quebec by Forum Research and CROP indicate that the New Democrats have not only taken the lead, they are ahead by miles.
The CROP poll published by La Presse puts the NDP at a massive 51% - a gain of 22 points since CROP's last poll from mid-March.

The Bloc Québécois remains in second but with only 18% support, a drop of 10 points. The Liberals are down seven to 15% and the Conservatives are down six to 13%. Everyone has been shoved aside by Thomas Mulcair.

Interestingly, however, the gain has come almost exclusively from francophones. The NDP leads in this demographic with 54%, up 24 points since before the Mar. 24 leadership convention. The Bloc is down 11 to 22% and the Liberals and Tories have dropped seven and six points, respectively.

But among non-francophones, the NDP is only up nine points (considering the small sample size, it could even be considered to be within the MOE) and still trails the Liberals, 38% to 33%. It would appear that French Quebecers were concerned about the NDP choosing someone other than Mulcair, while English Quebecers were not nearly as worried about who would take over the helm of the party. Perhaps that is not so surprising.

The NDP leads by huge margins everywhere, with 52% in Montreal, 49% in Quebec City, and 48% in the rest of the province. In Montreal, their primary adversary is the Liberal Party (20%) while they face-off against the Tories in Quebec City (26%) and the Bloc in the regions (25%). But in every case the fight is one-sided.

With these levels of support, the New Democrats would win 66 of the province's 75 seats, a massive landslide. The Liberals would squeak by with five seats, the Tories three, and the Bloc only one.

An interesting result was on the question of who is the best option to be Prime Minister. Thomas Mulcair topped the list with 41%, well ahead of Stephen Harper (10%) and Bob Rae (9%). That a federalist like Mulcair can have such huge support despite (in CROP's polling) the Parti Québécois leading provincially is remarkable.
Forum's latest missive for the Montreal Gazette was taken on the last day of CROP's polling, so it is newer. Though it has the NDP a little lower, it is still showing the same landslide: 42% for the NDP, 19% for the Bloc, 17% for the Liberals, and 16% for the Conservatives.

This survey echoes CROP's quite a bit. The New Democrats are well ahead among francophones, but still trail the Liberals among non-francophones.

The fight in Montreal is between the NDP and the Liberals, between the NDP and the Tories in Quebec City, and between the NDP and the Bloc in the rest of the province. The margin in Quebec City, however, is far narrower.

But nevertheless the NDP romps to 60-seat victory, with nine seats for the Liberals, five for the Tories, and one for the Bloc.

Mulcair's personal rating is also very high in Forum's polling, with his approval rating sitting at 57% to only 11% disapproval. That is the mirror image of Harper's numbers in Quebec: 22% approval to 69% disapproval. Bob Rae splits 28% to 26%, with a relatively high proportion having no opinion.

What is absolutely fascinating about these personal numbers is that Thomas Mulcair gets a 58% approval rating from supporters of the Parti Québécois. In his days as a provincial MNA, Mulcair was one of the fiercest opponents of the PQ - but now he has apparently become Quebec's defender in the House of Commons.

Another fascinating breakdown by Forum shows how the federal and provincial voting intentions of Quebecers are mixed. Jean Charest's Liberals get 40% of their support from the federal Liberals, 30% from the Conservatives, and 27% from the New Democrats. The PQ draws 47% of its support from the Bloc and 38% from the NDP, while the Coalition Avenir Québec gets 58% of its support from the NDP, 22% from the Conservatives, and 10% from the Bloc. Federal and provincial politics in Quebec have no relation to one another, at least in terms of political support.
That is not the case in Ontario. In Forum's federal poll of the province, the firm found that 87% of Tim Hudak's PC support is drawn from the federal Conservatives, 79% of the provincial NDP's voters are federal NDP supporters, and 68% of Dalton McGuinty's supporters plump for the federal Liberals.

Province-wide, 36% of Ontarians support the federal Conservatives, compared to 32% supporting the NDP and 24% the Liberals.

The Conservatives lead in eastern Ontario, in the GTA as a whole (though only in the 905 area code), and in southwestern Ontario. The New Democrats are ahead in northern Ontario, while the Liberals lead in the City of Toronto.

These levels of support would deliver 61 seats to the Conservatives, 28 to the New Democrats, and 17 to the Liberals. Considering where most of the new seats are likely to be created (in the 905 area), the Tories should be able to pad that number.

But it shows that Ontario could be becoming more of a two-horse race, with the Liberals holding on to their seats in Toronto itself. It makes Ontario a battleground and, as always, an important one. If the New Democrats can maintain their huge representation in Quebec, the path to government lies in whittling down the Tory lead in Ontario.

45 comments:

  1. Hi Eric,

    Has the NDP ever considered setting up a provincial wing of their party in Quebec? I suspect that the results would look similar provincially since it appears that Quebec politics have moved away from discussions about sovereignty towards discussions about funding for social programs. The NDP offers a solid socialist option without the separatist rhetoric.

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    1. The NDP used to have a Quebec provincial wing, but they slashed all ties with it after it's members supported separation, and sued them to change their name after they elected a former FLQ member to lead them.

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    2. Probably not a great idea. If there was a provincial NDP, like there once was, the federal party's support would also depend on how the provincial party was doing. If a provincial NDP could form government in the next election they could have a big impact on how the federal party does in 2015. If they are not popular then Mulcair will have a hard time maintaing the party's 2011 gains. Of course if they are popular it could help a lot, but I think there is more risk then reward there.

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    3. There was once a QNDP, and the party put considerable effort into cultivating it, perhaps to the detriment of its base in the West. In the end, the QNDP turned out to be a parking space for separatist voters, and if I recall they disaffiliated over Meech Lake and Free Trade. They were sued by the federal NDP for use of the name after they endorsed Duceppe and nominated a terrorist. A few mergers and acquisitions later and they are known as Quebec Solidaire

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    4. Funny you should mention it! I've been thinking a lot about a renewed NDP-Q, and blogged about it here... feel free to take a look... http://polygonic.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/the-case-for-an-npd-q/

      Additionally, curious that so much CAQ support comes from NDP supporters. Voters driven less by left-right logic, and more by anti-incumbency?

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    5. CAQ, while not explicitly federalist, is not driven by referendum politics. To me (living in QC) these numbers suggest that the majority of Quebecers want to support a consensus party (not the unpopular Conservatives or federal Liberals) that will not seek to divide the population by seeking sovereignty. And so NDP and CAQ are the lone parties standing. Economic and social policies appear to be a secondary factor.

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  2. Its interesting that you model gives the Tories a 61 to 28 lead over the NDP in seats with just a 36-32 lead in the popular vote. I assume that there must be a ton of seats that would be on the edge of tumbling to the NDP if the needle swung just a bit further

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    1. Not really, a quick look shows the NDP within 5% of the Tories or Liberals in only four seats. Their vote is not too efficient, but I don't have a regional model set up at the federal level for the provincial results.

      But if I start from Forum's results and then give support (one point apiece at a time) from the Tories and the Liberals equally to the NDP, I only get the NDP at a majority of seats when the split is 42% NDP to 31% CPC and 19% LPC. This gives the NDP 57 seats to 44 for the Tories and five for the Liberals.

      The problem is that the NDP has pockets of good support in Ontario, but then are generally uniform everywhere else.

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  3. "But it shows that Ontario could be becoming more of a two-horse race, with the Liberals holding on to their seats in Toronto itself."

    17 seats is actually a gain of 6 for the Liberals. Just saying.

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    1. Right you are, a lot of seats are close LPC/CPC races so when the Tories drop that much the Liberals move ahead.

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  4. Of course if the NDp actually increased its support in ontario from 26% to - say - 33%, we don't know how the geography of that support might change. The NDP almost won Bramalea-Gore-Malton federally and then picked it up provincially - if NDP support got well into the 30s you might start seeing more and more BGM type scenarios where the NDP suddenly becomes very competitive in lower income 905 ridings where they had not previously been a factor.

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    1. totally agree with this. Also, you have to note Scarborough rouge river, Scarborough southwest. They had almost no support , and then suddenly, very competitive or a win.

      Looking at alberta, same thing. NDP looks like they can win seats with 10% support ( which is very low in other places).

      Maybe there is an NDP crystallization effect. Support comes up regionally and then crystallizes until it becomes a seat and then , not much more support. so maybe 70% or 80% NDP support in a riding is not that possible.

      I'm just guessing here, i have no study to backup my theories.

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  5. Based on the accuracy of the polls in Alberta, I think we can safely assume that NDP support is somewhere between 0 and 100%.

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    1. Oh you cynic you. I'm wondering though if the Mulcair NDP can hold onto this sudden wealth of electorate love. He's not the most cuddly type. And obviously, to me anyway, they're benefitting from a leadership convention bounce. I think they'll have trouble holding onto this support, let alone building on it, especially in Ontario.

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    2. I agree. I'd bet on the Liberals hammering the tar out of Mulcair on federalism and his vote to denounce the Charter, and that hurting his support outside of Quebec.

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    3. Yep, they'll hammer Mulcair but it won't work, because people don't care.

      Arthur Cramer

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  6. What this does show though is to defeat Harper the key is Ontario.

    Take those seats away or at least reduce and the whole scenario changes significantly.

    And Eric these weird characters are really hard to read/see when trying to get a post accepted.

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    1. Alright, I have removed them characters but if spam picks up as a result they will return.

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    2. No surprise. Voters vote for self interest with very little concern for the larger economic picture. See mcguinty fold to the ND yesterday- more spending, tax the rich ( all 23000) of them. They have NO money- does not stop them- no austerity here.
      Alberta - got an email from one of the unions ( inadvertently ) telling everyone to vote PC or wages would be frozen. As soon as I saw it, I changed my predictions for seat count- out by 1 seat! So is polling useful or do you just watch behavior?

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    3. About spam reduction: another site I visit has a checkbox when you post that says "check this if you are not a spammer", and doesn't let you post unless you check it. Pretty simple, but it seems to work.

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  7. Hi Eric,
    Do either poll cover all provinces? Is it possible for a total seat projection?

    I'm trying to compare these results with your observations in the article "Neck-and-neck federal race" (different poll firms I know) to guage just how much support has changed for the NDP.. any thoughts?

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  8. "An interesting result was on the question of who is the best option to be Prime Minister. Thomas Mulcair topped the list with 41%, well ahead of Stephen Harper (10%) and Bob Rae (9%). That a federalist like Mulcair can have such huge support despite (in CROP's polling) the Parti Québécois leading provincially is remarkable."

    It's a simplistic reading of politics in Quebec to assume that the PQ vote is solely and deeply separatist (or even sovereigntist). That's one aspect, but currently, a minor aspect. PQ supporters are not interested in going through another referendum, for instance... they are much more interested in bread and butter issues and in progressive issues. In fact, it's quite obvious that the PQ (in that past 10 years) have been unable to make hay out of the enormous unpopularity of the provincial Liberals precisely because the Party strategists have held to the separatist issue, rather than the issues that are increasingly meaningful to people. So, the support of the federalist Mulcair hinges on his known reliability in progressive terms - his federalism is irrelevant.

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    1. The PQ vote is roughly 75% to 90% sovereigntist, based on polls. No, it isn't always a primary concern, but it is nevertheless a factor. And there is a big difference between liking someone, and wanting them to be Prime Minister.

      From what I can tell from CROP's numbers, with Duceppe/Paillé being given as an option no leader has approached this level of support for PM, with the exception of Layton around the 2011 election. I think that is noteworthy, considering that Layton was not really seen as a "Quebec" politician, but Thomas Mulcair is a well-known federalist dating from the early 90s.

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    2. It's counter intuitive, but is it without precedent? Quebec elected Levesque and Trudeau at the same time after all. Levesque was a champion of Quebec's independence, Trudeau a champion of Quebec's place in Canada. Both were champions of Quebec though.

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    3. But polls in Qc have repeatedly shown that only about 20% of sovereigntists are hard separatists... (the meaning of these terms has to be interrogated). People in Qc have reason to trust Mulcair (because of his track record here) - a prime requisite for a Prime Minister. Qc nationalism is in the ascendancy when people here feel they are being pushed down (and in particular, being pushed down because of their ethnicity/culture). Mulcair's federalism is less important than his politics and track record. You point to the apparent contradiction between support for the federalist Muclair and the (poll) lead of the PQ, but there's no contradiction here... people aren't currently supporting the PQ because of sovereigntism, but rather, because they hate the Quebec Liberals, who are (rightly) seen as suppressing the progressive policies Quebeckers value.

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    4. Ryan, different Quebeckers were supporting Levesque and Trudeau... Federalist anglos and allophones for Trudeau and nationalist francophones (and left others) supported Levesque... Now the left option is federalist...

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    5. Trudeau's Liberals took 68% of the vote in Quebec, versus 49% of the vote for Levesque. At least 29% of Quebeckers voted Liberal and PQ within a year of each other.

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    6. Wouldn't that be at least 17% voted for both?

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  9. Both polls have shown that the Liberals really can't do worse than 2011 even with a centrist at the helm of the NDP. The Liberals are solidly holding on to their base so any NDP gain will be mostly at the expense of the Conservatives. The inefficiency of the federal NDP vote in Ontario is mostly due to the fact that the Liberals hold the city vote and the Conservatives hold the rural vote so even though the NDP support is high, they end up coming in 2nd for a majority of the ridings.

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    1. Not sure where you are getting that idea. The 24% for Ontario that Forum reports is below the 25.3% that the party got in Ontario in the 2011 election.

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    2. Mulcair shows no signs of being a centrist, by the way... in contrast with McDonough - a Blairite Third Wayist - and McLaughlin - of indeterminate politics. Mulcair has gotten a bad rap for being a centrist in a province where the only federalist option for a progressive was being a member of the provincial Liberal party... He made the most of this underwhelming option.

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  10. By the way... will you be integrating these polls into the overall picture for the country? This suggests to me that the NDP may have passed the Conservatives...

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    1. I think so too, those are the 2 biggest provinces in canada, representing roughly 3/5 of the seats. it seems that the average is 10 points in favour of the ndp.

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    2. I agree Eric, why no pie charts? Put them up and give us a look.

      We'll decide for ourselves.

      Arthur Cramer

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  11. You know,I find it very funny how outlets like HuffPo, and to a lesser degree here have been backing off talking about a NDP slide in Quebec. My, how things have changed.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

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    1. Hilarious! Talk of the NDP slide in Quebec was rife because the NDP was sliding in Quebec. Now they aren't, so the talk is over. Pretty simple stuff.

      It likely would have continued if they had chosen someone other than Mulcair, though.

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    2. Eric. I don't know if that's true, because no one really knows ...the NDP trend may have been downwards at the pre convention period but where would it be if Mulcair wasn't elected ... really speculation. Polls may have pointed downwards but that's based on a moment in time. Anyway, the real poll is three years away.... can't wait for Prime Minister Mulcair and a truly Canadian government.

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    3. I wonder how much the media's obsession with an NDP slide in Quebec was actually helping to perpetuate the NDP slide in Quebec.

      The media have a lot of influence on public opinion and bandwagons are a lot more powerful than we give them credit for.

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  12. How do you think the Ontario NDP will do in the coming by-election in Kitchener–Waterloo?

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    1. South Parkdale Jack28 April, 2012 11:59

      Were areas of strength decades ago. Communities change as time goes by; is it time again for the NDP here? The NDP must "win back" these ridings if they want a shot at government, especially federally. The London seat has been kept in the NDP column most recently, and of course Hamilton, so maybe.

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    2. I think that the PC vote may drop, from what I can tell, Elizabeth Witmer had a whole lot of name recognition.

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  13. I think its the Mulcair honeymoon period. Having said that the NDP would probably be in the same position they are in now if a cat were leading the party such is the fickle nature of the Quebecois electorate. NDP Federal government. Be scared. Be VERY scared.

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    1. Ah, the classic Conservative narrative. "It's all a fluke!"

      I think you pay a sizable insult to Quebec voters when you so drastically underestimate their intelligence.

      Among other factors, Quebecers want a good leader to inspire them and they rally to one when they appear. It happened with Duceppe, Layton, Mulcair, Mulroney, Charest, Chretien, and even Legault (if briefly).

      Now their provincial scene is bereft of people who Quebecers consider to be good leaders, hence the ongoing state of flux.

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  14. The April Fed update should be instructive,the first full month chronicling the "Mulcair effect". Almost all showing a Con NDP tie between 32 and 36 %. Acouple even had the NDP slightly ahead (latest Forum)

    JKennethY

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