Thursday, July 5, 2012

Conservative uptick in Forum polling

Two national polls from EKOS and Forum Research were released this week, one showing the New Democrats narrowly ahead and the other putting them tied with the Conservatives. Forum's polling is particularly good for the Tories, as it gives them a statistically significant increase in support nationwide and shows improving personal numbers for Stephen Harper.
Forum pegs NDP and Conservative support at 35% apiece, representing an increase of five points for the Tories since their last poll of June 14. That is a notable bump, while the NDP's drop of two points is not. The Liberals, down three points to 19%, also saw their support shift within the margin of error.

The Bloc Québécois is unchanged at 6% while the Greens are down two points to 3%. Support for other parties stands at 1%.

The Green result is somewhat out of step with what other surveys have shown, but the party has a tendency to be over-estimated in polls of the general population, at least when compared with the voting population.

The Conservatives hold the lead in Alberta with 63% (+3), while the Liberals trail with 18% (unchanged) and the NDP with 13% (also steady). The New Democrats lead in Quebec, however, with 42% (+1). They are trailed by the Bloc at 22% (unchanged), the Conservatives at 18% (+3), and the Liberals at 15% (-3). None of these shifts in support are outside the margin of error, as is the case across every region of the country.

In Ontario, the Conservatives have 40% support (+6) while the New Democrats are at 33% (-1) and the Liberals stand at 23% (-5). In British Columbia, the Conservatives are at 39% (+9), with the NDP at 37% (-8) and the Liberals at 17% (unchanged). The Greens are down one point to 6%.

The New Democrats placed ahead of the Conservatives in the Prairies with 48% (+5), 10 points up on the Tories, who are down five points since the June 14 poll. However, this result for the New Democrats is substantially higher than what has been normally registered by other surveys in the region. The Liberals are at 10% (-9).

And in Atlantic Canada, the Conservatives sit at 35% (+7) while the NDP is at 33% (-11) and the Liberals are at 28% (+6).

There have been no significant shifts in support since Forum's last poll at the regional level, but the individually insignificant Conservative gains throughout the country point to a potentially real increase nationwide. Whether this is a stand-alone result or something that we could see across other polls remains to be seen.
Despite the tie, the Conservatives come out ahead in the seat count with 148 to the NDP's 121, primarily due to their strong results in Ontario. The somewhat unusual result in the Prairies, however, gives the New Democrats the majority of the seats there.

And while the regional breakdown favours the Conservatives, the personal numbers for Stephen Harper also point to an advantage.

He is seen as the best person to be Prime Minister by 30% of Canadians, putting him ahead of Thomas Mulcair who scored 20%. Bob Rae was well behind with 10%.

A look at how this PM support breaks down by party support suggests why Harper is so far ahead of Mulcair, despite the tie in voting intentions for their parties. Fully 83% of Conservative supporters chose Harper as the best PM, with "none of them" being the next most popular result at 5%. For Mulcair, however, only 51% of NDP supporters chose him, with 15% saying "none" and 10% choosing Rae. While this gives a small indication that the NDP has the potential to leak some support to the Liberals, the Liberals seem more likely to leak support to the Conservatives. While 33% of Liberal supporters chose Rae as the best PM and 27% said "none", 12% thought Harper was the best option. Only 6% chose Mulcair.
Nevertheless, Thomas Mulcair has the highest approval rating of the three leaders with 39% (unchanged), compared to 36% (-4) for Rae and 35% (+4) for Harper. He also has the lowest disapproval rating at 32% (+1), while Rae has a disapproval rating of 37% (+5) and Harper scores 58% (-3).

With only 7% (-1) of respondents not knowing their opinion of Harper, he is (by far) the most polarizing figure of the three. A lot of opinion is yet to be formed about Mulcair, however, as 29% (-2) responded "don't know" on whether they approved or disapproved of his performance. At 27%, Rae's is also high but he is only the interim leader.

Among their own supporters, Harper is very popular with an 85% approval rating (unchanged). Mulcair's is up by four points, but is still well behind at 64%. Support for Rae among Liberal voters is down nine points to 60%.
EKOS has not been heard from since their poll of Mar. 6-11, making the shifts in their latest survey more of an indication of the changing landscape between the pre- and post-Mulcair periods.

EKOS puts the NDP up 2.7 points since that last poll to 32.4%, ahead of the Conservatives who are down 6.1 points to 29.3%. The Liberals are down 0.4 points to 19.2%, while the Greens are up 1.4 points to 9.5% and the Bloc Québécois is up 0.7 points to 6.5%. Support for other parties sits at 2.9% in this poll.

That is a statistically significant drop for the Conservatives, while the other shifts appear to be within the margin of error. But the Tories have not scored this low, or the Greens this high, in other recent polls.

The Conservatives lead in Alberta with 54.3% (-6.9), putting them ahead of the NDP at 19.5% (+0.9) and the Liberals at 15.1% (+4.5).

In Ontario, the NDP stands at 32.8% (+1.8) while the Conservatives scored just behind with 32.4% (-2.2). The Liberals, at 23.9%, are down 2.4 points. The Green result of 9.6% is on the high side.

The New Democrats are at 33.4% (+2.8) in Quebec in this poll, followed closely by the Bloc Québécois, up 2.5 points to 27%. The Liberals are up 2.2 points to 17.3% while the Conservatives are down 11.4 points to 11.5%, the only regional shift in support outside of the margin of error in this poll. Nevertheless, both the Conservatives and New Democrats scored far lower in Quebec in this survey than they have in other polls.

In British Columbia, the NDP is at 37.6% (+4.4) and followed by the Conservatives at 28.6% (-6.7) and the Greens at 16.3% (+2). The Liberals are down 1.7 points to 14.6%. Here again, the Green result looks high.

The Conservatives slipped 4.6 points to 41.3% in the Prairies, while the NDP was down 5.7 points to 33.5%. The Liberals were up 4.3 points to 16.4%, while in Atlantic Canada they have dropped 8.3 points to 17.8%. The NDP scored highest there with 33.9% (+11), with the Tories at 29.5% (-2.4). That Liberal result in Atlantic Canada is quite low.
With the results of this poll, the Conservatives still come out ahead with 136 seats to the NDP's 112. Ontario is still a problem for the New Democrats, but added to that is the strong Conservative result in the Prairies and in Atlantic Canada, where the NDP is not high enough to have a swathe of seats fall into their lap. With the Liberals at such a low result, the Tories are winning a lot of those seats instead of the NDP.

These two polls do not show any major change in the landscape, though Forum hints at improving Conservative fortunes. Globally, however, the polls point to a very tight race between the NDP and the Tories with the New Democrats holding the edge, at least in popular vote. But they are not doing well enough in Ontario to be in a good position to win more seats than the Conservatives. The aggregate still gives the NDP the national edge at 34.4% to 32.5% for the Conservatives, but the Tories are up by 3.4 points in Ontario. That is more than enough to ensure a majority of seats in the growing province.


  1. Please note that in this post I have tried to put an increased emphasis on where shifts in support are statistically significant and when results appear out of the ordinary. When reporting regional results, I have also "led" with those results which appear to give one party or another a statistically significant lead, something that is not always very common on small sample sizes. In most cases, I will call a party's lead in a province (or nationally) a "lead" only if it is outside the MOE.

    It is worth noting, of course, that even with the MOE there is always the 95% confidence interval to take into account as well.

    This greater attention paid to the fiddly aspects of polling is something I plan on doing going forward, but lapses in language could creep in here or there. Hopefully this will not make reading the posts too dry. Feedback is welcomed.

    1. I should also add that this increased emphasis on the MOE and statistical significance does not mean that regional results should be considered as less meaningful. Probability still makes the result reported in the poll the most likely reality, and not as equally valid as the outside edges of the MOE.

    2. Hello Eric, I was wondering if there is a standard statistical test that allows you to tell if two different polls show statistically significant different results? (Perhaps your previous comments answered this, if they did it went over my head).

    3. Yes there is, but this is best used when comparing polls from the same pollster. I don't think it is as appropriate to use it to compare results across polls from different pollsters, as they use different methodology, field dates, etc.

      It's always theoretically possible, for example, that EKOS is absolutely correct that Tory support sat at 29% from June 21-26 and that it jumped to 35% on June 27, as Forum suggests. Extremely unlikely, but possible! So even though the difference between these polls is outside the margin of error, it can't really be said that it means one of them is wrong.

    4. So do you typically use this test when comparing results over time by the same polling firm? Also, could you let me know what the test is, I'd like to look it up on wikipedia.

      (PS: Thank you for regularly sharing your results. I'm sure it must be time consuming to keep up to date with the polls.)

    5. Typically, I do. Not always if I'm pressed for time, but I'm going to make sure I run the tests going forward.

      For information on these calculations, I suggest you look at the following:

    6. Thank you for sharing this link. I think just one more question arises - in the examples they used in the article it was for a two party system. Is the formula you use different for Canada with a multi-party system?

    7. I use the same formula. My understanding of that article is that it takes into account the existence of third party candidates and undecideds.

      For example, one section speaks of the MOE between support for McCain and Giuliani among Republican voters, with that support being 30% and 26%. Clearly, a lot is left on the table in that example for other candidates!

      So the formulas I use are not designed for a two-party system only.

  2. Mark in Mexico (in Canada for a change)05 July, 2012 11:37

    All through the spring this blog has depicted scenario after scenario in which the NDP wins the popular vote and the Conservatives win the most seats. Today's EKOS breakdown, showing the Conservatives running away with an impressive minority government of 136 seats on a paltry 29% of the popular vote, really drives the point home. Projections such as this one should be the cornerstone of future discussions about voter participation and first-past-the-post alternatives.

    1. That's a lot of pressure.

    2. I fail to see why this is a problem.

      Really, I do. All of these complaints about FPTP rest on the underlying and seemingly unquestioned assumption that the party favoured by the largest number of Canadians overall should win. But I'd like to question that assumption. Why is that valuable? I'd like to see a justification for the assertion that more votes should equal more power, regardless of the distribution of those votes, instead of it simply being presented as undeniable fact.

      Consider me a black slate. Assume I have no pre-existing preference. Convince me that proportional outcomes are valuable.

    3. Ira, it's becaus we bill ourselves as a democracy, the inherent meaning of which is rule by the people.

      The only way for rule by the people to be real is if the person/group (or coalition of people/groups) that represent the will of the majority of the population governs. Anything else is a distortion of democracy.

      The whole point of constitutionalism was to put trammels on a governing majority to prevent it from running roughshod over the rights (or originally the opinions) of minority groups in the population.

      Proportional outcomes assure that governing coaltions are assembled which have the electoral support of a majority of the voting population. Not much can be done about the non-voting population, as they have chosen not to be represented.

      FPTP has occasionally resulted in outcomes where a party that does not enjoy even plurality support in the population has won the election. See for example the 1979 federal election in which the Liberals got 5% more of the vote than the PCs, yet the PCs won.

      You've made the argument before that it should be communities that decide, not necessarily raw vote distributions. That makes sense to an extent and is why I favour the mixed-member proportional system, which retains single-seat local representatives while also ensuring that the result is proportional.

      But for your argument to prevail in whole, two conditions need to be true:
      1) electoral divisions corresponding exactly to "communities"; and
      2) all electoral districts of roughly similar size.

      Even if you could accomplish #1, #2 would then be impossible, just as achieving #2 results in #1 being impossible. They are mutually exclusive states.

      I don't deny that various forms of PR have problems. That's beyond dispute. But I think what is relevant is Churchill's comment about democracy. It's the worst form of government ... except for all the others that have been tried.

      PR's problems are dramatically less than FPTP's, because FPTP is the only system with the capacity to produce a fundamentally undemocratic result.

    4. It's a representative democracy. That's government by the people's chosen representatives.

      I dispute that FPTP produces undemocratic results. Each riding is won by the candidate who wins a plurality of support. If you called for a STV system, then we could have a real conversation, but as it is you're just making unfounded assumptions about what the election outcomes should look like relative to the popular vote numbers.

      Each area needs representation. Never should there be elected officials who don't represent anyone in particular. Compare the municipal governments of cities with ward systems to cities without wards. The wardless cities have far less accountability for their elected officials. Compare the size of government in countries before and after they adopted proportional representation - what happened?

      You're just spouting platitudes. Use data.

    5. Communities don't automatically equal cities.

      Larger cities with multiple seats can be divided along the socio-economic fault lines that occur naturally due to differences in housing prices.

      Regionalism isn't antithetical to democracy.

      Heck even Greece had city-states.

      I fail to see why a party that runs up super majorities in one region of the country should then be rewarded with extra seats over a truly geographical broad based party.

      Sorry but all these voting schemes aren't a slam dunk and FPTP isn't inherently invalid.

      Each has pros and cons and people can arrive at their own conclusions.

      Stop trying to treat FPTP as if its not a valid option. Supporting FPTP doesn't mean we don't support democracy, it doesn't mean we're facists.

      Isn't that the complain when people trot out the support the troops line ? We ALL support the troops. Touche.

    6. Horsepuckey Ira !!

      Winning candidates quite often, as you well know, get less than 50% of the vote in their riding !!

      Because the more than 50 gets split over several parties.

      So your argument is specious in the extreme !!

    7. Ira, if you are telling someone else to use data, then why are you not using any data yourself in your comments?

      Proportional representation does not mean that there will be elected representatives who represent no one in particular. It means that there will be officials who represent the people in ridings who did not vote for the winning candidate in that riding. Like Peter said, a lot of ridings have winning candidates who won by a minority of votes. This doesn't mean the winning candidate represents his whole community, it means he only represents the people in his community who voted for him.

      Look at the 1926 federal election, Conservatives won the popular vote in Manitoba, yet they won no seats in that province. In that election, Conservatives even won the popular vote nationally, but they were still second place with 91 seats, while the Liberals got 116. Similar scenarios also happened in other federal elections as well. To list them out, they were the election of 1896, 1926, 1957, 1979. The list goes on and on, both in federal or provincial elections.

      Also, don't use the size of the government as a reason why we shouldn't use proportional representation. Big government is not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I think a medium sized government (not too big, and not too small) is ideal. Small governments are mostly preferred by right wing people. So stop imposing right wing policies on an electoral system that is supposed to be free of partisan preference.

    8. "Ira, if you are telling someone else to use data, then why are you not using any data yourself in your comments?"

      Ahh but you see if Ira did use real data then it would interfere or negate ideology, let alone "Talking Points", and we know that can't be allowed to happen !!

    9. "I dispute that FPTP produces undemocratic results. Each riding is won by the candidate who wins a plurality of support."

      But there is no limit to how small those pluralities can be.

      If you had a ridding with 10 candidates, each earning roughly equal support, you can't claim that the winning candidate adequately represents the ridding by virtue of plurality.

    10. Hogwash, Ira. Even Stephen Harper was a strong advocate for PR until he realised that it would no longer benefit him.

      He even criticizes Liberals and New Democrats for balking from commitments to PR when the political winds favoured them.

    11. To Harper's credit, his original Senate Reform bill actually used PR to elect the Senate. Unfortunately that's completely fallen by the wayside now that it's being left up to the provinces.

  3. It's interesting that even though each pollsters seat projections differ the fact remains that the Cons would lose.

    In either case a "co-operation" between the NDP and Libs would see the CPC ousted !

    1. Yes, it doesn't matter if the tories win more seats in the next election, as long as the NDP and Liberals form a coalition, the future's good for Canada. Besides, most of the democratic countries in the world have coalition governments. They include UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and many, many others. So why can't Canada have one? A coalition government would be good for such a vast and diverse country such as Canada.

    2. Australia does not have a coalition government. It has a minority Labour government with support from some independents for supply. It is extremely unstable, earlier this year it looked as if an election was inevitable and was only avoided by the defection and subsequent appointment of an opposition member to the Speaker's chair. The 3 independents have promised to support Labour on supply but, will only negotiate support for other initiatives. This is not the same as a coalition where generally the two or more parties are committed to introducing an agreed upon legislative programme and where the other members have a formal role in government such as; whips, ministers, parliamentary secretaries, deputy speakerships or chair of committees etc...

      While generally the 1985 Ontario NDP-LIb agreement is not looked upon as a true coalition government it possessed more of the attributes than currently are displayed in Australia.

    3. Australia does have a coalition government. It is a coalition between the Labor party, the Green Party, and some independents. The Green Party leader in Tasmania is the Environment minister of Australia. So in that sense, and counting the independents out, Australia has a minority coalition government. And Australia's opposition is a coalition between the Liberals, the LNP, and the Nationals. They have formed government numerous times before Labor took power.

      Coalition governments doesn't always have to be a majority. If in the next federal election, the NDP-Liberal coalition gets 168 seats, the Tories get 165 seats, the Bloc gets 4 seats, and the Greens get 1 seat, and the NDP-Liberal coalition doesn't want to include any other parties in their coalition, then Canada will get a minority coalition government.

    4. A bit of a correction, Australia does not have a Green minister in the federal cabinet. However, I would still have to disagree with Derek. There is no set definition of a coalition government. A coalition government can have the smaller party members getting positions like ministers, parliamentary secretaries, etc. A coalition government can also have the smaller party not getting any cabinet positions, but only supporting the bigger party in votes. In both ways, the smaller party is involved in the decision making process of the government, since no minister makes the decisions by himself. If a member of the government want to introduce a bill, then he will have to get the support and input of members of both parties in the coalition. So once again Derek, there is no set definition of a coalition government, and just because you like one definition of a coalition government, doesn't mean that it's not a coalition government anymore with the definitions you don't like.

      Also, deputy speakers does not only come from governing parties. The opposition can also get deputy speakers. An example in Canada is NDP MP Denise Savoie, who is a deputy speaker in the house of commons.

    5. Oh, and one more thing, all parties have whips. They are there to make sure the members of parties show up to vote. Both the government and opposition have whips. Whips are not a government exclusive position.

    6. Anon: 10:18 and 10:52:

      I stand by my prevoius statement.

      Independent members voting with the government or opposition are not the same as a coalition. Yes, a coalition has a broad definition but, there must be some structure otherwise votes may be coincidental or accidental.

      Without structure it is not a coalition simply likeminded parties voting similarly. Otherwise the Liberals and NDP would be in coalition federally by virtue of opposition to the government. Clearly this is not the case.

      As for whips yes, all parties have them but, specific positions exist for chief government and chief opposition whip. Deputy chief whips can be created. My point was that in coalition all parties have some role within government operations and decision making. Any coalition is likely to employ a senior member(s) of the junior party as a deputy whip(s) or even chief whip.

      I acknowledge some coordination does go on in Australia between the independents and Labour but, most constitutional historians would disagree the level of cooperation is consistent with that of a traditional coalition government since, the independents have no role within government (the ministry).

    7. Historians have been wrong before, and they will be wrong again in the future. Nothing in politics sits still, the definition and role of government (coalition or not) is constantly changing. And you say that the ministry is the entire government, that is completely wrong. The government is composed of much more than the ministry. There are workers who work in the various departments, advisors, etc. Besides, I think a lot of patronage goes on in Australia where Green party members and supporters are appointed to senior positions in the various government departments.

      Derek, your comments have revealed to us all how foolish and disrespectful you are to members who just wanted to post their opinion. You are going around these comments acting like you are the only person who is right, and whatever you say is a fact, and whatever anyone else says is completely wrong. Remember, you are a human like the rest of us, your comments can be wrong at times, in this case most of them are.

    8. Anon:1817:

      I must interject one last time. When speaking in constitutional and parliamentary terms, as I thought we were doing in relation to coalitions and government formation, the ministry is the Government. Civil servants, advisors and patronage (with notable excfeptions) are part of the executive since, they are administered through cabinet.

  4. How is it that a margin of 40 to 33 in Ontario gives the CPC 70 seats to the NDP's 26, while an NDP lead in Ontario at 32.8 to 32.8 seems to give almost the same result, at 55 seats for the CPC to 27 for the NDP.

    Hard to believe that a shift of that magnitude wouldn't cause at least a few seats to move over.

    1. It is just how the numbers work. Overall, the NDP is up four or five seats depending on the poll, but with EKOS the Liberals win more of the LPC/CPC close races than they do with Forum's numbers, where the CPC wins more of those close races.

      The issue is that there aren't enough CPC/NDP races. It requires a much larger swing for new CPC/NDP races to emerge.

    2. We really need to see where the additional NDP support goes riding by riding!

      I suspect that the traditional party strongholds remain pretty consistent, but the 905 ridings could be the game changer!

      If the NEW NDP support is being concentrated in the 905(NDP target), then the I expect that the CPC would have big problems!


  5. I like the use of the tables for the regional results, Eric. Nice and easy to get a grasp of how things break down in a single glance.

    You've got a typo in the paragraph about Forum's result for the Prairies. You've got it as "the Tories, who are down give points since the June 14 poll..." I'm assuming that should be "five points".

    1. Thanks for the typo catch. And yeah, I was getting tired of writing out the regional seat results every time.

  6. Hi Eric, great idea with the tables, great easy way to look at the projections.

    Don't know if you answered this in another post but are you planning to replace the May average projection with a June average anytime soon?

    1. I usually wait at least a week into the new month, as some pollsters report older data.

      Last month I calculated the May averages on June 7, only for Nanos to release a poll that ended on May 31 the next day.

  7. Forum

    Cons 148

    NDP 121

    Libs 34

    NDP+LIB = 165

    Which I think even with the new enlarged house is a majority ??


    Cona 136

    NDP 112

    Libs 46

    NDP+LIBS = 158

    Add Bloc and Green support and well into majority territory !

    1. Peter,

      The House will have 338 seats so, 170 is the line between majority and minority.

      The Liberals are not guaranteed to support the NDP. It may be far more advantageous to prop up a minority Tory government. There are plenty of Liberals who would turn Tory before supporting the NDP.

    2. You are completely wrong Derek. If the Liberals want to survive policically, then their only choice is to support the NDP. If they form a coalition with the Tories, voters will see them as a party which doesn't want change, which supports a regime that disrespects Canada's democracy. Remember, by 2015 the Liberals will be in opposition to the Tories for almost a decade. Their hatred of the Tories would solidify by then. By forming a coalition with the NDP, those right wing Liberals could make sure that a lot of their policies come through, because the NDP are far more inexperienced than the Tories and are much more willing to compromises than the Tories.

    3. Anon 14:58:

      I wish I had time to debate you properly sadly I do not. So much of your reply I find odd and disagree with.

      I did not say the Grits should form a coalition with the Tories but, the NDP can not count on Liberal support for government. Situations change as does the political calculus. Five years ago conventional wisdom in the UK held the Liberal-Democrats were far more likely to support a Labour minority government than a Conservative one. Yet today the Lib-Dems are in government with the Tories.

      It is a poor NDP strategy to rely on the Liberals in order to form government.

    4. Though it's important to remember that Liberals supporting an NDP minority government is not a fait accomplit, your reference to the LibDem-Tory coalition actually weakens your arguments rather than strengthening them.

      The Liberal Democrats have taken a beating both in the polls and at the ballot box in local elections since having formed a coalition with the Conservatives. It is embarrassing that the LibDem brain trust didn't see this as inevitable given how fundamentally different the LibDem (post-materialistic, internationalist, socially liberal, civil libertarian, pacifist, pro-electoral reform) and Tory (materialistic, xenophobic, nationalistic, anti-Europe, anti-electoral reform, somewhat authoritarian, socially moderate-to-conservative) electorates are.

      The influence of the American religious right on Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, something which does not exist in the U.K [OPTIONAL RAMBLING IN SQUARE BRACKETS: outside of Northern Ireland and even then, the Paisleyites are theologically and ideologically similar to the American religious right, but are not associated with them in any meaningful sense, whereas the Canadian religious right is basically an outgrowth of American fundamentalism] and which makes our Tories more alienating to a lot of the upper-class socially liberal vote that the Grits still hold on to than their British counterparts could ever be.

    5. Derek, the LibDems are a terrible analogy to the LPC in Canada. The reason why the LibDems went to the Tories to form a coalition in 2010 is because they could not possibly prop up Labour, who have been in government for 13 years. If they did so, they would have betrayed their voters who wanted change, and who wanted to get rid of the Labour government. Another reason is that if they formed a coalition with Labour, they would still not have the numbers to outvote the Tories. They would have to form a coalition with other parties such as the SDLP, Alliance, and Greens. This would make a very unstable coalition.

      It's the other way around in Canada. In 2015, the Tories would have governed for 10 years, and the people who vote Liberal will be voting for change, and to get rid of the Tories. If the LPC form a coalition with the Tories in 2015, then they would have betrayed their voters as well, and voters will no longer place their trust in them as an alternative to the government we have now.

      Also, it's an excellent strategy for the NDP to rely on Liberals. Usually a coalition government favours the senior party in the coalition, or the opposition party. If the NDP form a coalition with the Liberals, then voters will view the NDP as the new Liberal party, since they will undoubtedly be passing Liberal legislation as well. This will cause a lot of Liberal supporters to go to the NDP, therefore strengthening the NDP support in the country.

    6. Anon 11:09:

      I am not comparing the LIb-Dems to the Grits. I have used the UK 2010 election and coalition to demonstrate how intra-party preferences (in this case coalition partners) can change.

      It is premature to assume a hung Parliament with a combined NDP-Liberal majority or plurality would result in a Lib-NDP coalition of some kind. Like the Lib-Dems the third party will have a variety of options: sit on the crossbenches and abstained from confidence votes, attempt a NDP or Tory coalition, or something less than a full coalition akin to the NDP-LIb 1985 agreement in Ontario. The Lib-Dems and Labour have more votes combined than the Tories. Although I agree the electorate did want change (which greatly improved the Tories odds at forming government) the outcome was far from certain and discussions between Labour and the Lib-Dems did take place after the May 2010 election.

      Your last paragraph demonstrates why it is poor strategy for the Grits to enter into any agreement with the Dippers and why it is a bad idea for the Dippers to rely on Liberals. If coalitions favour the senior partner and will cause the NDP to attract many traditional Liberals why would a Liberal MP enter into an agreement that may not only weaken his/ her party but, place it on the path to extinction? Knowing this how could any Liberal leader enter into such discussions? Surely, the reaction from Liberals to such a scenario would be the opposite: Leave the Tories in power with a minority thereby keeping their independence and hopefully minimise the stength of the NDP. Then wait until the polls improve and hopefully pull the plug.

    7. The whole point of the Liberals entering into a coalition with the NDP is not about survival of the party. What a lot of Liberals want now is for the other parties to have policies that include Liberal values. Many Liberals in the past have wanted a merger between them and the NDP. The Liberals are not the Tories, who always wanted a party with just Conservative values. A lot of Liberals are fine with no Liberal party in the country, just as long as another party (whether its the NDP or Tories) to have policies based on Liberal values. A lot of liberals view the NDP as just "Liberals in a hurry".

      Derek, your comments have revealed to us all how foolish and disrespectful you are to members who just wanted to post their opinion. You are going around these comments acting like you are the only person who is right, and whatever you say is a fact, and whatever anyone else says is completely wrong. Remember, you are a human like the rest of us, your comments can be wrong at times, in this case most of them are.

    8. Anon 18:12:

      I try and be respectful, I admit I sometimes fail in this task. If I have offended you in some way I apologise.

      However, I do not think all those who have responded have done so in a wholly respectful manner. When replies begin with "You are completely wrong Derek" and "the LibDems are a terrible analogy to the LPC in Canada" (When I was drawing no such analogy or comparison). Are words one would not usually expect to open polite conversation.

      I do interject when I view mistakes, have an opinion or think clarification or debate would be in order. Lots of people do so including you. On this site, though certainly not limited to it, people consistently make mistakes or have different understanding of how conventions work and parliamentary procedure executed then usually expressed in the canon of constitutional history.

      I believe (I will do so less forcefully in future) understanding parliamentary and constitutional conventions crucial to fully grasp the workings, roles and duties of Parliament. Even a minor detail such as what a coalition entails can be useful to elaborate unwritten conventions and relationships between components of Parliament. Correct information is needed to minimise confusion and create knowledge. I am sorry that sometimes in this endeavour I am perceived as arrogant. I may be unwantingly drawing attention to mistakes but, writers also have an obligation to check their facts. If anyone feels I have stepped over the bounds please tell me and I will try better. If someone disagree with my writing challenge me to back up the statement. I am only trying to engage in discussion.

  8. I suspect the Conservatives have the potential to improve slightly in the next few months. They are finally beginning to stop the bleeding of support with Quebec rallys and the departure of Bev Oda. I wonder what else would the government do this summer in regards to damage control.

    The NDP should be content with these numbers and continue doing what they are doing. Governments usually lose elections, rather than the opposition winning them. A large part of the NDP's electoral fortunes will rely on government popularity.

  9. Oops !! Goofed

    Forum has the NDP+LIBS at 155 not 165 !! Sorry

    1. 155 seats is still a majority. Take away the speaker, you get 154 seats. That's an NDP-Liberal coalition majority of 1. If the NDP-Liberal form a coalition with the Green Party, that's a working majority of 2.

    2. Anon 15:01,

      Generally speaking a bare majority of 1 vote is not enough to pass legislation if it goes to a vote. The Speaker votes in the affirmative to continue debate but, not on third reading. Denison's rule stipulates the Speaker vote against the enactment of a bills, in other words; votes in the negative during third reading.

    3. Derek, you might be wrong on your math there. If the coalition government gets 155 seats, the opposition gets 153 seats in a 308 seat parliament. If the opposition does not field a speaker candidate, then the coalition government will field a speaker candidate. That puts the government voting members at 154. That's still a majority of 1, enough to pass legislation.

      Also, the federal parliament is not a provincial legislature. The speaker is allowed to vote in the third reading to pass a bill in the House of Commons. Why? Because there is a Senate, debating on the bill is continued there, so the speaker can vote to pass the bill in the House of Commons in order to continue the debate in the Senate.

    4. Anon 10:05:

      Regarding the math the Speaker can only vote in the case of a tie regardless of the composition of the Commons. I recognise the math can change starting my remarks with "generally speaking".

      I believe you are incorrect about the Speaker voting at thrid reading. Although I will double check.

      In the first place he does not have an original vote. Secondly, voting at third reading would not follow the reasoning of Denison nor the traditional concept of supremacy of Parliament and the usual constitutional pathways.

      I think it strange the Commons would delegate their authority to the Senate which is the outcome of the Speaker voting in the affirmative at thrid reading. That would be contrary to the constitutional principle of the elected chamber being the substantive legislative arena. Convention has long determined that an appointed upper house must acquiese to the will of the people.

    5. Anon 15:01:

      The House of Commons Compendium states:

      "The Speaker will normally vote to maintain the status quo, as follows:

      whenever possible, leaving the matter open for future consideration and allowing for further discussion by the House;

      whenever no further discussion is possible, taking into account that the matter could somehow be brought back in the future and be decided by a majority of the House; or

      leaving a bill in its existing form rather than having it amended".

      As you can see the third paragraph clearly follows Denison. The Status quo is to vote agains the implementation of legislation.

    6. If that's so, then what about the 2005 budget? Didn't the speaker voted for the budget in order for it to pass the Commons stage and into the senate?

    7. Derek, you said on 08 July, 2012 19:56 that a bare majority of 1 isn't enough to pass legislation, that a Speaker is needed to vote in that situation, then you said on 09 July, 2012 12:24 that the Speaker only vote to break a tie. You have just contradicted yourself there. Also, it states the Speaker "normally" votes to maintain the status quo. But whether the Speaker votes "normally" or not is up to the Speaker himself. Also, by voting for a bill in the third reading can also be regarded as maintaining the status quo, as long as the government schedules to introduce a bill in the future that amends or reopens the debate on the current bill that must be passed in third reading by the Speaker voting with the government. So in this situation the bill passes the House to be re-debated in the future, also in the House.

    8. Anon 18:26:

      I believe you have misinterpreted what I wrote and I readily admit the fault is partly my own as the wording was clumsy. I do not believe I have made a contradiction I believe the confusion arose as the original phrase was not clearly identifiable as in the passed tense.

      I wrote: "Generally speaking a bare majority of 1 vote is not enough to pass legislation if it goes to a vote".

      I should have indicated the Speaker has cast his vote. A better way to look at the situation may be; a government with 154 seats is a minority not a majority. Some debate among scholars has been produced regarding Mackenzie King’s governments in the 1920’s on this point.

      You are right how the Speaker casts his ballot is a personal decision. However, tradition and precedent indicate he follows the House of Commons conventions and practices passed from previous parliaments as well as down from Westminster -the Denison rule. Most scholars would acknowledge that while a Speaker is free to purposefully break convention anyone who did so would breach the impartiality of the office and be placed in a very difficult position.

      I am afraid I do not agree with your interpretation of the status quo. In terms of law "Normally" would follow precedent. Abnormally would diverge from tradition convention and precedent. The status quo is what is already in place, the existing state; if a bill is before the House it is not part of the Law and therefore not part of the status quo. From a parliamentary standpoint if a bill is passed 3rd reading-debate on that particular bill can not be re-opened-a new bill would have to be introduced. The only exception would be when a bill is rejected or amended by the Senate but, in that case it is the same bill. If I understand correctly you are proposing a future bill be scheduled to amend the current bill at third reading.

      I do not recall the exact details of the 2005 budget but, I do remember the dramatic televised vote with Cadman and Stronach recently perched on the Government benches was at second reading. It is likely the Martin 2005 budget was never passed and became stalled in committee at second reading. If I remember correctly Martin's government fell in November 2005 on a confidence motion. That may have been the budget implementation bill or the Fall fiscal update containing the budget for third reading, or the opposition may have simply allowed the bill to pass since a new budget was only a few months away. However, if one follows the compendium the Speaker would be obliged to vote in the negative at third reading. My guess is that it never passed third reading or it was part of the Fall confidence vote. Try Hansard I am sure they will have the answer.

      I hope you have enjoyed this discussion. I would be happy to recommend a book on parliamentary and constitutional conventions if you are interested.


  10. Eric

    Isn't the 2015 election the first with the expanded house ???

    So the seat numbers here actually aren't accurate unless we go to the polls next week ?

    1. The seat numbers are based on the current boundaries as they are. 2015 will have 338 ridings, but we don't know all of the boundaries yet so any estimate of how the vote translates into seats would be a guess.

    2. Oh sure. But we really do need to start looking at this expanded House. I disagree re seats though. We know which provinces are getting additional seats and how many.

      So why not look at the seat counts in those "enhanced" provinces as reality ??

    3. Every province is going to get the boundaries re-drawn, not just the ones with extra seats. So, I think it is better to wait until we have a clearer picture of what things will be like in 2015.

    4. It'd be interesting to at least see your take on some of the proposed boundaries Eric, and to see what the nominal results would have been under them. Obviously nominal results would only tell part of the story, but they'd be interesting. BC, Alberta, New Brunswick and Newfoundland all have their proposals out so far.

    5. To see if it could be done, I worked a bit on Avalon this morning. Unless there is an easier way to do it, it looks like a 90-minute job for one riding.

      In other words, 507 hours of work for the entire country!

      If I go ahead with it, the electoral commission will probably beat me and Elections Canada will have the transposed data out before I am finished!

    6. Hmm, it might not be as difficult as that. I'll see if I can finish NL and go from there.

    7. You could give a shout to the people at

      They had to do it for 500 ridings there and may have some pointers on how to do it efficiently.

    8. I like the ukpollingreport website. They even have a graphical swingometer to show election results if there is uniform swing across the country. I wonder if those people can make a graphical swingometer for Canada? If so, that'll be great.

    9. Oh, and the UK have 600 ridings in their new provisional boundaries. And the ridings in the UK are much smaller than the ridings in Canada, so it may take less time to do a UK riding than a Canada riding.

  11. Thank God the Tory tide is turning upward for

    1. Good Lord. An insight into the mindset of the Conservative base... no wonder Harper can count on 85% approval with them.

    2. Thank God the Tory tide isn't that strong to overtake the NDP lead.
      My nation GOD BLESS CANADA (not a dominion anymore).
      GOD BLESS OUR QUEEEN ELIZABETH II 1952- (she is still alive)

  12. Loving the new tables Eric! And I find it funny that in these two polls, the only regions where the same party leads in both polls are Alberta and Quebec. It just displays how little we can really know about what the REAL numbers are. Atlantic Canada in particular seems to be on a different planet every single poll.

    I find it cool that 5 points in Quebec is the difference between the Bloc not gaining any, and gaining nine extra seats. I wonder what effect the Fete Nationale had on the Bloc uptick in the EKOS Poll?

  13. I love the new tables.

    How close is Vancouver Centre in the EKOS poll? I'm surprised the Greens aren't able to flip it with numbers like that.

    1. The Greens were behind the Liberals be a few tenths of a percent.

  14. The Green Party will never achieve that high support in the next election given the high polarization between the Conservatives and the NDP. EKOS has always had weird methodology that creates unusual polling numbers for both the Conservatives and the Greens (no other pollster has the Conservatives under 30% or the Greens above 8%).

    On a side note, Environics released a poll for Newfoundland and Labrador with provincial and federal numbers. It appears that compared to their other sub-regional numbers a few days ago, the federal scene in Newfoundland has narrowed 22 points with the NDP dropping 10 and the Liberals gaining 12. The poll also showed that the NDP support is heavily concentrated in the Avalon peninsula around St John's.

    The provinical numbers are also surprising as they show a three way race with the NDP in first at 38%, the PCs in second with 35% and the Liberals with a strong third at 26%. Odd how PC numbers would tank considering there were no major scandals that would hurt their popularity.

    1. I think it is more of a drip-drop sort of thing. I've read a few comments about what's been going on in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Telegram's editorial from today seems to suggest this is not a surprising turn of events.

    2. Actually there have been a lot of controversies in Newfoundland lately particularly with the PC government ramming through a bill that ends all Access to information. Both opposition parties filibustered the bill and it got tons of attention and even Tory supporters were aghast at what the government was doing. There has also been some bad publicity about Muskrat Fall. Most of all, i think it is starting to dawn of people that Dunderdale is NOT a female version of Danny Williams.

      NDP support is actually not that heavily concentrated in the St. John's area. Yes, they are way ahead there, but they are also dead even with the Liberals in the rest of the province. Its worth noting that in the last federal election, the NDP had no active campaigns at all outside the two St. John's ridings and typically only took around 15% of the vote in the non-Avalon seats. The fact that they are now in a dead heat in an area where they were previously non-existent it a sign that the NDP beach head in St. John's is starting to spread to the rest of the province.

  15. That giant Green number from EKOS has to be just noise in the signal. The last Nanos poll (May 31) pegged them at only 2.4, and I trust Nanos's Green numbers more than anyone's.

    1. I think it's probably bogus too, but doesn't EKOS usually have crazy high Green numbers?

  16. With Newfoundland if Harper decides to develop
    the lower Churchill hydro project without
    going thru Quebec how will the Que NDP members
    feel about it. As Quebec has since the 1960's
    checkmated Newfoundland with very low cheap $$
    compensation for the the upper Churchill. If this happens then maybe the the Tory tide will rise in NFLD to the cries of Quebec NDP.

  17. And the Toronto Star, aka Chantal Hebert has Trudeau way out in the lead !!

    Too bad it's so long to the vote !!


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