Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tories lead in Forum poll

In a poll released late last week, Forum Research gave The National Post some good headlines by showing that a Justin Trudeau-led Liberal Party would be able to win an election. But in addition to those numbers, Forum also conducted a normal poll and found the Conservatives leading the NDP by five points.
Forum was last in the field Aug. 22 and since then the Conservatives picked up one point to hit 35% support. The NDP dropped four points to 30%, while the Liberals were up three points to 25%.

The Bloc Québécois was unchanged at 6% while the Greens were down one to only 3% support.

The gain of three points by the Liberals and the loss of four by the NDP is statistically significant, as is the lead the Conservatives hold nationwide.

But if you are looking for similar trends with the Environics poll from yesterday, there aren't any. Compared to Forum's poll from June, the Tories are up five, the Liberals three, and the NDP is down seven. Between Environics' June and September polls, the NDP held steady, the Liberals gained one, and the Tories dropped two.

The Conservatives led in Ontario in this poll with 37%, trailed by the NDP at 30% and the Liberals at 28%.

The Liberals narrowly held the advantage in Quebec with 30%, a gain of seven points. This is an odd-ball result, though we have seen signs of some Liberal strength in Quebec in recent polls. At the same time, we have also seen them in the mid-teens. It would seem that the provincial election may be throwing a bit of confusion into the Quebec electorate.

The Conservatives led in Alberta with 60% to the NDP's 20%, while they also held the edge in British Columbia (43% to 33%) and the Prairies (47% to 33%). The two parties were tied in Atlantic Canada with 34% apiece.

Of note is the very low 2% result for the Greens in British Columbia, representing a drop of six points since late August. In virtually every poll, however, B.C. has been the strongest region for the Greens. This is likely a statistical fluke.
With these numbers, the Conservatives would win 161 seats on the proposed boundaries of the new 338-seat map, putting them eight short of a majority. The New Democrats would win 91 seats, the Liberals 75, and the Bloc Québécois 11.

Stephen Harper's personal numbers improved in the Forum poll, with his approval rating increasing by three points to 39% and his disapproval rating dropping three points to 54%. That is a net gain of six points.

Thomas Mulcair, meanwhile, had a net drop of eight points as his approval rating slipped four points to 37% and his disapproval rating rose by four points to 35%. This puts Harper in the unusual position of being the leader with the highest approval rating.

Bob Rae's approval/disapproval rating hardly budged at 31% to 40%, but his approval rating among Liberal supporters dropped 15 points to only 52%. This could be due to the impending leadership race.

Speaking of which, Forum asked respondents of their survey how they would vote if Justin Trudeau led the Liberal Party. The results were striking: the Liberals would take 39% of the vote, while the Conservatives would drop to 32% and the NDP would plummet to 20%. The Liberals would win Ontario with 40%, Quebec with 43%, and Atlantic Canada with 53%, while placing second in B.C. (33%), Alberta (28%), and the Prairies (27%).

These are dangerous numbers for the Conservatives and New Democrats. This sort of hypothetical poll is based on a lot of assumptions, and there are a myriad of cases of potential leaders polling very well before their numbers come back to earth after they actually get the job.

But the Conservatives lose three points to the Liberals because of Trudeau, while the NDP loses 10 - one-third of their support. Trudeau takes support from both parties everywhere, meaning that he is not only a danger to the NDP but also the Tories.

The poll shows that Canadians are receptive to the idea of a Trudeau-led Liberal Party. If Trudeau does win, it will be up to him to get those people to support an actual Trudeau-led Liberal Party. Those votes are far from being in the bag, but the poll does suggest that Trudeau has the potential to do well, and that Canadians haven't written off the Liberal Party.

But there is little meat on the Trudeau leadership bones. What can really be taken away from this poll is just how soft that Conservative and NDP support really is. The Tories don't lose as many votes as the NDP, but about 10% of their supporters are quick to jump ship, suggesting that a good portion of the Conservative voting block is looking for a more moderate option that isn't the NDP. They especially take a hit in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia.

More significantly, the NDP loses one-third of its supporters in the blink of an eye, particularly in Ontario and Quebec. That is hugely problematic, as it suggests that much of their new-found support is based entirely on the party being the more plausible alternative to the Conservatives. With a hypothetical Trudeau leadership, the NDP is pushed back to its pre-2011 levels. It should not be that easy.

Whether Justin Trudeau will actually win all of those voters over to the Liberal Party is another thing entirely. This poll is less about Trudeau's strength than it is about the weakness of the Conservatives and New Democrats. This goes with my view that Canadians are generally fed-up with their political leaders (Ontario and Quebec are two good examples of that) and given the option of something fresh and interesting they can be shaken out of their stupor. If Trudeau wins and turns out to be a politician like any other one, or a complete flop, then Canadians will probably return to the May 2011 dynamic. But if he doesn't, I think that Harper and Mulcair will have a serious problem on their hands.

43 comments:

  1. But will Harper even contest the 2015 election ??

    Or will he step down ? Oddly I think he just might ??

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    1. I agree there is a possibility Harper may retire before 2015 - although if he wants to run he will and at present this is the more likely scenario.

      Much will depend on where the polls are a year or a year and a half from now. There is no heir apparent so a fairly long leadership race will be needed and a new leader in place by Spring 2014. Although Harper is fairly young he has put in place a cadre of younger leadership within his cabinet; Baird, Ambrose, Kenny, Agluukak, James Moore, MacKay.

      DP

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    2. There's no one to replace him. Right now, the CPC needs Harper.

      Who else is there? Maxime Bernier? Brad Wall? Are these credible Prime Ministers?

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    3. Flaherty, Baird, James Moore, MacKay all have the skills to be PM. Look at the Grits they are about to embark on a coronation of Justin Trudeau. At least his father was an academic Trudeau's qualifications are scant and confined to the opposition backbench.

      DP

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    4. the best that justin will do is possibly return the liberals to official oppsition status and ruin the ndp stronghold in quebec....i highly doubt that the harper conservatives are even remotely threatened...we'll see....first of all, J.T. has to elected party leader...

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    5. Anon 10:58, did you actually say that Rona Ambrose is a viable candidate? She couldn't explain her way out of a paper bag.

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    6. I'll give you Baird. Maybe Moore. McKay isn't trusted by the right wing of the party. Flaherty is too old and has too much history in Ontario.

      I'd choose Bernier over any of them.

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    7. T.S.

      I wrote: "he (Harper) has put in place a cadre of younger leadership". I did not say she was a viable leadership candidate only that she is part of a younger generation inside the ministry/ Conservative party.

      Considering Ambrose is still the minister for women and the opposition has thus far failed to sully her even after a controversial vote, she does not need to explain her way out of a bag of any sort-the opposition is clearly inept! Honestly how does the minister of women get away with voting for a right wing-pro-life motion and the opposition is unable to score any "political points"?

      DP

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  2. What are the regional seat results for all 4 parties in the Trudeau-as-leader scenario?

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  3. I dont' buy these results, and once Trudeau starts opening his mouth, the Libs are finished.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

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    1. Says the Dipper. Funny that people said the same thing about Mulcair saying dumb things.

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    2. Except that Trudeau already has a history of poor choices on what he says and when he says them.
      I'm a British Columbian, I won't forget Justin Trudeau contemplating Quebec separation. It was utterly wrong-headed of him and will bite him later.

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  4. I think we're seeing something we've seen a few times now. A popular name steps forward to lead a party and we expect to see grand results and polling shows that to be initially true. I remember when Stockwell Day became head of the Canadian Alliance and the right was all a twitter over that. Well Chretien mopped the floor with him on election day mostly due to a campaign that preyed on the "hidden agenda" innuendo that dogged Day from day one. Pun intended! There's the case of the Liberals with Ignatieff and now Rae as well with neither having been able to do any long term damage to Harper Inc. Unlike most people I've watched Justin Trudeau give interviews since the day he was first elected. He is not calm, controlled, and he comes off with a sense of entitlement that rivals Bev Oda ordering a glass or OJ. I think he'll make a big splash and then over the course of two years he'll step in it so many times he'll alienate large chunks of the country especially in Ontario and to a lesser extent Quebec. Now, I do see him decimating the NDP in the next election should he become the Liberal leader. I think the odds of that happening are about 99%.

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    1. The right shouldn't have been all atwitter over Stock Day. The party insiders all knew that he was done as soon as the general public discovered that he was a young-earth creationist.

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  5. Please let us see the regional seat results. Even if it very hypothetical.

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  6. I didn't save or record the regional seat results outside of Quebec or Ontario. In Ontario, it was the following:

    LPC 56
    CPC 48
    NDP 17

    And in Quebec:

    LPC 51
    BQ 18
    CPC 10

    Though, I imagine even if the NDP drops to 19% in Quebec they would be able to get a few of their incumbents re-elected. Outside of those two provinces, the Liberals took 3 or 4 seats in Alberta, about a dozen in BC, half-a-dozen or so in the Prairies, and about two dozen in Atlantic Canada.

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  7. Thanks for this Eric. One point I particularly like is the Trudeau poll doesn't so much show the strength of the Liberals as the weakness of the NDP and Conservative support. That could be because both Harper and Mulcair have similar leadership and campaign styles and people might be tired of that. They also might be tiring of the polar opposite positions of the top two parties and may be looking for some sane compromise for a change. Unlike some of my friends above, I think young Trudeau will do very well if he's elected leader. He just has to remain positive and optimistic in his leadership and campaign styles and show Canadians a willingness to compromise when necessary. If the Liberals use Trudeau's popularity to draw attention to their message that their party is the reasonable alternative to the other two and sitting somewhere in between, the Liberals will likely make a big splash in the next election.

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  8. There are really 2 political posistions in the Overton window that is Canadian politics.

    Position #1 Government usually makes things worse and we would be better off with less government. This position usually draws 40% in a poll.

    Position #2 Government can be a force for good in society. This position usually draws 60% in a poll.

    Almost all Tories are #1 types. Almost all Dippers are #2 types. Most Liberals are #2 but about 1/3 are #1 types.

    As the Liberal party has declined in Manitoba, its votes have gone 2/3 NDP 1/3 PC.

    When the Liberals act out strongly as #2 types as McGuinty did with all day kindergarten, small classes, etc etc, he jams the NDP and occupies most of the #2 space. When he does an about face, attacks the public sector, and so on he abandons #2 space to the NDP which they quickly fill but he has trouble occupying new #1 space because the Tories have this space pretty much locked up. His remaining support is conservative Liberals or #1 type Liberals. A classic would be a right wing but lifetime catholic.

    A return of Justin Trudeau is based primarily on the idea that the Federal Liberals, should they nominate JT are preparing to fight the NDP for #2 space not the Tories for #1 space.

    The solution in Canada is first the election of a minority Conservative government folllowed by a visit to the GG by Mulcair and Trudeau to say their parties are prepared to cooperate with each other but have no confidence in Harper.

    This should lead to a PM Mulcair with Justin and some pals in the cabinet.

    Simple wasn't it.

    Doug Little

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  9. The Trudeau-led Liberal scenario seems plausible. The current poll? Seems like an outlier to me. There is nothing to indicate the LPC has become popular in Québec, let alone jump to first place. The Greens dropping to 2% in BC also seems highly unlikely. The CPC recovery to the mid-forties in that province also seems questionable - last I recall that pipeline they were trying to force is still unpopular.

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    1. I agree Anon 15:44 the BC numbers, especially for the CPC and Greens, seem a bit off. The pipeline is growing less popular by the minute, and the reigning and much aborred Liberals are recognized as the provincial wing of the CPC.
      As for Quebec, while I expect the Liberals to benefit in the province thanks to Trudeau's decision to run, maybe having them top of the pile already is a bit off.

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  10. What nonsense Doug Little!

    Sir John A. Macdonald can hardly be describe as your "type 1" Or for that matter the Alberta PC party, Gordon Campbell, Mulroney, John Hamm and most other Conservatives. Even by your definition Harper would not qualify since he has presided over one of the largest spending increases in Government history including a 30% increase in the civil service!

    Secondly, Tom and Justin will need to be invited to Rideau Hall and that will only take place if and when the Government is defeated on a motion of confidence. They can't just pop in unless you want to rescind responsible government.

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    1. No problem, you remember Peterson Re overthrow on Frank Miller? Same idea. The Red Tory is almost dead in Canada and that is the reason for some "s
      almosts" in there. I would have used Bill Davis but that was just a Liberal party in blue sweaters. Gord Campbell? Just Howe Street in red sweaters. BC Libs are basically type #1ers. BC needs a one party ideological coalition or the NDP wins. Looks like this time even that does not work.

      Doug Little

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    2. Derek, John A MacDonald famously said "one of the roles of government is to protect minorities and there will always be fewer rich than any other class."

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    3. Who is John A. MacDonald? There was never a PM by that name. I think you mean Macdonald.

      The original post was about how Conservatives want smaller government and segregating voters into "type 1" and "type 2"; not what class or type of people government or a party represents. I fail to understand your point in relation to the larger thread.

      Doug,

      If Bill Davis doesn't fit your archetype, Gordon Campbell doesn't either. It is time leftwingers and rightwingers stop pigeon holing politicians and parties. There is far more grey area inside parties than black and white and most party members do not agree with every policy their party espouses.

      In fact if one looks at Campbell's record you would readily acknowledge that he does not fit "type 1" and was not a proponent of smaller government. If anything Campbell was obsessed with the reformation and reorganisation of government from re-organising and changing process(es) in the "dirt minitries" to implementing parliamentary and electoral reform, massive funding for Translink, the Olympics (I think that was about $1 billion in capital spending alone) creation of a number of new provincial parks and lets not forget the de facto creation of a new level of govern with FN treaties!

      The last point would make Campell a type 2 by your own definition!

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    4. All of that is small beer. Tories get themselves worked into a frenzy if right wing governments spend to much. The fact is, there is a political frame and political culture within every province. If they are the smaller spending of the available major parties then they are the type ! BC party compared to the BCNDP.

      DL

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  11. It's looking like the chances of Mulcair ever becoming PM are pretty slim if Trudeau becomes Liberal leader...who would have seen a scenario like this occurring so suddenly after the biggest decimation in Liberal history last year? I personally believed that Canada was in for a permanent political realignment similar to the UK with the Tories and NDP/Labour being the dominant parties and the Liberals playing a minor third party role. Now it appears that I may have been naive in thinking that.

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    1. wait for more evidence than one poll and a lot of mainstream media enthusiasm for the son of the Father...

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  12. This poll should be taken with a grain of salt if it were attached to the Trudeau poll...Liberals suddenly springboarding into first place in Quebec? NDP and Tory numbers totally flipped between Environics and Forum? Somebody is very off

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  13. Eric

    I think it may be time to shut this comment stream down.

    All it seems to contain is trolls from the Left and the Right blasting away at each other.

    With no interest or ability to understand either's position. Waste of time IMO

    Incidentally Justin's nomination speech is a real barn burner !!

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    1. Danny Handelman03 October, 2012 16:58

      The left-right divide does not exist, as each side is authoritarian on certain issues, libertarian on other issues.

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  14. Harper vs Mulcair vs Trudeau.

    In 2015, Canadians have a [relatively] strong roaster of leaders to select from.

    From 2006 to 2011, Harper has breezed through two minority governments with a divided, weak opposition who were unable to paint a case for why their party should govern.

    Harper would have had a challenge with just Mulcair as opposition, but it will be more tougher with Trudeau in the helm.

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  15. In other words, a vote for Justin is a vote to reelect Harper.

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    1. That's actually the opposite of what Eric's numbers show...

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  16. The conservatives did an outreach of many diverse communities to win many suburban seats they would not normally have one. Many of those voters that were courted by CPC will revert back to the liberals and many CPC suburban seats will be lost especially in Ontario. IN Quebec the NDP will lose many seats to the Liberals in the Montreal area (anglo and allo areas mostly)

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  17. The problem the LPC has since their last time in power include 1) election finance laws that make life difficult (not impossible but difficult) for Grits to raise money. 2) New alliences have been formed by the other parties, 3) the CPC and NDP are both moving into the centre 4) politics across th world, including Canada has polarized whether they like it or not. 5) Most of the provincial cousins are not all that popular right now.

    DL

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    1. There are no signs of either the Conservatives nor the NDP moving toward the centre... in spite of a lot of mainstream media claptrap to that effect (at least, in the case of the NDP; no one has suggested Harper is moving to the centre). And this would hardly be in concert with your (more supportable) point that politics are seeing a polarizing shift.

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  18. I'm sorry DL, I just don't understand your logic.

    The BC Liberals have not been the "smaller spending" party vis a vis the BCNDP (irregardless if you consider BC Ferries for example as either still part or separate from Government).

    You characterise people and parties belonging under either "type 1" or "type 2" but, when this idea is analysed clearly people/ parties you identify as "type 1" do not share the characteristic you describe as being indicative of "type 1".

    In any case your definition of type 1 and type 2 are not based on fiscal or financial criteria but, on the philosophy and role of government. I am unsure what to make of your writing except to recommend that you refine your ideas.

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  19. Small issues, "big spending" small spending are not particularly the issues. You can try all you like to muddy the waters. If you don't understand, it is fine, the others do.

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    1. Well I think it does matter because you are trying to publish ideas as facts without proof or substantiating evidence. At the very least that is poor journalism and at worst deceitful.

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  20. There are endless numbers of signs of the NDP and Tories moving to the centre. They both want to occupy it while the LPC is in the basement to prevent their re-emergence. Just choosing Mulcair the most moderate cndidate over say Nash is clear. Look a bit closr.

    Too many on here just want partisan sniping for their own team. Nobody will convert their position here. Take a more academic-journalistic posture please or the site is useless.

    Doug Little

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    1. Doug

      Thank you. There has been far too much partisan sniping on here. It's not what this place is for.

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  21. Does anyone really believe that the Liberals have the organizational strength to win 75 seats if an election were held today? The seat projections for the Liberals posted on this site always seem fairly rosy given how thin they are on the ground outside of the 416 area code.

    As for the Tories and NDP moving to the centre, believe it. There are strong signs of both parties softening in advance of 2015. You'll notice that most Conservative Ministers have toned it down considerably on issues like the pipeline, and the last budget wasn't nearly as tough as had been expected. The NDP is adopting a considerably more centrist tone on the economy than they did before. This makes it more difficult, but certainly not impossible, for Justin to break through. (Does anyone seriously doubt that he will win?)

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    1. The NDP won 59 seats in Quebec with virtually no organization and no history of success in the province. It is no deal-breaker.

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