Monday, December 10, 2012

November 2012 federal polling averages

Four polls surveying a total of 5,930 Canadians were conducted during the month of November, suggesting a widening gap between the ruling Conservatives and the opposition New Democrats and Liberals. The news might be worse for the NDP, however, as they are now back to where they were in March when Thomas Mulcair won the party's leadership race.
The Conservatives averaged 34.1% during the month of November, up 2.1 points since October. The New Democrats were down 1.6 points to an average of 28.6%, their lowest result since March and their fifth consecutive month of stagnation or decrease.

The Liberals were down two points to 26.3% in November, but it was the second consecutive month in which the Liberals managed a better score than anything registered since the May 2011 general election.

The Bloc Québécois averaged 6.3% while the Greens were up 0.6 points to 4.1%. Support for other parties averaged 0.6%.

But it is problematic to compare November's results to October's. Only two polls were in the field nationwide that month. Instead, a better picture can be obtained by looking at how the polls have moved since the four firms that were active in November were last in the field at around the same time.
That brings us back to May 26 through to June 23, when Nanos, Forum, Ipsos-Reid, and Abacus all conducted polls.

The average of the polls from these four firms in May-June gave the NDP 35.9%, the Conservatives 33.4%, and the Liberals 21.2%. A similarly unweighted average of the polls in November gives the Conservatives 34.2%, an increase of 0.8 points, the NDP 28.6%, a drop of 7.3 points, and the Liberals 26.3%, an increase of 5.1 points. This time period is useful as May-June was the height of the Mulcair honeymoon. It is clear from how these polls have moved that the NDP has bled support to the Liberals since that time.

The Conservatives led in British Columbia with an average of 40% support, their best result since October 2011. The party is up 8.8 points since October 2012, but a quick look at the chart to the left shows how the month was likely an outlier. The NDP placed second with 34.3%, while the Liberals were at 19.5% and the Greens at 5.2%. That is the lowest result for the Greens on record, stretching back to January 2009.

In Alberta, the Conservatives averaged 60.1% to 18.2% for the Liberals, 16.7% for the NDP, and 4% for the Greens.

The Conservatives were ahead in the Prairies with 46.7%, their highest result since January 2012, while at 27.9% the NDP was at their lowest since September 2011. The Liberals were up for the third consecutive month, hitting 19%. The Greens were up to 5.6%.

The Conservatives had 37.7% support in Ontario and were trailed by the Liberals at 29.2%. The NDP managed 27.5%, but with the exception of a blip in July and August the party has been on a steady decline since May. The Greens averaged 5% in the province.

The New Democrats have been sliding in Quebec since June, and at 31.6% registered their lowest average support since March. The Liberals were up to 27.7% in Quebec, their best showing since September 2009. They have been steadily increasing since June, taking their support from the NDP. The Bloc Québécois averaged 24.7%, while the Conservatives managed 13.5%. The Tories have been relatively steady at this low level of support since March. The Greens averaged 2% in Quebec.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were at 34.2% and have been holding at their highest level of support since April 2011 over the last two months. The NDP averaged 32.8%, their worst since March 2011, while the Conservatives were in third at 27.4%. The Greens averaged 5.2% support.
With these numbers, the Conservatives would win 149 seats on the proposed boundaries of the 338-seat House (though not taking into account the final reports for some of the provinces released at the end of November). That is a gain of 21 seats over their October projection.

The NDP is down 24 seats to 91, while the Liberals are down seven seats to 85. The Bloc is up 11 to 13 seats, while the Greens would be shutout.

The major gains for the Tories occurred in British Columbia (+10 from October) and Ontario (+7), while the major losses for the NDP took place in Ontario (-16) and the Prairies (-7). The Liberals dropped eight seats in B.C. and seven in Ontario, but picked up six in Quebec in the projection.

Approval ratings
November was a bit of a troubling month for the New Democrats. Though they were still in second nationwide and were leading in Quebec, the trends are not heading in the right direction in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. The Liberals are eating into their support in Quebec (where, it should be repeated, the party put up its best numbers in three years) and are making it more difficult for the NDP to make inroads in Ontario.

The Liberal leadership race is likely one of the main contributing reasons for the party's uptick in support, particularly in Quebec. But the Léger poll released over the weekend should be cause for concern. Though Justin Trudeau still put up impressive numbers, tying the Conservatives at 31% if he led the Liberal Party, that is very different from the wide lead that has been given to him in other polls. This could be a methodological issue, but it might also be an indication that the shine is starting to wear off.

That does not leave the Conservatives out of the woods. They are still down six points from where they were on election night, and have suffered big losses in Atlantic Canada and are poised to lose a lot of seats in British Columbia and Ontario. Though the party appears to have hit a bit of a floor, their trend line is still rather negative since May 2011 and they are far from being in majority territory. Nevertheless, they are still in the most enviable position of the three major parties.


  1. The Leger poll is an interesting shift "back", don't you think? ( Among decided voters, the Liberals fair slightly worse than they did in the 2011 federal election (-0.9%), the NDP is down 0.6% since then, and the Conservatives are down 4.6%. Has Justin Trudeau already squandered the goodwill/hope that came with his moving into the leadership spotlight?

    1. Léger's finding that 31% of voters would back the Liberals if Trudeau were leader is more in line with the 33% Harris-Decima found back in June when they first asked the question, before "Trudeaumania" became front and centre in the news (at that time he was also still officially denying that he intended to run). H-D's most recent poll from a few weeks ago found that number had jumped to 42%, while Forum's consistently been finding 39% of late (last poll Nov 19). This apparent retreat in the new Léger poll could be a sign that his initially "perfect" image has been shattered by his widely publicized Alberta/Quebec comments as well as his more recent waffling on the long gun registry. Many people that may initially have been going on nothing beyond a good gut feeling about him have suddenly been provided with some actual substance to judge him on and may now be having second thoughts.

      This reminds me of when François Legault first started the CAQ in QC. The first few polls instantly had him winning a landslide majority government. In the end it was merely a sign that Quebeckers were aching for something new and different and the guy had an overall good reputation so they immediately jumped onboard. Within a couple of months however, once people actually had the chance to see Legault in action (he initially came across as a bit of a waffler and amateur), the CAQ had already fallen to 3rd place in the polls, where they've remained till this day.

      Volatility around an exciting new character on the block is to be expected.


  2. Hi Eric, I've been reading your site for about two years now.
    I'm curious how you think an NDP-Liberal merger would fare. Some Liberal supporters would probably move to the Cons as the NDP is too left for them, but the new party (Liberal-Democrats?) would be the only major option for left-leaning voters. What do you think?

    1. I think it would do well enough, but it isn't necessarily the case that they would be able to beat the Conservatives by default. Conceivably, the Tories would move more to the centre in response and a lot of LPC voters would opt for them.

      I also think, though, that the potential for internal division is much greater in such a merger than currently exists between the old PC and Reform wings of the CPC. I'm not sure if it works long-term.

    2. I'm surprised how many people think of the NDP and Liberals as natural cousins. Inasmuch as the NDP resembles the Liberal party, it is a failure, and the Liberal Party has only resembled the NDP in (sometimes) overlapping on certain social issues (because those issues are generally seen as less consequential than economic and other issues). But fundamentally, the Liberal Party is an establishment party, and the NDP is not. The Liberal party is a (big) business party, and the NDP is a business party - again - only when it is in failure mode.

    3. Both very good points Eric and chimurenga,

      The Liberal party is a small "c" conservative party. Pro-business, pro-monarchy, status quo Senate. As was stated the Liberals are an establishment party whereas the NDP is an established opposition party "the conscience of Parliament".

      I agree with Eric I think internal divisions may make a merger unworkable. I just don't see how one can reconcile the pro-business Bay St. Liberals with the Socialist who inhabit the NDP.

      On a broader political level there always exists a need for a protest vote. A merged party would take away that option. So, any merger would likely result in a stronger Green party and a continued "vote split".

    4. Gotta agree with Perth here. I feel that the rise of the Green Party is a strong indication of a desire for more electoral options by the Canadian public. A merging would be like a game of whack-a-mole, with that desire for "something else" shifting to another party and another...

    5. I have to agree with everyone on the fact that there is not enough things in common between the three parties that can justify a smooth merger process. All of the parties have unique traits that could be wiped out by a merger. The Tories are a business and corporate establishment party. The NDP is a government and union establishment party. The Liberals are a people and citizens establishment party and the bridge-building common sense "conscience of parliament" that bridge the gap between the far-left and far-right. A merger could further polarize federal politics to the point that compromises between parties could become impossible.

  3. Looking at the figures for Nov any idea of a Lib-NDP merge can only lead to defeat!!

    Given the current numbers a Lib-NDP coalition, whether formal or no,t would defeat the CPC and that is the most important issue.

    Nothing else matters !


COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.