Thursday, February 21, 2013

Conservatives drop in latest EKOS poll

Earlier this week, the latest federal polling results from EKOS were released by iPolitics.ca, showing the Conservatives, NDP, and Liberals in a close three-way race and all three parties under 30% support - sort of.
EKOS was last in the field Nov. 30-Dec. 3, and there has been only a little real change since then. The Conservatives dropped 2.6 points to 29.3%, outside of the margin of error, while the NDP was up 0.5 points to 26.3% and the Liberals were up 0.2 points to 24.6%.

The Greens gained 1.1 points to reach 9.5%, while the Bloc Québécois was at 7.2% and support for other parties stood at 3.2%.

EKOS has a tendency to have high results for both the Greens and "others", which drags the support of the three main parties down. In their last three polls, the combined support for the Conservatives, NDP, and Liberals averaged 81.4%, compared to an average of 88% in the polls conducted by other firms over that time. So, it is no surprise that this 9.5% for the Greens is the highest recorded in any poll since July 2012 (an EKOS survey) or that the Conservatives have been scored at under 30% support in only two of 89 polls since the last election (both by EKOS).

EKOS's response to this is to provide their estimation of support from actual voters, contrasting each party's support among the general population to those that actually go out and vote. EKOS has had more success with this method in past elections than their results from the general population. This makes sense. The people who vote are not the same as the average Canadian. EKOS estimates likely voter support at 34% for the Tories, 30% for the NDP, 21% for the Liberals, and 7% for the Greens. That is much more in line with what other polls have been showing.

Which brings us to an important question: are the other polling firms already tweaking the numbers based on expected turnout? Is the reason that EKOS's results are consistently among the most out-of-step with other firms that they are the only ones reporting unadjusted results for the general population? I have asked some polling firms in the past about this. I'm often told that their weighting schemes are proprietary information, or that they do a little bit of tweaking for turnout. Just how much they do we don't know, and that is the kind of information that polling firms do not want to reveal - their "secret sauce" for getting their polls to match electoral results is the one thing that can differentiate themselves from other firms.

Polls in the United States do break things down by how likely respondents are to vote, and according to the methodology that Nate Silver has explained in the past he values the most specific information possible: polls of decided voters over polls with decided and leaning voters, and polls of likely voters over only registered voters, etc. Here in Canada, we are rarely treated to that level of specificity. Perhaps we should be.

Back to the results of the poll (for the general population). The Conservatives held statistically significant leads in Alberta and Manitoba, with 54.9% support in the former and 43.6% in the latter. The Liberals trailed in Alberta with 18%, followed by the NDP at 14.8%. Alberta is an interesting case as the Liberals have been placed ahead of the NDP in half of the polls released since October. In Manitoba, the NDP was second with 26.7% to 19.5% for the Liberals.

The Conservatives also had the edge in Ontario with 31.7%, a drop of 4.2 points since November-December. That is the lowest result for the Tories I have on record, stretching back 206 polls to November 2010. Again, the "likely voter" calculation could be significant here. The Liberals trailed with 28.9%, while the NDP was third with 26.5%.

In British Columbia, the Tories were in front with 34% to 29.2% for the NDP and 19% for the Liberals, while in Saskatchewan the Conservatives had the advantage with 42.4% to 29.1% for the NDP and 14.4% for the Liberals.

The New Democrats placed first in no region of the country, but were a close second in Quebec with 28.4%, an increase of 4.3 points. The Bloc was in front with 29.2%, while the Liberals were down 3.4 points to 22% and the Conservatives were down 4.2 points to 10.5%, the lowest the Tories have scored in Quebec since April 2012.

The Liberals led in Atlantic Canada, as has become the norm, with 37.5%, followed by the NDP at 27.1% and the Conservatives at 24.3%.
With these numbers, and using the proposed boundaries for the 338-seat map (though not incorporating some of the latest boundary changes that have been made, so this is more of an estimate), the Conservatives would win 135 seats to 91 for the Liberals, 75 for the NDP, 36 for the Bloc, and one for the Greens.

Despite being second in the popular vote nationwide, the NDP falls to third in the seat count due to Quebec. But projecting there is a bit problematic: the boundaries have changed drastically and a lot of the ridings are decided by a percentage point or two. Incumbency could give the NDP a bonus, perhaps bumping them up some 10 seats or so.

EKOS included some approval ratings, showing results generally in line with other polls, except for a higher "don't know" response which lowered everyone's approval and disapproval ratings. The net rating is thus probably more important to look at: Stephen Harper's was a net -19, with an approval rating of 28% to 47% disapproval (76.2% approval among Conservative voters). Thomas Mulcair had a net score of +2.7, with an approval rating of 27.5% (56.3% among NDP voters) and a disapproval rating of 24.8%.

Interestingly, EKOS included ratings for Justin Trudeau, presumptive successor to Bob Rae. He had a net score of +9, with an approval rating of 33% (62.8% among Liberals) and a disapproval rating of 24%. In fact, his "don't know" score was, at 39%, actually lower than Mulcair's (43.3%). He isn't on the job yet, and already Canadians have a better idea of what they think of him than Mulcair.

Broadly, this poll is consistent with what we have been seeing for months. The Conservatives hold a narrow lead while the Liberals seem to be on the upswing. The Tories are still in front on the Prairies and in Ontario, while the race is close in B.C., the NDP's support in Quebec is fragile but by no means weak (Mulcair had a higher approval rating here than Trudeau), and the Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada. The difference between EKOS's likely voter and general population results is instructive, however. The Conservatives can still expect to do better than the polls suggest in an election, while the Liberals appear to be suffering from the same sort of effect that has historically bumped the Greens down at the ballot box. That is something the next leader of the Liberal Party will need to prevent.

60 comments:

  1. I would kill for EKOS' second preference data broken down by region/province.

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  2. You've got something reversed in your seventh paragraph, Eric. Silver prefers likely voter polls over registered voter polls.

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  3. I am puzzled why EKOS would assume the NDP vote would go up when "tweaking" for likely or committed voters. Most surveys indicate the NDP has a high percentage of young voters-we know young people vote much less frequently than older demographics. Therefore, I would suspect the "general population result" for the NDP, 26.3%, would be the high end of the EKOS poll not the base. Whereas the Liberal vote and Tory vote would likely increase from the "general population number.

    The only reason I can entertain for the EKOS result is a large portion of the sample who they deem will not vote; however, this would not explain why the Liberal vote declines.

    Does anyone have an explanation or supposition for this counter-intuitive result?

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    1. EKOS ism't making an assumption, they use whether someone voted in the last election as the main basis for deciding who is a likely voter.

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    2. It sounds like a good methodology, but I wonder if it disregards the possibility that many Liberals just chose to stay home in the last two elections due to issues with leadership, and that some of them are now returning to the fold. I know I've seen numbers somewhere that suggest that a decent number of Liberals just stopped voting rather than support another party.

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    3. That is an interesting point. If the Liberals do manage to get their vote out again, they could be under-estimated in the polls. But we can only speculate about that. I am sure that during the next campaign the polling firms will be asking more questions about likelihood of voting, so the problem might be avoided.

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    4. Makes sense when you see how Trudeau polls. He likely brings out the disgruntled Liberals.

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  4. In fact both the NDP and the Tories have much harder base votes than the Liberals. More committed voters. The Liberals tend to be a mile wide and an inch deep.

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    1. What about the sub-10% support that the NDP received in the 1990s? One would hardly classify that as a hard base.

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    2. Hey! We live in Canada here, we are supposed to use the metric system! :)

      Anyway, the Liberals have more committed voters than the NDP. If we assume the Liberals reached their lowest of lows in 2011, where the managed to get 19%. The NDP, during their decline in the 1990s, could only get around 10%. I'm sure you know which number is bigger than the other. Quebec pretty much flipped to the NDP overnight in the last election, and the same could happen to the NDP in the next election if the Bloc really wants to win back their old territory, which I'm assuming they do. The NDP numbers in Quebec is basically where the Bloc was before the 2011 election, if not lower.

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  5. Eric,

    Sorry, it is not on this subject, but I can't find a proper spot to make this comment.

    This is regarding Liberal Leadership endorsement points you are compiling. Is there a space to include the all-but-in-name endorsement of Joyce Murray by leadnow.ca? This is now front and center on their main web page, with the following quote: "Right now, the Liberals are choosing a new leader, and any Canadian can vote for free and support cooperation in this race, but you must sign up before March 3rd." I think their policy is not to endorse any candidate in name, but the above quote is an unambiguous endorsement of Joyce, as she's the only pro-cooperation candidate.

    During the NDP leadership race, leadnow claims to have caused 10,000 of its supporters to become NDP members, and consequently to have voted for the pro-cooperation candidate (Cullen), which should at least in part explain his unexpectedly high result (#3) on the election day.

    Right now, the leadnow.ca online petition for cooperation between progressives has already collected >45,000 signatures. As Liberals don't require party membership to vote for the next leader, I can see substantially more than 10,000 people signing up as Liberal supporters and voting for Joyce Murray because of the leadnow.ca not-in-name endorsement.

    I suspect this "endorsement" will matter much more than most of the formal endorsements you are compiling (from MPs, MPPs etc.) Of course the difficult question is how to quantify it.

    Sergey

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    1. Yes, that is the issue. I won't be including that sort of endorsement, as it would then open the door to having to include all sorts of other endorsements. A line must be drawn somewhere, but I will be sure to consider this endorsement when the vote approaches and I lay out the caveats.

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    2. David Suzuki just endorsed Murray too.

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    3. I see thanks.

      Then how about the today's endorsement of Joyce by David Suzuki, with his ~270,000 Facebook followers? Will you count that in?

      http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/21/david-suzuki-calls-on-progressives-to-support-joyce-murrays-federal-liberal-leadership-bid/

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    4. No, the system tracks only endorsements from former and current politicians.

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  6. Love your work here, but I'd like to see your seat projections return to the 308 model, for now. We should be basing it on the number of the seats that would have been won, had an election been held last week, which would be 308. I believe the earliest that we could see 338 seats would be April 2014. At that point, I'd like to see the projection switch to 338 seats.

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    1. I don't disagree. Any thoughts from other readers?

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    2. Either we go with 308 or 338 has their serious limitations.

      Projection based on 308 seats would have limited practicality since we're not using 308 seats anymore in the next election.

      A serious limitation with using the 338 projection is that we don't know the design of the new boundary which could change the projection dramatically.

      So for now, in my opinion, seat projections are much less useful than averaging monthly polling. That is, until we know what the new boundaries will be for the 2015 election.

      ~Trent

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    3. I prefer the 338 personally, as it is very unlikely that we will have an election before 2015.

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    4. If an election were held tomorrow the House of Commons would have 338 seats. The Bill passed in December 2011.

      Concerns about boundaries are problematic, however, provisional boundaries have been put forth. I would think "riding finalisation" and boundaries are moving into the final stages.

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    5. That bill was about changing the formula for the next re-distribution, not about setting the boundaries.

      Until the boundaries are voted into law, any snap election would use the current 308-seat electoral map. JAG is correct that it will be some time until the 338-seat map is made official.

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    6. Eric,

      According to Elections Canada the boundary commissions have the final say on riding shape. The House of Commons will not vote on the proposals brought forth by the commissions. The commissions themselves have the final say as independent bodies.

      I would suspect a snap election would result in an expedited boundary finalisation process under judicial supervision. An order-in-council is the mechanism used to finalise the commssions' reports and boundaries.

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    7. Yes, sorry. I should've said that once the boundaries are officially adopted, any snap election uses the current boundaries would be used.

      I disagree that the process would be expedited. From the redistribution website:

      "The new map will be used at the first general election called at least seven months after the representation order becomes official. This allows political parties, candidates and Elections Canada time to get ready for an election based on the new electoral districts."

      Conceivably, then, any election that takes place before those seven months would have to use the old boundaries.

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    8. I'm more interested in the 338-seat projections, even with a provisional map, because the first round of redistricting produces a map much more like the next election will almost certainly use than the current 308-seat map. Changes to the first round of proposals may swing a riding toward the CPC here, toward the NDP there, over the whole country will produce a net change of not more than a couple ridings. However, the changes that we *know* are happening in comparison to the 2003 boundaries -- many more ridings in Toronto and Vancouver suburbs, and in all areas of Alberta -- will mean many more CPC seats. Any useful forecast of the next election, whatever specific riding boundaries it uses, should give those areas their new overall seat allotment.

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  7. A request for more labour, I'm afraid : What would your seat projections be for this Ekos poll based on their figures for likely voters?

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    1. EKOS did not include regional likely voter data (though they said they will next time), so I can't do the calculations.

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    2. I was going to ask the same thing. Would be significanly different from the raw numbers. 10% lead for NDP over Libs in likely to vote while trailing Cons by only 2 would have NDP in a very close second place.

      JKennethY

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    3. It would probably be something like 140 CPC, 110 NDP, 45 LPC, 15 BQ.

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    4. Thanks... and what a contrast.

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  8. Charles Harrison21 February, 2013 21:42

    My prediction, with 308 seat house:

    Con/NDP/Lib/Bloc/Green

    BC: 20/12/3/-/1
    Alberta: 27/1/0/-/0
    Prairies: 24/2/2/-/0
    Ontario: 50/20/36/-/0
    Québec: 7/44/12/12/0
    Atlantic: 11/5/16/-/0
    North: 1/1/1/-/0
    Total: 140/85/70/12/1

    I don't think EKOS will actually change much in Québec seats. EKOS is rarely accurate with predicting Québec seat-wise.

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  9. Interesting that Mulcair has an approval rating of only 56 among NDP voters. Perhaps not all of them are enamoured of his shift away from traditional NDP positions. Lets see if this continues and how it might play out in election turnout among the NDP

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    1. Or maybe Mulcair recognises that the traditional NDP "positions" won't win Govt. That the party has to shift towards the majority's position?

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    2. There are repeated assertions in the mainstream media and among people generally that Mulcair has shifted the party away from traditional NDP positions. They said the same about Layton. Hardly anyone has given a concrete example of this 'shift'. At least some of this assertion springs from the questionable assumption that progressive values are only ever shared by a minority, and that any party that bases its platform on them is unelectable.

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    3. I do not think a party that bases its values on a document from 1933 can be termed progressive. Repeatedly, the NDP constitution has proven to be un-amendable in relation to its socialist principles.

      The CCF/ NDP used to be the party of the workingman enjoying blue collar support. Mulcair's "dutch disease" comment is a shift away from supporting working people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and any other province with an important commodity sector (BC, Ont, Que, NB, NS, NFLD).

      The dutch disease comments in fact are a supportive gesture towards Bay St. and big business and against blue collar workers. What Mulcair insinuated was "we need to make central Canadians companies more profitable".

      I for one find this a large deviation from previous NDP policy that calls for the socialisation of capital and business.

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    4. Your comment is self-contradictory. You claim the NDP rigidly adheres to its 1933 manifesto, then claim it has diverged from its traditional support for the "workingman" (speaking of 1933!). And you suggest that either way, it cannot be progressive. Mulcair's use of the term "Dutch Disease" is an analysis, not a policy statement... to suggest that the protection of the environment and support for working people are inimical to each other is a false dichotomy. The Dutch Disease analysis is meant to point out an imbalance that has been promoted by Conservative and Liberal policies – an imbalance between manufacturing and the ‘development’ of natural resources. That imbalance can be redressed in a way that at the same time favours workers in both sectors (and the environment). Your suggestion that Mulcair favours profits for central Canadian companies can be flipped around to say that the alternative is to favour profits for (foreign) companies that exploit western Canadian resources. Neither is true. Incidentally, historically the CCF/NDP has been the party of labour in manufacturing as well as natural resources, wouldn’t you say? You seem to suggest that it was only the latter.

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    5. chimurenga,

      To write that an organisation is not progressive then list a regressive policy of that organisation is not self-contradictory. Progressive means moving forward not simply change! So, someone who does not change can still be progressive just as someone who does change may not be entitled to that term.

      In the particular example I have outlined we see the NDP is not only unable to change but, its adherence to past policies and creation of new ones are not forward looking or moving. Indeed they harken back to previous times and policies that have not worked particularly well. In the example of the "Dutch disease" Mr. Mulcair referenced the past with a comment that was not forward looking or moving and example that was site and time specific.

      In my opinion Mulcair moved beyond simple analysis in his Dutch disease comments and put forth policy ideas including the reduction of oil and gas extraction in the West and one would assume other policies (quantitative easing, low interest rates) that would effect the relative value of the Canadian dollar. Since, his policy comments focused on the the value of the Canadian dollar the effect of the policy is likely to be beneficial to employers but, may have a negative impact on workers in general. A low dollar may "help" manufacturing but, there are no guarantees that workers will be better off as a result. Indeed, a low dollar policy will hurt low and medium incomes since, oil, food, cars, electronics etc... are imported. The effect of the low dollar policy would be to reduce the spending power of the average Canadian. For the poor this will be disastrous as necessities such as food and heating will face the largest price increases since, heating gas/ oil and food imports are priced in US dollars.

      I do not think one can say that the current policy is to favour foreign companies in resource extraction. The high Canadian dollar is a barrier to foreign investment in many cases. The last time I checked the majority of the oil sands industry was controlled by Canadian corporations. Nexen is a good case in point; although it was taken over by CNOOC the money went primarily to Canadians who are now free to re-invest. Not all the money will go back to gas extraction but, a good portion likely will.

      The NDP would like to think it advocated for labour in natural resources and manufacturing. In reality the NDP has never received a majority of the manufacturing, resource extraction or union vote. Even today we see the contradiction of their stance through their advocacy of manufacturing labour over natural resource labour or more specifically they favour manufacturers (owners) over those who work and invest in natural resource industry.

      Favouring owners over workers is certainly a deviation from previous NDP policy and helps answer your own question of: "a concrete example of this 'shift' (away from traditional NDP policies)"

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  10. You may find it that way. But in fact you are actually mirroring the opinion of "Big Media" !!

    And you can ask yourself " Who owns Big Media" ??

    In this country this has become a more important question than it was 25 years ago.

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  11. I think the Conservative vote in BC is going to take a hit from the sudden closure of the Kits Coast Guard station. This is something that voters will not forget and I suspect a few MP's will lose their seats.

    The media is full of Justin and it is no wonder that Canadians think they know him better than Mulcair. Thank the media for Justin's coming annointment.

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  12. Here is an interesting piece for discussion:

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/22/the-big-shift-canadas-conservatives-poised-for-decades-of-power-in-ottawa/

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    1. You really need to go and read the Comments attached to that piece. Very different view !!

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    2. As much as I hope what that article said is not true, I think it's right on some points. If we look at the last election, and ignore the Quebec Results, we have:

      Conservative: 161 Seats
      NDP: 44 Seats
      Liberal: 27 Seats
      Green: 1 Seat

      In fact, the NDP is not really that much significant outside of Quebec, 44 Seats is close to the result the NDP had in the 1988 election, when they got 43 seats with no seats in Quebec. Much of the Conservative win has to be attributed to the decline of the Liberals. In fact, it could be possible the Liberals are in second place all along outside Quebec, all they need is to take 9 seats from the NDP, or win 17 seats from the Tories, to have the second largest number of seats in English Canada. The Liberals could probably have pulled this off in the last election were it not for the robocall scandal which suppressed a lot of voters, giving the Liberals a lot of narrow defeats to the Tories in the GTA. There was also the Layton effect that switched a lot of Liberal seats to the NDP in inner Toronto.

      Anyhow, I'm betting the people in Conservative HQ are probably secretly hoping for Quebec to separate from Canada.

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    3. Here is an interesting piece for discussion: Liberal Ideology Still Dominates In Canada, Poll Finds
      Liberal Ideology Still Dominates In Canada, Poll Finds

      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/11/liberals-canada-poll-ekos-ipolitics_n_2455945.html

      Difference between this and the NP fluff piece is that this one is backed up with a poll.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/11/liberals-canada-poll-ekos-ipolitics_n_2455945.html

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    4. It is true the CPC had a very strong election result in English Canada in 2011. But to argue they are poised for decades of power is naive.

      Just recently it seemed like the LPC was unbeatable and would govern Canada for decades. Paul Martin was supposed to be a stronger leader than Chretien, but he faltered. Recent immigrants were once seen as a Liberal lock, but now they are swing voters targeted by all parties. Politics and dynamics continue to change.

      The FPTP system defiantly skewed the results in favour of the CPC in 2011, just as how it skewed the results in favour of the LPC during the three Chretien majorities. There are times when Western Canada is not adequately represented in government, just like how Quebec is currently not adequately represented.

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  13. Great reporting and analysis. My comment is that I find it annoying that in the media, as well as in these posts, the Conservative Party are casually referred to as 'Tories'. They are not Tories; a more appropriate synonym would be 'Reformers' if anything.

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    1. Anon: Feb 24: 13:13,

      Conservatives have been referred to as Tories since at least the early 19th century. I am afraid it is you who may have an incorrect understanding of the term.

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    2. The point "Anonymous" is making is that these aren't the Conservatives you're referring to... Tories were Progressive Conservatives. This party is a departure from the PC-Tory tradition and ought not to be considered the inheritor of that nickname.

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    3. No. Tories are people who generally adhere to the principles of Conservativism including; constitutional monarchy.

      Tories were not and are not only the Progressive Conservative party! The "original" Conservative party in Canada was referred to as Tories. The Conservative party in the United Kingdom are commonly referred to as Tories, the Liberal or Liberal National parties in Australia are known as Tories.

      To limit the definition and meaning of Tory to the Progressive Conservative party is incorrect and has not been the practice throughout the Commonwealth.

      The Conservative party adheres to many Tory principles including; respect for and loyalty towards constitutional monarchy, the constitutional division of powers, a strong central government, defence of church, small government, low taxes on investment. Do they diverge from their 19th century namesakes? Undoubtedly they do but, Toryism is broad enough to incorporate deviations. The Progressive Conservative party had a large deviation from "traditional Toryism" by agreeing to and supporting responsible government.

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    4. Wrong Erskine

      Lots of non-conservatives are still fixed to the Constitutional Monarchy ideal.

      These current folk are "Reformers" plain and simple.

      Watch for an assault on Medicare next now that they have "dealt" with EI.

      PC's would never have moved against either !!

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    5. Erskine,

      No one refers to the LibDems as Whigs in spite of the party’s origins in the Liberal/Whig party... That’s because the LibDems - since the merger of the Liberals and the Social Democrats - are no longer the same party. The same is true of the Harper Conservatives. This isn't a value judgement, just an acknowledgement of the fact that the Progressive Conservative Party represented a historical continuity with the ancient Tories. The Harper Conservatives, on the other hand, essentially purged a good number of their PC members in conducting the absorption of the PC by the CCRAP/Reform.

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    6. Wow, a couple of historical revisionists!

      Peter and chirumenga,

      Your beef is not with me but popular culture. For well over three hundred years Conservative have been colloquially known as Tories. Now both of you have placed it upon yourselves unilaterally to change others' patterns of speech and writing. What gives you the right? I don't know. You are welcome to try of course.

      Since, Jack was leader the NDP has deviated far away from democratic socialism, so far away in fact they are de facto a totally new party. Perhaps we should refer to the Dippers as what they really are "Champagne Socialists"! I think it will catch on!

      The Liberals have not been referred to as Whigs since the early 19th century! But I would note the Liberals in this country are still referred to as Grits even though the Parti Rouge and the Reform party disbanded in the middle 19th century in Canada. Indeed, they were not political parties in the modern sense to begin with!

      chirumenga,
      You have made a value judgement which is evidenced by the your language; purged, ancient, historical continuity. You insinuate a takeover yet forget that it was members of the Progressive Conservative party itself who voted for merger. In short your historical evidence that former PCers were purged is not based upon any evidence-therefore, it is subjective and a value judgement.

      Peter,

      Mulroney did change the rules surrounding EI then known as Unemployment Insurance so on that count you are simply incorrect.

      Well boys thanks for the laugh. Good luck fighting the last 300 years of popular culture!

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  14. The CPC will win until the Liberal Party which campaigns from the left but governs from the right, exits the Canadian scene or becomes an afterthought like the Liberal Party UK.

    There is a 40% pool of voters available only to Conservatives which they can drive down to 30% with ineptitude and a 60% progressive pool of voters that painfully gets divides between the NDP, the LPC, the Greenies and the Blocheads. This vote must go ALL to one party to dislodge the CPC. The NDP is the natural place for this vote.

    The Liberals themselves don't know why they exist except as a former access to power machine trying to reinvent themselves but they don't know why?

    Apparently they are for the middle class, equal opportunity and marijuana. ZZZZZZZZZZ

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    1. So why do the Liberals poll a majority with JT? If you were right, these polls would prove you right and they do not.

      This last EKOS poll would produce a coalition, because a minority this small for Harper would be the end of his career. Both Mulcair and whomever the Liberals choose would sink Harper in a NY minute with these results. I also think Harper will drop even further as his scandals continue to unfold.

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    2. So by your logic the NDP and Greens should have disbanded in 2006 to help consolidate the left-wing vote behind the Liberals? No thanks. Voters deserve more choice than a two party system offers.

      "There is a 40% pool of voters available only to Conservatives which they can drive down to 30% with ineptitude and a 60% progressive pool of voters"

      The Conservatives got 30% of the vote in 2004, with voting splitting on the centre and left exactly as you describe. The Conservatives didn't form government in 2004. It is far easier to reduce the Conservative vote to 30% if their voters are being targeted by both Liberals and NDPers too.

      The strategic voting argument was a weak one when we tried it as Liberals. Glad to see the NDP is making the same mistakes we did.

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  15. You cannot add the 2 parties together and say they outpoll the Tories. In the FPTP system it is seats not votes that matter. Harper can win on the splits. The creation of a coalition orr the dominance of one non conservative party must happen before an election not after. Since the Liberal dont know who they are this leaves the NDP.

    A vote for the Liberal, the Greens or the Bloc is a vote for Harper.

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    1. "A vote for the Liberal, the Greens or the Bloc is a vote for Harper."

      There are more close Liberal-Conservative marginals than close NDP-Conservative marginals. So by your logic, a vote for the NDP in those ridings is a vote for Stephen Harper.

      Vote your conscience. If our electoral system doesn't treat your vote fairly, then that's all the more reason to push for electoral reform.

      The Conservatives lost the 2004 election even though there were multiple parties parties for people to choose from on the left and the centre. You want to beat Harper? Convince people who voted Conservative in 2011 to vote for someone else in 2015. That's it.

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    2. Ryan, I totally agree. I'm dismayed by the tendancy to devise strategies and calculations to engineer a victory. It's not a victory for the popular will unless it's based on policies that are rationally convincing.

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  16. Mature political systems are indicated by a predominantly 2 party system with one party representing business and the other party representing labour, like most countries in Europe, Australia, NZ, and many provinces in Canada. Some have Liberal arties that hang around and represent small consttuencies and other countries virtually eliminate them.

    It is all for the best.

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    1. "Mature"? Business versus labour? It shouldn't take more than a cursory glance at what political parties actually do to recognise that this avowed distinction between parties based on "business" and "labour" is no distinction at all. Certainly nothing so profound as you allege. And to call it a "mature" system is a value judgmenet that dismisses such rudimentary concepts as democracy, in favour of devotion to the status quo.

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