Thursday, February 28, 2013

NDP comfortably ahead in Quebec

A week ago, La Presse released the latest poll results from CROP at both the provincial and federal levels. Federally, the poll shows that the New Democrats are still well ahead of their rivals in the province - as they have been in CROP's polling since Thomas Mulcair was named leader of the party. Other polls, however, are not so sure.

Provincially, the poll put the Parti Québécois, Liberals, and the Coalition Avenir Québec in a close three-way race. I wrote about the Quebec scene for the Globe and Mail in my weekly piece. We'll take a look at the federal results here.
Though I don't recall seeing the results anywhere except in tables of their latest report, CROP was last in the field federally in January. Since then, the New Democrats picked up two points and had 37% support, followed by the Liberals at 23% (+3), the Bloc Québécois at 22% (+1), and the Conservatives at 15% (-4).

The New Democrats have been very steady in CROP's polling, with between 35% and 41% in each of their monthly polls since October. Over that time, the BQ has also been steady while, at 23%, the Liberals are at their highest level of support (at least according to CROP) since September 2010. They were at 13% support as recently as June 2012.

It has to be said that this score for the New Democrats is quite high compared to where other firms have pegged the NDP in Quebec. The current aggregate of all the polls maintained by ThreeHundredEight (including this CROP poll) only puts the NDP at 32.4% in the province. In fact, since October the New Democrats have averaged 38.2% support in five polls from CROP, compared to an average of 31.8% support in 18 polls conducted by other firms. Certainly, it makes more sense to focus on large samples of 1,000 per poll instead of smaller regional samples, but while 5,000 Quebecers were sampled in CROP's five polls since October, 8,690 were sampled in the other 18 polls.

It could be a question of Quebec-based polling firms having a different (and, one would assume, better) way of doing polls in the province. Léger Marketing was in the field twice since October, and gave the NDP an average of 35% support, still higher than the consensus. It should also be recalled that CROP was the first pollster to give the NDP the lead in Quebec during the 2011 election campaign, and was generally more favourable to the party in the run-up to the election than other firms. But whether that is due to having done a better job or merely because the electorate caught up to potential methodological biases in CROP's polling, we cannot know.

Are the Quebec-based pollsters, who have together pegged the NDP at almost six points more support, closer to the mark than their non-Quebec-based competitors? It is hard not to give them the benefit of the doubt.

At the regional level, the New Democrats held the lead on the island of Montreal with 34% to 23% for the Bloc and 22% for the Liberals, and were also leading in the "couronne" of Montreal (the greater metropolitan region) with 39% to 25% for the Liberals and 24% for the Bloc.

Outside of Montreal, the Conservatives had a narrow edge in Quebec City with 33% to 31% for the NDP and 16% apiece for the Bloc and Liberals, while in the rest of Quebec the NDP led with 38% to 24% for the Liberals and 21% for the Bloc.

Among francophones, the New Democrats led with 40% to 26% for the Bloc, with the Liberals picking up five points since October (the last CROP poll for which I have regional data) to reach 19%. For the federal Liberals to be doing almost as well as the provincial Liberals among francophones in the province is not insignificant.

Among non-francophones, the Liberals are well ahead with 47% to 30% for the Conservatives and 20% for the New Democrats. That is hardly changed from October's poll, suggesting that the NDP has taken quite a tumble among non-francophones in the province. That puts some of their seats on the island of Montreal in danger, and opens up some possibilities for the Tories.

With these province-wide numbers, the New Democrats would win 54 seats on the current boundaries. The Liberals would increase their seat total to 14, while the Conservatives would hold on to five seats and the Bloc Québécois would be reduced to only two.

I have to abandon projections for the proposed boundaries, as the ones that were laid out in the latest report of the boundary commission are significantly different from their initial proposals (though, I must say, I am very happy they dropped their plan to name a lot of ridings after people instead of geography). Until I or someone else has the time to transpose the 2011 results to the latest boundaries, it would be irresponsible to use anything but the boundaries currently in place. Elections Canada will eventually do the job once the boundaries are finalized. In any case, if the Conservative caucus revolts and votes down their own government (hey, why not?) in the next year or so we would still use the current boundaries rather than the new ones.

The New Democrats are still in a very strong position in Quebec, particularly with none of their rivals able to get very close to them in voting intentions. The Liberals are also in a decent position to make gains - the poll listed the current leaders (i.e., Bob Rae) when asking about federal voting intentions and other surveys have suggested that Justin Trudeau would be able to boost Liberal fortunes to some extent in Quebec. The Liberals appear to have regained favour among Quebec's non-francophones, which gives them a good base in the province. But if the New Democrats manage to remain the favourite option of Quebec's francophones, they will continue to win a large majority of the province's seats.

33 comments:

  1. Its seems contradictory for the Liberals to have the lead among non francophones but end up third place behind the bloc Quebecois.

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    1. Not necessarily, the Liberals could have simply done very badly among francophones on the island.

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    2. Could just be random noise in the small sub-samples too. Liberal non-francophones could have been oversampled or Liberal francophones in Montreal could have been undersampled. Or both.

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  2. Sorry Previous post should have mentioned 3rd place on the island of Montreal

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  3. How competitive do you see Jonquière—Alma under the current boundaries? I know historically it's been a Tory seat, but I'm curious how Patry's defection affects his chances of re-election.

    FYI there are some changes to the BC boundaries that you'll want to consider at some point. I only really looked at the changes in the Lower Mainland, and while things looked mostly the same to my cursory glance, it looked like there were a couple of marginals in Surrey that may have been affected.

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    1. Jonquière-Alma is usually a CPC-NDP race in the model, but with J.P. Blackburn no longer there I imagine the Conservatives would be much less of a factor.

      Patry wasn't an unknown in the region (he wasn't touted as a star candidate, but he was touted by the party), so he could give the Bloc a bit of a boost. If the Tories drop a lot and the NDP doesn't find a good candidate to put up against Patry, I can see the BQ taking the seat back.

      But I don't think the Bloc's prospects in 2015 are very good in general. Paillé is not very well known and he doesn't have the same sort of personal appeal that Duceppe did.

      Also - I will be abandoning the proposed boundary projections for all of Canada, not just Quebec. It really isn't reflective of much anymore.

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    2. "I will be abandoning the proposed boundary projections for all of Canada, not just Quebec. It really isn't reflective of much anymore."

      Could you amplify your think a bit please ?

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    3. Claude Party defection will have a negative impact for the NDP among the non-francophone community.

      With the probable election of Justin Trudeau I suspect Liberal support among non-Francophones will return to its tradition 60%+ range. The Tories may also suffer from the re-balancing among this community.

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    4. Peter,

      See the second last paragraph in Eric's post on this page... He explains his the abandonment... :~)

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    5. No he doesn't, at least from what I can see, that's why I asked for amplification !!

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    6. I'll quote myself:

      "I have to abandon projections for the proposed boundaries, as the ones that were laid out in the latest report of the boundary commission are significantly different from their initial proposals."

      This is especially the case in Quebec, but also in some ridings in other provinces as well.

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    7. Peter,

      I think you want clarification not amplification.

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  4. OK Thanks. Looks like a sensible move to me.

    Now that I've found it.

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  5. CROP's results sure seem to fly in the face of the established media narrative that the NDP are inevitably destined for doom in Quebec come 2015.

    Not stellar results, obviously, but a collapse? Come on.

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    1. I think part of that is because of the regional breakdown of voters in Quebec. With Liberal strength in Montreal and Bloc strength outside Montreal, the NDP could come first overall in Quebec but trail the Liberals in Montreal and the Bloc everywhere else. Coming second is a great way to take votes but not so much so for seats.

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    2. According to the CROP poll there is no "Bloc strength outside Montreal" they trail the NDP by double digits everywhere. I have trouble seeing the BQ as much of a factor in 2015. They have no money, no party status, their new leader is a very low profile, uncharismatic rightwing business tycoon. In 2015 people in Quebec will want to get rid of Harper - why would they vote for a dead end party like the BQ when they can elect NDP or even Liberal MPs who will REPLACE the Tory government rather than just yelling at them

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    3. You're probably right. I'm not arguing that the Bloc will revive itself, just saying that on paper its a risk. I think the 2008 election was to the Bloc what the 1979 election was to the Social Credit party. It showed that while effective as a protest party, they just weren't relevant in determining who forms government.

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  6. While there is a lot of doom saying, the 2015 election is still 34 months away.

    Today's been a bad day for the NDP, but its only one day and the party is hardly imploding in Quebec or anywhere else in Canada. the problem with watching polls so far from an election is that it doesn't really help us in 2015. It's all a snap shot of the days events using them as an indicator of the future as a sure way to loss.

    Sure every time I see a poll showing the NDP up I smile, but it all tempered by know the the election is the only poll we need to worry about.

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  7. Wait until the Tory attack machine cranks up with "Justin- not his dad, just not qualified for the job." attacks. He may be a golden boy but he is wide open for some serious attacks.

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    1. So is Harper. For much worse stuff.

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  8. The federal NDP has sure taken a lot of hits since it became official opposition, a little less than two years ago.

    But to the party's credit they are still holding on to respectable numbers despite problem after problem. At this current point they are still the most dominant player in Quebec and are very competitive in BC, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

    I am sure after their successful election, Layton knew rough times were ahead. Did people actually think the Bloc Quebecois and Liberals would just roll over and die?

    Things will just get worse. Traditionally, the NDP did not go through the same media scrutiny as the other two major parties. If they are ever close to forming government, we will see the mainstream media and business interests going on an all out fear campaign.

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  9. When Bob Rae won in Ontario, the business interests put up billboards featuring Bob with Lenin and Marx. They will stop at nothing to avoid paying a nickel of tax on vast fortunes.

    What is hilarious is that Manitoba, with government after government is about one centimetre left of centre on a good day.

    Anybody notice the Christy Clarke "ethnic strategy" in BC. Oooops

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    1. "What is hilarious is that Manitoba, with government after government is about one centimetre left of centre on a good day".

      That's because the NDP are champagne socialists!

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    2. The term your looking for is 'third way' socialists.

      And there's nothing wrong with it IMO.

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    3. No third way socialists want a mixed economy. A cursory read of the NDP's constitution demonstrates their belief in the socialisation of capital and means and modes of production. They want a socialist economy!

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    4. The BC NDP is far less competent than the Manitoba NDP. Unfortunately it's the BC NDP we have to worry about here.

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  10. Socialist economy?

    You mean an economy with medicare, public pensions, public education, public transportation, public libraries, public universities and colleges, public roads, meat inspectors, public homes for seniors, public police and firefighters and EMS, high quality public child care, environmental regultion, public hydro,

    Stop stop you are scareing me to death.

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    1. What you described Anon 19:21 is a mixed economy not a socialist economy. Unless you are thinking Singapore and the UAE are socialists?

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  11. LOL "They want a socialist economy!"

    Why not just scream communist. It's equally absurd and shows you know nothing about the NDP or our policies.

    I have a feeling people of your mindset think the NDP caucus meets in a red coloured room and sacrifice the blood capitalists to effigies of Stalin, Mao and Lenin.

    Grow up and get a clue.

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    1. You need to read the NDP constitution. It states in the preamble that party policy is for a socialist economy not an economy based on profit. It further speaks to the taking of capital from private owners and putting it in the hands of the state.

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  12. As an NDPer, the reason why I support the NDP is because it stands up for socialist values. I want an NDP government to nationalize a lot of corporations better suited to be in the hands of government. I want profit to be in the hands of government who can take care of it better by centralized decision making. I want a strong, national, and socialist government. There's no way I would accept the "third way" crap, it's just a disguised name for capitalism mixed in with government, these two can't co-exist. If Mulcair moves the NDP to centre-left, then there's no way I would vote for him! I would rather stay home than vote for a copycat of Tony Blair!!

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    1. H.E. Count Tolstoy06 March, 2013 12:30

      I appreciate your honesty regarding socialism and nationalism although I believe most evidence points to the destructive elements of these philosophies rather than tangible benefits to people.

      The problem with socialism and nationalism; they restricts choice and innovation that inevitably lead to false economies and values for goods, services and capital, especially human capital.

      Governments throughout the world have proven rather inept at producing or keeping profit. Government's primary function is order and the delivery of goods and services that are uneconomical and hence not provided by the private sector. By its very nature then government is incapable of producing profit (this should not be confused with redistribution of wealth).

      As for centralised decision making there are occasions where it works very well as it produces economies of scale or scope or creates efficiencies. However, an equal number of examples exist whereby centralisation causes inflexibility or is unable to respond to the needs of a particular locality or respond within a particular time frame.

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