Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday update: By-election polling and Liberal leadership

This week's Friday update takes a look at new by-election polling in Labrador, new forecasts for the pending provincial by-elections in Ontario, updates to the Liberal leadership endorsement rankings, and discussion of the newest national poll.

Ipsos-Reid puts Liberals first

The polling has been coming fast and furious this week, but it has also been remarkably consistent. The latest missive is from Ipsos-Reid. I'll try to give the poll a deeper look next week, but it gives the Liberals 32% to 31% for the Conservatives and 27% for the New Democrats. It is yet another poll to put the Liberals at or above 30%, the Conservatives below 32%, and the NDP at or below 27%. It makes for a very tight grouping of polls.

As a result, the Liberals now lead by the tiniest of margins in the weighted average, with 30.7% to 30.5% support. Some of the regional numbers are interesting as well: the Liberals are almost tied with the Tories in Ontario, and are now ahead by more than three points in Quebec. That Ipsos gave the Liberals 32% in the province is interesting, as prior to this survey it had mostly been Forum that was bullish on the Liberals in Quebec.

Note that the reason the newer Ipsos-Reid poll has a lower weight in the average than the Forum poll is that the model considers the Ipsos-Reid poll to be older. As it was in the field between March 28 and April 3, it has a median date of March 31, whereas Forum was just in the field on April 2.

Also note that, despite what was reported in articles by Global and Postmedia, this Ipsos-Reid poll is not a hypothetical "what-if" Trudeau poll. Ipsos-Reid did not mention Trudeau's name in the voting intentions question.

Improving Liberal fortunes in Labrador and London West, worsening ones in Windsor-Tecumseh

With all of the new polling, the by-election forecast for Labrador has been updated and it remains rough for the Conservatives. The polling in Atlantic Canada has been extremely consistent, showing the Liberals at over 40% and the Conservatives at under 20%. That means the swing is strongly in favour of the Liberals, who average a victory margin of 43.6 points when the regional swing from the last month's worth of polls is applied to the riding.

Backing that up is a poll from Forum Research for Labrador. The short of it is that it gives Yvonne Jones a 36-point lead, with 57% to 21% for Harry Borlase of the NDP and 20% for Peter Penashue of the Tories.

I lay out the caveats for this poll in today's article for The Huffington Post Canada. Check it out.

Overall, it keeps Labrador a Strong Liberal forecast.

The numbers are also good for the Liberals in London West, as the polling picture has brightened for the Ontario Liberals in southwestern Ontario. The riding is now a Likely Liberal win, up from a Lean Liberal.

Conversely, the situation has gotten better for the New Democrats in Windsor-Tecumseh, as it is now a Strong New Democrat forecast, up from a Likely NDP win. Why the difference? Simply that there has been a drop in the number of polls in the last month in Ontario, making it more difficult to judge the volatility between polls. When that happens, the ranges tighten up and the NDP's low forecast pulls ahead of the high forecast for the Liberals.

Justin Trudeau's endorsement edge remains enormous

Also updated today were the endorsement rankings for the Liberal leadership race. Quite a number of endorsements have been added to the rankings, but it doesn't change much.

Joyce Murray did get the nod from Peter Milliken, while Gordon Wilson (former B.C. Liberal leader) and Judi Tyabji (former B.C. MLA) improve her numbers in British Columbia. She now has 33% of the endorsement points in the province, the only one where the race between her and Justin Trudeau is competitive (at least from an endorsement stand point).

But the list of Trudeau endorsers grew even larger, with a long list of senators added and former provincial leaders David Peterson and Yvonne Jones, among others.

Overall, it meant a marginally worsening share of the endorsement points for Trudeau, who dropped below 90% on the weighted rankings (to 89.9%). He is still miles ahead of Murray and the other contestants, however, who have not been able to attract a single endorsement that is counted in the rankings (all of Martin Cauchon's and Martha Hall Findlay's points come from their self-endorsements). Only a gimmicky turnout shock would prevent Trudeau from winning the race at this point - the greatest danger he faces (and it is a small one) is that too many people will consider his victory so inevitable that they don't bother to vote. Not a bad position to be in.