Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Latest averages for Canada, Ontario, and Quebec

After a much needed break, it is time to get back to work and take a look at the polls that were missed while I was away. There were some interesting results, but for now let's look at what the current aggregates are showing.

The Liberals continue to lead nationwide, with 35.8% support to 29.1% for the Conservatives and 22.9% for the New Democrats. But that is down from the recent highs that the Liberals have been experiencing, where the aggregate put them at 39% or even 40% support. Nevertheless, the lead they hold over the Conservatives is significant and  the New Democrats still appear to be treading water.

The Liberals are ahead by sizable margins in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, and are in front by a few tenths of a percentage point in British Columbia. That is the tightest race at the moment, with the Liberals at 29.9%, the Conservatives at 29.4%, and the NDP at 27.8%. The Greens are strongest there at 11.8%.

In Ontario, the Liberals are ahead by 5.5 points in the aggregate with 38.7% to 33.2% for the Tories. In Quebec, the Liberals have slipped just below 40%, but that puts them well ahead of the NDP (26.1%) and the Bloc Québécois (17.9%). And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals dominate with 47.6% to 28% for the NDP and only 18.8% for the Conservatives.

But the government is still well in front in Alberta (though they are no longer closer to 60% than 50% support) and in the Prairies, where their vote has probably been the sturdiest.

At the provincial level in Ontario, Kathleen Wynne's Liberals have fallen behind the Progressive Conservatives. However, the margin is minuscule: 34.5% for the PCs and 33.3% for the OLP. The NDP is still polling above their election haul of 2011, with 23.9% support.

It is difficult to determine whether there is any real cause for concern here for the Liberals. They have fallen 2.2 points since the last update at the end of May, but the PCs have hardly budged (up 0.3 points) and the NDP actually dropped 0.4 points. Instead, the provincial Greens made the gain (from 5.1% to 7.3%), one that is almost certainly a statistical anomaly. The best that can be said right now is that the OLP and PCs are in a very close race.

The race in Quebec is much more lop-sided, however. The opposition Liberals under Philippe Couillard have moved ahead dramatically, averaging 37.7% support. The Parti Québécois is down to 26.2%, though that is slightly better than where they stood a few weeks ago (primarily due to their lower results in CROP's polling).

The Coalition Avenir Québec continues to be unable to make up any ground, and has actually dropped to only 20% support. With Couillard at the helm of the PLQ, the usefulness of François Legault's party seems to have diminished in the eyes of many voters who were tired of both the PQ and Jean Charest's version of the Liberal Party.

Among the minnows, Québec Solidaire is best placed with 9.1% support, while Option Nationale was at 3.4% before Jean-Martin Aussant's resignation as leader. Where that small party will go from here remains to be seen.

During the summer months, political polling tends to stagnate. So, we should probably expect the parties in Ontario, Quebec, and at the federal level to be roughly where they are today in September. But two months is still a long time, even if most Canadians have checked out. Considering the stakes in Ontario and Quebec, where Wynne and Marois have flimsy minorities, and the historical lows for Stephen Harper's government, these two months could be important.

13 comments:

  1. Abacus Data's new federal poll has some pretty stunning results (only 3 points separating the first place party from the third), but I notice you gave it a relatively minuscule weight in your aggregate compared to the other three recent polls. Is their record that bad?

    Dom

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    1. Size of the poll is important as well, both Forum and Leger's polls were substantially larger. Abacus's track record is not bad at all, they did well in the federal and Ontario elections. But they were also active in both AB and BC, and everyone had egg on their faces there (myself included).

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    2. Based on sample size though, it's apparent that you consider Nanos to have a substantially better record than Abacus. Luckily for the former, they stayed away from the AB and BC elections.

      Just a followup question: Abacus' only poll in the BC election was admittedly quite far off (NDP 43 Lib 33 Grn 12 Con 9), but then again it was conducted 3 weeks before the vote. Had they done another poll closer to election day they likely still would've been off like everyone else, though probably closer than their earlier poll, also like everyone else. Does the amount of time before election day that a pollster conducts their final poll have any bearing on how much sway in their overall rating you give their performance in that election? e.g. If a pollster makes a bad call one day before the vote, does it hurt their rating more than if they make a bad call 3 weeks before the vote?

      Dom

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    3. No, the amount of days before the election is not taken into account. This is meant to avoid penalizing those polling firms who put their reputation most at stake by reporting near election day. All firms active within 30 days of the election are included.

      I intend to update the track record weighting to take into account the 'difficulty' of an election, so as not to overly penalize those firms active in volatile campaigns and reward those who stayed out of AB or BC, for example. It might also be a good idea to reduce the weighting of a particular election in a pollster's track record to take into account the distance between the poll and the election.

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  2. Eric, do you know if there is any reason why Forum Research seems to have recently stopped publishing its polls on its website and appears to recently be only releasing its polls through the news media? They haven't posted a poll on their website since early June but have released a whole slew of polls since then through the news media. Also, for the latest federal Forum poll, by any chance do you have the regional numbers for it because the news media that released the poll (The National Post) only gave national numbers and no regional numbers and Forum continues to not release any polls on its website.

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    1. I don't know why - they have probably just fallen behind (it has happened before, but not to the extent of an entire month).

      I do have the regional numbers, though. I may post them later this week.

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    2. Forum just posted the federal poll on their website in the last couple of hours.

      Dom

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  3. Addendum: They have finally published the federal poll so never mind about the regionals. But what about all those unreleased Ontario polls for provincewide plus all those Ontario by-election polls plus that Toronto mayoral poll with an abundance of potential two-way matchups with Rob Ford?

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  4. Do you automatically give more recent polls more weight, or do you make the decision based on the polling accuracy of the pollster in question? For example, not all pollsters are equally good, and some have a better track record than others. So do you use a mathematical similar to Nate Silver which gives more weight to some pollsters compared to others? Do you give a poll which may be a rouge (eg. the recent Abacus poll) the same weight as others which show something different?

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  5. Details of how I weight the polls are here:

    http://www.threehundredeight.com/2011/03/threehundredeights-weighting-system.html

    No subjective judgment involved, all depends on a formula based on the date of the poll, the sample size, and the track record.

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  6. Hi Eric,
    Will you be updating the monthly poll average charts? Looks like it only goes up to May.
    Thanks

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    1. I will be, but I usually wait until the second week of the new month to update the previous month's numbers, to catch any stragglers.

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