Monday, August 26, 2013

Liberals still ahead in new Nanos poll

The poll went under the radar, but a sharp-eyed reader pointed out that the latest poll from Nanos Research for Bell Canada and Telus, on the subject of telecommunications, contained voting intentions information. From the looks of the poll report, the voting questions were asked right at the beginning, suggesting there is no reason to consider the sample biased despite the results' provenance from a privately commissioned poll. Add to that the fact that Nanos's numbers are remarkable in their unremarkableness, and we have ourselves the first national political poll worth looking at in a month.
Nanos was last in the field in mid-June, though that poll was conducted online. It is hard to know exactly how to compare these two polls, since the methodology of the last one included phoning people up to invite them to complete the online survey, blurring the lines between making it an online or a telephone poll. This poll, however, was done over the telephone entirely.

If we do compare the two polls at face value, we see that there have been no statistically significant shifts of support since June for any of the parties in any of the regions, or nationally. It is the status quo, though there are a few small trends to keep an eye on.

Nationally, the Liberals were up 1.1 points to 35.3%, where they seem to have settled at after the heady days right after Justin Trudeau's leadership victory. The Conservatives were up 2.5 points to 31.9%, their best result in any poll since an Ipsos-Reid survey from April. The New Democrats were down 2.5 points to 22.8%, while the Greens were down 0.5 points to 5.9%. The Bloc Québécois was down 1.2 points to only 2.5%, and 1.6% of respondents said they would for another party.

Undecideds were about 22% of the entire sample, up three points from June.

This is a more detailed poll from Nanos than we usually get, and it has some interesting breakdowns. For instance, the Liberals were only up on the Conservatives by one point among men (34% to 33%, with the NDP at 22%) but were ahead by five points among women (36% to 31%, with the NDP at 24%). The Liberals led among voters over the age of 30, and were even four points up on the Conservatives among voters 60 and older.

Regionally, the results fall well into line with what other surveys were showing in July.

In British Columbia, the Liberals were narrowly ahead with 31.7% to 30.8% for the Conservatives and 25.4% for the NDP, with the Greens at 11.8%. Of note, though, is that the Conservatives have been consistently slipping: they were at 37.5% in Nanos's previous poll from April.

The Conservatives led with 56% in Alberta to 23% for the Liberals and 9.9% for the NDP, and were also ahead in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with 40.5% and 44.3%, respectively. In Saskatchewan, the NDP was second with 30.4% to the Liberals' 24.6%, while in Manitoba the Liberals were second with 38.6% to 14.2% for the NDP. These Saskatchewan and Manitoba numbers align broadly with the other surveys we have seen for these two individual provinces.

In Ontario, the Liberals were at 37.2% while the Conservatives were up to 33.9%. The NDP was well behind with 21.2%. They were closer in Quebec, however, with 29.8% support to 38.5% for the Liberals. But the NDP has slipped in three consecutive Nanos polls in Quebec, while the Liberals have gained in three consecutive polls. The Conservatives were at 14% (identical to the recent CROP poll) while the Bloc was down to 12.2%. While that is a very low number, Nanos has had the BQ lower than other polling firms for some time. In fact, they had them at 9.6% in the months after the 2011 election, the only time the party has ever been in single digits.

The Liberals led in Atlantic Canada with 43.5%, followed by the Conservatives at 29.3% and the NDP at 26.7%. The two parties swapped places and about eight points, but that was within the margin of error.
These numbers would give the Liberals a narrow plurality of 132 seats, compared to 129 for the Conservatives, 75 for the New Democrats, and two for the Greens (the Bloc would be wiped out). The Liberal victory is won primarily in Ontario, where a number of seats go to the party by a razor-thin margin.

But as I discussed on Friday, it is possible that these national polls will understate the Liberal seat potential in Quebec. As you can see here, even with an 8.7-point lead over the NDP, the Liberals win fewer seats in Quebec than do the New Democrats. If we apply CROP's distribution of regional support to Nanos's province-wide numbers for Quebec, though, we get a very different result:
The Liberals win 42 seats in Quebec instead of 33, and the NDP drops from 37 to 28. It doesn't change the number of non-Conservative seats in the province, but it does turn the Liberals' narrow plurality into a much more comfortable one, making the close wins in Ontario less important.

Either way, the Liberals appear to be in control of the situation. The numbers have not budged yet over the summer, with the Liberals still in the mid-30s and the Conservatives still under 1-in-3 support. It will be interesting to see if anything will shake these numbers loose over the next few months.


  1. Any bets on whether Harper will actually lead the CPC in the 2015 election??

    Lot of thought out there that he won't !!

    1. I'd say the odds are in his favour (right now) that he'll still be the CPC leader going into the 2015 election. My guess is that there'd have to be something else 'big' happen for there to be a shakeup at the top.

    2. You're nuts if you think Harper will pass up a chance to run against a Trudeau.

    3. I've seen several pieces by very well known journalists saying Harper won't run again !!

      Latest by Greg Weston on the CBC site.

      Ages ago Chantal Hebert saying the same thing !! Plus his economy line is failing !! And the Senate blow up is very far from over.

      I wouldn't be surprised if he stepped aside.

    4. He just recently said he would run again, so I don't think he'll go back on that.

    5. Peter,

      I will have you both know that I become more and more refined in my idiocy with each passing day!

      I've been all over the map on this one: started out thinking Harper would be gone given the fact that CPC numbers plunged before Trudeau was elected leader. Couple that with how galling and humiliating it would be for him to lose to Trudeau.

      Then I came to the conclusion that he is just itching to take Justin on figuring he can make up ground in the campaign and beat him.

      Now, still think HE thinks that but will add a proviso -- if polls in the near pre-electoral period reveal that the CPC has almost no hope of winning a second majority, I think that will be Harper's litmus test and seeing those numbers, then he will probably walk. If they have a reasonable shot at another majority, into the thick of it he goes.

    6. Ron

      The polls have been consistently showing Libs leading, The latest Nanos in fact shows an increasing Lib lead. Plus the singular Lib Senator is disappearing leaving Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy in the big news.

      My guess is Harper will leave before the election.

    7. Peter,

      I view Harb's departure as a brilliant strategic play which favours a Liberal predisposition among polling respondents.

      Question is -- who is responsible for clearing the Liberal decks? Harb, or perhaps someone else?

    8. In view of the CTV stuff on the Duffy situation you could just be right Ron.

      Harb had to go, no argument. But what about those three Tories?? Shouldn't they go to ??

    9. Brazeau should resign but, that is a different topic than Senate expenses.

      I don't think Harb, Wallin, Duffy should resign. At the time of their claims they were within the rules to live in Ottawa and claim a residence in the province they represent.

      In Quebec, one must own property in their senatorial division to become a senator. I know for a fact that most Quebec senators do not reside within their senatorial division. One Liberal senator bought a $5,000 piece of land in their division from their predecessor, the land is uninhabitable as currently it is a swamp.

      For a very long time the rules surrounding residence was not applied. This is the fault of the Senate as oppossed to individual senators.

    10. Peter,

      I think some of the others will eventually resign. If it goes to a fight over their senatorial divisions, I don't see how any of them can stay in the Senate.

      Wonder what will come out of the Senate Reference on Property Qualification? If the McLachlin Court maintains it as is, they seemingly are done as members of the Upper House.

    11. The Supreme Court has no choice but to retain the property qualifications; it is the law. However, how days are counted may be important. For example: the NDP states on average the Senate sits 72 days per. So, one could argue those 72 days plus other days such as travel required for Senate business not be counted toward the residency requirement of a province. Generally speaking to be a resident of a province one must reside in the province for six months or 183 days. If one accounts for the 72 days 365-72/2=147 days. It may turn out that a more reasonable residency requirement will be closer to 4 months than six.

  2. Interesting new Léger poll on the imminent proposal of a Charter of Quebec Values. Whereas 57% of respondents think such a charter is a "good idea" vs. 28% who think it's a "bad idea", only 28% think it will actually resolve the issues surrounding religious accommodations vs. 48% who think it will "cause more quarreling". Go figure. We Quebeckers sure love to create drama for ourselves!


  3. The problem is finding 14 seats in BC the Liberals could actually win. I got Vancouver Centre, Vancouver Point Grey, Vancouver South, Richmond, Newton-North Delta, North Vancouver, and Esquimalt Juan de Fuca. That's only 7. If you really push it, they could maybe win Saanich-Gulf Islands and Fleetwood-Port Kells. As for the new seat of Vancouver Granville, it would take a big swing in BC to win that, because most of the polls from 2011 went either conservative or NDP by a pretty large margin.

    1. Keep in mind new ridings will be up for grabs. Vancouver-Granville is one that could be Liberal. Also Vancouver-Point Grey is a provincial riding, Vancouver -Quadra covers much the same area federally. To add to your list; Victoria is a possibility as would be Vancouver-Kingsway, the new riding of North Vancouver-Seymour (although this is more likely to go Tory),

      I agree 14 seats would be near impossible for the Grits but, then again the polls with them in the mid-30's in BC are equally unusual. We see numbers like this quite often on the West Coast between elections the Liberals peak only to fall back to 20% and a handful of seats come election day. Other than Vancouver-Granville I don't think the Liberals have any automatic new seats.

    2. As always, projections are based on the polls themselves, not what I think would happen. If the Liberals take 32% in BC, the Conservatives 31%, and the NDP 25%, they'll probably win around 14 seats.

      Will they get 32% and win the popular vote in BC? Maybe not, but that is not the question I ask...

    3. "As for the new seat of Vancouver Granville, it would take a big swing in BC to win that, because most of the polls from 2011 went either conservative or NDP by a pretty large margin."

      Going from 13.4% of the vote to 32% of the vote is more than a pretty big swing.

      Also FYI, Newton North-Delta will not exist in 2015.

    4. Ryan,

      Just a clarification: Are you saying most of the polling station in what will become Vancouver-Granvilee went NDP/ Tory in 2011?

    5. No, I'm saying that there's been a 30% Conservative-to-Liberal swing, so if these poll numbers held up (and who knows if they will), then they'll pick up a lot of ridings that you wouldn't necessarily expect.

      Remember when the orange wave started, and how the Bloc and the Liberals were dismissing it by saying that there were maybe two or three ridings where the NDP had a shot, tops? Yah the Bloc and the Liberals were wrong. :/ Lol.

      If you transpose the 2011 results for Vancouver-Granville the numbers are:

      Conservative - 35.33%
      Liberal - 30.11%
      NDP - 24.45%
      Green - 9.25%

      Close enough for the Liberals to take.

    6. So yah, I'm agreeing with you bede that Vancouver Granville will be a Liberal-leaning riding.

    7. Couple of things: #1, Sorry about that, I always get messed up between Vancouver Quadra and Vancouver Point Grey. #2, Quebec voters tend to swing to different parties easily and as a block (e.g 1988= 63 PC MPs, 1993= 54 BQ MPS, or 2008= 49 BQ MPs, 2011= 59 NDP MPs.) Voters in BC (and the west in general) tend to be more entrenched in their political views, and seas are usually won when most of one party's voters don't show up, not when people change who they vote for. As for Vancouver Granville, I think it will really depend on Harper's public opinion by the next election whether the tories take it or not. Also, if a party has a bad provincial election, they usually do better at the next federal election in their province, so that probably benefits the NDP, if your superstitious.

    8. Well, the NDP got 40% of the vote, which is really just status quo for them in the province.

    9. There's no way that those numbers are real. Those numbers are people interrupted during dinner remembering that the last politician they voted for was Christy Clark, and she's the Liberal. (It's been a theory of mine for some years that the federal Liberals get unrealistically high poll numbers in off-election years here because of confusion with the provincial Liberals, and that effect will never be stronger than just now.) Having said that, without a doubt the Conservative position has weakened, Mulcair is a weaker candidate than Layton, and Trudeau is a vastly stronger candidate than Ignatieff. The Liberals will certainly improve their standing here next Federal election. But a 30 point swing - including the Interior? I don't think so. IIRC, the last time the federal Liberals outpolled the Conservatives in this province was 1968.

      I don't think the Liberals (or the Greens) have much chance in Esquimalt: I think past Liberal success there is a result of incumbency. But the Liberals could certainly pick up seats on the North Shore, particularly Van North, in Vancouver proper, and in Surrey. However, if the provincial Liberals can dominate the Interior, the federal Conservatives can certainly do the same thing.

    10. I agree federal Liberal numbers peak in BC during non-election years. I am less certain one can attribute this to provincial Liberal success.

      North Vancouver (which went Conservative in 2011) is "merging with Burnaby-Douglas (which went NDP by a small margin)for the next election. This change will hurt the Liberals. While North Van. has traditionally been a Liberal-Conservative fight Burnaby Douglas has usually swung between the NDP and Conservatives with the Liberals usually a strong third. I think if you put it all together North Vancouver-Seymour (the new riding) leans towards the Conservatives.

    11. About the interior though, I've always found it fascinating how the BC Greens got 20% in Nelson-Creston, which would make that their strongest riding outside Greater Victoria. Why exactly is that?

    12. The thing about Nelson-Creston is they have a large number of draft dodger immigrants. The community was a "counter-culture haven" from the 1960's to the present day with a vibrant arts community. Nelson-Creston also depends a good deal on tourism and is a government administrative centre so, is not your typical one resource interior town.

    13. Yes, well I suppose it is the former realm of Corky Evans.

  4. I can only assume that the second seat the Green Party picks up in BC is Victoria. That seems a likely enough scenario, but I am wondering just how repeatable a by-election result will be during a General Election?

    1. I think that prediction is mostly taking from the by-election results. In the by-election, a large number of NDP voters decided not to vote because they thought it was a waste of time as their was no way the NDP could lose. They'll be back in 2015 though. As will the Liberal voters in areas like the Uplands, Rockland and Downtown. The Greens will probably go down to third place.

    2. Given that the seat the Greens took provincially is in Victoria and not Saanich & the Islands, I think they have a very good chance of winning there in the general election.

    3. The by-election to replace Denise Savoie saw the Greens take over 30% of the vote and nearly win! That may be a one-off as at the time the community was debating a sewage treatment plant initiative that was not popular among a large segment of the population.

      The Green seat provincially is Oak Bay-Gordon Head which is between Victoria and Saanich. I would guess Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca must be competitive for the Greens.

    4. @bede dunelm Sorry, what is your rational behind Esquimalt Juan de Fuca going Green? Because they did badly in the last federal election (8.35%) and those ridings are amoung their weakest in Greater Victoria provincially. @Ryan The Green win in Oak Bay-Gordon Head will probably have little influence federally. Oak Bay has about 18,000 people, where as Victoria has over 80,000, most of whom vote NDP federally. Besides, a pretty decent portion of the Green vote in Oak Bay-Gordon Head provincially came from Gordon Head, which does not lie within the federal riding of Victoria.

    5. Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca is more rural and less affluent. It also lacks the strong student vote that Victoria and Saanich have. I wouldn't expect Esquimalt to be strong Green country just yet.

    6. WCP,

      Esquimalt is one of the Greens better ridings historically. Yes the numbers are relatively small but, 8.35% for example is miles better than 1% they garnered in 1988 and better than the Green party average for BC in 2011.

      Provincially, the area has been one of the stronger Green constituencies; Jane Sterk 17% in 2009, 21.7% in 2013 for the riding of Esquimalt-Royal Roads. The results are roughly in line with the regional average. A full 6 points better than Saanich South for example in 2013.

      Finally, this is often a competitive riding with 3 way splits and has a high rate of changeover. One has to think if the Splits go the right way and green popular vote increases they may only need 30% to win.

    7. Trust me, as someone who used to live in Esquimalt Juan de Fuca and Juan de Fuca provincially, the NDP are wayyyyyyy to strong to ever be knocked off. If the NDP ever get knocked off, the Conservatives are the only other party that can get their rural vote and their Langford-Colwood vote together. The Greens have some strength in the city of Esquimalt, but if they ever want to do well federally, they'll have to do a lot better in the rural areas.

    8. WCP,

      The NDP won the riding by a couple hundred votes in the last 2 elections! The riding was formerly held by the Reform Party then Canadian Alliance then the Liberal Party. I recognise that Keith Martin (who served as a Reform, Canadian Alliance, Conservative, Independent then Liberal M.P.) was a popular M.P. and the boundaries of the riding have been altered but, based on the facts Juan de Fuca is a swing riding not a NDP stronghold.

      As I said above the riding is often competitive with the main parties garnering less than their average provincial or national vote totals. This is the perfect riding for the Green party to target as the winning candidate is likely to receive less than 40% of the vote. I agree the Greens do need to have a stronger island-rural presence right across the country.

    9. Since 2011, the NDP have built a very strong base, and their provincial constituency associations have contributed to this. Randall Garrison has been a very good representative in parliament, and people know this. He's on the local TV network quite a bit, and the newspapers carry info about him a lot. He also sends out a pretty regular constituency report keeping people updated. He visits the local schools to teach kids about current issues. Despite all this, I agree with you, the NDP could lose this seat, but if they do lose it, it would go to the a candidate from the Tories, if he could balance the agrarian-type values with small-business knowledge for the small towns, but he would still have to promote himself a lot. The Liberals could possibly win it, but its highly unlikely, as most Liberals hopped over to the NDP after Martin decided to leave. But the Greens? I would have to see it to believe it.

    10. I agree the Tories probably have a better chance at winning the seat than Greens.

    11. The Greens will likely target Victoria in the next General Election, for a lot of good reasons. The by-election gave them their first decent supporter database in Victoria. Oak Bay-Gordon Head now has a popular green MPP, with staff and resources to strengthen his support. SGI being next door, the staff and GPC resources available for a serious play for Victoria could dwarf what anybody else might be willing to spend on the Riding. Elizabeth May can spend a lot of time there too, and she is pretty popular. Question is, can they better than equal the by-election results in a General Election? I would say they could, if they spend enough resources on it.

    12. First of all, its an MLA in BC. Second, I'd like to see your proof he is popular. I guess being elected proves your popular, but besides that, I have seen no proof around town anyone is impressed by him, mainly due to him supporting the government budget, which was obviously unpopular here.

    13. I think you mean MLA, not MPP? Also, I don't see any proof that Andrew Weaver is popular in Oak Bay. He voted in favour of the Liberal budget, and that was very unpopular around here. Since 2009, more and more provincial government workers have been moving into Victoria's surrounding suburbs, like Oak Bay. The Liberal government's budgets are starting to become vastly unpopular, and I don't think many voters were expecting him to side with them. Another thing to remember is that money doesn't buy votes. In BC (And the west in general) people don't flip flop from parties as much as back east. Most elections are won by a certain party's voters not showing up. This was the case in the last by-election, where people thought a NDP victory was a sure thing, and didn't bother showing up to vote. NDP voters will be back in 2015. My prediction for Victoria is that the number of people who voted Green will stay the same or go slightly up, but there percentage will go down as NDP voters actually show up and Liberal voters who think they have a chance of winning the seat will show up in vaster numbers.

    14. It is remarkable that the NDP lost the election in BC in 2013 because their voters didn't show up, considering they had 24,000 more votes in 2013 than they did in 2009.

    15. Last time I checked 4 years of BC babies turned 18 between 2009 and 2013, so obviously the NDP had some new voters. Here is an example of a riding where the NDP got less votes in 2013 then it did in 2009:
      Fraser Nicola
      2009 6,275
      2013 4,875
      Difference= -1400 votes
      Of course, you could argue that 1400 NDP voters switched over to the Liberals, but its equally possible that 1400 NDP voters didn't show up in 2013. I'm just speaking from what I saw in the 2012 Victoria by-election, since that's exactly what regular NDP voters were doing.

    16. WCP,

      I am unsure why you hypothesise Western voters swing less than Eastern voters. There is some historical evidence to back your point: PCs in Alberta for 41+ years, Socreds in BC from '52-72, '75-'91 but, similar stats can be pulled from pout East the big Blue machine in Ontario for 40+years, Union Nationale in Quebec, W.S. Fielding in Nova Scotia, PCs in New Brunswick.

      I think there is ample evidence that voters do switch parties, Vancouver Fairview being one example; the riding was held by the Liberals then won by Gregor Robertson, then Liberal again and now back to the NDP or Vancouver-Point Grey. Both are traditional swing ridings. Turn out may play an important role but, I think it would be hard to prove in either case that turn out is determinative.

      Finally, I do not understand your point about civil servants moving to Oak Bay. Oak Bay is after Uplands the nicest and poshest community in Greater Victoria. Public servants must be doing alright if they can afford million dollar houses!

    17. Turst me, there are a lot of areas in Oak Bay and Gordon Head that are not as expensive as people think. My parents do not have a particularly high income (Father works in minor government position, mother works in social services) and they rent a house in Estevan. Within the riding there are some areas by the University and by Mt. Tolmie that are even low income. Not every house is a million dollars.
      As for what I said about people not changing their vote as much, I was slightly exaggerating, but I still think that people are more set in their political views in the West.

    18. @WCP Well the most telling argument against your contention that voters do not change on the West coast are the two currently sitting Green Parliamentarians. I also believe that the Green Party has become very effective at co-ordinating their national volunteer base to focus on a target riding. This has been amply demonstrated in the SGI campaign, the Victoria and Calgary by-elections, and then Weaver provincially. All of those campaigns had hundreds of Green volunteers phoning into the riding from all over Canada. Plus the GPC splashed out serious money. Believe me, they are contenders in Victoria if they decide to splash some money around.

  5. I wonder how much of the shift of the vote has anything to do with Trudeau's support of legal marijuana. I certainly know of one NDP-leaner that went pretty heavily pro-Trudeau due to his #1 issue (Still will keep the NDP in mind, but Mulcair needs to catch up, etc.). I wonder for the small % of chronic users, whether that'd signify some small movement towards the Libs coming from the NDP and Bloc (who also seems to have had a trend of falling).

    Any deflation from the Cons? that's probably their own doing and the headlines.. Looks like Harper will be in for a nice Battle Royale coming up. Interestingly, he'll probably try to prop up the NDP for the time being (and atleast direct attacks on Trudeau)

  6. Forum Poll out to day in the National Post

    Liberals 38%

    CPC 29%

    NDP 22%

    Public likes a pot smoker apparently ??


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