Tuesday, October 15, 2013

September 2013 federal polling averages

Though Parliament was not sitting in the month of September, it was a very interesting polling month. Four national and two Quebec polls were released, surveying just over 8,300 Canadians. The results show weakening Liberal support that equates to the best month of polls for the New Democrats since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader.
The Liberals averaged 32.3% support in the month of September, a drop of four points since August. The Conservatives, who have been stable for the last three months, were unchanged at 30.4% support. The New Democrats were up 1.4 points to 24.5%, their best result since March.

The Bloc Québécois averaged 7% in national polls while the Greens were down 0.8 points to 4.4%, their lowest level of support since November 2012. On average, 1.5% of Canadians said they would vote for another party.

One of the four firms in the field nationwide, Harris-Decima, had not been heard from since April. So we have to go back that far to compare apples to apples.
Between April 5-30, straddling Trudeau's leadership victory, the Liberals averaged 35% support in polls by Abacus Data, Forum Research, Harris-Decima, and Ipsos-Reid, the four firms who were in the field in September. That means the party has slipped 2.7 points since April, compared to a drop of just 0.3 points for the Conservatives. The NDP has picked up 1.2 points in the interim.

As was the case last month, the most interesting region remains British Columbia. The Conservatives picked up 8.5 points to reach 35.2% and take the lead, their best result in the province since January. The Liberals were down 3.9 points to 28.7%, their lowest number since April, while the NDP was down 2.1 points to 27.8%. The Greens were down 2.3 points to 8%, their worst since November. They have been dropping in British Columbia for three consecutive months.

On the opposite end of the country, the Liberals led in Atlantic Canada with 44.7%, a drop of just 0.2 points. But the NDP was up 7.8 points to 29.1%, their best since March. The Conservatives, who had seemed to recover in the region in the summer, plummeted 10.6 points to 20.9%. The Greens were up 2.3 points to 4.1%.

The Liberals continued to lead in Quebec, despite dropping 5.5 points to 32.2%. That is their lowest level of support since March, but the party has been wobbling up and down in Quebec since Trudeau became leader. The New Democrats were down 1.8 points to 26.7%, but the gap between them and the Liberals is the smallest it has been since the NDP relinquished the lead. The Bloc Québécois was up 5.5 points to 23.8%, while the Conservatives were down 0.2 points to 12.5%. They have been stable in Quebec for the last three months. The Greens were up 1.4 points to 3.8%.

The Conservatives led in the Prairies with 41.8%, a gain of 0.9 points, while the Liberals fell 4.3 points to 28.5%. The NDP was up 1.2 points to 24.4%, and the Greens were up 2.7 points to 4.9%.

In Ontario, the Liberals slipped 3.3 points to 36.1% but a trend is difficult to discern as the party has been up and down since April. The Conservatives, stable now for five months, were up 0.9 points to 34.2%. The New Democrats put up their best result since March, picking up 2.7 points to reach 23.5%. The Greens were down a point to 4.4%.

And in Alberta, the Conservatives were down 0.2 points since August to 53%, followed by the Liberals at 22.6% (+0.6) and the NDP at 17.3% (+1.2). The New Democrats have been increasing in Alberta for four months now. The Greens were down two points to 4.4%.
The Conservatives, despite a 1.9-point deficit, would win the most seats with these numbers with 136, a gain of 11 seats from August's projection. The Liberals dropped 19 seats to 115, while the NDP was down five seats to 70. The Bloc picked up 13 and would win 15, while the Greens were unchanged at two seats.

The Conservatives made their biggest gain in British Columbia, picking up 10 seats from last month's projection. They were also up five seats in Ontario (winning the plurality) and one in the Prairies, though they were down five seats in Atlantic Canada.

The Liberals dropped seven seats in Quebec, six in Ontario, five in British Columbia, and two in the Prairies from last month. They were up one in Atlantic Canada.

From August, the NDP was down six seats in Quebec and five in British Columbia, but were up four seats in Atlantic Canada and one apiece in Manitoba and Ontario.

The Liberals slipped in support in every region except Alberta, making the month a bad one for the party. But they are still ahead in Ontario, where the Tories have been stagnant, and Quebec, where the NDP is also soft. The Conservatives benefited the most almost by default, with losses in Atlantic Canada made up in British Columbia, and the party sitting virtually unchanged in the rest of the country. The NDP had a mixed month, with losses in British Columbia and Quebec (two key provinces for them) balancing out the gains elsewhere (Atlantic Canada especially). 

With Parliament returning tomorrow, it sets up the next political season quite nicely. The formerly written-off Liberals remain in front, and need to fend off the NDP. Thomas Mulcair, however, shines in comparison to Trudeau in the House of Commons, making that task more difficult. The Conservatives need to get out of their funk, but the Speech from the Throne is unlikely to be enough. An acrimonious return to Ottawa awaits.


  1. Éric, based on your recollection, is it normal for the media to obsess this much over a throne speech? Or has the recent fixation resulted from the fact that Parliament's been prorogued for a month so there's little else for political pundits to talk about, perhaps combined with the fact that the Harper Government's popularity has hit a low and they desperately need some kind of jump-start? Honestly, no matter what the content of the throne speech, I would be surprised if it ends up making headlines for more than 48 hours. Within a week most Canadians will have completely forgotten about it and the focus will most likely be back on the day-to-day trials and tribulations of Parliament/Question Period.


    1. I think this much of a fuss is usually made - but I looked at this recently, and the amount of interest (if gauged by Google Trends) is actually about half what it used to be back in the minority days, when a Speech from the Throne was followed by a confidence vote.

      I agree that the speech itself is not very important, but it does lay out what the government will be doing for the next two years, so from that angle it is important.

  2. And yet given the ongoing Senate scandal how much import will the Throne Speech really have?? My guess is surprisingly little actually.

    I'd suggest that by the weekend we will be back talking about Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau !!

  3. If you want some additional proof go and look at today's Editorial Cartoon in the Toronto Star !!

  4. Éric, I find it very interesting that the Liberals are projected to win three seats in Alberta at this level of support. What seats in Alberta are in play?

    1. The three in question are Calgary Centre, Calgary Skyview, and Edmonton Centre.

  5. Hi Éric! I was wondering if it would be possible for you to release a list of the seats and their projected winner based on the monthly average of polls. Is that something you could do?


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