Friday, November 29, 2013

Opposition voters move to Liberals in new poll

A new Ipsos-Reid/CTV News poll conducted earlier this week shows that the Liberals have taken a sizable lead in national voting intentions after a previously close three-way race in Ipsos's polling. As a result, the New Democrats have taken a step backwards.

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The full regional and demographic tables of the Ipsos-Reid/CTV News poll, also picked-up by The Globe and Mail as of writing, are available for everyone to see on the Ipsos-Reid website.
Source: Ipsos-Reid/CTV News
Ipsos-Reid was last in the field at the end of October. There has been some movement since that poll, but only the drop in NDP support would appear to be statistically significant. The Liberals picked up four points to move in front with 35%, while the Conservatives dropped a single point to 29% and the New Democrats were down five points to 26%.

Of note is that the Tories have dropped in three consecutive polls from Ipsos going back to September, when the party was at 32%.

The Bloc Québécois was unchanged at 6%, while the Greens were up one point to 3%. About 15% of the sample was undecided.

The Liberals led among both men and women, by two points over the Tories among men and by 10 points over the New Democrats among women. The New Democrats led among voters under 35, the Conservatives among voters over 55, and the Liberals among the rest.

This puts the Liberals back where they were a month after Justin Trudeau became leader, when Ipsos-Reid had the party at 36% and ahead of the Tories by six points.

Regionally, the Liberals were in front with 37% in Ontario while the Conservatives were down to 30%. They have dropped in three consecutive Ipsos polls, from 37% in September. The NDP was down to 29% support in the province.

In Quebec, the Liberals were up to 33% while the New Democrats and Bloc Québécois were tied for second at 27% apiece. The Conservatives were steady at 12% support.

The Liberals led in British Columbia with 37%, followed by the NDP at 30% and the Conservatives at 28% (down in three consecutive polls from 38% in September). The Greens were at 5% in B.C.

In Alberta, the Conservatives were ahead with 60% to 17% for the NDP and 13% for the Liberals. This was the only part of the country where the Liberals did not place first or second, and marks two consecutive polls of decreasing support. The party was at 26% in Alberta in mid-October. At 6%, the Greens had their best regional result here.

The numbers hardly budged in Atlantic Canada, with the Liberals at 56%, the Conservatives at 27%, and the NDP at 17%. The Tories have picked up support in two consecutive polls in the region, after being at 16% in mid-October.

And in the Prairies, scene of the dramatic by-election gains for the Liberals on Monday, the party was up to 39%, putting them just behind the Conservatives at 42%. The NDP dropped to 17% support.

At these kinds of support levels, the Liberals would likely eke out a plurality of seats with around 126. The Conservatives would likely take around 121, leaving the NDP with 60 seats. The Bloc Québécois would come up the middle and take 30 seats in Quebec, with the Greens retaining their one.

That a six-point national lead is not enough to give them a plurality of even six seats shows that the Liberal vote is not as high as it needs to be in certain parts of the country. Though they put up good numbers in the Prairies and British Columbia, the Conservatives still win 63% of the seats in the four western provinces. Alberta is a virtual sweep, as at only 13% the Liberals are unlikely to make a breakthrough in Calgary or Edmonton. They are not far enough ahead in Ontario to win the 70 seats or so the Tories were able to manage in 2011, and the race is too close in Quebec for the party to pull off the kind of landslide the New Democrats did in the last election. The good news for the Liberals, though, is that it wouldn't take a lot of movement to put them in a much stronger positions seat-wise, particularly in Ontario and Quebec.

These Ipsos-Reid/CTV News polls are often released in stages, so we should have some interesting leadership numbers to chew on in the coming days. In particular, I'll be looking to see where Thomas Mulcair's numbers go. He has been getting praise in the polls as well as in the press gallery for his performance in Question Period. Though few Canadians watch it, they probably do see the clips on the news. It had seemed that he and his party were getting a boost, but now it would appear that the Liberals are benefiting from the discomfiture of the Prime Minister. Thankless work for the opposition leader.