Monday, November 18, 2013

Stability in by-election polling

On Friday, The Globe and Mail published the latest by-election polling results from Forum Research, showing no significant change in any of the four races. In fact, that has been the only real consistent trend in the by-election polling: remarkable stability.
Forum was last in the field for these by-elections on Nov. 5, and showed no statistically significant shifts of support for any of the main contenders in any of the four races.

In Bourassa, Emmanuel Dubourg of the Liberals led with 50% support, with Stéphane Moraille of the NDP at 21% and Daniel Duranleau of the Bloc Québécois at 20%. Dubourg led in all well-polled demographics.

Rolf Dinsdale of the Liberals continued to lead in Brandon-Souris, with 44% support to 36% for the Tories' Larry Maguire. NDP candidate Cory Szczepanski and Green candidate David Neufeld were tied at 9% apiece. The demographic breakdowns were the opposite of what you'd expect, with Maguire more competitive among younger voters and women and Dinsdale leading very comfortably among voters over the age of 55. When it comes to turnout, though, that is a big advantage for the Liberal candidate.

In Provencher, Ted Falk of the Conservatives led with 51% and among all well-polled demographics. Terry Hayward of the Liberals was at 30%, followed by Natalie Courcelles-Beaudry of the NDP at 10%.

And in Toronto Centre, the Liberals' Chrystia Freeland led with 47% support, with leads among both men and women and voters over the age of 35 (though she trailed by a point among younger voters). Linda McQuaig of the NDP was at 32%, followed by Geoff Pollock of the Conservatives with 16%. The problems that Abacus Data highlighted with the last Forum poll do not seem to be an issue here, due to Freeland's comfortable lead among almost all age groups.

What is remarkable about these polls, considering the snapshot nature of Forum's IVR polling and small sample sizes (with the exception of Toronto Centre), is the stability of the polls. In virtually all cases, support is wobbling to and fro within the margin of error. The only large shift recorded has been between the Oct. 17-18 and Nov. 14 polls in Bourassa for the Greens. The drop in support after Georges Laraque dropped out of the race was outside the margin of error. In every other case, shifts in support for the major parties between Oct. 17-18 and Nov. 14 and between Nov. 5 and Nov. 14 were within the margin of error.

In Bourassa, Dubourg has been up-and-down and the trendlines for both Moraille and Duranleau are positive. But they are not significant - and they certainly don't point to any potential for an upset or surprise.


The trendline in Brandon-Souris is positive for Dinsdale, but a gain of 39% to 44% is not large considering the sample of decided voters was under 460 in the first and most recent polls of the campaign. Dinsdale appears to be taking support from both the Greens and NDP, who have been trending downwards. But again, these are not significant trends.


The trend for Falk in Provencher is negative, but not that significant with samples of decided voters of 310 or less in the three polls. Both Hayward and Courcelles-Beaudry have been up-and-down.


And in Toronto Centre, the only trend is a slightly positive one for Freeland, with McQuaig generally holding steady (in this race, as in Bourassa, looking at the polls done months ago before any candidates were named does not instruct us much in determining a strong trend in the campaign itself). The margin between the two has oscillated between 15 points, 11 points, and 15 points again.

These four charts show just how stable the numbers have been. Compare that to, say, Calgary Centre (where the Conservatives dropped by more than 10 points during the campaign) or Labrador (where the Liberals dropped by almost 20), and you see that this degree of stability is not something that occurs every time. Are the races not registering in voters' minds? Is Forum missing out on important new trends? We can expect Forum to report again before the votes on Nov. 25. Perhaps the last 11 days of campaigning will shake things up. But if things stay as steady as they have been over the last month, the Liberals are heading for a good night.

22 comments:

  1. I'm waiting for Kevin Clarke to accuse Ipsos of racism for not including him in the poll. Did you guys see/hear his performance at the most recent TorCen debate?

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  2. Do these results mean not much change for the next election or just indicate public boredom with the election process ?

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    1. What these polls say is that the "Dutch disease" comments may have killed any hope for a Western breakthrough by the NDP.

      Secondly, they indicate that the public is not pleased with the Conservatives of late.

      Thirdly, in Quebec much needs to be done to solidify the NDP position. The Dippers were always going to be the underdogs in Bourassa but, I would have thought they would be competitive (within 15 points) considering two neighbouring ridings are NDP.

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    2. Denis Coderre has solidified the Liberal brand for federalist visible minorities in Bourassa for over 15 years. The Trudeau name and the Liberal brand remains strong among ethnic minorties. The NDP support in Qc comes from white francophones who are looking for an alternative to the Bloc

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    3. Fair enough Phil. I thought Mulcair was elected to shift some of that popularity to the NDP in Quebec.

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  3. I figure most of the results reflect a bit of discontent towards the governing conservatives. Since you only get really motivated people out in a by election its hard to make a lot of broad sweeping predictions on an election a long way out.

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  4. I think generally speaking a by election only really gets the most passionate voters out so its difficult to really get a good read on how a general would go a long way out. That said though you can likely see a bit of discontent with the conservatives in these numbers....especially brandon souris and provencher.

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  5. I've noticed I get a lot of double posts like the above or multiple re-submissions of the same text. Anyone have any idea why?

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    1. From my own previous experience posting here: when i click the "Publish" button, i'm asked to sign-in. When I do, I'm sent back to the comments page, but with no message or any other indication that my post has been submitted. Usually I just hit back a couple times and publish the text again. That's just me.

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    2. From my own previous experience posting here: when i click the "Publish" button, I'm sometimes asked to sign-in (I use a Google account). When I do, I'm sent back to the comments page, but with no message or any other indication that my post has been submitted. Usually I just hit back a couple times and publish the text again. That's just me.

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    3. I posted both of the comments I received from you, which are different. What happened between 16:22 and 16:23?

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    4. oh yeah, exactly. So the same thing happened again. I was asked to sign in when I tried to Publish, and then I couldn't tell if my post was submitted. So I went back and re-read my post before I tried to publish it "again", and probably edited it in the process.

      It looks like I'm already signed in this time so you should only get one post this time!

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  6. Hi Eric,

    My experience is identical to jdc.

    Can I assume that the comment will be published once I sign in even if it is after I "publish"?

    Cheers,

    Bede

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    1. That would seem to be the case, as your messages in particular are often in double.

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    2. When I press publish and it redirects me to sign in to my Google account, then redirects me back to 308, oftentimes the "Your comment will be visible upon approval" message is immediately displayed, so I assume my comment's been submitted. But other times it isn't, so I press publish again.

      Other than that, I usually have my browser set to block cookies and other website data "from third parties and advertisers", which sporadically seems to prevent me from submitting comments here (instead of the "your comment will be visible..." confirmation, I get a red bar). Whenever this happens, I momentarily set my browser to block cookies "never" and that seems to fix it.

      That's all I have to report.

      Dom

      (P.S. Just now I was redirected to my Google account and when it sent me back the "comment approval pending" message was not displayed, so I'm pressing publish again...)

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    3. Yeah, for the record, when I click publish and I'm redirected to sign in, I'm never shown ANY message afterwards indicating that my post has been submitted -- not even what "undermedia" above mentioned. I am sent back to this website like nothing had happened. Which is why I try to publish again. Usually I re-read my post and make some edits in the process.

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    4. It's a good idea to click on "preview", rather than "publish"... then you'll be redirected to sign in, it saves your (unpublished) message and allows you to edit it, then you can publish it.

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  7. If you set the "Comment As" box below to the correct value before you hit Publish the double thing shouldn't happen !

    Also be sure to Sign In when you do change the "Comment As" box and from then on it will remember you

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  8. Éric, I just noticed you have a Forum poll from Oct 21 in your QC average which I can't find on their website. Might you have a link to a media article detailing it?

    Dom

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    1. No, the report was sent to me by Forum directly.

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