Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ipsos poll shows Conservatives stagnant

A new survey out last night, conducted by Ipsos Reid for CTV News, shows the Liberals holding a wide lead over the Conservatives, who have been unable to get their numbers to move over the last few months.

A few housekeeping items before getting into the poll: "Tapping into the Pulse" is finished and is going through the final stages of being readied for publication. Kickstarter backers will be getting it next week, while those who have pre-ordered will be getting a 'sneak preview' of the first three chapters. The eBook will be put for sale to the general public at the end of March. You can pre-order here. Also, if you aren't already, you might want to follow me on Twitter. It is the best place to be notified of site updates, along with alerts about new polls.

Ipsos Reid was last in the field for CTV News on Jan. 31-Feb. 4, and has shown no real significant movement in support since then. But the Liberals are up four points to 37%, followed by the Conservatives at 29%.

The Tories have been registered 29% support in three consecutive polls by Ipsos now, suggesting they are having trouble getting the numbers to move in their favour.

The New Democrats were down three points to 24%, while the Bloc Québécois was down two points to 5%. Support for other parties, including the Greens, was up one point to 5%. Undecideds numbered 18% of the sample, up three points.

Among those most likely to vote, the Liberals dropped three points to 35%. The Conservatives were up three points to 31%, while the NDP was down one point to 24%. None of these shifts appear statistically significant.

The Liberals led by four points among men and 12 points among women, while they were ahead among all age groups (though the margin over the Tories shrank to two points among voters 55 and older).

According to the poll, Canadians gave the budget a bit of a yawn. Though 47% said they approved of how the Conservatives have handled the economy (just 7% strongly approved), fully 71% said the budget was "neither good nor bad and you'd symbolically just shrug your shoulders". That included 67% of Conservative supporters, though without a "don't know" option a lot of these people would likely be those who knew nothing about the budget to begin with. One in five said the budget was bad, while just 9% said it was good.

The Liberals increased their support to 37% in Ontario, while the Conservatives dropped to 32% and the NDP fell to 25%.

In Quebec, the Liberals were up to 35%, followed by the NDP at 28%, the Bloc at 21%, and the Conservatives at 15%.

The Conservatives jumped ahead to 38% support in British Columbia, while the Liberals dropped for the third consecutive time in Ipsos's polling (going back to the end of November) to 30%. The NDP was down to 24%, while support for other parties, primarily the Greens, was at 8%. That was the highest 'other' result in Canada.

The Liberals led with 61% support in Atlantic Canada, the highest number registered anywhere in the country by any party, while the NDP was up 13 points to 25% in the region. The Conservatives dropped to just 12%, representing a 15-point decrease since the end of November.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives were up to 41%, followed by the Liberals at 30% (down in three consecutive Ipsos polls), and the NDP at 24%.

Alberta was a bit of an odd one. The Conservatives were up slightly to 48%, but the Liberals increased by 15 points to 39%, a huge number for them and their third consecutive gain in Alberta in Ipsos's polling. The New Democrats were down 16 points to just 7% in the province.

What is going on in Alberta? The chart below shows all the polls released for the province since April 2013.

As you can see, the Conservatives have been polling under 50% in Alberta in four recent polls. This has happened on several occasions in the past, but not usually coinciding with such high Liberal numbers. They have been over 30% twice recently, while before the party had only marginally gotten over the 30% mark in April and in September-October (aside from one anomalous poll where they were over 40% in May).

Is this just a wobble, or are the Liberals making real gains in Alberta? We'll have to see what subsequent polling shows. But with two by-elections pending in the province, these may be numbers worth keeping an eye on.

Especially since, with a margin of just nine points between the Conservatives and Liberals in the province, Alberta becomes a battleground province. At these levels of support, the Liberals would be able to take 10 seats away from the Conservatives - and often by comfortable margins. In fact, a handful of other seats in Alberta would be held by the Tories by relatively narrow margins. It is hard to believe, but that is what would happen if Alberta became competitive like this.

Overall, the numbers in the Ipsos poll would likely give the Liberals 139 seats to 126 for the Conservatives, 66 for the New Democrats, five for the Bloc Québécois, and two for the Greens.

Despite holding an eight-point lead, the Liberals are severely penalized by trailing in British Columbia and having only a five-point edge in Ontario, while the New Democrats can still win a plurality of seats in Quebec.

Apart from the interesting numbers in Alberta, it seems that federal voting intentions remain generally where they have been since April 2013. For the Liberals, whose convention begins in Montreal today, that is good news. But for the Conservatives and New Democrats, something has got to give for them to knock the numbers loose again.


  1. When you practice bad governance you can hardly expect to increase your support !!

    1. That explains why the Liberals have lost the past three elections.

    2. And why Harper will lose in 2015.

    3. And why Wynne will lose Ontario this Spring.

    4. As a British Columbian, I'll take that trade Bede lol.

    5. Don't bet the farm on that Bede. Horvath may take the whole thing.

    6. Good to know there are some dreamers like you still left Peter but, you forget if Horvath wins Wynne still loses!


      That is a really bad trade for a British Columbian. The Liberals always sell the West out if it pleases Quebec. I guess you don't want the billions that will come to North Vancouver to build a heavy icebreaker and the joint support ships.

  2. Éric,

    One wonders why the Conservatives continue to think they can blow Justin's house down...they have failed miserably at that since his selection as leader. Do they honestly think that the present electoral mindset is going to change between now and 2015??? It's self-delusion at its best if anyone actually believes that.

    1. Well according to this poll among likely voters it is a four point game 35% Liberal to 31% Conservative. But look at the seat count-an 8 point lead only brings the Liberals 13 more seats. I think it pretty clear even amidst bad press the Tories are holding their own. Plenty of time exists between now and election day for the Tories or Dippers to blow Trudeau's house down. If you read polls on who makes the best PM or what party is best able to navigate difficult economic times the Conservatives usually come out ahead.

  3. Not surprising that the Liberals under Justin Trudeau will be making gains in Alberta (maybe not 10 seats). Demographic changes, along with electoral boundary changes makes it easier for the Liberals to pick up seats in Calgary for the first time since 1968.

    Justin Trudeau unapologetically supports resource development, which will play well in this province. The NEP boogeyman will not work.

    On the other hand, the biggest surprise to me is the weak standing of the NDP in BC. This province is a true three-way race, so in the end it might be up to quality of local candidates and ground game.

    1. I would need him to apologise for the NEP before I would consider voting for him. I would need any Liberal leader to apologise for the NEP before I would consider voting for him.

      No leader yet has. So I don't vote Liberal.

    2. Ira,

      The NEP and the residual resentment which is still considerable today fascinates me. I can't imagine how much economic hardship must have been inflicted on individuals as a result of this electorally motivated policy. [Ontario, where the seats are (were)].

      I take your point and consider it logical. It seems to me that this is another example of a Harper-inspired no-brainer à la Keystone XL. Quite obviously, any opposition leader seeking to make inroads, significant or otherwise should do exactly that. Otherwise, I will believe Liberal momentum in Alberta, if or when I see it.

    3. The NEP caused no economic hardship anywhere. The crash in the global price of oil did hit Alberta hard in the 1980's, though. Provincial governments put the blame on Ottawa (fed bashing) to escape the voter's wrath. The type of voter that falls for this isn't going to be voting for a "frenchman" anyways; the voter Trudeau is appealing to is much younger and won't even remember the 1980's.

    4. Guy,

      The NEP fixed the price for Canadian oil with the aim of having Canadian oil price below the World average. If you were an oil producer in Alberta you were unable to maximise your profit or sell your product on the world market. Price were fixed at 85% US domestic price or 85% of World price which ever was lower. Natural gas prices were also capped and a new tax placed upon them. A lot of people in the west were made worse off from the NEP Alberta was particularly hard hit. The price caps deferred investment in Alberta and had effects throughout the economy from lower consumer spending to lower house prices to some oil companies simply closing up shop until prices recovered.

    5. The NEP(1980) was a reaction to the skyrocketing price in global oil which jumped 130% from $15/barrel in 1979 to $35/barrel in 1980, triggering a global recession, 10% inflation, and hardship across the country. Alberta and American oil barons made billions in windfall profits while the rest of the country suffered. The NEP was designed to soften the blow to ordinary Canadians (although it wasn't much). Frankly, it still meant oil sold at #30/ barrel, so the oil barons still got super rich. It's really hard to feel sorry for a greedy bunch of crooks like this.

      This was followed by a glut in Saudi oil which caused the price of oil to return to it's previous price by 1986. It's this that hurt Alberta; the NEP had nothing to do with it. It was abolished when prices returned to normal.

    6. FYI Ira, he did say it was a mistake. Dunno if that is the apology you were looking for, but he wasn't exactly the energy minister 30 years ago.

    7. Guy,

      You wrote: "The NEP caused no economic hardship anywhere". That is demonstrably incorrect.

      It is nice to see some people are still willing to wage class warfare against the evil oil barons. The reality is the oil and gas industry does make some people alot of money, primarily shareholders of which you could be one if you so chose, they are also the people who take the risk and must spend large amounts of capital to see a return (oil and gas exploration and extraction especially in Alberta is not cheap and Alberta oil sells at a discount). The important thing to remember though is that the oil and gas industry provides hundreds of thousands of good paying middle class jobs in Alberta-so many jobs in fact that Alberta's population has roughly doubled since 1980. "I never got a job from a poor man" goes an old adage and helps explain why so many Canadians have migrated to Alberta in the last 30 plus years.

      The reason why the oil price spiked in 1979-80 was due to the Iranian revolution. The hardship and recession the price shock inspired probably would have been better handled if 1. Trudeau had not implemented wage and price controls in 1976 (breaking an election promise) thereby allowing inflation to rise more gradually 2. made a conscious decision not to continually run operating deficits thereby allowing more fiscal room for infrastructure projects and emergency spending to offset the effects of the recession.

      Obviously the NEP was a failure because when Trudeau repatriated the Constitution he included S.92A which gave sub-surface mineral resources to Alberta and Saskatchewan removing them from Ottawa's jurisdiction. The NEP ended in 1983.

    8. My point, is that it's simply partisan political demagoguery to say that the NEP caused undue hardship in Alberta in the early 1980's. It's pure, self-serving ideological spin paid for by Big Oil and protect provincial politicians in Alberta. It is simply untrue. The collapse of Alberta oil patch was caused by a 60% drop in the international price of oil, not a cap.on the price of oil in Canada.Those are the simple, objective economic facts.

    9. Guy,

      The NEP caused economic hardship in Alberta. People were left worse off than before the policy came into force, it is common sense! In Canada one could only sell oil at 85% of either the US domestic or World price whichever was lower, oil extraction and exploration are high in Alberta so the price cap effectively eliminated most of if not all producers' profit. That meant marginal projects closed down and workers were laid off! The Alberta economy suffered-Albertans fared worse off economically while Central Canadians reaped all the benefits-just like the National Policy.

      I never wrote the "1980's oil patch collapse" was caused by the NEP but, I did address the fallacy the NEP did not cause "economic hardship anywhere". Obviously this is not the case since, the NEP effectively decreased the value of an asset by 15%. Those people who bought before the NEP came into force were out money! It is simply impossible to argue otherwise.

      I certainly did not write the NEP caused undue hardship in Alberta. To claim however, as you do, "The NEP caused no economic hardship anywhere (sic)" reminds me of the "simply partisan political demagoguery and self-serving ideological spin" you accuse some Albertan politicians of harbouring.

      Obviously the subsequent decline in world oil prices starting in about 1982 was not the result of the NEP ( I never claimed it was) but, a variety of factors including increased Saudi and mid-east production, the ending of the Iran-Iraq war and a recession that significantly weakened global demand but, these series of events and their outcome which had a negative economic effect on Alberta does not exclude the NEP from also negatively affecting Alberta's economy.

      The other negative externality the NEP produced in Alberta was a decline in foreign and domestic capital investment during the 1980's. Oil sands projects are capital intensive and people are reluctant to invest if they think the Government will alter or modify the price to their detriment. When oil prices were low and labour cheap many laid-off workers should have been recruited to build the infrastructure needed to develop the oil sands. Foreign and Canadian were risk averse investors in Alberta oil sands infrastructure and that sector of the Alberta economy remained stagnant until after Free Trade was passed corresponding with a uptick in the price of oil.

    10. Alberta and the federal government had a deal through much of the 1970s to control the price of oil in Canada. It was designed to protect Canadians from the sharp increase in world oil prices. Alberta agreed to this. But the plan had a sunset - the gap between Alberta prices and world prices was to shrink over time.

      Then, when it was no longer politically acceptable to abide by the agreement, Trudeau unilaterally altered the deal. That betrayal is what was wrong with the NEP. I don't object to a national energy policy if it's negotiated with the provinces. But the NEP was not.

      That is why I want an apology - not for the policy, but for the betrayal.

  4. Could the Ontario numbers be skewed by Liberals having landslides in downtown Toronto but nowhere else?
    Also, could this be the same for Montreal in Quebec?

    1. It could, but more detailed polls (particularly in Quebec) suggest this is not the case.

    2. It's NOT true in Montreal? It often has been, both provincially and federally. And I can't see any other reason why Liberals lead in pop. vote in Quebec but trail in the seat projection. The overconcentration of Liberal vote in western Montreal (most of the time) is an historical fact, no?

    3. I may have misunderstood the question. The Liberals aren't winning as many seats as they could in Ontario and Quebec because a lot of their vote is wasted in Toronto and Montreal.

      Yes, that's true. But I understood the question to mean that the Liberals were doing poorly outside of Toronto and Montreal, which isn't the case.

      Here is how Liberal support breaks down in Quebec, according to CROP:

      38% - Island of Montreal
      37% - Regions of Quebec
      30% - Suburbs of Montreal
      22% - Quebec City

  5. I see. Well, I sure wouldn't have guessed Regions of Quebec would be so close to Mtl. But of course that doesn't reflect that there are in fact TWO cities, here. A rough split down the middle probably gets you - what, 60%... more? - support for Liberals in western half, which is where the votes are "wasted" -- most of the time, anyway.

    1. The appeal of the NDP is as strong in both halves of the city. It will be quite a battle next election. Both parties have a good ground game in all parts of Montreal.

  6. In my own simulator using the 308 map, I've got:

    123 LPC
    105 CPC
    71 NDP
    1 GPC
    8 BQ

    The Liberals seem to be suffering from concentrated votes and from a weaker position in Québec, BC and Ontario than during the 90s, even with having the lead in two of those three provinces.

    Even if they are leading in voting intentions, I actually have the LPC trailing by one seat to the CPC in Ontario. The three-way race hurts the LPC a whole lot more than the CPC, pretty much in the same vein that the Progressive and Conservatives hurt each other during the 90s and early 2000s.

  7. Like any other incumbent Govt the Tories are paying the price of success.

    I think oddly that Justin is "logging in" to the national frustration with this particular govt. Now how that translates in polling or at the actual polls will be hard to determine until they happen.

    But right now what comes out if the convention, by the end of this week, will be extremely important. So far I'm encouraged !

  8. No question a big factor the next election will be the old 'time to change the diapers' rule of politics (change politicians often for the same reason you change diapers, left too long they stink).

    Trudeau seemed to be too early jumping in while the Liberals were in 3rd pace but maybe not. It is starting to look more and more like he might be the right person at the right time. Much like Layton was seen as a 'nice guy' last time, Trudeau seems to be viewed that way now. As a contrast to street fighter Mulcair and the dirty fighting of Harper this is a good thing. Odds are he'll work behind the scenes to keep Elizabeth May out of the spotlight so as to not weaken the 'only nice person running' narrative (shouldn't be hard) and that leaves a wide area for just him.

    I am surprised how little of the dirt being flung so far has stuck too. The child of privilege, the lack of experience, and all the other stuff just seems to be failing. Of course, the Conservatives have (literally) millions to spend on spin doctors but they need to find the right stance to win and I don't know if they can. Seems voters want change and to feel good about themselves and Harper won't ever be that and I don't see Mulcair as that either.

    1. Mark my words, if the Parti Quebecoi wins a majority in the next election, Canadians will flock to Trudeau like moths to a flame... with me probably included. When national unity is at stake, economics, policy, competence...even morality are more or less irrelevant. What IS relevant, as Lucien Bouchard demonstrated in the last referendum, is personal charisma, for which Trudeau has in spades.

    2. Gotta say John that the "stink level" with the Harper Govt came much earlier than expected !! So I think your analogy is correct.

      Also this attack on Leslie is showing just how "mean" they are since they originally tried to recruit him themselves !! Documentation exists.

    3. Mean? It cost the taxpayer $72,000 to move him across town! I understand this is a policy of DND to pay for relocation but questions should be asked. For most Canadians this would be extravagant perhaps even wasteful. Some years ago I moved from England to Vancouver and it cost me roughly $30,000 in today's money.

      I guess Liberals still feel entitled to their entitlements!

    4. Note that the bulk of the costs were realtor fees, land transfer tax, etc., not the move itself. It would have cost at least as much as that if he had moved to Victoria or Halifax, so the distance is sort of besides the point when it comes to the cost.

      (Also, veterans are indeed entitled to their entitlements, and probably should be.)

    5. "(Also, veterans are indeed entitled to their entitlements, and probably should be.) "

      But only if they can't be used as political ammo Eric !!

    6. Peter,

      General Leslie decided to become involved in politics. Had his political acumen been better he would have known questions may arise as they should in an open and free country. Gen. Leslie certainly had trouble explaining himself during a scrum at the Liberal convention.

      Perhaps for enlisted soldiers this type of retirement moving stipend is needed, generals however, are paid very well making over $100,000. A civil servant who relocates to Ottawa typically only receives $5,000 for moving expenses. Also, I don't see why the taxpayer should pay real estate fees. It is one thing to have a policy whereby moving expenses are paid because the job carries with it frequent travel or foreign postings, however, it is quite another to pay for private transactions and corresponding fees. This policy should be reviewed.

    7. The idea is that the frequent moving means armed forces personnel often incur a loss on the sale of their home. If you are moving every few years (Leslie moved 18 times in 35 years, apparently) you are always losing money because of the realtor fees and taxes. The purpose of the policy is to limit those losses.

      (A rule of thumb, IIRC, is that you need to be in a home at least 3 years in order to avoid losing money due to all the transaction fees.)

      Of course, the policies are designed more for the rank-and-file who suffer more from these losses incurred on their homes. But this is what happens when the benefits are available to all and it gets scaled upwards.

    8. I agree a purpose may exist for the stipend, however, it seems to me every time Government allows these types of quasi-income payments whether it be as a tax credit for a primary residence in Prince Edward Island or moving house or a non-taxable allowance as formerly enjoyed by M.P.s and M.L.As throughout the country a tendency exists for bad apples to take advantage of the system.

      I would think a more effective way to in effect top up military personnel salaries would be to simply give them a raise. That way soldiers would have more money to put towards a permanent home or invest for future use.

  9. I read a poorly written Globe and Mail article today about the next election. The next election is a two-party "gunfight"? And this is coming from a pollster. Wow.

    Similar warfare language was used by some pollsters and media when talking about Conservative gains in Liberal fortress Toronto. Apparently some of the outer GTA ridings were "trenches".

    Anyways, I don't know how the next election is even shaping into a two-way race. On average the polls are 35-30-25-10 (LPC/CPC/NDP/OTH).

    Only 13% of Canadians believe Mulcair can win the election, but this is Canada people don't necessarily vote for a party that will form government. I'm sure Western Canadians in the 90s knew that Preston Manning will not be PM, and Quebecers know the BQ will not form government. I'm sure a large chunk of the 30% that voted NDP in the last election were not expecting Prime Minister Jack Layton.

    Even in the US. Some polls showed that nearly 60% of Americans expected Obama to win re-election. Yet the election was more competitive than that.

  10. Nanos (4 week rolling average ending Feb 15) has the NDP leading in BC. IPSOS has them trailing over the same period.

  11. I know I've made a comment about this before but I think its very relevant to use common sense in a projection as well as polling numbers. Heck even call your projection an educated guess if you want. I just have a problem with projections without localized information. (I realize pollsters dont always provide this) For example in your projection the Conservatives are winning zero seats in Atlantic Peter McKay really going to lose his seat in an election? I do not believe a projection is accurate at all without localized information........which brings me to my next point that polls without them are pretty much useless imo. This also helps explain why the polls were so far off in the last couple election. The idea of making a projection is hopefully to be as accurate as possible (I believe you are doing this given the info you are provided) However the polling provided in my opinion is completely useless without this micro-breakdown of riding. What do you think Eric?

  12. Is Peter MacKay going to lose his seat in the next election? Probably not. Is he going to lose it if the CPC gets 12% in Atlantic Canada? Probably.

    Is the CPC going to get 12% in Atlantic Canada? Probably not. But the projection for an individual poll is based on the numbers themselves, not whether we think they are too high or too low.

  13. so your model does not have enough incumbency and historical factors to say the 12% in the poll (with a Moe of 10-12?) that Mackay and a few of the other 13 incumbents will hang on to their seats.

    34 incumbent Liberals hung on to their seats in 2011 with 18% of the vote.

    There are 5 conservative MPs in Quebec despite them not getting any votes at all in Quebec last election.... 16.5 %.

    10 Liberals to be elected in Alberta...... There should be no model that would come up with that based on any sort of poll,

    1. The model does take into account incumbency, as you know. CPC support would be too low in Atlantic Canada at 12% to save any MPs via normal incumbency bonus. The MOE is the reason why 'official' projections during election campaigns are based on multiple polls, to even out the outlier results. This particular projection is an estimation of most likely results if the Ipsos poll reflected exactly the results of an election.

      As you can see here... 18.9%, the model in 2011 would have given the Liberals 37 seats nationwide. At 16.5% in Quebec, the model in 2011 would have given the Tories five seats in the province. So these things are possible to estimate accurately, even with big drops in support.

  14. OK Eric, that really shows how good we are on the ice !!

    Olympic GOLD !!!

    In large part due to the work of a First Nations as well !!

    Carey Price !!

  15. Eric Do you know if the Liberal Party has its own internal polling that might be more accurate than the media sponsored polls?

    Them shutting down Trudeau's access to the media (CPAC for crying out loud) indicates that they feel that they have all ready won the next election and that it is theirs to lose.

    Trudeau's staring off into space and not acknowledging any questions (giving the Press Gallery his Sun Media treatment) is a very bad optic.

    1. I'm sure they do have their own polling, but the questions they are asking and the results they are getting, I haven't a clue.

    2. I suspect that not taking questions was purely about the Gen. Leslie stuff. (Not that I agree with that decision.)

    3. BCVOR,

      Justin needs to quickly fork off that road otherwise it will bite him in the ass. As leader, it should be part of his DNA to regularly take questions -- granted, a concept seemingly entirely foreign to the incumbent prime minister...

    4. From the Ottawa Citizen:

      "In the bizarre encounter, reporters tried to get Trudeau to say just something — anything — as he took his seat in the front row next to new party president Anna Gainey and her predecessor, Mike Crawley.

      Paul McLeod of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald took the lead and asked him about the policy resolution that passed that morning on physician-assisted suicide, but Trudeau refused to even acknowledge the question and stared straight ahead, not once diverting his gaze."

    5. Smart move on Trudeau's part!

    6. Ronald - it seems that the CPC strategists would prefer their message not be filtered through the media. If they have something to say, they'd like to say it directly, either through advertising, or through leaking something online, rather than let the traditional media disseminate it for them.

      But to avoid the media getting in the way of that plan, they just cut the media out entirely.

      The optics of the strategy are bad, but the results seem okay. I'm curious how happy the Tories themselves are with it.

  16. Who is Trudeau campaigning for?

    Stats Canada report on Middle class doing great over the last decade...Not to be believed.

    A Science denier..... A Flat Worlder!! Who would have thought?

    Anecdotal tales form disgruntled Liberal sycophants that have surrounded him are a better gauge than some Bureaucrats generated statistics.

    Not bad enough that he doesn't believe the most current report, what Stats Can report does he base his concern for the middle class?

    "He cited another report, prepared for the government last October, saying middle-income earners saw their debts mount and wages stagnate between 1993 and 2007."

    He is saying that Chretien and Martin (PMs from 1994-2005) waged war on the middle Class???

    If he ticks off Chretien then who will vote for him :)

  17. Eric,

    I noticed in your seat chart above that you give Quebec only have 77 seats. In 2015 Quebec will have 78 seats.


    1. Hmm, you're right. The national totals are correct, though. Seems the NDP should be at 36 seats instead of 35 in the province.


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