Wednesday, March 12, 2014

February 2014 federal polling averages

There has been radio silence in federal polls since Feb. 19, when the last federal survey left the field. With the Quebec election in full swing, that is understandable. But despite polling being done in only the first two-thirds of the month, February still had six national and regional polls in the field interviewing a little over 7,000 Canadians. The result? Not much has changed since January.
The Liberals averaged 35% support in February, down 0.5 points from January. The party has now held a lead in national voting intentions for 11 consecutive months.

The Conservatives were up 0.3 points to 28.7%, while the New Democrats were down 0.1 point to 24.2%. The NDP has been very stable, posting an average of 23% or 24% in five consecutive months.

The Bloc Québécois was up one point to 5.9% and the Greens were down 0.8 points to 4.6%. Support for other parties stood at 1.6%.

Normally I would try to compare apples-to-apples by looking at the last time the firms in the field in February were active. But since one of those firms included Angus-Reid, which had previously reported in January 2013, it is not a worthwhile exercise.

Moving west to east, the race continues to be very close in British Columbia. The Liberals dropped 0.2 points to 30.2%, followed by the Conservatives at 30.1% (+1.2) and the NDP at 29.2% (+1.6). Doesn't get much closer than that. The Greens were down 1.4 points to 9.2%, their best result in any region of the country.

In Alberta, the Conservatives dropped for the third consecutive month to 46.8%. That represented a drop of 3.8 points since January and the worst result for the party in the province since May 2013. The Liberals were up 0.8 points to 28.4%, the first time the Liberals maintained more than 24% support in two consecutive months since before January 2009 (other spikes tended to be anomalous). The NDP was up 1.5 points to 16%, while the Greens were unchanged at 5.7% support.

The Conservatives were up 4.3 points in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to 39.9%, while the Liberals were up 2.9 points to 33.1%. The NDP put up their worst result since May 2013, dropping 6.4 points to 21.4%. The Greens were up one point to 4.2%.

The Liberals have been very steady in Ontario, with an average of either 37% or 38% support over the last five months. They were unchanged from January at 37.4% in February. The Conservatives dropped 1.2 points to 33.7%, while the NDP was up 1.8 points to 23.4%. The New Democrats have also been stable at 23% or 24% over the last five months. The Greens were down 0.3 points to 4.3%.

I know the monthly average tracking chart can be hard to read at the regional level, so each month I'll highlight one province or region with a magnified version. This month we'll look at Quebec, fittingly enough. You can click on the chart to see a larger version of it.

The Liberals continued to lead in the province with 32.8%, but that was a drop of 3.9 points from January. The New Democrats were down 0.2 points to 28.6%, but this marked the first time the NDP held more than 27% support in two consecutive months since before Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader. The Bloc Québécois was up 3.9 points to 22.4% (note that, if we assume every BQ voter also supports the Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire, or Option Nationale, that leaves some 23% of Quebecers who support a sovereigntist party at the provincial level but a federalist party at the federal level). The Conservatives were up 0.2 points to 12.7%, a level of support they seem to be stuck at - the party has averaged 12% or 13% support for eight consecutive months. The Greens were unchanged at 3%.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals put up their best result since before January 2009, with a gain of five points to 57.5%. Both the Conservatives and New Democrats have dropped in three consecutive months, with the Tories down 0.6 points since January to 20.5% and the NDP down 3.7 points to 18.2%. The Greens were down 0.2 points to 3.2%.

With these levels of support, the Liberals would win 133 seats, a drop of three since the January projection. The Conservatives would win 121 seats (+1) while the New Democrats would take 73 seats (-5). The Bloc would win nine seats, a gain of seven, while the Greens would win two.

The Liberals lost seven seats in Quebec since January, but picked up two in Alberta and one apiece in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada. The Conservatives gained five seats in the Prairies, but lost one in both Atlantic Canada and Ontario and two in Alberta. The New Democrats were down six seats in the Prairies, but up one in Ontario.

Voting intentions have mostly settled in for the time being. But the election campaign in Quebec, particularly if the Parti Québécois wins a majority government, could shake things up considerably. The results in the pending Ontario election could also have some influence on the federal numbers. It will be interesting to see where things will stand at the end of the spring.