Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ipsos confirms PQ slide

The latest poll from Ipsos Reid for CTV News shows the Liberals remain well in front of the Parti Québécois, as support for the PQ among francophones continues to slide. It isn't the Liberals who have benefited, however, but rather the Coalition Avenir Québec and Québec Solidaire.

The projection has moved rather wildly. Despite the Liberals actually dropping marginally to 40.7% (or between 39% and 45%), they have jumped to 72 seats from 64 yesterday. The PQ has slid to 28.8% (or between 28% and 32%) and just 46 seats.

The likely ranges for the two parties do not overlap, with the Liberals at between 62 and 79 seats and the PQ between 42 and 56 seats. The extremes do overlap, but even then the PQ is just projected to be capable of a maximum of 63 seats, the bare minimum for a majority government.

The CAQ has increased its projected support to 18.4% (or between 17% and 20%) but its seat haul has inched up one to just five (or between two and six). QS is up to 10.1% (or between 9% and 11%), and is still projected to win two seats. The maximum range now makes a third one possible, but we have to keep in mind that the Ipsos poll showing such big gains for QS on the island of Montreal is still just one poll.

Note that the projection uses Ipsos's likely voter numbers, rather than those of eligible voters. Those likely voter numbers match the most recent set of numbers from Forum very closely (except for QS).

I'd also like to take this opportunity to talk about probabilities, as I received a question concerning that on Twitter. The graph below spells it out:
In the case of the current projection, what does this mean? Well, it means that the Liberals have a 65% chance of ending up between 62 and 79 seats (there is a 25% chance of the result falling within the low-to-average projection, and a 40% chance of it falling within the average-to-high). For the PQ, there is a 65% chance that they will win between 46 and 56 seats, or an 80% that they will win between 42 and 56 seats. The CAQ has a 59% chance of winning between two and six seats, and QS has a 77% chance of winning between two and three.

There is a 95% chance that the results of the election will fall within the minimum and maximum numbers for each party, and a 5% that the results will fall outside of it.

What this means in practice is that, while the high and low ranges are the most likely results, there is still a decent probability that the results will fall outside of them. But, of course, it becomes less and less likely as you approach the minimum and maximum results. It also means that the PQ and PLQ are more likely to outperform the average result (77.5% chance for the PQ, 52.5% chance for the PLQ) while the CAQ and QS are more likely to under-perform the average result (55.5% chance). Option Nationale and the Greens have a 92.5% chance of ending up lower than the projected average.
Now let's move to the Ipsos Reid poll. The firm was last in the field March 14-18. Since then, the Liberals have held steady with 37% support, while the PQ dropped four points to 28%. Both the CAQ and QS increased by three points, to 19% and 13% respectively.

None of those shifts are outside the margin of error of a probabilistic sample of this size.

Among voters Ipsos considers the most likely to cast a ballot, the Liberals were again steady with 40% support. The PQ was down five points from the March 14-18 poll to 28%, while the CAQ was up four points to 18% and QS was up three points to 12%. Again, none of these shifts appear significant.

One shift that was, however, was the decrease of undecideds from 12% to just 7% of the sample.

Among francophones, the Liberals and PQ were tied at 31% apiece. That represents a seven point decrease for the PQ, outside of the MOE. The CAQ and QS were up to 21% and 14%, respectively.

A few notes, though, about the language numbers. According to the crosstabs of the Ipsos poll, French-speakers took up 87.3% of the weighted sample, whereas English-speakers took up the remaining 12.7%. This is borne out by the reported weighted sample sizes, as well as by a simple calculation of reported support by language (add them up at those weights, and you get the total result). This would seem to correspond with reported "first official language spoken" responses in the last census, but does not seem to be comparable to the francophone/non-francophone (combining allophones and anglophones) definition used by some other polling firms. That does not invalidate the numbers whatsoever, but would make them different from those reported by CROP and Léger, and so not comparable.

Practically speaking, this means that whereas Léger and CROP would place an allophone in the non-francophone category, Ipsos places them in either the French or English category depending on which language they did the survey in. So, for example, while Léger or CROP would put an Arabic-speaker whose second language is French and a Mandarin-speaker whose second language is English in the non-francophone category, Ipsos would put the first in the French category and the second in the English category. This is the effect of defining language by 'mother tongue' vs. 'language of use'. This may explain why the PQ and PLQ were tied among francophones, whereas among native French-speakers the PQ would probably still hold an advantage at a 37% to 28% provincial split.

And just to re-iterate, I am not questioning the reliability of the language results of the Ipsos poll. Readers just need to be aware that because the numbers are based on a different definition, it would be inappropriate to compare the results to those reported by CROP and Léger (and vice versa).

Back to the poll - the Liberals led on the island of Montreal with 45%, followed by the PQ at 23% and QS at 19%. That represents a big jump for QS worth nine points, outside of the MOE even at these small sub-sample sizes. But no other poll has shown QS that high in Montreal, so it is difficult to determine whether or not this is a wobble.

In the suburbs around Montreal, the PQ led with 32%, followed by the PLQ at 28% and the CAQ at 22%. Both the PQ and Liberals were down from Ipsos's previous poll, but not significantly so.

In Quebec City, the Liberals were up to 37%, followed by the PQ and CAQ, who were tied at 24%.

In the rest of the province, the Liberals were in front with 39%, with the PQ at 28% and the CAQ at 21%. That was an increase of six points for the CAQ in the region.

Ipsos found that the Liberals and PQ still have the most committed voters, with 81% and 78% respectively saying they would not change their minds. Just 57% of CAQ and QS voters said the same thing.

If those uncommitted CAQ and QS voters switched, both the PQ and PLQ stand to benefit. 36% of CAQ voters said the Liberals were their second choice, while 26% selected the PQ. Among QS voters, 33% said the PQ was their second choice - and 18% selected the CAQ. A bit of a leap for them.

On who would make the best premier, Philippe Couillard led with 33%, followed by Pauline Marois and François Legault at 25% apiece. That is bad news for Marois, as she has normally been in a close race with Couillard on this question, not Legault. He has certainly improved his party's standing in the last week.

But where will things go from here? There will be almost an entire week between this Ipsos poll and election day, with plenty of scope for intentions to change (they have been changing from Day 1). Unfortunately, we may only hear from Léger before Monday, so our understanding of the final days of the campaign may be limited.

47 comments:

  1. Another note about languages. If they just choose to use the language that the survey is done in, many native anglophones could have done the survey in French. For example, I am an anglophone, but if a survey company calls me up in French, I have no trouble continuing to speak French with them, and at no point would I ask to switch to English. This could mean that some mother-tounge English respondents completed the survey in French, further distorting the data.

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    1. As the poll was done online, I don't think that would be too likely to occur.

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    2. Though I routinely complete Léger polls in French, since they first appear in French, and switching to English is unnecessary.

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    3. I think on the telephone, they'd ask of you were anglo, franco, or allo. You're right, though, that online vs. telephone could change the dynamic.

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    4. Sorry, I meant to add that I complete their polls online...

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  2. Using the likely voters, I get:

    69 PLQ
    42 PQ
    11 CAQ
    3 QS

    Using the voting intentions, I get:

    65 PLQ
    43 PQ
    13 CAQ
    4 QS

    So we can see that this race is still close, in terms of whether we end up with a majority government or a minority one. It seems a given now that Couillard will be the premier when next Monday comes around, but is trend has been slightly downwards in the last two polls, and these few percentage points are what makes the whole difference in the number of seats.

    Everyone wishes for another minority government here, not trusting neither the PLQ or the PQ, and not fully trusting the CAQ either, so I see a lot of "unconvinced" liberals voting strategically to block a majority on election night, especially with the CAQ coming back up.

    I think we'll have a lot of surprises on April 7th!

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    1. If I was a betting man (and I am), I'd bet on higher seat totals for CAQ too. The dynamics of this race seem a lot like Alberta a couple years ago, with CAQ cast as the Liberals.

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    2. I'd say the PQ is playing the role of Wild Rose in frightening the electorate with it's ideological zeal. This has the makings of a PQ meltdown.

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    3. It is certainly looking like a complete PQ collapse a la Kim Campbell may be on the horizon.

      If the PQ is unable to talk about sovereignty it no longer has a purpose. Quebeckers' rejection of a referendum in this campaign, another rejection, may be the death knell for the separation project for a generation.

      If the PQ can not form government and implement its policies what is its purpose in Quebec political life? Will it be content as the separatist conscience?

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    4. Yah, pretty much. The shift just happened a bit sooner (I don't think people are as afraid of a PQ majority if they might have been with different poll numbers).

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  3. "Unfortunately, we may only hear from Léger before Monday"

    Do you have some inside info telling you that CROP won't release another poll? That would be pretty exceptional for them, wouldn't it? They've released a poll within the final week leading up to the vote in the last three elections, and their most recent poll in this campaign is over two weeks old.

    Dom

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  4. A CAQ surge in the last week of the campaign? Wow, Quebec voters sure are volatile.

    Should the Couillard Liberals win a majority next Monday, the PQ needs to go through a long process of reinventing itself if it wants to stay viable option as a party that can form government in the future.

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  5. I feel like Marois and the PQ at any time could have a Kim Campbell/PC moment and let the right flee to the CAQ and the left flee to QS. It's on the verge of happening... Quebeckers just don't care for their style of politics anymore.

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    1. Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. I guess old habits die hard among the baby boomers.

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    2. Sorry, are you guys talking about the party that was set to form a majority government three weeks ago, and in which all the papers outside Quebec were discussing independence scenarios?

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    3. Agreed that the PQ really has blown it. As to comparisons to Campbell, she was also in the lead heading into the election with a majority possible as I recall. Basically campaigns do matter as it gets voters thinking a lot more and mistakes can be deadly. The PQ has made a LOT of mistakes this time and the attempts by some to prevent anyone who might be anti-PQ from voting (the intending to stay in Quebec long term rule) should just be increasing the anti-PQ mood. The died in the wool seperatists might also be sick of the games also and shift away.

      Of course the big this this shows is how idiotic first-past-the-post is when the Liberals drop in support but gain in seats.

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    4. -(the intending to stay in Quebec long term rule)-

      As far as I can tell there is no requirement that one must stay in Quebec. There three conditions for voting are:

      be 18 years old or more;
      be a Canadian citizen;
      be domiciled in Québec for six months.

      In order to determine one's domicile questions may be asked to determine one's primary residence. However, as far as I can tell there is no requirement that a voter reside in Quebec for a certain length of time.

      This shows FPTP at its best, yes the PLQ gains while it loses popular support but, keep in mind the PQ decline is more dramatic so it makes sense the PLQ would gain seats.

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    5. In the second paragraph I should have written; there is no requirement that a voter reside in Quebec for a certain length of time after the election.

      There is of course a six month residency requirement before the vote.

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  6. I counted 18 polls in the 2013 BC Election, and just 11 so far in the final days of the 2014 Quebec Election. Quebec has nearly twice BC's population, a campaign with immediate national significance, and far greater dynamism, unpredictability, and sheer media attention than BC's provincial election ever did. Clearly, something is going on in public polling, because this doesn't make sense.

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    1. Part of it is that a few national pollsters stay out of it due to language - if they can't communicate their numbers to a francophone market, then they are left with the English market, which is the equivalent of an election in Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

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  7. Early Voting has seen a big uptick compared to two years ago. Safe Liberal ridings in Montreal and Laval have seen the biggest increase.

    The so-called ''ethnic vote'' is actually highly motivated to vote in huge numbers. The drive to stop the PQ, stop the Referendum and stop the Charter is the dominant force this election.

    We will have to wait for Monday Night.

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  8. I believe there will be some form of political realignment in the future in Quebec, at least at the provincial level.

    I feel there is potential in the future for parties ro be aligned as center-left and center-right instead of sepearist and federalist.

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  9. Éric,

    On a totally unrelated note, Innovative Research has a new ON provincial poll out, but I can't for the life of me find any field dates throughout both their press release or their detailed presentation. Can you?

    http://www.innovativeresearch.ca/public-polls.htm

    Dom

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  10. As a staunch federalist, I'm feeling pretty smug right now. This has been one of the most interesting provincial elections I can remember, and the epic collapse of the PQ has made my month. Coming on the heels of the near destruction of the BQ, things seem to be headed the right way for a continued united Canada in the foreseeable future.

    I have to give PM Harper some credit for this. His hands off approach with regard to provincial autonomy has been the right one IMO.

    It could be that separatism would have died down under any ones watch, but I have to think hatred of Harper was at least partially responsible for the orange wave that wiped out the BQ. Perhaps Quebecers came to realize they needed skin in the game to form government, get rid of Harper, and have influence.

    There were of other factors such as Sherbroke, and Layton's charisma but I'll give the lion's share of credit to Harper. He's done a good job of avoiding unnecessary battles with Quebec, giving little reason for grievance.

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    1. So, you're saying that Harper's done a good job by staying out of the fray and by fostering Quebeckers hatred of him...

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    2. Trudeau-Chretien style used to use full frontal head butting and it boosted up confrontation favorable for souvernists.

      Harper's strategy of playing def has actually worked.

      (I'm not a a conservative, mind you)

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    3. This has always been the way Canada works best. The Conservatives speak for English Canada, the Liberals for the business interests are compromised due to their reliance on Quebec. In other words Tories can afford to ignore Quebec, Liberals can ill afford to.

      Through over 50 years of constitutional animosity Quebeckers have succeeded in only one thing; they have made Canadians lose interests in their affairs. No English Canadian believes Quebec could stand on its own as an independent state, therefore, the threat of separation is hollow. In English Canada we are tired of the constant demands and discrimination some Quebeckers impose upon their fellow citizens. We know it will be messy and near impossible to change Quebeckers views, so ignoring the petty squabbles is the logical step to get some peace and quiet.

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    4. bede, you seem to forget that Quebec vote NO twice and that support for separtion has been a constant decline since 2006.

      You speak as if all of Quebec thinks alike.
      if that was the case then the YES would have won the first time.

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    5. Obviously I am generalising!

      Quebec voted No twice and that is the point. Despite Quebeckers rejection of separation, both in referenda and general elections, a strong minority of Quebeckers do not respect the results. The results had minimal effect upon Quebec political culture or classes 19 years after the last referendum independence remains the most important issue in Quebec politics and the 2014 election campaign!

      The Yes side will never win a referendum because as I write above Quebec can ill afford to be a sovereign country. Quebeckers know a vote for sovereignty is a vote for a lower standard of living-most rational people will not vote to make themselves worse off.

      Unfortunately for Quebeckers they have missed the moment. English Canadians are in a far stronger position than 1972, 1982 or 1995. The options for Quebec are simple: sign the 1982 constitution or the post-1982 status quo remains. There will be no further constitutional amendments or charters in order to sweeten the deal for Quebec.

      Quebec has spent 60 years debating constitutional and language considerations: what other country has such a luxury? This narrow focused has changed Quebec from the dominant economic and political player in Canada into a minor player.

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  11. Eric, I must say I was very impressed with your article in the Sun the other day. You gave Harper considerable props for not taking the PQ bait on the Charter, and even took a subtle dig at Trudeau and Mulcair. Having gleaned something of your politics over the years I was highly impressed by your range, and knowing your audience.

    Glad to see you have parlayed this blog into something larger. If you continue to write with such a pragmatic eye, you could be something special (or at least very good). Kudos.

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    1. Sorry, but I don't write for the Sun. You must be mistaking me with someone else. Eric Duhaime, perhaps?

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  12. Sorry about that Eric. I feel less smug, and more sheepish now. It has been a while since I visited your blog, had forgotten your last name, and for some reason confused you with Duhaime.

    Still love your blog thou. The model appears sturdier than it was, with more clearly defined error margins. Nice job.

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  13. It would have been interesting if the NDP had indeed launched a provincial NDP in Quebec in time for this election...

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    1. Would it? I bet QS support would halve while the PLQ, PQ would lose a point or two apiece if the PQNDP was lucky. All in all it would probably reduce the chances of the QS and themselves from winning a seat.

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    2. I disagree. I think an NPDQ would attract a lot of the BQ voters the NDP managed to attract, as well as bring over a lot of left-of-centre federalists from the PLQ, particularly among anglophones in ridings where there would be no danger of a PQ victory.

      I could easily see an NPDQ taking 20% of the vote. There was actually a poll done on that a while back, but for the life of me I can't find it.

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    3. I'm not sure I agree. The possibility is there that an NPDQ could take a big portion of the vote, but that requires them to experience another massive wave of support like they had in the 2011 federal.

      Now that wave of support didn't just come out of nowhere, its basis was laid in heavy organizational efforts, a steady build of support over practically a decade, and of course Jack Layton. The NPDQ would have none of that, and would be going into their first election in a rushed manner giving this one's timing. To expect them to win much more than a couple of percentage points and a single seat in this election is ludicrous, at least to me.

      If the NPDQ was a serious effort, I suspect that one of the two main parties winning a majority in this election would be their best bet. That gives them time to organize and build over the lifespan of a majority government, then enter the scene in 2018 (or maybe in a by-election inbetween) as a fresh new organization with new ideas and so on. Then they might have a fighting chance - "might" being the key word there.

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    4. I agree with Eric in the notion that NDPQ can take votes from both the PQ and left-leaning Liberal voters. I also could see the QS being absorbed into the NDPQ, the same way the ADQ was absorbed into the CAQ.

      If the NDP decide to establish a provincial party in Quebec, there is potential for a huge electoral realignment in the province.

      I think the NDP are just waiting for the perfect timing. They need to get in there well organized and well funded. It would help if both the Liberals and PQ are at a vulnerable state.

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    5. Eric and Kyle,

      Both of you make good points. For myself, I can't see the QNDP making a substantial breakthrough in what is a crowded political field. With the right leader, campaign and candidates they could become a strong force but, there are also many barriers in a system that is designed for two parties.

      History is an interesting guide. The NDP of course did have a Quebec wing in the late 80's early 90's. In their first election, 1985, they captured 2.44% of the provincial vote. In No Damn Good they scored 8.64%. In the 1987 by-election in NDG they captured 25.5%

      From what I can gleam from the by-election results it appears the QNDP took almost half of the 1985 PQ election vote in percentage terms. The Liberal won both the 1985 and 1987 by-election with 77% and 62%. By the 1989 Quebec general election the QNDP only takes 1.43% in in NDG.

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  14. Isn't this the first time EKOS appeared in the Quebec election?

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  15. Fascinating hypothesis and results by EKOS:
    http://www.ekospolitics.com/index.php/2014/04/quebec-liberals-headed-to-a-win/

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    1. An interesting poll I was surprised Quebeckers rated economic issues so highly.

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  16. And now we sit and wait for Monday evening. Anyone know when the results will start to appear ?

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  17. Heads up, Éric. Angus Reid has also just released a poll:

    http://www.angusreidglobal.com/polls/48942/quebec-liberals-lead-on-eve-of-final-campaign-weekend-movement-of-caq-vote-hurts-pq/

    Dom

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