Tuesday, April 15, 2014

March 2014 federal polling averages

The Liberals continued to hold a lead in March as their numbers stabilized after months of oscillation back and forth. Only three polls were in the field nationally last month, and one in Quebec, but nevertheless over 10,000 Canadians were surveyed on their voting intentions.

The Liberals averaged 34.8% support in March, down 0.2 points since February. This marks three consecutive months in which the party has been in a narrow one-point band, the first time that has happened under Justin Trudeau. In fact, the Liberals had not even managed to hold their numbers steady for two months before 2014.

The Conservatives were down 0.4 points to 28.3%, making that six consecutive months in which the Tories have been registered at under 30% support. The New Democrats were up 0.6 points to 24.8%, their best result since September 2013, continuing a positive three-month trend for the party.

The Bloc Québécois was down 0.2 points to 5.7% while the Greens were up 0.6 points to 5.2%. Support for other parties averaged 1.3% in March.

In British Columbia, the Liberals picked up 6.6 points to reach 36.8% in March, their best result on record going back to January 2009. The Conservatives were down 1.3 points to 28.8%, while the NDP dropped 6.3 points to 22.9%, its worst result since March 2011. Considering these extremes, the month was more likely an anomaly than anything significant. The Greens were up 0.8 points to 10%.

The Conservatives led in Alberta with 55.6%, up 8.8 points since February. The Liberals were down 7.6 points to 20.8%, while the NDP was down 0.9 points to 15.1%. The Greens were up 0.1 point to 5.8%.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives managed their best result since June 2013 with a 3.4-point gain to 43.3%. The Tories have picked up support in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for three consecutive months. The Liberals were down 3.4 points to 29.7%, and the NDP was up 1.2 points to 22.6%. The Greens were unchanged at 4.2%.

The Liberals have been very stable in Ontario, averaging 37% or 38% support over the last six months. They were up one point to 38.4% in March, while the Conservatives dropped 3.1 points to 30.6%. The NDP was up 1.6 points to 25%, its best result since March 2013. The Greens were up 0.3 points to 4.6%.

Quebec - in the midst of a provincial election campaign in March - had the Liberals down 1.1 points to 31.7%. The New Democrats put up their best numbers since before Trudeau became Liberal leader, with a gain of 1.2 points to 29.8%. They have been experiencing a positive trend for four months (the NDP was at just 25% in November). The Bloc Québécois was down 1.7 points to 20.7%, while the Conservatives were at their highest since March 2013 with a 0.9-point gain to 13.6%. The Greens were also up 0.9 points, to 3.9%.

The Liberals were ahead in Atlantic Canada with 52.9%, a drop of 4.6 points. The New Democrats were up 2.4 points to 20.6%, while the Conservatives were down 0.5 points to 20%. They have been on a negative trend for four months now, dropping from 25% in November. The Greens were up 1.4 points to 4.6%.

The chart above shows the effect that Trudeau has had on politics in Atlantic Canada. Since he became leader in April 2013, the Liberals have managed 50% or better in five of 12 months, and have never been lower than 43% or held a lead of less than 13 points. Both the Conservatives, who last held a consistent lead in 2011, and the New Democrats, who were ahead after Thomas Mulcair became leader, have taken a hit.

With these levels of support, the Liberals would likely win around 137 seats, up four since February's projection. The Conservatives dropped one seat to 120, while the New Democrats were up three to 76. The Bloc Québécois would likely win three seats, a decrease of six from February, while the Greens would win two.

The Liberals make their biggest gain in Ontario, up eight seats to 61 thanks to the margin between their party and the Conservatives increasing by almost five points. The Liberals would also pick up two seats in British Columbia compared to February, but were down one each in Quebec and the Prairies and four in Alberta.

The Conservatives gained eight seats in all in the West (one in the Prairies, three in B.C., four in Alberta) but were down nine in Ontario.

The New Democrats were up seven seats in Quebec to 43, and one seat in Ontario, but dropped five in British Columbia.

Mostly stable numbers across the board. That is not a bad thing for the Liberals, as the longer they remain in the lead the harder it will be to budge them from it. The New Democrats are showing a little life in Quebec, which is good news for them, and remain in the game. The Conservatives still appear unable to turn things around. With 18 months to go before the next election, that is not an enviable position to be in.

41 comments:

  1. Using those averages (and the old 308 map...), I get:

    118 LPC
    104 CPC
    78 NDP
    7 BQ
    1 GPC

    Region by region, it goes like this:

    Atlantic:
    25 LPC
    4 CPC
    3 NDP

    Québec:
    37 NDP
    24 LPC
    7 CPC
    7 BQ

    Ontario:
    47 LPC
    38 CPC
    21 NDP

    Prairies:
    18 CPC
    5 LPC
    5 NDP

    Alberta:
    26 CPC
    1 LPC
    1 NDP

    British Colombia:
    14 LPC
    11 CPC
    10 NDP
    1 GPC

    Territories:
    2 LPC
    1 NDP

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  2. Hi Thierry,
    How do you get these results so quickly? Great stuff, thanks. And as an interested Albertan (follow up to a question yesterday), which seat would the LPC drop out of Edm Centre and Calgary North-West?

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    1. The LPC would hold on to Calgary-North-East and drop Edmonton-Center.

      As for my apparent speed, I have my own simulator in which I only have to input the provincial results (or regional, since Atlantic and Prairies aren't provinces per say). It's still 29 numbers, but it doesn't take much more than a minute to look at the results and type them in my model.

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    2. Edmonton Centre is currently held by Laurie Hawn a Conservative and Calgary North-East is held by Devinder Shory also a Conservative.

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    3. It was in reference to the previous federal poll from Ekos in which I had 2 LPC ridings in Alberta. I am aware that, currently, both those seats are held by CPC members.

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    4. bede dunelm, I think the question was vis-a-vis Éric's projection of 3 seats vs. Thierry's of 1 seat.

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  3. Hi Thierry,
    Thanks for answering. Final follow-up: is it hard to build one (simulator)?

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    1. You do realize that this post contains the results of my own projections, yes?

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    2. Haha, Eric, I'm stealing all your glory in those last two blogs! :P That probably means I should start my own website and stop the continual comparaison to you. After one election, I think my simulator is good to fly on it own. Thing is, I know nothing about websites...

      To answer your question, Andrew, I can't say it was hard, but I can't say it was easy either. You need to find the method you think works best: how do you count your coefficients? With average compared to national/provincial/regional? Do you add a trend? If so, how far back do you go to count it and how much should it weigh in your projection? Do you calculate riding coefficients, regional coefficients or provincial coefficients? Do you use regional, provincial or federal polling results in you simulator? It took me quite a many hours to build mine (using the past 4 elections as groundwork), so prepare to invest a lot of time in entering the raw data that will be the foundation of your simulator if you plan on building one. And then modifying your formulas...

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    3. I dunno if you're "stealing his glory". Personally I come here to see and discuss the 308 projections, not every random person's.

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    4. Thanks for the reply Thierry. Whoa, that sounds a bit more complicated than I thought. Eric, thanks for your patience, I'll stop muddying things here with my questions.

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  4. Interesting to see the numbers in Quebec and Ontario. Ontario looks like it may be trending back towards being a broadly Liberal province, while the Liberals lose ground in Quebec. Ontario in particular is a real problem for the CPC. They can build a majority without Quebec, but not without Quebec or Ontario.

    From my view we seem to be moving back towards the early 2000s equilibrium, except without the BQ and without the sponsorship scandal weighing down the Liberals.

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    1. I wouldn't read too much into what may be random noise.

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    2. Anything "may" be random noise. By that standard we could never read anything into anything. Both Ontario and Quebec are looking at multi-month trends. In Ontario the CPC is on a slow but steady downward trend. There have been occasional exceptions but this trend has been established since the beginning of 2013, which coincides with the Liberals making their big move up in Ontario. The NDP has also been on a slow but steady upward trend in Ontario since just after Trudeau became LPC leader. Plot the best fit lines in Ontario and you'll see that trend clearly.

      In Quebec the trends are less clear, but as Éric notes, the NDP is up almost 5% in four months in Quebec. Best fit lines plotted for both LPC and NDP since Trudeau became leader and got his big surge in Quebec would show a slow decline in LPC numbers and a slow increase in NDP numbers as a general trend, though again the trend is less clear in Quebec than in Ontario.

      So I don't think I have read too much into random noise. We have to draw our conclusions from something.

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    3. Just because a trend is "multi month" doesn't make it statistically significant. These trends are pretty vague and weak at this point. Maybe with more polling there will be a clearer signal yet.

      "We have to draw our conclusions from something"

      I just don't think we have enough data to draw a conclusion yet (with the possible exception of the Conservative decline in Ontario, which does seem to be slow and steady).

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    4. TS,

      According to this site NDP support in Ontario has declined in Ontario both since the 2011 election and under Mulcair's leadership. In 2011 they won 25.6% of the vote today they stand at 21%. Under Mulcair the NDP reached 32% in the month after his election as leader. Since Trudeau became leader the NDP has risen from 23% to 25% well within the MoE. The best fit lines clearly show the NDP declining in Ontario.

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  5. Anybody know why Trudeau is so popular in Atlantic Canada?

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    1. I think it's more that the Conservatives are unpopular. Atlantic Canada is the one place in Canada where the Conservatives never won back their Progressive Conservative supporters.

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    2. Perhaps it's because of Harper's comments on Atlantic Canada having a culture of defeatism. Perhaps it's because of his attacks on Employment Insurance and the entitlements of the 'seasonal workers'. Perhaps it's because of his attacks on official bilingualism (at last as far as New Brunswick's French minority is concerned).

      Nothing he's done or said has been particularly good for Atlantic Canada. Personally I think the EI thing is probably a big part of it.

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    3. Ryan,

      The Tories did win back PCs in Atlantic Canada hence they won 14/32 seats in the last election.

      The polls for the Liberals out east are unusually high and I think part of the bump reflects unpopular Conservative provincial governments. In the maritimes the provincial and federal parties are one and the same for all intents and purposes-same volunteers doners etc...Canadians also have a tendency to have the opposite party in government provincially as federally. Strangely for a region that is well known (at least historically) for patronage the Tories have not been properly rewarded for the ship building contract by Atlantic Canadians. That may begin to change as jobs begin to accrue in Halifax.

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    4. Yannick,

      Nothing? The ship building contract is worth 25 billion dollars! Nova Scotia's GDP is roughly 37 billion per annum!

      The Acadians have never voted Tory. Harper has not attacked official bilingualism-it is still here. There is no quarantine placed upon Francophones, the Universite Ste-Anne is still up and running. French may be dying in Atlantic Canada due to globalisation not government policy. The PQ did far more to destroy official bilingualism in one term through Bill 101 than a thousand years of Stephen Harper would produce.

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  6. The NDP numbers for Québec are pure stuff and nonsense. This is one time where you just have to be a quebecker to understand. The voters of Québec PARKED their votes with the NDP in 2011. This was a one-time event that will not be repeated. The do-nothing NDP delegation from Québec have sealed their own doom. Mark my words and mark them well. Tom Mulcair (who incidentally voted liberal in the Québec election) will be lucky to hold on to his seat as the lone representative of the NDP come the next election.

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    1. If you are correct then the BIG question is where will those votes go in 2015 ?? The Bloc or Trudeau's Liberals ??

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    2. And you base this on what? Your annecdotal experience as a single Quebecer? That's totally more reliable than polls. Also, polls are not predictions of the future. They are snapshots of the present.

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    3. Unknown,
      Mulcair voted Liberal. There is no provincial NDP in Quebec, and as Mulcair said, he voted for a personal friend and former colleague. There's nothing to read into that vote. The rest of your comment is based on animus, not thought.

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    4. The Bloc is pretty much dead in the water though. There are a lot of former Bloc voters that will absolutely not vote Liberal. I don't think the NDP's numbers are particularly soft.

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    5. On the contrary, it's federalists that held their noses and parked their votes with the Liberals for as long as they perceived Quebec sovreignty as a threat. Now that this is gone, it's wide open. I have a number of friends that just welcomed the chance to vote NDP last election and turf the Liberals abd Bloc, who seem to feel that federalists/sovereignists owe them the vote. I like Trudeau, but it will be a while before I vote Liberal again.

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    6. I think the NDP will be lucky to win 20 seats in Quebec come 2015.

      Does the NDP have a Quebec "organisation" yet? If not no matter what the polls say they will be in tough-one needs only look at Wildrose in Alberta-they had public support but not the machinery to identify or get their voters to the polls.

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    7. I laugh whenever I read the BQ is dead. In 1993 both the NDP and Tories were "dead" with seven and two sears respectively-look where they are today! In fact the very next election both parties regained official party status and never looked back. In Nova Scotia the Liberal looked "dead" after the NDP became the Official Opposition in 1999-look at them today. The BCNDP after the 2001 election looked "dead" with only two seats. Of course today the BCNDP is in serious trouble, I may even concede they are dying but, with 34 seats and the title of Official Opposition it will be some time before anyone can dance on her grave.

      With four seats and a dedicated following of roughly 20% of Quebec voters the BQ may stick around for generations to come. They will be invited to the next leaders debate, they are still able to give tax credits, the new campaign donation rules will hurt them but, since they are better able to concentrate their resources better than other parties they may be not lose as much ground as some may think. their polling average at 5.7% nationally is only down slightly from 2011. They may be a long way from repeating their 1993 zenith but, picking up official party status at the next election is well within their capabilities.

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  7. Since we are all just guessing out this, I'll go with an alternative. The election campaign itself will for the most part decide how Quebers end up voting. Another swing may or may not occur, either the bloc comes back, or the liberals gain a large proportion of the vote on a collapsing NDP, or the NDP holds the line and people vote them in again. All possible in my mind.

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    1. If the Charbonneau inquiry digs up one LPC member (even a Senator) with his hand in the cookie jar, Trudeau will have difficulty keeping his own seat.

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  8. Given that we've got 18 months before the next election I think everybody should just calm down !! The polls and Eric's work will keep us aware of the situation but until about three months before the actual vote I won't get very excited for any party !!

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  9. "This marks three consecutive months in which the party has been in a narrow one-point band, the first time that has happened under Justin Trudeau."

    Eric, this statement is not true. In December there were two polls (EKOS & Forum) but you acknowledged only the EKOS poll. If the Forum poll is included the average for Dec. is: Lib--35% , Con--29%. Instead your "average" with the single EKOS poll is: Lib--32%, Con--26%. The Liberals, therefore, have been in a 1% band for 5 months not 3.
    Could you please change your chart.

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    1. That Forum poll was never released publicly, so was not included in the averages.

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    2. OK, I see, but the Dec. Forum poll appears on Wikipedia via the link you provide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_in_the_42nd_Canadian_federal_election
      Not a major deal, just a minor irritant. Love your site

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    3. Forum listed the poll in their tracking chart, but never published the details of it.

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  10. This looks like a very likely election result, if one were to be held tomorrow. I'm sticking to my very early prediction of a CPC plurality, based only on my gut. Time will tell.

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    1. Yesterday on the McLaughlin group -which was about a US-Canada "merger" Mort Zuckerman (owner-publisher of the New York Post) predicted an easy Conservative re-election.

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    2. I saw that, but I don't put much stock in Mort's opinions on Canadian politics.

      I'd still listen to him on Canada over McLaughlin. His end-show prediction of a US-Canada merger, sounded like he thought it might happen tomorrow! Pat Buchanan came closest to the truth on that issue.

      It was pretty cool to see them focus on Canada for once, but Mort's reasoning was pretty weak. To paraphrase: "The PM is doing well, Canadians are lucky to have him, therefore he will be re-elected". We both know it's not that simple.

      I'd pay closer attention to his thoughts if he was taking Israeli politics, but he seems to have only a surface understanding of the Canadian political climate.

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    3. After today's Angus Reid poll I think Mort may be on to something. With 43% in Ontario the Tories are well on their way to a re-election with a majority.

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