Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April 2014 federal polling averages

Though the volatility from poll to poll may have increased in April, on average it was a month of relative stability throughout the country. In all, four national and one Quebec poll surveyed 9,225 Canadians throughout the month of April, finding that the Liberals continue to hold a lead over the governing Conservatives.

The Liberals led for the 13th consecutive month with 34.7%, down 0.1 points from March. The party has been around 35% support for three months now.

The Conservatives trailed in second with 29.7% support, an uptick of 1.4 points and their best result since September 2013, before the Senate scandal exploded again.

The New Democrats put up their lowest numbers since December 2013, averaging 22.7%, down 2.1 points from March.

The Greens had 5.8% support, up 0.6 points, while the Bloc Québécois was down 0.4 points to 5.3%. About 1.7% of Canadians said they would vote for another party.

There was a fair bit of movement in British Columbia, as the Liberals dropped 3.7 points to 33.1%. They still retained the lead, though. The Conservatives, down 0.1 point to 28.7%, have been holding steady in the 29% to 30% range for four months now. The New Democrats were up 2.8 points to 25.7%, while the Greens were up 0.9 points to 10.9%.

As you can see in the chart, British Columbia has been a very close race since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader in April 2013. Each of the three parties has led in the province for at least one month, but overall the Liberals have been in a better position. The province has certainly since its share of change, however. Prior to the 2011 election the province was a safe Conservative one. After the 2011 election, it was an NDP-Conservative race. Since Trudeau, it has been a three-way contest.

In Alberta, the Conservatives managed their highest support since November 2013 with a 1.2-point gain to 56.7%. The Liberals were up 0.5 points from March to 21.3%, while the NDP was down 0.6 points to 14.5%. The party has been in the general range of 15% to 16%, however, for four months now. The Greens were down 0.9 points to 4.9%.

The Conservatives led in Saskatchewan and Manitoba with 42.7%, down 0.6 points. The Liberals were up 1.1 points to 30.8%. The New Democrats had a very bad month in the region, polling at their lowest level since October 2009 - almost five years ago. They dropped 4.4 points to 18.2%. The Greens were up 2.2 points to 6.4%.

The Liberals have held steady in Ontario now at between 36% and 38% support for eight months, dropping 1.9 points to 36.5% in April. The Conservatives were up 2.2 points to 32.8%, while the New Democrats were down 2.2 points to 22.8%. The Greens were up 1.7 points to 6.3%.

After being one of the most volatile provinces in the country, Quebec seems to be settling in to the new state of affairs. The Liberals were up 1.3 points to 33%, marking three months with the party being between 32% and 33%. The NDP was down 1.2 points to 28.6%, marking four months in the 29% to 30% range. The Bloc was down 0.5 points to 20.2%, putting them between 20% and 22% for three months now. And most stable of all are the Conservatives, who have been between 12% and 14% for 10 months. They averaged 13.8% in April, up 0.2 points. They do seem to be on a positive trend, however. The Greens were down 0.4 points to 3.5%.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were down 0.2 points to 54.1%, against 23.5% for the Conservatives (up 2.1 points, and their best result since November 2013). The NDP was down one point to 18.4%, and has been at between 18% and 19% for three months in the region. The Greens were down 0.8 points to 3.1%, their lowest level of support in the country.

With these regional levels of support, the Conservatives would likely win about 128 seats, a gain of eight from their March standing. The Liberals dropped 10 seats to 127, while the NDP and Bloc Québécois were up one seat apiece to 77 and four, respectively. The Greens were unchanged at two seats.

The Conservatives made most of their gains in Ontario, where they were up nine seats. They were also up two in Atlantic Canada, but down three in British Columbia.

The Liberals dropped eight seats in Ontario and two each in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia. They were up two seats in Quebec, however.

The New Democrats were up five seats in B.C. but down three in Quebec and one in Ontario.

As mentioned, these averages mask the volatility in the polls we saw in April. Support for the Liberals ranged from between 30% and 39% in polls conducted during the month, while support for the Conservatives ranged between 27% and 33%. By comparison, in March the Liberals ranged between 33% and 39% and the Conservatives between 28% and 29%. It will be interesting to see whether the Conservative uptick recorded in some polls in April was a momentary thing, or something we may start to see more often. The weight of the evidence, however, points to a continued Liberal lead now stretching to more than a year.