Thursday, July 10, 2014

June 2014 federal polling averages

The number of polls released each month drops dramatically during the summer, down to two or three polls per month in 2012 and 2013. June usually sees a rush of polling before the summer break, however. Last year, six polls were released in June. In 2012, that number was eight. In 2014, the total number of national polls released was just two. That makes the monthly averages for June a bit of an anomaly, as they are based on only two data points outside of Quebec (two Quebec-only polls were also released). So, we should exercise caution when looking at these results. You've been warned.

The total sample size for the month of June is relatively large, however, at just under 10,000 Canadians thanks to the mega-poll conducted by Angus Reid Global, which alone sampled over 6,000 people. But the only two pollsters in the field, the other being Forum Research, showed very different results, with Forum giving the Liberals an eight-point lead and Angus Reid judging the Conservatives to hold a one-point advantage.

This inconsistency has been, well, consistent. In May, Forum gave the Liberals a six-point lead when Angus Reid still gave it to the Tories by one point. In April, it was a nine-point edge for the Liberals from Forum and a two-point advantage for the Conservatives from Angus Reid. What this means, then, is that these two pollsters have been showing the same general things for the last few months, regardless of how that compares to the findings of other pollsters.

Let's get to June, then. In these two polls, weighted for sample size, the Liberals averaged 33%, a drop of 0.9 points from May. The Conservatives were up 1.8 points to 31%, their highest result since March 2013, before Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader. The NDP was up 1.4 points to 24.3%, while the Greens were down 1.2 points to 5.7%.

The Bloc Québécois was down 0.7 points to 4.7% and 1.3% of Canadians said they would vote for another party.

The Liberals have now led in the polls for the last 15 months, though the Conservatives do seem to be experiencing some wobbly improvement.

In British Columbia, the Conservatives reached their highest level of support since September 2013 with a 4.3-point gain to 33.8%. The NDP jumped 4.7 points to 28.8%, while the Liberals were down 3.6 points to 26.8%. That was their third consecutive month of decrease. The Greens were down 4.5 points to 9.6%.

The Conservatives led in Alberta with 55.4%, up 7.4 points since May, while the Liberals were down 0.3 points to 22.7%. The NDP hit a 4.2-point slide to 12.9%, while the Greens were down 1.8 points to 6.7%.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives hit their highest level of support in a year with a 2.3-point gain to 43.5%, while the Liberals were up 2.2 points to 30.9%. The NDP was down 1.8 points to 21%, and the Greens were down two points to 4%.

The Conservatives have experienced a bit of a rebound in the Prairies in the last few months. Support was oscillating back and forth before Trudeau came along, but after that point the Tories were on a general slide, cratering at the end of 2013 and actually briefly relinquishing the lead to the Liberals. Since then, though, the party has returned to the low-40s where it has stood for most of the post-election period.

Support for the Liberals has been steady in Ontario for nine months now, at between 37% and 38%. In June, the party averaged 37.7%, a drop of 0.1 point, while the Conservatives were up 0.5 points to 35.3%. The NDP was up 0.9 points to 20.7%, while the Greens dropped 0.4 points to 5.7%.

The New Democrats captured their first outright lead in Quebec in June, the first time they had done so since Trudeau took over the Liberals. The NDP was up 4.3 points to 34.3%, their best number since October 2012. The Liberals were up 1.3 points to 31.2%, but the last two months have been the worst for the party under Trudeau (though that still ranks above the performance of the Liberals from mid-2009 until the beginning of 2013).

The Bloc Québécois was down 3.2 points to 17.9%, their worst since August 2013. The result at that point, and their average in June, marks their lowest support levels since October 2011. Mario Beaulieu is experiencing the opposite of a honeymoon. The Conservatives were down 1.9 points to 12.3%, while the Greens were up 0.3 points to 3.3%.

Note, since both Léger and CROP reported in June, the average is more robust for Quebec than it is elsewhere. Also, I had missed recording a CROP poll from May, so the monthly average has been retroactively adjusted. It is reflected in the tracking chart above.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals took a 3.7-point drop to 50%. The Conservatives were up 5.9 points to 24% and the NDP increased by 1.4 points to 20.3%, while the Greens were down 1.9 points to 5.3%.

Last month, a 4.7-point national lead for the Liberals translated into a tie in the seat count with the Conservatives. This month, the two-point lead translates into a 13-seat deficit.

The Conservatives would win around 129 seats at these levels of support, up one seat from the May projection. The Liberals fell 12 seats to 116, while the NDP was up 18 seats to 90. The Greens were unchanged at two, while the Bloc fell from eight seats to just one.

The Conservatives gained one seat apiece in British Columbia, Alberta, and the Prairies, and picked up two in Atlantic Canada. They dropped four in Quebec, however.

The Liberals were down one seat in Ontario and Alberta each, two in both Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and six in British Columbia.

The NDP was up 13 seats in Quebec, five in British Columbia, and one in Ontario, but was down one on the Prairies.

Overall, then, it would seem to be a rather poor month for the Liberals. But is that fair? A completely unweighted average of the Forum and Angus Reid polls from May and June would reveal a 1.5-point gain for the Liberals, rather than a loss. But the party has been losing steam in British Columbia for the last few months, and the NDP does seem to be making inroads in Quebec again (primarily at the expense of the Bloc Québécois). The Conservatives are slowly returning from the doldrums of the high-20s, but are still very far from a re-elected majority government. Will the summer see any of this change, or will the numbers solidify as people turn their attentions elsewhere?


  1. With my simulator (still haven't entered by-elections yet), I get:

    137 CPC
    107 LPC
    90 NDP
    3 BQ
    1 GPC

    By regions, it gives:

    23 LPC
    6 CPC
    3 NDP

    47 NDP
    22 LPC
    6 CPC
    3 BQ

    55 CPC
    46 LPC
    20 NDP

    18 CPC
    5 LPC
    5 NDP

    32 CPC
    1 LPC
    1 NDP

    British Colombia:
    20 CPC
    13 NDP
    8 LPC

    2 LPC
    1 NDP

  2. New numbers from Abacus today. 6 point Liberal lead and a Bloc lead in Quebec.

  3. And now Abacus' release has been revised.

    1. I think you were looking at their previous poll from March.

    2. I think a newspaper accidentally linked to that one, yes.

  4. The election is so far away and regular campaign swings are such that all we can read into the last few polls is that (1) both the conservatives and the liberals are still in the game (2) a minority government is a distinct possibility.

    If we look a bit further, we can also see a bit of tiredness with the conservative government but not large enough to be decisive just yet.

    1. Quite true. However, I don't think we can exclude the possibility of a majority government either. Some may argue we are returning to a 2 party-plus system once more.

      With a projection of 90 seats and 24% the NDP is hanging around but, they also face higher hurdles than the two main parties particularly financial. Thus far the NDP has only raised $6 million towards an election war chest compared with $26 million of the Tories and $12 million for the Liberals. However, it is unlikely all the NDP's money will go towards the campaign as currently they owe Canada Post over a million dollars and investigations continue regarding satellite office that could deplete the party's coffers by another $2 million. I think it unlikely the NDP's judicial actions will be successful and even if they were they would carry a financial cost.

      Some evidence of "tiredness" may exist among the electorate toward the Government but, equally striking is their hesitation in embracing either the untested Trudeau or Mulcair. We are probably a year away from an election and from this vantage point at least it appears almost anything is possible.

    2. Liberals went up from 20 to 35% under Trudeau without Trudeau really doing anything. The only hesitation is in Quebec, where the NDP has made permanent inroads at the expense of the Bloc and Liberals.

    3. Guy,

      I'm not sure how permanent those NDP inroads in Quebec are. The latest Angus Reid poll has the Dippers at 24% in Quebec (the Liberals scored 36%, Conservatives 17%, BQ 19%).

      The NDP may very well be short of cash next election. The Tories, Liberals and BQ all hope they can capture some of their seats and all save the Bloc will have more money to spend in their attempt to do so than the NDP.

    4. The composites show a clear rise in NDP fortunes at the expense of the Liberals and Bloc since the Bloc has made itself unelectable with a radical FLQ sympathizer.

      Those moderate Bloc votes are not going Liberal or Conservative. The Liberal vote is concentrated in a few ridings in Western Montreal. The Liberals have no organization outside these ridings, and neither do the Conservatives. The collapse of the Bloc will make it even harder for the Liberals and Conservatives to recapture votes.


    5. Guy,

      Since Beaulieu became leader (June 25) I can find only one published poll (Angus Reid July 3rd) I don’t think we should read too much into one poll but, I can find no evidence BQ popularity has suffered since Beaulieu became leader. Frankly, I think moderate separatists left the BQ some time ago; “moderate separatism” was not advancing the cause. Separatists placed “winning conditions” upon themselves thereby hindering any chance of a referendum should the PQ become government. I think a change of tactics was in order and a more direct approach is the BQ/PQ’s only option.

      Moderate BQ votes may not go to any party separatists may simply decide to stay home at the next election. On the other hand the BQ’s loss of support presents opportunities for all 3 parties and perhaps even the Greens. The Tories certainly think ridings around Quebec City may be in play for them. Quebec voters can be fickle and the NDP certainly shouldn’t think their 58 Quebec seats will automatically be returned come 2015. Most Quebeckers voted for Layton these votes may very well be up for grabs in the next election.

      Strong constituency organisations may help but, I don’t believe they are usually a determinant factor. The NDP had literally no organisation outside a handful of Montreal ridings in 2011 yet, they won 59 seats. In 1984 Mulroney had little organisation in Quebec and won 58 seats whereas the Liberals did have an organisation built through 60 years of political dominance and got routed. The BC NDP is known for its "strong ground game" and "constituency organisations" but in the 2013 election these were not enough to win election.

      I would not write the Bloc's obituary just yet, political parties in Canada have remarkable longevity. After 1993 many thought the PCs and NDP were on their deathbeds but, in the subsequent two elections both obtained then retained official party status. Before the merger the PCs were out polling the Alliance. There is probably 10-25% of the population who will always vote for separatists if that is an option.

    6. While Beaulieu officially became leader on June 25, he actually won the leadership contest on June 14. The controversies began then.

    7. Right you are cheers Eric.

      Doesn't really change anything though the Bloc has been holding at 4-5% nationally and 20%+/- a couple points in Quebec for the better part of a year.

  5. Is it odd the way things float around from month to month ?

  6. The NDP will never pay Canada Post one red cent - that whole issue is completely bogus and will never stand up in court - and if it did the CPC would be on the hook for millions more for all the partisan crap they mail out at taxpayers expense.

    I predict all three parties will spend the maximum allowable by law nationwide in 2015...parties are all still get the per vote subsidy and they are all building war chests and all have collateral to take out bank loans etc...the only think i will predict for 2015 is that the BQ will get zero seats

    1. DL,

      As things stand the NDP is guilty as per the decision of the Board of Internal Economy- the proper jurisdictional authority. They have contravened sections of the Parliament of Canada Act.

      The concept of Parliamentary sovereignty makes it unlikely the judiciary has authority in this matter. Each house of Parliament is able to make its own rules regarding their governance. Even if a court decides it does have the ability to intervene the evidence thus far is; the NDP applied out-of-date procedures and rules to their franking privileges. In 2011 the NDP's actions may have been legal but, by 2014 they were no long legal. They can appeal to the House as a whole of course but given the composition of that body I don't think they'll be successful.

      The NDP some years ago made a big deal concerning Mr. Harper's respect for Canadian institutions. Today they are acting in a similar manner to how they accused Harper acting back then, with the exception that Mr. Harper did not criticise or question the legitimacy of the institution he came into conflict (the House of Commons and in particular a committee). With the BoIE such accusations ring hollow since, the NDP has sat on the BoIE for many decades.

      The Tories will spend the maximum and then some they already have likely raised beyond what the 2015 maximum will be. The Liberals are well on their way with a $12 million war chest, the NDP however, only manages to save about $3 million per year and thus far only has $6 million in the bank. In order to reach the maximum they will need to raise roughly $16 million between now and the next election- not impossible but a tall order for any party especially a party that historically does not raise as much money as either the Grits or Tories.

    2. The BOIE has a Conservative majority that simply decided to retroactively change rules...What's to stop the Conservative majority on the BOIE from voting that only the government caucus gets any money and that opposition caucuses get nothing? That being said, there is no legal way for a Conservative kangaroo court to force anyone to pay any money. Everyone knows its all a big game where the Conservatives want to change the channel from all their corrupt senate appointments - the NDP will never end up paying back a penny and why should they - they are playing by the same rules as the Tories and the Liberals. and BTW the NDP has been raising about $8 million a year for the last few years and 2014 looks to be even higher and that's not counting the $6-$7 million a year of per vote subsidy - the NDP will have plenty of money for 2015. Sorry to disappoint you. You seem to suffer from "NDP derangement syndrome" why do you have such an irrational hatred of that one party to the exclusion of any others?

    3. DL,

      You are quite misguided claiming the actions of the BoIE were retroactive. The rules were changed after Parliament reconvened in 2011! Why it took the NDP nearly 3 years to implement the new by-laws is beyond me but, it doesn't say much about their governing or administrative abilities! The Liberals and Conservatives may have used similar franking procedure in the past but, when the rules changed in 2011 the Liberals and Tories changed their behaviour to conform to the new rules- the NDP did not!

      The BoIE holds delegated authority from Parliament-both the House of Commons and Parliament are a court and they can require monies be repaid either through a motion confiscating a portion of the NDP’s parliamentary allowance or through an Act of Parliament! However, the Parliament of Canada Act contains a section entitled “Offence and Punishment” therefore, further legislative remedies are not necessary as violation of the Act amounts to a summary conviction.

      I am very happy you feel the NDP’s fundraising is going well; clearly the Liberal's ability to out fundraising the NDP nearly $2.5:1 and the Tories out fundraising the NDP nearly $3.5:1 does not bother you; Nor, should the fact that Liberal and Tory war chests are many multiples of the NDP’s war chest.

      As for corruption I have noticed the NDP are often first to cast a stone. We must wait until the BoIE’s ruling in the Autumn but, the NDP’s attempt to pay “parliamentary staffers” who worked for the NDP in Montreal may qualify. On the other hand the allegations (it is important to remember they are not proven as of yet) as I understand them are better described as fraud. The BoIE and perhaps Parliament will rule on the matter in the next session.

      The NDP suffers from intellectual inconsistency- they say one thing then do the opposite; whether it be criticising Harper for “not respecting Canadian institutions or parliamentary committees” then labelling a parliamentary committee (the BoIE) a “Kangaroo court”or lampooning Conservative senators for misusing parliamentary allowances only for the NDP to misuse parliamentary allowances regarding franking privileges and potentially parliamentary staff. Sadly, it is the NDP who does not play by the rules: whether their insistence the Sherebrooke Declaration conforms to the Supreme Court reference regarding the Clarity Act, Mr. Mulcair’s claim he could simply refuse to appoint senators and let the Senate cease through attrition (clearly shown to be unconstitutional by the SCOC Senate reference case), the NDP’s unconstitutional attempt to form a coalition or refusing to recognise both the authority and decision of Parliament to pay back money improperly used for franking. Sometimes I think the NDP has no intention of following the rule of law.

      As for insults that often emanate from NDP supporters such as; “(Y)ou seem to suffer from "NDP derangement syndrome” it is typical of a party and its supporters who are out-argued by those with greater knowledge and better intent. Conservatives, Liberals, Greens do not need to call Dippers names merely discuss NDP’s policies. The NDP’s dismal election record- they win roughly 5% of the elections they contest- speaks for itself.

    4. "clearly the Liberal's ability to out fundraising the NDP nearly $2.5:1 and the Tories out fundraising the NDP nearly $3.5:1 does not bother you"

      Why should it bother me when its completely incorrect - in 2013 the Conservatives raised about $18 million, the Liberals $11 million and the NDP $8.5 million. So the CPC outraised the NDP (and the Liberals) by about a 2-1 margin and the Liberals by about a 1.25 to 1 would be nice if the gap was narrower but the NDP was at a far worse cash disadvantage before the 2011 election and they still managed to spend the legal allowable limit in that election and they will in 2015 as well.

      Of course money isn't everything. In the US Eric Cantor spent $5 million dollars on trying to win the GOP nomination in his house district and lost to some guy who spent $100,000

    5. I stand by my statement above check the Elections Canada website to see for yourself. The NDP did spend the limit in 2011 after borrowing heavily $490,000 remains outstanding. Since the per vote subsidy is disappearing you may find this election the banks not as willing to loan large sums to the NDP especially when $3 million of liabilities will be on their books.

      If money isn't everything why does the NDP refuse to pay back the money they owe to Parliament for misusing their franking privileges? Instead they wish to litigate and that will surely cost both the NDP and the taxpayer more money.

  7. I agree about the BQ. They are a spent force. Even long time separatists are repudiating its leadership.

  8. We're still about 15 months away from the scheduled election. Got a hunch these numbers aren't really going to firm up until we're maybe 9 months away.

    That's assuming a snap election isn't called of course.

    1. I thought snap elections weren't permitted according to Stephen Harper's fixed election law.

    2. Well, the very parliament that passed that law was exactly the one that that was dissolved (in 2008) by the PM calling a snap election without losing the confidence of the House. So yeah, the law is there, but according to precedent it evidently has no effect.

    3. Fixed election laws do not change the role or powers of the Crown or the Constitution. The Monarch's representative must follow advice given by his or her elected ministers as per the convention of responsible government. What these Acts essentially do is through an Act of Parliament amend the elections Act to require an election be held on a certain date.

      The Act states that nothing: "affects the powers of the Governor General, including the power to dissolve Parliament at the Governor General’s discretion".

      Presumably this would mean the premier could delay the timing of an election as well as expedite the election date. The effect is a quasi-constitutional change reducing the term of Parliament from 4 years from 5.

  9. I think it'll be interesting to see the electoral strategies of all of the main parties next time around. I think the Bloc is permanently out of the race in Quebec, leaving the NDP to take the lion's share of the seats followed closely by the Liberals and the Conservatives in third.

    B.C. is looking to be a very exciting three way race between the major parties with the Greens as a wild card. It appears as though the NDP or the Conservatives will come in first in the province, I don't think the Liberals will win a plurality. It will be interesting to see if the Greens can take another seat or two.

    While the West will give the Conservatives over 50% of their seats, the most interesting race will be Ontario. The Conservatives will most definitely lose some seats come 2015 in Ontario, and I predict will place second here.

    I believe we're headed for a minority gov't with either the Liberals or Conservatives ahead. Both scenarios, however, I think will lead to a Liberal/NDP coalition.

    1. Lukas,

      I think any coalition unlikely. A NDP-Liberal coalition dooms the Liberals to continual cooperation with the NDP-they'll never be able to win a majority again because they will have strengthened, codified and institutionalized the vote split. More importantly they have discarded their mantle of "natural governing party". The vote split helps the Conservatives so in the end it would be self-defeating.

      Justin, has spoken of his affection for Quebec. Quebec is his home province and his home. I think it safe to say it holds a special place in his heart and I don't think Trudeau or any Liberal leader would voluntarily let it go and really that is what a coalition would entail.

      Then there are philosophical and policy differences between the two parties; Would Mulcair be willing to renounce the Sherebrooke declaration? Is Trudeau ready to turn over the means of production and state capital to the proletariat? I don’t think the Bay St. Liberal crowd want anything to do with the NDP and these are the people who fund the Grits.

      If either the Liberals or NDP win a plurality they will not need to be in coalition with the other what advantage would it give them? The Tories would likely be looking for a new leader and not in a rush to force an election. If the opposition parties come together and defeat the Conservatives on a motion of confidence the GG will only ask one leader to form government and that person will have all the cards. Is Mulcair going to defeat Harper have Trudeau installed as PM then defeat the new government if he doesn’t become a minister or vice versa? Why would a PM constrain himself by appointing ministers from another party? Perhaps there will be some sort of arrangement but, I doubt even that. Hung parliaments are notoriously unstable and it’s likely whoever becomes PM will want to keep their options open in the hope of winning a majority at the next election.

      As an aside the coalition in the UK has had some success but, much of it appears to be at the expense of the junior partner. Knowing this will Mulcair or Trudeau be anxious or willing to become the junior partner? Doubtful I would suggest.

      BC looks like a three way race but, in reality the Tories have the edge. The Mulcair-Trudeua anti-resource alliance will push many interior-northern-working class voters to the Conservatives. Eco-tourism, salmon fishing and whale watching are important industries but, British Columbians are still hewers of wood and drawers of water -there is far more money and far more jobs in the resource extraction sector. Almost every election cycle the Liberals poll high in BC between elections only to fall back down to Earth. In mid-2009 Eric had the Liberals in the 30’s in BC come election day they scored 13.4%. So, with 40% of the vote and a split opposition the Tories will win a majority of BC seats.

  10. Eric I remember hearing years ago that summer was a poor time for polling as so many where far more concerned with vacations etc and simply weren't concentrating on politics. Any truth to this ??

  11. What we are seeing here is a divided country. The West votes Conservative. The East votes centre or centre-left. This pattern will probably remain fairly stable unless there is a major development somewhere.

    1. That has been the electoral pattern for some years although Ontario and the Atlantic often oscillate between Conservative and Liberal. This pattern has been in place since the First World War with some notable interruptions such as the Progressives and United Farmers during the 1920's. Some may classify the UF and Progressives as small "c" conservative movements since they had an agrarian platform.

      Certainly a crisis or major development could change the paradigm but, the campaign will also be critical. The NDP's success in 2011 had as much to do with Layton and how his image was portrayed in Quebec than the mundane record of the BQ over the previous 20 years.

    2. Yes Albert I quite agree and as you point out there is a certain amount of oscillation in the political landscape. But think also on this. If Layton had not been so successful in 2011 would we have a Conservative majority Govt right now. My hunch is NO !!

    3. I disagree in 2011 people were both tired of the Liberals and minority government. A majority government was not inevitable but, the timing was right for one.

      Layton and the NDP didn't have too much impact on the majority/minority outcome, the NDP won 44 seats outside Quebec a record for them but, it was the Conservative-Liberal races in the Ontario and the Maritimes that were decisive for Harper. Of course Layton has some influence in lowering the Liberal vote but, Iggy was a flawed leader from the start. Even if Layton had not made his famous : "You don't get a promotion if you don't show up for work" jab the Liberals were on course to lose seats. Indeed, Layton's success demonstrates how fatally weak the Liberal position was.


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