Monday, August 11, 2014

July 2014 federal polling averages

Last month was only slightly busier than June, with three national polls being conducted interviewing a total of 6,244 Canadians. Perhaps it was an anomalous month due to the low number of polls and the pollsters in the field. Perhaps it was due to it being the summer. But July showed a significant surge for the Liberals across the board. Blip or not?

The Liberals averaged 38.7% support in July, up 5.7 points from June and the highest they have recorded going back at least as far as before 2009. It was also their first month of increase since January, and stretches their lead overt the Conservatives to 16 months.

The Conservatives were down 2.9 points, averaging 28.1% support. The New Democrats were down 2.6 points to 21.7%, their lowest result since April 2011.

The Greens were down 0.2 points to 5.5%, while the Bloc Québécois was also down 0.2 points to 4.5%. Support for other parties stood at an average of 1.5%.

In British Columbia, the Liberals were up 6.2 points to 33%, while the NDP was down one point to 27.8%. The Conservatives dropped to third and their lowest level since December 2013, with a decrease of 6.1 points to 27.7%. The Greens were up 0.7 points to 10.3%.

The Conservatives fell 4.1 points in Alberta, but still led with 51.3%. The Liberals gained for the third consecutive month, jumping 6.6 points to 29.3%. That is their best since May 2013. The NDP was down 1.8 points to 11.1%, their lowest since December 2013. The Greens were down 1.2 points to 5.5%.

In the Prairies, the Conservatives slipped to their lowest level since December 2013, down 8.5 points to 35%. The Liberals were up 2.5 points to 33.4%, their best since February, while the NDP was up 3.1 points to 24.1%, its best since January. The Greens gained two points and averaged 6% support.

The Liberals made a big gain in Ontario, increasing 6.8 points to hit 44.5%. That is their highest support on record going back before 2009. That is especially surprising considering the Liberals had been holding steady in Ontario for the previous 11 months. The Conservatives were down 4.4 points to 30.9%, their lowest since May, while the NDP was down three points to just 17.7%. That is their lowest since March 2011 and, aside from a blip last month, have been dropping in Ontario for four consecutive months. The Greens were unchanged at 5.7%.

The chart above shows just how unusual the Liberal surge was in the context of a period of serious stability. We will have to wait and see where the Liberals' numbers go from here before determining whether this was real or not.

In Quebec, the Liberals were up 4.2 points and re-took the lead at 35.4%, their best result since January. The NDP was down 6.4 points to 27.9%, its lowest since December 2013. The Bloc was up 0.5 points to 18.4%, while the Conservatives gained 2.1 points to reach 14.4%. The Greens were down 0.4 points to 2.9%.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were up 0.5 points to 50.5%, their seventh consecutive month of majority support in the region. The New Democrats were up 3.2 points to 23.5%, their highest since September 2013 and the third consecutive month of gains. The Conservatives fell to third with a 3.1-point slip to 20.9%, while the Greens were down 1.6 points to 3.7%.

With these levels of support, the Liberals would win around 159 seats, a gain of 43 since June's projection. The Conservatives would win 101 seats, down 28, while the NDP dropped 16 seats to 74. The Greens and Bloc would each win two seats.

This is a great amount of change since last month. The Liberals picked up one seat in the north, one in Atlantic Canada, two in the Prairies, three in Alberta, six in British Columbia, 11 in Quebec, and 19 in Ontario. The Conservatives gained four seats in Quebec, but dropped one in Atlantic Canada, three in Alberta, five in B.C., seven in the Prairies, and 16 in Ontario. The NDP was up five seats in the Prairies, but down one in the north and British Columbia, three in Ontario, and 16 in Quebec.

This is one indication of how remarkable the numbers were in July. It could be that opinion shifted last month, or it could be just the product of which pollsters were in the field (EKOS and Forum tend to poll better for the Liberals). We will have to see what the polls in the coming weeks and months have to say.


  1. It would be interesting to see how the Conservative numbers would change if someone other than Harper were to lead the party.

    1. I think Conservative numbers should naturally increase (at the expense of Liberals) if they have a new leader. The allure of having a new PM after nearly nine years should give the party a good short term boost.

      The only exception is if the new leader is exceptionally lousy.

    2. And Jay I can't think of anybody in the current crop of CPC Parliament members who is even as good as Harper. So where do they get one ??

    3. Jason Kenny seems the most capable and person up to the task

    4. My first choice would be Maxime Bernier, but there's no way the party would go for that.

      James Moore is pretty good.

      I like Jason Kenney, but I don't think choosing another Calgary MP is a good idea politically.

    5. Peter,

      Harper is definitely the most shrewd. But I am sure there are many people who can boost the CPC's fortune in the short term. Even an "average" cabinet minister like Lisa Raitt can boost the CPC's standing in the polls for a bit.

      Jason Kenney is the closest to a heir apparent. But I think the next CPC leadership race, whenever it happens will be a competitive race with a high number of candidates.

      However, John Turner and Kim Campbell were leading in the polls before they led their party to an election - so a short term boost does not mean much.

    6. Remember Jay what happened to Turner and Campbell !! 'Nuff said !!

  2. Interesting shifts Eric ?

  3. the NDP have squandered their gains since May 2011, not too surprisingly... The fiascos of their campaigns in BC and Ontario, and the way Mulcair has handled the assault Gaza (hurting him in Quebec) along with what is now clearly an authoritarian party leadership and a shift to the right (outflanking the Ontario Liberals, for example) means they are probably losing their progressive base, the progressive who joined in 2011, and they're gaining nothing from the centre and right voters they've been courting.

    1. chimurenga,

      I don't support team Orange but you have nicely summarised what we have witnessed over the last couple years.

      As Chantal Hebert hypothesised some weeks ago Liberal and Conservative voters don't vote NDP. This shift to the right and to be fair I think it began under Layton, probably reached its maximum extent in May 2011. The only way for the NDP to regain their lost ground is to go after Trudeau without Mercy.

      In my opinion the only way the NDP can ascend to the "next level" as a potential governing party is to beat out the Liberals in the seat count. If the NDP can be the "lead coalition member" (assuming a coalition after the next election which I do not think likely unless the Liberals come third) then, the Liberals will be in trouble.

    2. The NDP is hampered in capturing the "loose Tory and Grit vote" by their constitutional policies. The "loose" Tories and Grits are probably skeptical not only about 50%+1 but "rocking the boat" in general. The NDP's constitutional policies scare these more conservative voters and prevent the NDP from emerging into a "governing party".

      The Senate abolition policy is a good example as it is particularly problematic for the NDP. Everybody knows the Senate's approval rating is somewhere in the mid-teens but, on a straight forward question of abolition the lure of bicameralism may be considerably stronger.

      As you may know, Ireland has a indirectly elected Senate consisting of members elected through vocational panels, graduates of certain universities and some appoint by the prime minister. it has suffered much the same criticism as Canada's Senate and for much the same reasons.

      It is interesting that when Irish voters were given the option of abolition recently 52% elected to keep the Senate. This was not an endorsement per se of the Senate but, I think demonstrates the strength of bicameralism. For whatever the arguments in favour of abolition an equally strong case can be made for the dangers of unicameralism and the over consolidation of power in the hands of the few.

      I don't know if 52% of Canadians would vote to keep the Senate but on a straight up question of unicameralism v. bicameralism I think bicameralism would take the day.

      This is not to say Trudeau's Senate position is any better. Trudeau's position is irresponsible and sets the stage for a constitutional crisis.

  4. Hi Eric, I am wondering if the Liberals gain any seats in Saskatchewan with your projection and if so are you able to share with us which riding(s)?

    8 seats for the Liberals in the Prairies is impressive. I am assuming 6 or 7 of them will be in Manitoba where they are usually stronger.

    1. No gains for the Liberals in Saskatchewan.

    2. Based off 2011's numbers, it would take a lot for the Liberals to gain any extra seats in Saskatchewan. However, I suspect that in a real election, you would see major unexpected shifts in certain ridings that normal models wouldn't predict - i.e., Goodale goes up by only a bit in Wascana, while nearby in Lewvan the Liberals jump up! 20 or more points.

    3. My guess would be that Liberals would pick up seats in Manitoba, while the New Democrats would do so in Saskatchewan, primarily in Regina and the far north.

    4. Wininpeg south, Winnipeg south centre, St. Boniface would be among the first ones that come to mind as possible pickups they were the closest last election. I could be missing another but I think that would be about it.

  5. Seat gains are difficult to predict this far out in advance. It will depend upon the campaigns the parties run & the candidates in the individual ridings.

    1. Not just campaigns but even more important policies !! That I think will be the crucial area .

    2. When have policies ever been relevant in a federal election campaign?

    3. Last election, or perhaps the one before, Nanos had a break down on what motivates individual voters in terms of the reasons why they vote the way they do. I searched for it, but sadly could not find the information on his site anymore. Anyway it was something like ~5% voted on tradition, they always voted for a particular party and will continue to. ~20% voted on the policy of the party, ~20% voted on who was the leader of the party and if they wanted said person to be the PM. Can't remember all the other categories policy does matter to some.

  6. These polling numbers, especially from Ontario make a lot of sense. No doubt the Libs are getting a bounce from the recent Ontario Provincial Lib majority. If the trend continues, the Cons will almost certainly be shutout of Toronto and most, if not all of the 905. Even though the federal election campaign is still over a year away, if 'progressives' see that the Liberals are within earshot of a majority some swing Green, NDPers and red Tories (do they even exist anymore?) will shift their vote to the Libs to finish off Stevie and the Cons. However, if it's looking more like a minority situation, I think the NDP will fare better.

  7. So I did a little test using the June and July data for 2013 and 2014 at the Wikipedia page holding the poll data.


    I based it on the five polls done in June/July 2014

    2014 Ekos, Forum (2), Abacus, Angus-Reid
    2013 Ekos, Forum (2),Abacus, Ipsos-Reid

    There were more polls last June, but I wanted to compare samples with the same pollsters.

    Using June/July results gets a larger sample and lets us eliminate any seasonal effects in the trend.

    2013 --- Libs 33.1--- Cons 29.2 --- NDP 24.5 --- Gr 6.1
    2014 --- Libs 37.1--- Cons 29.3 --- NDP 22.1 --- Gr 5.4

    Not as big a difference as taking month to month comparison, but it does show the Liberals consolidating the vote that's looking for an alternative to Harper. Still, the latest Forum vote might be biasing the data a little. It's hard to believe that Liberals are at 44%.

    1. This is just the quiet before the storm.

  8. "The most recent poll to be released, done by EKOS last month, pegs the Conservatives in the mid-20s, in a statistical tie with the NDP and 13 points behind the Liberals. "

    Chantal Hebert in today's Toronto Star. Looks like the Tories need to do a rethink ?

    1. Hebert didn't write "looks like the Tories need a rethink" she wrote the Tories need to present Harper as a more consensual leader.

  9. Since the 2011 election, the poll numbers have shown clear differences between the pollsters.

    The top 9 Liberal results have been from 9 Forum polls.

    The top 17 Liberal results have been 14 Forum polls and 3 EKOS polls.

    The 8 lowest Conservative results have been from 7 EKOS polls and a Harris-Decima poll.

    That 2 of the three polls this month were Forum and EKOS should colour our interpretation of the average quite a bit.

  10. I'd be really curious to know where those 6 Liberal seats in Alberta are...

    1. In my model, I only have 4 LPC ridings in Alberta, and they are:

      Fort McMurray-Cold Lake

    2. Fort McMurray-Cold Lake!

      Aren't those folks supposed to be in love with Harper's religious devotion to the tar sands? Or maybe they have some misgivings about the environmental destruction and removal of local government...

    3. Large Aboriginal population in Ft. Mac-Cold Lake.

      Nothwithstanding Thierry's prediction I don't think any Alberta ridings are winnable for Trudeau. At the most recent by-election the Tories won by 11%. Turnout was very low and this probably helped the Liberals who scored a very respectable 35%.

      In That part of the Province there is no other industry but, the tar sands and while I think people are concerned about their environment, they are also not about to vote themselves out of a job.

  11. In my simulator, the July average gives me:

    153 LPC
    102 CPC
    78 NDP
    4 BQ
    1 GPC

    By "province", it gives me:

    23 LPC
    5 CPC
    4 NDP

    37 LPC
    29 NDP
    8 CPC
    4 BQ

    68 LPC
    34 CPC
    19 NDP

    10 CPC
    10 NDP
    8 LPC

    29 CPC
    4 LPC
    1 NDP

    British Columbia:
    16 CPC
    14 NDP
    11 LPC
    1 GPC

    2 LPC
    1 NDP


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