Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two new polls give Liberals wide lead

Both Ipsos Reid and Abacus Data reported new national polling numbers yesterday, and both showed the Liberals leading the Conservatives by six or seven points. The results corroborate some of the other recent numbers we have seen. These suggest that the Liberals have rebounded, at the expense of the Conservatives, from what looked like a slump-in-the-making at the end of the spring.

The Ipsos Reid poll, conducted for Global News, was the first we have heard from the company at the federal level since April 17-22. Since then, the Liberals were up five points to 38% support, a jump that is outside the margin of error of a probabilistic sample of similar size.

The Conservatives were down two points to 31%, while the New Democrats were unchanged at 24%.

The Greens and Bloc Québécois had 3% apiece.

Abacus Data's last poll was conducted June 25-July 3. They have not recorded any major shifts since then, but the Liberals were up one point to 35%, followed by the Conservatives at 29% (down two points) and the NDP at 22% (up one point).

The Greens stood at 7% support, while the Bloc was at 5%.

Both pollsters recorded similar gender breakdowns. The Liberals were up by two points among men in the Abacus poll. The margin was four points according to Ipsos. Among women, both firms put the gap at 10 points between the Liberals and Conservatives.

I've highlighted above the three largest regions, but only in Quebec do the numbers look very close. There, both polls have the Liberals ahead of the NDP (echoing the results of the latest big-sample CROP poll) with the Bloc Québécois well behind.

The dissimilarities in British Columbia and Ontario are, on the face of it, important. In B.C., it is either a close Conservative-Liberal contest, or a Liberal lead with the NDP in second. In Ontario, it is either a wide Liberal lead or a virtual tie.

But if we take into account the margins of error (practically speaking, if not theoretically speaking since these are not probabilistic samples) we see that the disparities are really not so significant.

The chart below shows, simply calculated, where the two polls overlap for each of the parties. It gives a good indication of where things stand in each region.


Nationally, the Liberals are somewhere between 35% and 38%, while the Conservatives are clearly in second with between 28% and 32%. The NDP is in third with between 21% and 25%.

The Liberals are probably leading in British Columbia, where they are mostly ahead when taking into account the overlap. The NDP is probably in third, but overall the race is close.

The Liberals also probably lead in Ontario with between 35% to 41% against the Conservatives' 30% to 37%, and are most likely ahead in Quebec, with 31% to 41% against the 22% to 32% of the NDP. In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals are indisputably in front.

The Conservatives are comfortably in the lead in Alberta, but are well off their historical pace. They are also probably in the lead in the Prairies, but it is interesting that at the low end of the Tories' range and the high end of the range for the Liberals and NDP, the three parties are tied.
The Ipsos and Abacus polls would result in very different national scenarios in terms of seats. The Ipsos poll would give the Liberals 150 seats to 121 for the Conservatives and 67 for the NDP - enough to give the Liberals a comfortable minority government.

The Abacus poll is far closer, however, with 135 seats for the Liberals, 122 for the Conservatives, and 70 for the NDP.

If we combine the two results, taking the best and worst numbers in each of the regions, the Conservatives could conceivably come out ahead in the seat count with 140 to 133 for the Liberals. That would be on the margins of what is likely, just as a far larger Liberal victory of 152 seats to 103 for the Tories would be. But with these kinds of numbers, there is a great deal of scope for variation in the seat count. The Liberals need to be over the 40% mark to be in a good position to win a majority government.

The numbers above do give an indication of where the battlegrounds will be. For the Conservatives, much depends on their results in British Columbia and Ontario. For the NDP, it is Quebec and B.C. that are most important, while Ontario will probably make or break the election for the Liberals (I'd throw Quebec into that as well, but the Ipsos and Abacus polls were consistent there for the party).

Also of note is Alberta. With the Conservatives dropping significantly in the province to around 50%, it opens up the potential for a number of seats in Edmonton and Calgary to go to either the Liberals or NDP. It likely won't determine the fate of the government, but the eight-seat range for the Tories above could turn out to be very important. Admittedly, however, if the Conservatives are reduced to 21 seats in Alberta they are likely not doing very well in the rest of the country.

The only pollster that has been very active in 2014 that we have yet to hear from this summer is Angus Reid Global. As Angus Reid has had the race far closer than anyone else has, it will be interesting to see if they will change their tune or continue to set themselves apart from the pack.

28 comments:

  1. When are you going to start posting about the New Brunswick election since it was called last week? It is actually looking like an exciting election between the PC's debate missteps and a change in government being in the cards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The last poll for New Brunswick was done in May.

      Delete
    2. There is reportedly an Ipsos-Reid poll out for New Brunswick tonight. If true, I guess we will see it soon.

      Delete
  2. Abucus' number for the Bloc are way too high

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know. I have to think that 20% of Quebeckers will always be in favour of sovereignty.

      Delete
    2. Sovereignty support does not translate into sovereigntist party support. The "Option nationale" party split from the PQ and ran provincially on a platform of immediate Quebec independence but got 1% or less in the last two elections. Option nationale strongly supported Beaulieu's leadership campaign. The PQ and its supporters now see the Bloc as a critic, if not an opponent, aligned with Option nationale. Without the PQ organizing on behalf of the Bloc, the Bloc is heading for a low single digit result in 2015.

      Delete
    3. GI,

      I think there probably exists a correlation between support for sovereignty and support for separatist parties. It may not be one-for-one but, certainly the BQ polled higher when support for separation was more popular.

      In a federalist political context a true separatist really only has two options; vote BQ or stay home. The BQ may very well be headed for a single digit result but, in the context of a federal poll I don't think a 20% BQ result too out of the ordinary.

      Delete
    4. Formerly Carbonear Pete, you have not been following the news for the past month. Mario Beaulieu is losing members left and right, half of his caucus has jumped ship to sit as independents. Only Louis Plamondon, alone is said to run again. A one MP party. The Bloc is at its lowest low currently, Mario Beaulieu is a cartoon. The only survivor in 2015 will be Louis Plamondon alone and that will be it for the Bloc

      Delete
    5. Phil S,

      Why would you tell me what my media habits are? How could you possibly know what my media viewing and reading habits are?

      Your statement that 20% support for the BQ is too high is your opinion and frankly I think it is incorrect. The poll has a MoE of 6.4% in Quebec so, a result of 20% is not unreasonable. Polls in the Spring found support for sovereignty among Francophones around 40%. Most importantly the poll was conducted before the latest round of defections.

      Delete
  3. Ok, so those two polls are out, and there was also a Forum one on the 19th. So I'll have a result for all three polls (Ipsos, Abacus and Forum in that order) followed by an average of all three. Note that since Ipsos didn't release numbers aside fromthe three biggest regions, the other numbers extrapolated from current averages.

    148-135-167 LPC
    121-121-117 CPC
    68-74-53 NDP
    1-2-1 GPC
    0-6-0 BQ

    By region, it goes like this:

    Atlantic
    25-23-26 LPC
    4-6-3 CPC
    3-3-3 NDP

    Québec
    43-37-48 LPC
    27-27-22 NDP
    8-8-8 CPC
    0-6-0 BQ

    Ontario
    59-46-67 LPC
    43-56-45 CPC
    19-19-9 NDP

    Prairies
    12-12-13 CPC
    6-6-11 LPC
    10-10-4 NDP

    Alberta
    29-28-29 CPC
    4-4-4 LPC
    1-2-1 NDP

    British Columbia
    24-11-19 CPC
    9-17-9 LPC
    8-12-13 NDP
    1-2-1 GPC

    Territories
    2-2-3 LPC
    1-1-0 NDP

    For the average, it gives:

    146 LPC
    120 CPC
    71 NDP
    1 GPC

    Atlantic
    25 LPC
    4 CPC
    3 NDP

    Québec
    45 LPC
    25 NDP
    8 CPC

    Ontario
    53 LPC
    49 CPC
    19 NDP

    Prairies
    11 CPC
    10 NDP
    7 LPC

    Alberta
    29 CPC
    4 LPC
    1 NDP

    British Columbia
    19 CPC
    13 NDP
    9 LPC
    1 GPC

    Territories
    3 LPC

    ReplyDelete
  4. After the trouncing the Provincial PCs had in Ontario two months ago, I have a hard time believing the federal Conservatives will pull more than 1/3 of Ontario seats based on current polling numbers. Every federal poll since the Liberal majority in Ontario has correlated to a bump in the federal cousins.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In 2006 the Tories won 35% of the popular vote and gained 40 seat out of 106 in Ontario-slightly over a third. Today the Tories are exactly in that range according to the polls accordingly their seat range is roughly in the same area.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the Ontario PC's are on a real slide and that will affect the Federal Con results. Hudak was a disaster !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually Ontario votes for the Conservatives when the Liberals are in power provincially and the Liberals when the Conservatives are in power provincially. Ironically, judging by history it is the Ontario Liberals who have sealed their federal cousins' fate.

      Delete
    2. It's trending though that 2015 will not be a repeat of history. The Cons' wild card is how the NDP fare in Ontario. If they get less than 20% of the vote, the Liberals will win at least 2/3 of Ontario seats.

      Delete
    3. YOWzaa,

      A good point, however, at the moment the Liberals have a fair sized lead in Ontario with the NDP below 20% but, according to seat projections only win between 42%-51% of the seats with the Tories winning between 1/3 and 42% of Ontario seats. The many additional seats in 2015 favour Conservatives and although the NDP is low in the polls the areas where they have picked up support hurt Liberals and Conservatives equally.

      It is too early to discount history.

      Delete
  7. Éric,

    Harper can't see the forest for the trees. If they want to finish in a respectable second, they need to change leader as quickly as possible. That means lead time beginning this winter and heading into 2015. I disagree with Andrew Coyne. If Harper waits to go until next spring, they will not have enough time to reorganize under a new leader before they come right up smack into the election date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it a pretty safe bet the Conservatives will finish at least second in terms of seats. The NDP has a much tougher hill to climb to remain Official Opposition and this is reflected in the polls that have consistently shown the Conservatives in second and NDP in third.

      Sometimes changing a leader close to an election works such as Christy Clark and Rodney MacDonald but, it can also fail spectacularly like John Turner and Kim Campbell. At this point I think the Tories are better off keeping Harper, he is a known entity and the people who do not like Harper are unlikely to vote for his successor. Harper also scores well on the best PM question and has a very good track record against rookie Liberal/ Opposition Leaders.

      Harper is not going anywhere, the Tories may be down in the polls but, they are definitely not out. A seven point Liberal lead is not insurmountable, last election the NDP gained about 13 points from the time the writ was dropped until election day. I wouldn't expect that much movement in 2015 for the Tories but, 5 points is certainly possible.

      Delete
    2. Formerly Carbonear Pete,

      I would put it to you that the NDP gained their 13 points largely due to the good will and even affection for Jack. Somehow, I don't see that translating itself in favour of Harper next time.

      Delete
    3. Me either Ron and currently there is a distinct cooling for Harper over the aboriginal women thing !!

      Delete
    4. Many Canadians may not love Harper but feel he has done a respectable job as PM in challenging times. This may not endear Harper to some but, it may make many question putting the ship of state in untested hands at the next election.

      Delete
    5. Formerly Carbonear Pete,

      I guess some things never change. Remember what Joe Clark said in 2006 -- about going with the devil you know, etc. Obviously the untested hands mantra doesn't cut much ice with most voters.

      Besides, Harper's battle plan is to have Oliver bring in a tax cutting budget and then immediately proceed to a surprise election. In other words, they will choose the latest budget date possible and then go to an early June election.

      Delete
    6. Harper has a bunch of negatives at this point, but I don't think there's any meaningful value in replacing him at this point. The federal Tories aren't exactly flush with exciting new leadership candidates, partly as a consequence of Harper's iron-fisted management style, and to a great extent that iron fist is what coheres the party. Nobody can really be sure what the party will look like without him (we'll find out, eventually, of course, but I don't think there's any profit to the Tories in trying to find that out now, with less than a year until an election).

      Delete
    7. Don't worry Ronald between now and the election there will be lots of advertising about the inexperience of Trudeau and how the Liberal party has not changed much less learned any lessons.

      An early budget then election is a rumour nothing more. We could see an election this Fall or the PM could advise Parliament last its full five year term. Unless you Harper discuss these matters it is pure speculation.

      Delete
    8. Formerly Carbonear Pete,

      Harper will never permit Parliament to go beyond four years. He, along with others remember too well what happened to PET in 1979.

      As for discussing strategy with Harper, I can assure you that I am the last person on this green earth that the PM would want to discuss strategy with. LOL.

      Delete
    9. Trudeau lost in '79 for a whole host of reasons not simply because he let Parliament sit into its fifth year. Trudeau's economic incompetence had eroded a good portion of his base by then. People were relatively forgiving about the dismal economy, stagflation high gas prices etc... by '79 however, it was becoming clear that Trudeau didn't have many answers. Trudeau was lucky Joe Clark was an inept parliamentarian and lost a confidence vote he really should have won.

      Delete
  8. Reading the numbers here I don't see a majority Govt for any party??

    With the new seat count you need 170 seats for majority and nobody seems to have that ??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the Atlantic region polls do support the numbers and projections here so maybe the country is wising up ?

      Delete

COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.