Monday, September 8, 2014

August 2014 federal polling averages

The surge in Liberal support that was recorded by the polls in July was sustained into August, as four pollsters interviewing 5,424 Canadians were in the field last month. But the Conservative slump that was also recorded in July appears to have been erased, as the party is back polling to where it was in June.

The Liberals led in the polls in August for the 17th consecutive month, with 38% support. That was down slightly from 38.7% in July, but together July-August was the best two-month period the Liberals have managed since before 2009.

The Conservatives were up 2.6 points to 30.7% in August, while the New Democrats were down one point to 20.7%. That is their lowest level of support since March 2011, before their breakthrough in the subsequent election campaign.

The Greens were down 0.3 points to 5.2%, while the Bloc Québécois was down 0.1 points to 4.4%. Support for other parties stood at 1%.

The Liberals held onto the lead in British Columbia, picking up 1.5 points to reach 34.5% support. The Conservatives were up 3.2 points to 30.9%, while the NDP was down 4.3 points to 23.5% support. The Greens were unchanged at 10.3%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives held steady at 51.3%, with the Liberals down 1.9 points to 27.4%. The NDP was third with 14.7%, a gain of 3.6 points. The Greens dropped for the third consecutive month, by one point to 4.5%.

The Conservatives were up 1.2 points in the Prairies, leading with 36.2%. The Liberals were down 2.2 points to 31.2%, while the NDP was up 1.6 points to 25.7%. That was their best result since January. The Greens were down 0.5 points to 5.5%.

In Ontario, the Liberals dropped 3.4 points to 41.1%. But here again, this is their best two-month period since before 2009. The Conservative wobble that has been in place since the end of 2013 continued, as the party rebounded 4.4 points to 35.3%. The NDP was down 0.3 points to 17.4%, their lowest level of support in Ontario since February 2011. With the exception of a small uptick in June, the NDP has fallen in five consecutive months in the province. The Greens were up, however, by 0.3 points to 6%.

The Liberals also led in Quebec with 37.2%, a gain of 1.8 points and their highest level of support since January 2014. They have made gains in each of the last three months. The NDP was up 0.9 points to 28.8%, the party's best result in the country, while the Bloc Québécois was down 2.4 points to 16%. That is the lowest the Bloc has managed since before 2009, and most likely since before the 1993 election. The Conservatives were down 0.4 points to 14%, where they have been in five of the last six months, and the Greens were up 0.3 points to 3.2%.

Though it may not be fair to lay the blame completely at Mario Beaulieu's feet (the Bloc has been dropping since April, when the Parti Québécois was dealt a stinging defeat), it is hard not to find a correlation between the departure of two MPs and the departure of a whole swathe of voters. At the very least, Beaulieu accelerated the Bloc's slide.

So far, though, the NDP has not been the prime beneficiaries, as they were from the Bloc's original fall in 2011. Instead, the Liberals have taken advantage. Before Beaulieu came along, the Bloc was at 21% support in Quebec. It has since decreased by five points. The Liberals have increased their support by seven points since then, while the NDP has dropped by one. Of course, voters can move all along the line of scrimmage (Bloc supporters moving to the NDP, replacing NDP voters who went to the Liberals, etc.) but the end result of the shifts has been a significant improvement in the Liberals' position in Quebec.

The party is also well-positioned in Atlantic Canada, as it has registered majority support since throughout 2014. The Liberals were up 1.9 points in August to lead with 52.4%, the highest support any party has in any region in the country. The Conservatives were up 1.8 points to 22.7%, while the NDP was down 5.8 points to 17.7%. The Greens were up 2.8 points to 6.5%.

With these levels of support, the Liberals would likely win around 147 seats. That is a drop of 12 seats since July's projection, and 22 short of a majority.

The Conservatives were up 19 seats to 120, while the NDP was down six seats to 68. The Greens would likely win two seats (unchanged) while the Bloc could hold onto one (down one).

The Liberals did make gains in Quebec (two seats) and British Columbia (one seat), but were down one seat apiece in Alberta and Atlantic Canada, two in the Prairies, and 11 in Ontario.

The Conservatives were up 12 seats in Ontario, four in British Columbia, and one each in Alberta, the Prairies, and Atlantic Canada.

The New Democrats were down one seat in both Ontario and Quebec, and five in B.C., but were up one in the Prairies.

As the spring turned into the summer, it appeared that the Liberals were losing steam. From 36% and an eight-point lead in January, the party had fallen to 33% and a two-point edge in June. But the last two months have put the Liberals back in front with support they have not seen since Justin Trudeau's honeymoon just after his leadership victory.

While it puts the pressure on the Conservatives to regain that lost ground, it also puts the spotlight on the NDP. The party that forms the Official Opposition is heading towards the kind of numbers it put up when it was just the 'conscience of Parliament'. That needs to be reversed, and soon, if Thomas Mulcair wants a shot at 24 Sussex.


  1. That's quite the spike in Atlantic Canada !!

  2. if that seat projection holds then the NDP is back to third party and there is NO majority Govt !!

  3. I was skeptical that this was a real upshift in liberal support. But ok, couple polls now, skepticism is gone. What happened exactly to cause this, or combination of things...?

    1. IMHO it's just a continuation of the gradual positive trend for the Liberals we've seen for the last year or two, with a lot of noise overlaid on top.

    2. Oh, should have said too... in terms of what happened - Trinity Spadina and the other byelections.

      The Liberals can pretty credibly claim to be the party with the best shot at beating the Conservatives in 2015. To a lot of voters, that matters.

  4. For the NDP, the first positive step it has taken in some time was in the last few days with Mulcair's announcement of the party's platform (for the next election) featuring an apparent return to progressive policies, rather than the self-defeating (and bankrupt in principle) aping of Liberal and Conservative policies.

    1. Mulcair's NDP has no choice but to tack to the left. They are not going to find gain many votes in the centre when the Liberals polling strong. I am sure they learned from the Horwath conundrum in Ontario.

      However, I don't think Mulcair could do anything to reverse his party's slide to third place.

      Mulcair and his front bench has been strong in the House of Commons. They are competent and disciplined politicians. However, I feel the NDP and its supporters wrongly assumed that they have replaced the Liberals as the de facto centre-left party.

      The Liberals are a safe choice for many voters since they have been in power before and have successfully enacted progressive policies. Of course, NDP partisans would claim that past Liberal administrations were not progressive. But there are not enough people sharing that notion to put the NDP on top.

      At this moment, the Liberals are much better organized than the NDP. They have been winning by-elections. They are raking in more dollars. They are comfortable and confident with who they are, while the NDP struggle with their identity. The Liberals are attracting strong talent. Most of their riding nominations are contested by 3 to 4 strong candidates. This is a sign of a flourishing party.

      Justin Trudeau can relate to voters better than Thomas Mulcair. Trudeau is Obama-equse, Mulcair is old fashioned.

      This does not bode well for a party that is official opposition.

    2. That actually doesn't sound smart at all. They open themselves to attack and potential ridicule by the other parties, but worse, the other parties can appropriate the popular parts of this so-called "platform". In an election, nobody's going to care who came who with what first. The Liberals have certainly never shied away from going "progressive" themselves where that makes sense or is popular (sometimes even more progressive than the NDP.)

    3. Or are Mulcair's progressive proposals just cosmetic? He still appears determined to turn the NDP into Liberal-lite and move it to the 'center'. He also needs to show he can beat Harper. Meanwhile, the edge still goes to Trudeau, but as always, Harper retains a strong core and is holding onto a solid 30%. He's still very much in the game.

    4. Mulcair lost his chance to be competitive in 2015 with his misdirected and patently untrue "Dutch disease" comment. Every region of Canada has significant resource development industries and so an attack on one resource industry is an attack on them all. To win government in this country support must be gained from multiple regions his comment eliminated any chance the NDP had to be a significant player in Alberta, parts of Saskatchewan and B.C. It is very difficult to compete for government when a party is not competitive in 100 Western seats.

      Fortunately, for the NDP the Liberals are stuck with a leader that probably will not stand up to scrutiny. Obama went to Harvard Law School Justin was a drama teacher for two years. Obama is a strong orator, Justin as yet has not spoken a single memorable line. At the moment it is very difficult to see Justin's "progressive" credentials and while the Liberals are known for their good business sense and close ties to Bay St. those attributes were noticeably missing during PET's tenure at 24 Sussex. Young Trudeau himself has made no attempt to woo the business community or promote economic or any other policy save legal regulation of marijuana (this may explain the Dippers' sharp drop this month in BC).

      It is probably fortunate for Trudeau that his front bench is just as weak as the NDP, neither party has made much effort to promote their shadow cabinets. I for one was surprised to learn Brison and Cullen are their parties' respective finance critics. One really needs to ask why a M.P. from Nova Scotia is the Grits natural resource critic. The NDP shadow cabinet is simply unwieldy with far too many posts and policy areas that do not conform to government departments.

      A year out from an election anything could happen but, the Conservative party must be pretty happy with the way things are lining up.

  5. Headline from today's Globe

    "Canada’s fourth-quarter hiring outlook hits four-year low point"

    So much for those economic masters at the CPC. This has to help Justin !

    1. Those numbers are revised all the time. Unemployment remained steady. The real problem is Ontario where unemployment rose in both Toronto and Ottawa. Kathleen Wynne's irresponsible economic policies are costing jobs in Ontario as investment leaves and taxes rise.

  6. I know the Quebec urban/rural divide (which is reinforced by language) is large, but even so, there's no way the Liberals will lose the seat count in Quebec despite leading by 9 points in the polls. In 2000, the Liberals won the popular vote by 4 points and just barely lost the seat count 36-38 to the Bloc. In 2003, Charest easily won the seat count with a 7 point lead over Marois. If Justin Trudeau wins the popular vote in Quebec by 9 points, then he will win a landslide of the seats in Quebec, particularly against 1-term "Poteau" NDP incumbents, which will propel the Liberals to a slim majority Canada-wide.

    1. Quebec will be a difficult to predict province since region breakdowns have been varying a lot. Some polls show the federal Liberals support in concentrated in their traditional strongholds, while others have Liberal support spread more evenly throughout the province.

      I think it is possible for the Liberals to win the popular vote by nine points and lose the seat count. The NDP could narrowly hold on to enough ridings in rural areas to put them over the Liberals in that province.

      While I believe the NDP will be back to third place, I think they will win the most seats in Quebec. Many of these NDP incumbents have become popular with their local constituency and that might give certain candidates the edge against unknown Liberal candidates. Moreover, there are far too many francophone Quebeckers who would not warm up to the Liberals anytime soon so it would be difficult for Trudeau to sweep the province.

  7. Moreover, there are far too many francophone Quebeckers who would not warm up to the Liberals anytime soon

    I think Quebec's hatred of the LPC/Trudeau Sr. is a mile wide and an inch deep. The right orator can easily remind Quebec how much was won under PET for that province, even if they didn't agree with his every move (who does?).

    1. What did Quebec gain? Official bilingualism and 40 years of constitutional paralysis? They lost far more including the head offices of every major bank and a number of large corporations. More importantly Quebec has been in decline ever since. The only lasting benefit for Quebec that came from the Trudeau years is the Big O. Not much of a record.

    2. Official bilingualism

      You must be an anglophone. That is no minor thing. To give one example, I have senior friends from Quebec who went from being unable to land a job because of their french surnames to being sole candidates for federal jobs since those require bilingualism.

      It also created a climate in which the PM had to be from Quebec for nearly 40 years straight for another. Think about this. Imagine that the President of the USA were to be black for 36 out of 38 years, not just the eight years of Obama.

      There are so many other ways in which Pearson+PET+Mulroney reworked the Federation in more equitable ways to Quebec to list them here. If you are not aware of them you need to read up about the mistreatment of the Quebecois within their province and the federation.

      They lost far more including the head offices of every major bank and a number of large corporations. More importantly Quebec has been in decline ever since.

      Every one agrees that those moves were in response to the PQ separatist moves not PET overtures, so it's a moot point.

      That your reply blames PET for things he had nothing to do with proves my point. Most Quebecois blame him for things he had nothing to do with, such as the night of the long knives when Lebesque reneged on his word, yet it has been rewritten as a betrayal of PET on Rene of all things (!).

    3. My name is Thomas Uphill and you deduce I'm an Anglophone! My goodness I hadn't realized the great Sherlock Holmes was among us! I would conclude that you're a Quebecois but, your inability to spell Levesque correctly and lack of understanding as to why Trudeau's give away of Quebec's historical veto is a betrayal makes me think that you probably have less of an understanding of Quebec than you claim.

      I am very happy Quebeckers are able to find jobs with the federal civil service but, your description makes it appear one set of language discrimination is being replaced by another set of language discrimination. replacing discrimination with discrimination is not something to be proud of.

      I think your view of history skewed but, alas I don't have the time to debate every point. I will say you that if you are so concerned about mistreatment you should concern yourself of the plight of linguistic minorities in Quebec today thanks to Bill 101. it is a discriminatory law and one all Canadians should be ashamed of.


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