Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EKOS, Abacus polls show close race

With little over six months to go before the official start of the 2015 federal election campaign, the latest polls from EKOS Research and Abacus Data show the Conservatives and Liberals in a very close race.

The current projection reflects this. The previous update, done on Feb. 17 and incorporating polls in the field to Feb. 10, had the Liberals narrowly ahead with 34.2% support to 32.9% for the Conservatives. Now, that gap of 1.3 points has reduced further to just 0.5 points, with the Liberals at 33.5% and the Tories at 33%.

That, in turn, has widened the margin in favour of the Conservatives in the seat projection: 145 to 126, against 140 to 135 in the last update. The ranges have also become more favourable to the Tories, with 126-164 seats against 107-145 for the Liberals.

The NDP stands at 19.4%, with a range of 47 to 77 seats.

I go over the latest projection numbers and the regional breakdown in my CBC article this week. Please check it out.

Let's look at the two national polls added to the projection (CROP was also added for the Quebec numbers), by EKOS Research for iPolitics and Abacus Data.

Abacus was last in the field Jan. 26-28. Compared to that poll, both the Conservatives and the Liberals picked up two points to reach 35% and 34%, respectively. The NDP was down three points to 21%.

None of these shifts were outside the margin of error of similarly sized probabilistic samples. Indeed, Abacus's numbers have been wobbling back and forth for some time, with no discernible trend.

EKOS, which appears to be reporting on a weekly basis now, was last in the field Feb. 4-10. There was little change since that poll, with the Conservatives up 0.3 points to 32.3%, the Liberals down 2.2 points to 31.6%, and the NDP up 0.2 points to 19.1%. None of these shifts were outside the margin of error.

Both polls showed similar gender breakdowns, with the Tories up on the Liberals by a margin of 40% to 35% among men in the Abacus poll and 36.7% to 30.2% in the EKOS survey. Among women, the Liberals were ahead with 34% to 30% according to Abacus, and 33.1% to 28.4% according to EKOS. Both polls also showed the NDP doing better among women (25% Abacus, 20.9% EKOS) than men (17% Abacus, 17.4% EKOS).

The two polls were also in lock step in age breakdowns, with the Conservatives narrowly ahead among the youngest cohort (unusual as that is), the Liberals ahead among those aged roughly 30 to 65, and the Conservatives in front among older Canadians.

Regionally, there were few major differences in the two polls in most parts of the country. The Liberals narrowly ahead in B.C., where the NDP is faltering, the Conservatives well in front in Alberta, the Liberals with majority support in Atlantic Canada, and the Conservatives ahead in Ontario (considering the sample sizes, the differences between the Abacus and EKOS polls there are really marginal).

The two polls were in disagreement in the Prairies, where Abacus has the Liberals with 41% to 38% for the Tories and 15% for the NDP. But the sample size, at 95, would carry a margin of error of +/- 10 points with a probabilistic sample. EKOS has more familiar looking numbers, with about 44% for the Tories, 31% for the Liberals, and 15% for the NDP.

The other point of disagreement is Quebec, which has become par for the course in recent polls. It does seem to be a methodological difference, since the online polls are all in agreement and the IVR polls are generally on the same page.

Abacus put the Liberals ahead with 32% to 31% for the NDP, the Conservatives at 18% and the Bloc Québécois at 17%. EKOS, meanwhile, has something very different: 23.6% for the NDP, 23.1% for the Bloc, 22.7% for the Liberals, and 22% for the Conservatives.

That represents some exceptional results. For the Liberals, it would be their worst result in any poll since March 2013, or 124 polls ago. For the Bloc, only two of the last 53 polls have been better.

It is possible that EKOS is on to something, but it looks more likely that this is a bit of an outlier result, which is bound to happen from time to time.

The most recent polls from the province have some points of agreement, but also paint a very confusing portrait of what is going on in Quebec. Here are the latest results (all polls taken between Feb. 9 and 17) with their respective error ranges (assuming probabilistic samples in the case of Abacus and CROP).

For the Liberals and Conservatives, the four polls do not all overlap. Or at least, the three by Abacus, CROP, and Forum do, whereas the EKOS poll does not.

There is only a little bit of overlap with the NDP numbers (at 27%) and the Bloc (at 20%).

With these numbers, we can posit that EKOS was probably a little low for the Liberals and high for the Bloc, and that the Liberals' true support probably lies closer to the high-20s or low-30s in the province. The New Democrats seem to be in the high-20s.

The Conservatives are likely in the high-teens or low-20s, where as the Bloc is most likely in the high-teens.

The province is certainly in flux, and undoubtedly the smaller amount of interest in the federal scene has an influence on how fluid voters are in the province. But with the race becoming a four-way contest, an extremely wide range of outcomes is possible.

If we use these ranges to calculate the best case scenarios for each party, we get an enormous variety of results. The Liberal best case scenario with these ranges gives them 51 seats (14 NDP, 13 CPC, 0 BQ). The NDP could take 54 (16 LPC, 8 CPC, 0 BQ). The Conservatives could win 20 (31 NDP, 24 LPC, 3 BQ). Even the Bloc, topping out at 27%, could win 40 seats (22 LPC, 10 CPC, 6 NDP) if the other parties divvy up the remaining vote.

Consider how Quebec alone could cause a huge swing. If we use these seat ranges and apply them to the current projection, assuming all the other provinces go as projected, the Conservatives would be at 137-149, the Liberals between 118-153, and the NDP between 33-81. The stakes in Quebec are laid out quite clearly here: probably not too significant for the Tories, but the province decides whether the Liberals win or place second, and whether the NDP stays as a strong party or returns to pre-2011 days.

The polls did a good job calling the federal election in Quebec in 2011, better than anywhere else in the country. It might not prove so simple in 2015.

61 comments:

  1. Way too difficult for people to make projections on Quebec at the moment. You got all four parties winning several razor thin victories with less than 35% of the vote share in that province.

    I still feel only the NDP or Liberals can "win" Quebec. But a tight race is good news for the Conservatives and Bloc who can squeeze victories in a few ridings.

    Outside of Quebec, it looks like things are somewhat more stagnant. Liberals have become the de facto opposition to the Tories, even in parts of the country where the NDP had taken the mantle.

    NDP support is back down to its core base. This must be frustrating for Mulcair and his competent front bench.They have been polling very poorly in Ontario where they have been in the 20+ range for most of the last five years and now down into the mid teens. I think the trend has started after the provincial election.

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    1. Provincial counterparts of the federal NDP have not done them any favours in the last few years. Far too much trust was placed in Brian Topp, whose expertise clearly is to undermine the core values of the party in order to lose elections. Yeah, it makes that much sense. The federal NDP should put as much distance between him and them as possible. The same goes for the others who resemble him and who've exerted a dire effect on the party, again, both in terms of electoral "success" and in policy.

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    2. chimurenga
      I think you nailed it. The NDP seem to have been attempting to become a Blairite Labour party in Canada, and it has had two effects: force the Liberals to move rightward, and undermine the NDP's very raison d'etre. Mulcair and many front benchers are great, but there are 60+ unknown quantities in those seats, and the focus on Parliamentary process over grassroots organizing has been a mistake. Sure, Mulcair has taken the trophy for cogent, snappy soundbites. But that seems unlikely to drive non-core NDP voters to vote for the party. Frankly, Pat Martin's underwear excuse probably resonates with more Canadians.

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    3. If the NDP were to do the right thing and kick Pat Martin out or at least not sign his nomination papers next election I don't think the Trudeau Liberals would take him in.

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    4. The NDP was losing elections long before Mr. Topp and socialist values have been totally discredited since 1989. democratic socialism is outdated and antiquainted in 2015. They opposed the BC carbon tax and want to increase taxes on working people and everyone else-it is no secret why they sit below 20% in the polls.

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    5. I'd say Pat Martin benefits the NDP. He is of the moderate wing of the party. Occasionally he spouts some goofy remarks, but at least the keep the NDP in the news cycle.

      Polished Dippers can be boring. It is good to have some colourful characters in your caucus!

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    6. Agree with chimurenga and Thingamabob.

      To add, if a voter has a choice between the NDP posing as Liberals, and the Liberals themselves. People will just vote for the real deal. The real deal has experience in government and the real deal can win in areas where the NDP traditionally has no base in.

      But it is hard for the NDP. Especially federally and in Ontario. Tack too far to the left and you alienate moderates you need to win. Tack too far to the right and you frustrate your base and moderates will still be loyal to the Liberals.

      I think right now Mulcair and the front bench want to be in power. They do not want to prop up a Liberal minority and rather be in a coalition with them. The NDP does have some strong talent in Angus, Dewar, Cullen, Leslie, Christopherson, Julian and a few others that could be seen as cabinet ministers. This is probably the best NDP front bench in the history of the federal party. Deputy PM Mulcair under PM Trudeau may not be such a bad idea to the majority of the electorate.

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    7. There will not be a deputy PM Mulcair. To do so would de facto give the NDP governing legitimacy and deny the Liberals a majority government for a generation- the Grits won't go for it.

      For the NDP it would be a step backwards-their future -if they are to have one- lies in replacing the Liberals not cozying up to them.

      I am pretty sure such an alliance if announced before voting day would see 200 plus seats for the Conservatives as both idealistic democratic socialists, true Liberals and Conservatives flock toward Harper.

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    8. If the Liberal will accept Eve Adams Pat Martin is a shoo in!

      Why should the NDP kick him out?

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    9. Pat Martin should be barred from the House for his Meunddies stunt-M.P.s are not allowed props during debates. Advertising is not banned per se but, he needs the House's permission to do so.

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    10. I think you're right Big Jay the NDP front bench wants to be in power. Thank God we have a whole system designed to prevent that from happening from the privy council oath to the Senate!

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    11. The NDP caucus is still pretty inexperienced overall. Most of their MP's are new MP's from the Quebec wave in 2011. They only have a small number of long-term MP's.

      The Liberal caucus, although small, is still more experienced than the NDP because it is full of former federal cabinet ministers. I don't think the NDP has any former federal ministers in its caucus.

      Btw, I thought Pat Martin was a fresh breath of air when he was first elected because of his outspoken and frank manner. But in recent years he has become very vulgar and loud for no good reason, and I can't imagine the NDP is happy about it.

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    12. Topp is significant because he took campaing that looked like they couldn't fail, and made them fail. And that happened because he was misguided enough to run those campaigns as a Liberal incumbent would.

      Big Jay, You're right about the NDP's difficulties in Ontario. I think they need to avoid focussing soley on electability and electioneering, and concentrate on the issues and their platform. It'll take time, but they'll win more people over (and more permanently) that way. It's also a far healthier contribution to our political culture.

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    13. chimurenga,

      The blame lies with those who hired Topp, the NDP party and political leadership. Anybody who has read Topp's book on the coalition know Brian Topp is a man who fundamentally does not understand how government formation works. Why the BC NDP thought a Saskatchweigian could run a BC specific campaign is beyond me as well. People from Saskatchewan have a very high opinion of the place everyone else advises a move to BC, Alberta or Ontario.

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  2. Using the numbers of the aggregate, I get:

    132 CPC
    120 LPC
    77 NDP
    7 BQ
    2 GPC

    By region, it gives:

    Atlantic
    24 LPC
    5 CPC
    3 NDP

    Québec
    37 NDP
    24 LPC
    10 CPC
    7 BQ

    Ontario
    55 CPC
    47 LPC
    19 NDP

    Prairies
    17 CPC
    7 LPC
    4 NDP

    Alberta
    29 CPC
    4 LPC
    1 NDP

    British Columbia
    16 CPC
    12 LPC
    12 NDP
    2 GPC

    Territories
    2 LPC
    1 NDP

    If I take the two polls, the results are (EKOS/Abacus):

    140 CPC 138
    113 LPC 112
    64 NDP 83
    19 BQ 3
    2 GPC 2

    By region, it gives (EKOS/Abacus):

    Atlantic
    26 LPC 25
    3 CPC 4
    3 NDP 3

    Québec
    25 NDP 44
    19 LPC 24
    19 BQ 3
    15 CPC 7

    Ontario
    58 CPC 62
    44 LPC 40
    19 NDP 19

    Prairies
    19 CPC 13
    7 LPC 11
    2 NDP 4

    Alberta
    28 CPC 31
    4 LPC 2
    2 NDP 1

    British Columbia
    16 CPC 20
    12 LPC 9
    12 NDP 11
    2 GPC 2

    Territories
    1 CPC 1
    1 LPC 1
    1 NDP 1

    Generally speaking, both EKOS and Abacus are very close in terms of seat, except in Québec. The ironic thing is, Harper has been saying that his government has been putting an end to the separatist movement in Québec, but according to this latest EKOS, his trong numbers in the province are acutally helping the BQ. Of course, the BQ is also stronger than in most polls, but it still struck me as funny. Aside from that, nothing too exciting about these polls, they seem to fit with the most recent trends.

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    1. EKOS seems to be the odd man out on Quebec. Ipsos came out today and has the Cons low down in Quebec in last place.

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  3. Those are some weird polling numbers in both. The Cons leading by 7 points in Ontario and the Libs leading in the Prairies. Can you say over polling in Winnipeg and rural Ontario. Online polls never seem to be very accurate come election time. Then with EKOS having a 4-way tie. Is that some over-polling in Quebec City and rural Quebec too?

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  4. The National numbers tell the story of the overall trendline. Conservative recovery (presumably as a result of the terrorism issue) but Liberals still competitive. Meanwhile, the NDP seems to be dropping more & more each year under Mulcair. Is this the lowest National average the NDP has had since Mulcair took over?

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  5. Generally speaking what impact can a debate performance have on vote percentages? The Greens for instance had their best showing the year E.May was allowed in the leaders debate. I do not expect this to be subject of debate in 2015, can models accommodate for this reality?

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    1. There's actually an article out today suggesting that the Broadcast Consortium could exclude Elizabeth May from the 2015 debates. Looks like the issue on the debates hasn't been resolved yet.

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  6. 2015 seems to me like one that will be a very important election in Canada's history. NDP-Liberal coalition seems increasingly likely.

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    1. Trudeau will not give up the LIberal's traditional platform "natural governing party" for a short term fling with the socialists. A coalition would divide the left for a generation or more and ensure Conservative governments.

      Both the Liberals and the NDP need the other to go away. We have a two party system and with the LIberals and NDP the system is already crowded. 2015 will mark the start of a slow death for either the Liberals or NDP or perhaps both.

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    2. We are not a two-party system. The United States is, but Canada has almost always had more than 2 parties going back many decades into the early days of Canadian history.

      And it's unlikely that both the Liberals & the NDP are going to die off, and neither one of them may. Parties tend to endure for a long time, even after they go through bad periods. Look at how the NDP came back after losing party status in 1993, or how the Liberals seem to be back after the 2011 collapse.

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    3. There is no legitimate party in this country remotely socialist. Every current party is just a different shade of neoliberal.

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    4. Nuick B,

      The NDP describes itself (perhaps incorrectly in your opinion) as "democratic socialist.

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    5. Capilano, Actually, the NDP quite famously does not (any more) describe itself as "democratic socialist". There was quite a discussion two years ago when the word "socialism" was removed from the preamble of the party's constitution.

      NickB, I don't think that's quite true. The (federal) NDP isn't neo-liberal... it may not be deeply socialist, but it hasn't quite got into bed with the Friedmanites either.

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    6. The LPC has more to gain attracting votes from the Center-Right than from the Center-Left. The LPC has more to gain by focssuing on the economy + jobs than on lefty-left issues. Traditional Liberal voters who lean Right of Center are more likely to switch to Conservatives if they feel that the Liberals are veering to far to the Left. The Liberals have nothing to gain going after the NDP votes but has way more to gain going after the Conservetive votes

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    7. Craig,

      All FPTP systems are two party systems for the simple reason that 50% of the vote will guarantee victory. A two-party system describes the number of parties able to form government not how many parties exist.

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    8. @Capilano,
      50% of the vote is not needed in a FPTP system, nor does it guarantee victory beyond a single riding. Assuming 5 equal ridings, you could win 2 at 100% and lose 3 at 49% for a total of 69% of the vote, but less than half the seats.

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    9. Fundamentally all the parties are neoliberal. One mustn't get trapped by its own ideological self-representation. Despite party assertions that they contest neoliberal values, their policies in reality do not. Neoliberalism is a power based system of expanded markets. One can certainly recognize certain policies which are designed to contest those power manifestations, but the NDP are not even suggesting a return to Keynesian demand side economics. In fact, the economic policies underlying the Scandinavian social democracies themselves reflect neoliberal structuralism. So whether a party describes themselves one way is irrelevant.

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    10. Mapleson,

      50%+1` guarantees victory in every riding and that is why FPTP encourages a two party system.

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  7. With a Liberal-NDP coalition looking more likely I hope that Canadians will reflect on which conditions such a coalition would have moral legitimacy to govern.

    I am of the personal view that if a coalition is not explicitly ruled out by the party leader then it should be considered legitimate. This was the trust that Dion broke when he made his attempt.

    Evading the question is fine by me. You just should not take the PMs chair after explicitly lying about your intentions regarding a post-election coalition. That is a direct betrayal of the electorate, and would (rightfully) cause serious blowback against anyone who tries it.

    While I am currently sticking by my election prediction of a CPC plurality, my prognostications have not been very good lately. I never believed that PM Harper would be able to win a majority before the new seats were added. I was very happy to be wrong. I never would have guessed that the Ontario Liberals would get the mandate they did, and believed it would be a PC minority up until the results came in. This shocking result has me doubtful of my ability to sense the political winds in Ontario, and I can't imagine how I'll feel should they strongly back Trudeau all the way to 24 Sussex.

    With all that being said, the recent strengthening of the CPC numbers has me thinking that another majority may just be in the cards. If a possible coalition becomes a major campaign issue I don't see how it would not benefit the CPC greatly (although 200 seats is quite a stretch bede).

    If they actually have five televised debates, as is the scuttlebutt today, I have to think that will also be to Harper's advantage. I can think of no better result than another slim CPC majority. IMO Young Trudeau needs at least four years sitting as the official opposition so that he can mature politically, and so that Canadians can properly evaluate him.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what you mean about the coalition. You seem to be repeating some of Harper's misleading comments about the coalition in 2008. It is a legitimate form of government. There was nothing wrong with what Dion & Layton were proposing. And next time if there is no BQ involved, it will be harder for Harper to portray a Trudeau-Mulcair coalition the same way he portrayed the last one.

      I agree with you that the odds are in favour of a Conservative plurality right now (eg. Minority). But I don't think the Cons deserve more than that. A Majority would be letting Harper get away with all his broken promises to end corruption in government and his party's abuses of the system.

      As for Trudeau, both he & Mulcair have been in Parliament for longer than Harper had when he became PM. Harper actually quit Parliament after only one term and went away for a while before coming back later. Trudeau & Mulcair have not done that.

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    2. Btw, it is unlikely there will be time for 5 debates in a Federal election. The leaders have a lot more ground to cover across the country than in a provincial election and there is not time for that many debates.

      It also remains to be seen whether a lot of debates would be good for Harper. It could expose him to more attacks and the risk of mistakes. Might give Mulcair more openings to go after Harper or for Trudeau to do better in the debates than expected.

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    3. Harper is a fairly strong debater when he gets annoyed. He's dull when he sticks to the script, but if an opponent irritates him he shines.

      The Harper/Martin exchanges were terrific.

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    4. Craig,

      If the leaders don't campaign on a coalition it is illegitimate. During a campaign is the time and place to discuss a coalition and the policies from each side the Government would adopt. If the leaders don't campaign on such a platform it is because they know it is a losing proposition. In BC we had an election during which the premier discounted the possibility of an HST only to re-introduce it mere weeks into a new mandate; voters deserve to have the greatest possible amount of information avaliable when they mark their ballot whether that be on tax policy or a coalition. Secondly, the NDP who are republicans can not honestly swear the privy council oath so how would they become part of cabinet?

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    5. Capilano, Nobody campaigns on a coalition. And your fetish for the procedural detail of the privy council oath is similarly absurd.

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    6. @Capilano,

      Thomas Mulcair swore the privy council oath back in 2012, so it's a moot point. Discounting something, then doing it is significantly different than being vague. In the UK, the Tories didn't mention a coalition in their campaign, but found that it was preferable to a minority parliment, which generally quickly topple.

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    7. Craig, You seem to have mistaken what I clearly said. A coalition is legitimate in my view IF the leader has not EXPLICITLY ruled it out.

      This is the thing all those who were clamoring to get rid of Harper in 2008 seem to want to forget. Dion explicitly ruled out a coalition. That is not some kind of marginal promise broken. That is an extreme violation of our system.

      In my view any such "false advertising" automatically strips you of any moral right to govern. Other may see things differently, but I'm confident most Canadians would share my view.

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    8. Then he is guilty of perjury for belonging to a party that is officially republican.

      Chirumenga,

      Honest politicians campaign on what they propose to do. As for the Privy Council Oath, the Crown can not put its faith in politicians who do not abide by their word. Thomas Mulcair should not have become a Privy Councillor because he does not believe in the institution of Monarchy, an honest politician like Gerry Adams would refuse to sit in Parliament or become a Privy Councillor because of his beliefs. How can anybody trust Mulcair when he does not stand up for his or his party's principles?

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  8. The tracking at the bottom of the Full Details of the Federal Projection shows a slow, steady plod towards a CPC majority.

    However the tracking chart begins with the new year. A start point in September would show the impact of the lone wolf events.

    In the highly improbable case of no major events, the CPC may well cruise to a majority.

    Duffy's trial bodes to be messy, but there's a good chance his health may force an adjournment.

    One or more lone wolves may emerge from a basement.

    Another oil train might derail in an urban area.

    Or something out of left field. October is a long ways away.

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    1. The party has an impressive electoral history. Launched as the Reform Party in 1987, they have won an ever increasing percentage of the vote and an ever increasing number of seats in every election they've contested.

      1988: 2.08% - 0 seats
      1993: 18.69% - 52 seats
      1997: 19.35% - 60 seats
      2000: 25.49% - 66 seats
      2004: 29.63% - 99 seats
      2006: 36.27% - 124 seats
      2008: 37.65% - 143 seats
      2011: 39.62% - 166 seats

      They appear to know what they're doing.

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    2. George N B

      An Oil train derailment would hurt the Pipeline party ... or the Liberal cohort in Ontario / Quebec along with Mulcair playing silly goose holding it up.

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    3. @Ira, you conviently omit the other half of the party, the Progressive Conservatives and well as all the specific nuances of these elections. For example, between 2006 and 2008 the actual votes for the Conservatives went down, while the percentage went up due to a 5.9% drop in the turnout. Similarly, the combined PC/Reform/Alliance/Conservative numbers are:
      1984 211 50.03%
      1988 169 43.02%
      1993 54 34.73%
      1997 80 38.19%
      2000 78 37.68%
      2004 99 29.63%
      2006 124 36.27%
      2008 143 37.65%
      2011 166 39.62%

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    4. @BCVoR, generally any disaster decreases the popularity of the governing party in the short-term regardless of liability. One oil train derailment should be enough to convince those ignorant of the facts about the risks of not building pipelines. A second disaster then becomes a stick of “see what they let happen” or the carrot of “we can do better”.

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    5. @Mapleson - No, I simply recognise that the CPC was never a merger. It was the growth of a single party, and the other party simply died.

      The Canadian Alliance was sold as a merger, but it was just a name change. The Conservative Party was sold as a merger, but it was just another name change that coincided with the other party quitting the field.

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    6. Mapleson,

      A disaster may increase the popularity of the party in power, one need only look at George Bush's approval ratings post 9/11.

      As for train derailments, wouldn't a train derailment increase popularity for a pipeline-showcase the need for a pipeline as opposed to moving crude by rail? Pipelines are much safer than rail for a host of reasons and have a far better track record than any other oil or gas transportation medium. Those opposed to pipelines are the ones ignorant of the facts!

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    7. @Capilano,
      9/11 is an extreme counter example, and I would file it under “Acts of Terror” rather than “Disaster” with the difference being intent. With an AoT there is an opertunity for the government to strike back at the perpetrators, thereby increasing their popularity. As for train derailments, I think you’ve miss understood my point. Oil trains are a worse idea than pipelines, those that object to pipelines while having knowledge that the alternative is oil trains, are basing their objections not on risk and environemental protection, but on irrationalities. Those people are no more likely to change after the first derailment than the tenth, while those truly ignorant might when the alternative and its consequences comes to light.

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    8. @Ira,
      We will never know, but until the Alliance/PC merger, they only ever had only two seats east of Manitoba over three elections. I posit that without a united right belief that the CPC could form a legitimate government was low and resultingly, impacted voting patterns. During this period the electorate choice was: Liberal or NDP for a national government, BQ or PC for a Quebec-preference, or CA for a Western-preference. Looking at riding specific results, a 37 of 99 of the CPC seats were elected with under 43% of the total vote and the critical 10 seats swing between a Liberal minority and a Conservative minority were elected with under 38.7% of the vote. No Conservative minority and possibly no Dion or Ignatieff.

      Call it what you will but not splitting the right allowed the CPC to pass the split left.

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    9. Mapleson,

      Those who don't like pipelines or oil trains are welcome to return to a 19th century existence.

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    10. Mapleson,

      It is an act of terror or a "man-made disaster". People don't "miss understand" (sic) anything, Canada needs oil-it's cold! Those who oppose what is a life sustaining commodity need to present effective alternatives or compensation.

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    11. Capilano,

      I completely agree that environmental extremists are non-rational, but this is politics, which is rarely fully rational. Our economic theories are based upon gut assumptions of what will work best for the nation. We can never know what else would have happened, nor can we fully predict the public's reactions. Canada has more oil than the bottom half of OPEC combined. Our main economic risk right now is dependance on US demand. Since 2010, we've increased supply while at the same time overall US demand has decreased. As a result, between 2010 and now our share of US imports has continually increased: 25.3%, 27.6%, 29.8%, 35.4%, 40.4%, 48.0%. Following this trend, we only have 7 years of similar growth possible until we've saturated the US market. While the US isn't the only buyer out there, they are by far the most economic, and similar growth can't be expected in Asian markets. On top of all that, natural resources are highly cyclical, so if the closer the economy is tied to one sector, the more our economic fate is beyond government influence.

      As for needing oil, I'll buy the economic advantages of selling it, and the portability advantages for transportation, but we for thermal production, electricity is cheaper than oil.

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    12. Mapleson,

      Many economic theories are based on empirical evidence most actually are not based on gut assumptions but on "human behaviour". It is probably best out economic fate is beyond government. Governments pick favourites the market doesn't.

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    13. Capilano,

      The problem with empirical evidence is that past action does not predicate future reactions. We do our best to connect theory and reality, but the system is too complex to know. As for the market picking not favourites, that's also misrepresentative. The market gives preference to larger established corporations to the exclusion of better options. To take the energy example, hydro-electric energy is cheaper per unit than oil, but has a higher initial cost. Oil companies then lobby against the alternatives. In Ontario, the same thing happened with solar/wind versus hydro due to a few large multi-national corporations.

      A breakdown between economic theory and reality is exemplied by the last global recession. Whether it was tax cuts to stimulate spending or infrastructure spending to stimulate job creation, what theories predicted doesn't match up with the majority of what nations experienced.

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    14. Actually with empiricism past actions do predict the future. If I drop a ball I know it will hit the ground because of Newton. Just like if the Government prints oddles of money I know inflation is likely the result.

      The market doesn't show preference, consumers do! You are confusing consumer preference with an anthropomorphic conception of the market. In fact your statement is demonstrably false: If large corporations have such a great advantage why then are we not all using typewriters? How could the automobile prevail over the horse and buggy if the "market gives preference to larger established corporations".

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    15. Newton's theory was theoretical, not empirical. Empirically, the evidence only said the ball will fall towards the Earth. Theoretically, the actuality is that the Earth also moves slightly towards the ball. That said, Newton's theory is good enough for flying airplanes, but it's not good enough to send space probes to other planets, for that you need Einstein's theories.

      If economics were anywhere near as exact as science, then we wouldn't have budgets and different economic outlooks, we'd all know that if we do X, we get result Y, and could always pick the right course of action for the nation. Printing money "likely" results in inflation, but not always, look at Japan.

      Markets show preferences as well as consumers. Advantage is not unsurmoutable, especially with government regulation and oversight, but it is just that, an advantage. Look at internet providers for an example of corporate collusion. We only have third-party ISPs because of government regulation, and even then the carriers keep trying to limit their competitions advantages, not by providing a better, cheaper service, but by lobbying the government to force the third-parties to pay and charge more.

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  9. As Hazel Mcallon says to continue to depend on natural resources for national growth is insane !

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    1. Natural resources are the reason for Canada's existence. Canada has a competitive advantage on that front it's hardly insane it is common sense.

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    2. Just shows your lack of ability. Natural resources disappear as they are used up. So where or what does the country go/do in that situation ??

      Back to hewing wood or drawing water ??

      Or invest now in education so the country can become a leader in the world instead of a follower ??

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    3. I'm definately in favour of economic diversity and investment in education, but the idea that Canada is going to run short of oil in the near-term is inane. Assuming that none of our probable or possible reserves pan out, and we increase output by 88% over the next 25 years (EIA 2040 production forecasts), we'd run out in 2090. Much more likely, the world will hit peak oil and Canada will be squeezed out of our market share by cheaper conventional oil production. In comparison, China has until 2025, Brazil has until 2032, the US has until 2034, and Russia has until 2037. In fact, only Venezuela has a higher ratio of years production to current proven reserves than Canada.

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    4. Peter,

      Your lack of ability to do work maybe?

      Canada has plenty of natural resources. We have enough oil for many generations. Lumber is a renewable resource, we haven't even explored half of Canada's mineral resources, hydroelectricity is also renewable.

      We invest billions every year in education Peter, somebody has to pay for it-people with jobs!. I think you want canada to go back to being Hewers of Wood and Drawers of water and educated by the Church!

      Peter the 1`4th Century is calling they want you back!

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