Friday, April 17, 2015

March 2015 federal polling averages

With the Alberta election continuing to shock and amaze, I'm a little late getting to the federal averages for last month. It was a busy month, with 10 national and four regional polls being conducted, interviewing a grand total of almost 33,000 Canadians. And the numbers put the Conservatives in first place for the first time since Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader.

The Conservatives averaged 32.3% support last month, a drop of 0.4 points since February. That nevertheless put them in first place, as the Liberals dropped 2.1 points to 31.5%, their worst score since December 2013 (or September 2013, if we're looking for a month with more robust polling).

The New Democrats were up one point to 21.2%, while the Greens were up 1.6 points to 7.9% support. The Bloc Québécois was up 0.2 points to 4.8%, and 2.4% said they would vote for another party.

Though the Conservatives came out narrowly ahead in the aggregate, of the 10 national polls in March they actually only led in half of them. But their range in those 10 polls, at 30% to 35%, was tighter than the range of the Liberals: 28% to 36%.

In February, the Conservatives ranged between 31% and 35%, so there hasn't been much change. The Liberals, however, ranged between 32% and 39% last month.

The New Democrats scored between 19% and 23% in March, compared to a range of between 17% and 23% in February. They've pulled their knees up a little.

The Conservatives led in British Columbia with 30.2%, a drop of 0.2 points since February. The Liberals were down five points (the biggest shift anywhere in March) to 28.6%, their worst since September. The NDP was up 3.6 points to 25.6%, not coincidentally their best since September. The Greens were up 1.8 points to 13%, their best in 10 months.

In Alberta, the Conservatives were down 3.6 points to 49%, their worst since May 2014. The Liberals were down slightly by 0.3 points to 24.1%, while the NDP was up 2.6 points to 17.2%. That is their best since last spring. The Greens were up one point to 6.6%.

The Conservatives were up 0.3 points to 41.2% in the Prairies, and have actually averaged around 41% for the last three months. The Liberals were down 1.7 points to 29.3%, and the NDP was up 0.6 points to 19.2%. The Greens increased by 1.5 points to 8.3%.

The Liberals and Conservatives were virtually tied in Ontario, as the Tories were down 0.5 points to 36.2% and the Liberals were down 1.3 points to 36.1% (their worst since September 2013). The NDP was up one point to 18.4%, while the Greens were up 1.3 points to 7.4%.

In Quebec, the Liberals fell 2.4 points to 26.6%, their lowest mark in two years. The NDP was also down, slipping 1.1 points to 26%, its worst score since November 2013. The Conservatives were up 1.4 points to 20.8%, and the Bloc Québécois was up 0.5 points to 19.4%. The Bloc has been around 19% for three consecutive months. The Greens were up 1.1 points to 5.5%.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals dropped 1.7 points to 48.9%, followed by the Conservatives at 24.4% (+2.5), the NDP at 17.7% (-2.2), and the Greens at 7.2% (+1.3).

With these levels of support, the Conservatives would win about 144 seats, up one from February. The Liberals would take 117, down 10 from last month, while the NDP would be up seven seats to 70. The Bloc would win five seats and the Greens two.

The Liberals suffered losses in British Columbia, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, while the NDP was up primarily in B.C. and Ontario. The Conservatives made gains in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

It really wasn't a very good month for the Liberals. They were down in every single region of the country. That compares badly to the NDP, which was up everywhere west of Quebec, and the Conservatives, who decreased in three of the six regions and were up in the three others.

The polls so far in April show that things have yet to improve for the Liberals, and the Duffy trial has yet to land a truly damaging blow on the government. But with the New Democrats taking advantage of the softening Liberal numbers instead of the Conservatives, Stephen Harper is not getting any closer to a majority government.