Monday, May 25, 2015

Quebec back in the NDP fold?

Adding (with an exclamation mark) to the narrative of a major NDP surge, the latest poll from CROP for La Presse showed the New Democrats up 11 points in Quebec, the biggest one-month shift in voting intentions recorded by CROP in over two years.

That increase took place since CROP's last poll of April 15-20, and propelled the NDP into the lead with 42% support.

The Liberals slipped four points to 25%, while the Conservatives dropped four points to 15%. The Bloc Québécois was down even further, by five points to 13%, and the Greens were up two points to 5%.

Undecideds numbered 10% of the entire sample, with an additional 7% that either gave no response to this question or said they would not vote.

The last time that CROP recorded a shift larger than this 11-point jump was between March and April 2013, when Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader (the party doubled its support from 19% to 38% at the time). And while CROP has generally had the NDP a little higher than other polling firms, it hasn't had the New Democrats this high in Quebec since June 2012 - in fact, no one has.

The Liberal score seems well within the norm for polls lately. The Conservatives at 15% and the Bloc at 13% is lower than what we've seen in most recent polls, but CROP has often had these two parties lower than the consensus (and the Bloc at 13% on several occasions).

Nevertheless, these numbers are remarkable. If repeated on election day, the New Democrats would likely win between 57 and 62 seats. The Liberals would take between 11 and 15, the Conservatives between four and six, and the Bloc would be shut out.

The shift in voting intentions has occurred primarily among francophones. The NDP is up 13 points among these voters to 47%, their best score since April 2012. The last time the party was consistently polling around that level was in the fall of 2011.

The Liberals were down slightly to 20%, while the Bloc was down seven points to just 15%. That is their lowest score since the 2011 election. The Conservatives were also down, putting them in a tie with the Bloc among francophones.

The Liberals also tumbled among non-francophones from 58% to just 46%. The party has not polled this low among non-francophones under Justin Trudeau. But no one party is taking advantage, with the NDP at 24%, the Conservatives at 14%, and the Greens at 9%. The Liberals would still likely sweep the majority-non-francophone ridings at these levels of support.

The NDP was up a little in and around Montreal, but overall the numbers were relatively stable. On the island, the NDP was narrowly ahead with 38% to 35% for the Liberals and 13% for the Bloc. Around Montreal, the NDP's lead was larger: 41% to 29% for the Liberals and 12% for the Conservatives.

There was more interesting movement in the rest of the province. The Conservatives lost the lead in Quebec City for the first time since November, with 34% support. By comparison, in the last four polls the party had been consistently growing, from 37% to 38%, to 41%, and finally to 42% in April. This may be a sign that the Tory surge in Quebec has abated. The New Democrats were in front instead, with 39%. The Liberals were at 18%.

The Liberals dropped significantly in the regions of Quebec, falling to just 18% support. The NDP moved dramatically into the lead with 46%, while the Bloc only managed 16% support in this region (where both of its current MPs are located). But the drop for the Liberals is what is noteworthy - it is their worst result since April 2012. To put it into context, the Liberals averaged 36% in the 'regions of Quebec' in earlier CROP polls conducted in 2014 and 2015.

On who would make the best prime minister, Thomas Mulcair was first with 37%. That was up 11 points from last month, and his best result since before Justin Trudeau was added to the list. At 16%, this is Trudeau's lowest score as leader in a CROP poll. Stephen Harper's 14% was typical.

If these numbers hold, the New Democrats would be very well placed to supplant the Liberals as the most viable alternative to the Conservatives in the rest of the country. A dozen seats or so for the Liberals in Quebec would be disastrous for their national ambitions.

But we should not get ahead of ourselves. Polling in Quebec is suddenly looking a little volatile. Yes, the NDP's 42% is not dissimilar from the 36% EKOS gave the party in its May 6-12 poll, or the 38% Forum awarded the NDP in its May 12-13 poll. But the most recent EKOS survey pegged the NDP at just 29% in Quebec. The sample was smaller, at under half of CROP's, but even so the respective margins of error (theoretical or otherwise) do not bridge the gap. Quebec is a province to watch closely yet again.

50 comments:

  1. Interesting differences between Francophones and Non-Francophones ??

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    1. Those differences are pretty much as they have always been. What's most interesting is the drop in support for the Liberals among non-Francophones.

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    2. In other words, the difference between Francophone and non-Francophone is a little less distinct.

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    4. It's this way because of the separation issue. The Liberals (both provincially and federally) are seen as the big "no" supporters and defenders and so get the bulk of those supporters behind them. Anglophones didn't have much of a choice as, in the past, the CPC and NDP were non-factors in Québec. With the NDP now making inroads (and having done so last time), it would be interesting to see if that super-majority is going to erode and start voting more freely (as the LPC vote is mostly a forced vote than a true vote).

      Also, the non-francophones include a lot of immigrants and, while I can't explain it very well, the big majority of immigrants are LPC supporters. Maybe it has to do with first generations arriving under Trudeau father and multiculturalism and then under Chrétien who gave them citizenship for the referendum or any other reason (immigrants are mostly no supporters, so the previous argument still holds), but what is certain, it's that the LPC wins a lot of their support. I don't see that changing for the next election though with the Trudeau legacy at the forefront.

      I can see the NDP winning between 55 and 65 seats easily. I don't believe PKP's election as PQ leader will have much of an impact for the fall federal election. He is just starting as leader and his plan to promote separation won't be in full effect by that time, so mostly, it will have to ride on Mario Beaulieu. He seems to be making a few blunders here and there, so while I can't judge him very will as we don't see him much, I also don't think he'll be able to convince a lot of people from turning back to protest vote. I also think that people in Québec, even separatists, are tired of protest voting and not having a voice in government, and that is why they turned to the NDP, which they felt represented them best amongst the federal parties.

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    5. Thierry, that seems like a good analysis all round. I also think PKP is a very divisive character - he'll polarise rather than unite...

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    6. I wouldn't be surprised in 2018, if he has a good plan, for PKP to win an easy majority and start a referendum process. I believe he already has a plan in his mind that he'll try to execute and, using his connections (he may not be in charge of his media anymore, but he's most likely still very friendly with the people in place) and his resume, to push forward a convincing separatist agenda. Unlike Marois, who was divise and whose resume, while diverse, was not all successful, he can point towards his companies which are now major corporations for his economic success. Unlike Boisclair, who wasn't really well known, he is a very recognizable figure. And to begin you're better off being known and not like and try to sway people your way than to not be known and try to sway people who don't even recognize you. Of course, it all depends on the plan he has, but somehow, I can't see him becoming the leader of the PQ if he didn't have something solid behind him.

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  2. With these numbers, my model gives:

    59 NDP
    13 LPC
    6 CPC

    With 59 seats, the NDP would already be at a third of a majority. If the rest of Canada wants to vote Anything But Harper, concentrating behind the NDP would make sense. The LPC probably doesn't feel too good about this, and I'm wondering if it's going to change its strategy (amongst other things, stop focusing on Trudeau in its ads and more on the ideas as he doesn't connect that well with Quebecers).

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    1. There are not that many Conservative-NDP or Liberal-NDP seats, far more Conservative-Liberal seats. I don't think backing the NDP is a good way to displace the Tories, more likely backing the NDP will cause the Tories to win far more of the Conservative-Liberals seats, if anything backing the NDP is a way to ensure a second strong stable Conservative majority Government!

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    2. You say that as if ridings cannot elect MPs from parties they have not before. Now I admit the status quo if the most likely, but it is dangerous to always assume it is how things will be.

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    3. Capilano Dunbar, way to spout the Liberal Party official line. In the last election, the NDP finished second in more than 2/3 of ridings. That means, by definition, that in the last election there were more Conservative-NDP races than there were Conservative-Liberal races. In a true three party environment, its also not nearly as predictable which parties will be truly competitive in a seat.

      In any event, people should vote for what they want, not what they don't. If that means voting Liberal in a no-hope riding, voting NDP in a no-hope riding or voting Rhino (in any riding) they should do it.

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    4. T.S.,

      First of all the NDP came second in only 121 ridings-not two-thirds so your logic doesn't add up! Secondlt, I'm not a Liberal but, thanks for coming out-I'm spouting logic, if that is the Liberal party line so be it. Everyone and their Grandma knows in the West maybe you vote NDP but, in the East Liberal, way to go Mulcair-you've cemented a split left and another strong stable Conservative Majority Government!

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    5. Not with the number as they are now.

      If things stay stable the Conservatives will not have anywhere near a majority and even a plurality is a toss up.

      The idea that the left (which it's not because the LPC isn't left or progressive) is now split and that will some how deliver another CPC majority is foolish. The CPC isn't going to snake up the middle and win anything with only 30% support.

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    6. Capilano Dunbar - He meant 2/3 of the ridings the Tories won. The NDP finished second to the Tories twice as often as the Liberals managed it. To defeat Tories it makes more sense to vote NDP.

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  3. If the NDP starts to consistently poll ahead of the Liberals across the country and the narrative starts to sink in that Trudeau is not going anywhere - I think a lot of that vestigial Liberal support among non-francophone Quebecers could start to melt even more. Keep in mind that Tom Mulcair is himself an anglo-Quebecer who used to be a top figure in Alliance Quebec which defends the rights of anglophones in Quebec...if the NDP can even get within single digits of the Liberals in the non-franco population it would probably re-elect almost every NDP MP in a riding with a large non-francophone element with the possible exception of Pierrefonds-Dollard

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    1. The Liberal "vestigial support" in Quebec has very little to do with Justin and even less with the narrative that it is "time to get rid of Harper". The Liberal party is the party of Quebec Anglophones, support for the Liberals has much more to do with language rights (something the NDP routinely ignores if not down right hostile toward Anglophones) than its ability to form or influence Government.

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    2. Recent Quebec anglophone near-unanimous Liberal support comes from the 70s and 80s. Nonfrancophones in Quebec were big P.E. Trudeau supporters due to his very strong anti-sovereignty stances. In the pre-Bloc era, the Conservatives and NDP saw sovereigntists as potential voters in Quebec. Eg., Mulroney put Lucien Bouchard and Marcel Masse in the cabinet, while the 1980s NDP was tiny and leaned pro-sovereignty (today's Quebec Solidaire is a direct descendent of the 1980's Quebec NDP, which split off from the federal party).

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    3. Dunbar, the notion that the NDP is hostile towards anglophones is absurd and baseless. Or an example of windbaggery.

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  4. So, going forward, the Grits collapse in Quebec, leading Ontario voters who can't abide the Tories to move to the NDP to head that possibility off. What could we have then? Discuss.

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    1. It'd be an interesting scenario. I don't think it's completely out of the question to see an NDP majority, given the way things have been trending, but I'd be surprised. More likely, and maybe more interesting, is a situation where the NDP win slightly more seats than the Tories, but still in Minority territory. Since the Liberals have been much more of a centre-right party under Trudeau, how would that play out?

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    2. I think Trudeau would try to pretend that he hadn't said those things you perceive as centre-right.

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    3. If Trudeau told his caucus he was going to voluntarily let Harper continue to govern after the last 9 years, he might not leave the room alive.

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    4. I think the more likely scenario in an NPD plurality is that Trudeau does nothing and lets the the NDP govern on a case by case bases. He would be hoping that they'll slip up and he can bring down the government and take his chances in the following election.

      No sure that will be a good idea however, as the NDP could propose a very progressive agenda or force MMP hoping the Tories and Grits bring them down. That way they can go to the people and say look we tried but the liberals have shown their true blue colours and side with the Tories against us.

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    5. Brian,

      The Liberal caucus under Martin, Bill Graham, Dion, Ignatiev, Rae and now Trudeau have voted with the Government on important and significant Government legislation, most recently Bill C-51. Do you really think your statement above accurate? It seems to me more wishful New Democrat thinking,k the NDP only way to power is to piggyback on the Liberals-ain't going to happen Brian! Liberals know power sharing with the Dippers is as good as signing their own death warrant!

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    6. Yes, it is accurate. If anyone thinks the Liberals are going to prop up Stephen Harper when he loses his majority now that the Bloc is not providing a 50-seat impediment, when Stephen Harper has explicitly stated that his goal is to destroy the Liberal Party and has done his level best to carry out that mission over the last 9 years in the most antagonistic way possible, when they can side with the NDP instead and set about electoral reform, which is in their long-term interests too and the Conservatives will never touch in a million years, what they know about politics couldn't fill a shot glass. They don't need to form a coalition, they can dictate the terms of their support to the NDP if the NDP is ahead in the seat count, and the NDP isn't exactly going to slap their hand away in the face of the prospect of forming the first NDP federal government ever. You can't bring the government down every 2 weeks in a minority situation so yes, that's life and a lot of bills get passed without no votes by the opposition in a minority when the government turns them into confidence votes, and the Liberals made a strategic miscalculation on C-51 that I don't like either, but I'm not deluded enough into thinking that means they have more in common with the Conservatives. Come on.

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    7. Brian, when I read comments such as yours I can't help think how difficult negotiations can be. If we assume Trudeau is dealing with a hung Parliament then walking away may be the prudent move-better to use what political capital you have on a safer bet or a more determinant one.

      Trudeau does not have to make a deal with the New Democrats-Many Dippers would like to think that is Trudeau's only option post-election but, many possibilities remain open including a coalition with the Tories. Even if Trudeau finds himself (in the admittedly at present unlikely situation of a Liberal plurality) NDP support may not be essential or required for Justin to govern. Even if Mulcair manages to pull off a plurality himself, Trudeau is still in the driver's seat: What if Trudeau demands the prime ministership as the price for cooperation? Are New Democrats really going to pass up a once-in-several-lifetimes-opportunity to be in Government? Or worse what if Trudeau doesn't want to play the NDP game at all?

      Negotiations are difficult: This is why B.C. still has about 100 unsettled First nations land claims.

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    8. It is as much in the NDP's interests to destroy the Liberal Party as it is in the CPC's interests to do so.

      The current debate negotiations looks very much like Mulcair and Harper are working together to disadvantage Trudeau.

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    9. Ira, in this instance, is correct, it is in the interest of the NDP that the LPC disappeared. However I think the reasons are different.

      I think the Tories are trying to destroy the Liberal for three reasons; first is ideological, the CPC wants to supplant the LPC as the nation's natural governing party; second is political, if the LPC dies off the thinking is the blue liberals and red Tories would be inclined to vote CPC to stop a left-wing NDP. Lastly is personal, I think there is real animosity for the LPC, especially from western MPs who feel they were shut of government for so long due to eastern politicking.

      For the NDP getting rid of the liberal is a mix of personal and political; many of us Dippers view the LPC and Tories (what ever name they wear) as one and the same. The Liberal have painted themselves as the progressive center/center-left party especially since 1993, when in reality they have been just as Conservative as the CPC. The death of the Liberal party would give Canadians a real choice between right and left policies, in contrast the last 35 years where the LPC has muddied the water as they tried to play at both end. I do think there is something very personal in that for the NDP but not as personal as the Tories need to destroy the LPC.

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    10. Brian,

      As Capilano Dunbar points out the Liberals have propped up every Conservative ministry since, 2006-there is absolutely no reason to suggest post-election 2015 Liberals will try a different tact! After the election the make-up of the Liberal caucus may make it impossible for them to prop-up a minority Tory ministry but, as of yet we don't have that information.

      I'm afraid you've fallen for Dipper propaganda and as we saw with the coalition coup d'etat fiasco New Democrats don't have the slightest clue how Government formation works in theory or practice.

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  5. Eric, explain me why Nanos (with a smaller sample and older data) has the same weight than the last EKOS in your estimations of percentage and seats for federal parties?

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    1. Explained here: http://www.threehundredeight.com/2015/05/methodological-note-on-todays.html

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  6. Ira, just FYI, I posted a lengthy reply to your comments about "the individual" and "group decisions" in the previous thread.

    As for how things might go in a minority situation with the Liberals in third, I would put nothing past them, so long as it meant they got some share of power. Brian, Trudeau could let Harper continue to govern - but it would probably require a formal coalition (which I doubt Harper could bring himself to).

    As for jim's scenario, if there was 40%+ support for the NDP in Québec (especially if still increasing) and growing support for them in the West (a clear lead in BC, growth across the Prairies), then I could easily see Ontario Liberal voters swing NDP. It would then entirely depend on how far the swing goes: As the NDP gain on the Liberals, the Conservatives win more seats. At par, which the minority goes swings. If the NDP and Liberals switched numbers, the NDP would win a majority. The part of what makes it interesting that a swing could be starting now. We're far enough out that it could dissipate, of course. But we're also far enough out that it could swing far enough to get to majority territory.

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    1. The CPC will do best in the GTA if they can equalise NDP and LPC support. Achieving that could get them another majority.

      A careful titration is required because if the NDP runs well ahead of the LPC in the GTA, Mulcair's the next PM.

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    2. I read a long time ago that Stephan Harper's long term goal was the squeeze the Liberals out, and basically have a two party system in Canada between the NDP and Conservatives. I wonder if that's why he tends to be harder on the Liberals than the NDP?

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  7. National support for the federal New Democrats appears to have shifted to the next level: a consistant upward trend, surpassing the CPC and LPC. The ever-critical Debates, only 11 to 15 weeks away, will determine the % of soft support and undecideds that moves to the federal New Democrats. E-day will, of course




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    1. ... produce the final evidence of this trend toward support for a New Democrat federal majority government.

      This number of seats will range from 169 to 184 and could quite possibly top 200
      seats, istm. (The post-debate period will make it easier to identify a new range, of course.)

      Quebec will elect a majority of New Democrat seats, although PKP agitation, if any, could have a bearing on this number. The range here will be 53 to 65 seats, istm.

      Feedback?

      Cheers :)

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  8. Èric,
    Did you update your overall projection with this poll?

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  9. Justin has been absent on the local scene in Montreal and Quebec. he hasn't been on French language TV much at all for weeks or even over a month.

    I understand his strategy of not getting too over exposed but his lack of exposure now is benefiting Mulcair locally.

    Trudeau has to adopt a more aggressive push on selling himself and his ideas or else Mulcair will fill the empty void in Quebec.

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    1. Trudeau was clear when he became leader that he wouldn't let Harper define him the way Dion and Ignatieff has let Harper define them.

      But Trudeau's in danger of letting Mulcair define him, which is probably just as bad.

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    2. That's assuming Ira, that Mulcair has the same blind hatred of the Liberals that Harper has and of course the answer is NO !!

      Defeat the Liberals yes, destroy completely ? No !! Mulcair ain't the same warped mind as Harper !

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    3. Peter Meldrum,

      How do you know what Mulcair thinks? Just because he was a provincial Liberal doesn't mean he has sympathy for the federal party!

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  10. Interesting piece in today's Toronto Star by Chantal Hebert to the effect that Quebec is ignoring the Liberals in favour of the NDP except in the Anglo Montreal ridings !! Interesting !!

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  11. I think Phil it is more than a Justin idea though. Seems to me the Liberals are maintaining a quite low profile across the country. I suspect that once the Writ is dropped they will come on gangbusters !!

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  12. Just in case you haven't seen this recent Insights West poll from 4 battleground BC ridings.
    http://www.insightswest.com/news/conservative-support-collapsing-in-b-c-battleground-ridings/

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    1. Except Fur Burnaby-North-Seymour where the GPC if much stronger than my model projects, using the aggregate, I am pretty close to those numbers. I wuold call that reassuring (especially after the disaster that was the Alberta election for my model).

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  13. " IRA " .... It is fair to say that the Leader of he Official Oppostion Tom Mulcair has succeeded in defining third party novice leader Justin Trudeau with the effective observation :

    - being 'Prime Minister is not an Entry Level job.'

    Do you agree, IRA ?

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    1. I am not the Irish Republican Army.

      I think Mulcair's efforts on that front have been quite effective. I also think they were made more so by the early CPC attack ads.

      While the CPC ads didn't seem to convince anyone, they framed the debate about Justin Trudeau. And then Mulcair came along and took advantage of that playing field.

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    2. ' I am not the Irish Repulican Army. '
      ............................................................
      While it is good that you know what you are not, it is equally important to remember who you are...Ideal Rational Agent (from your Blog
      :)

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  14. Well Eric the end of a another dream !

    No Original Six Cup Final this season

    Damn !!

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