Monday, July 13, 2015

NDP tide lifting provincial boats

From coast to coast, there are signs that the Alberta NDP's victory in May's election had a profound impact on the political landscape. The federal New Democrats are now leading in the polls and, somehow, Rachel Notley's win made Thomas Mulcair look a lot better as his approval ratings and 'Best PM' numbers improved. At the provincial level, there are some clear indications that something shifted after May 5.

Note to readers: you may have been expecting a projection update this morning incorporating the latest data from Forum Research and Abacus Data. I'm afraid there won't be an update to the federal projection until later this week. There is something in the works, and I promise it will be worth the wait!

But back to the matter at hand. The provincial averages chart was updated this morning, and you can see that Team Orange has had an uptick over the last two months almost everywhere.

Click to magnify
Let's take a closer look at what has happened with provincial NDP numbers before and after the Alberta election of May 5. The chart below compares the latest poll in the province to the previous one from that same pollster, when their polls were conducted before and after the Alberta election. Saskatchewan has been excluded below as there have been no recent polls, and Quebec has been excluded because there is no provincial NDP.

As you can see from the chart above, there has been positive movement for provincial New Democratic parties in every province except Manitoba (where, perhaps not coincidentally, the NDP forms government). The shifts in support for John Horgan's NDP in British Columbia and for Mike Redmond's NDP in Prince Edward Island are within the margin of error, and so may not be significant.

Nevertheless, the trend lines are pretty clear. Growth has been in the double digits for Andrea Horwath's Ontario NDP, Dominic Cardy's New Brunswick NDP (which more than doubled its support), and Earle McCurdy's Newfoundland and Labrador NDP (which almost tripled it). Growth for the NDP in Nova Scotia, currently under interim leader Maureen MacDonald, has been worth nine points.

It is unlikely to be by chance that the NDP at every level of government has suddenly seen a surge in support. The victory in Alberta has to have been the catalyst.

But who has suffered at the hands of a rejuvenated NDP? Every other party, with the exception of the Bloc Québécois, has taken a step backwards at the federal level. There are regional variations at the provincial level, but that also seems to be the case there.

The Liberals have suffered most in Ontario and parts of Atlantic Canada. Kathleen Wynne's Liberals fell from 29% to 26% as the NDP rose in that province. In New Brunswick, Brian Gallant's Liberals plummeted from 54% to 38% in the polls listed above.

Decreases in the rest of Atlantic Canada have been more modest, worth four points for Wade MacLauchlan's Liberals in PEI (44% to 40%) and Dwight Ball's Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador (57% to 53%). Stephen McNeil's Liberals in Nova Scotia have dropped from 58% to 50%.

The Progressive Conservatives have not been left unscathed, though, just as the federal Tories have taken a hit. Patrick Brown's Ontario PCs were down four points (36% to 32%), while Rob Lantz's PCs in PEI were down from 35% to 24% and Paul Davis's Tories in Newfoundland and Labrador were down from 32% to 21%.

The Greens have dropped in some parts of the country as well, from 14% to 10% in British Columbia and from 9% to 5% in Ontario.

The NDP tide is lifting most provincial boats, and shoving aside those from all of the other parties. These shifts do seem to be mirroring a lot of federal movement. It does lead us to wonder whether the dog is wagging the tail or the other way around, and whether people who are not faced with an election are conflating the federal and provincial parties more than they might otherwise. But it certainly adds to the good headlines that have benefited the NDP over the last two months.

Will it last for another three months? That is, of course, the biggest question. Thomas Mulcair presided over a surge in NDP support that spilled over into most provincial capitals in 2012, only for it to subside as Justin Trudeau moved towards the Liberal leadership. So, this new support may not be particularly deep. It still leaves a lot of opportunity for change between now and the election.

40 comments:

  1. Even if this bump is temporary, it's an error-generator, and that's fun.

    Based on this pro-NDP swing, all of the parties might start to change their behaviour (either to counter-act, or to capitalize). This risks mistakes, and I think our democracy is better when Canadians get to measure the parties' competence. If it causes Kathleen Wynne or Patrick Brown to say something idiotic, that's good news, because Ontarians have a right to know about their idiocy. Similarly, if they don't, that suggests that they make good decisions.

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  2. Not sure if my last comment went through or not.

    At any rate, I think what may be happening in Ontario is not only the win in Alberta (which is of course a factor), but also the unexpected privatization of Hydro One. Many voters who might usually vote NDP voted Liberal in the last election as the Liberals ran a campaign that was at least rhetorically to the left of the NDP. Those voters who switched NDP to Liberal may well be returning to the NDP due to the privatization of Hydro One, which was never discussed in the 2014 campaign and came as something of a shock.

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    1. There are a lot of us who believe that the price Hydro One sold for was a steal.

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  3. Nova Scotia is holding three by-elections Tuesday. Two of them were NDP seats the other was held by the governing Liberals. It would be interesting if the NDP took all three now with large majorities. It would be proof of change.

    My other thought is, what happens if the federal NDP actually takes a serious lead in Ontario or Saskatchewan or even Alberta. All three are assumed to be going to the Conservatives or maybe the Liberals in Ontario.

    What happens if that dynamic changes?
    It could be a game changer.
    The change may be slow in coming but it could change
    everything in the mind of voters right across the country.

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    1. Byelections are rarely proof of anything.

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    2. I think the NDP will hold Sydney-Whitney Pier, Cape Breton Centre is too close to call but, leans NDP. Dartmouth-South has a history of voting for the opposition , I could see either the Tories or NDP picking it up.

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    3. Looks like the NDP won Dartmouth South and the Liberals picked up both Cape Breton NDP seats. Turnout was low at roughly 40%.

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  4. Earle McCurdy is popular enough in Newfoundland that he may take the moribund NDP into Official Opposition status. The PCs are collapsing everywhere in the province outside of the Avalon, rural Newfoundland is voting NDP and much of Labrador will be voting either NDP or Liberal. Keep in mind the NLNDP have never won more than 5 seats. That shows how angry the people are towards PCs and the potential for the NDP to make a good showing

    Take into account wildcards like a resurrected Labrador Party and the United Progressives, which is a coalition of Independent candidates running for an unofficial party slate of Newfoundland and Labrador nationalism and anti-austerity and Rural rights, and this election on November 30th may be as contentious a toss-up as the 1971-1972 elections that finished off the demagogue autocrat Smallwood.

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    1. Newfoundland and Labrador nationalism? So, what happens with Québec if NL votes for separations? XD

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    2. And then there's the Ontario Liberation Front. If Ontario backs out, where does that leave Quebec?

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    3. If Newfoundland and Labrador were to separate, Québec would finally need to recognise that border.

      Québec has claimed the bulk of Labrador for over a century, and hasn't acknowledged the ruling of the privy council which set the border where it is.

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    4. Idea for alternate-history board/video game: War for the Tundra.

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    5. Winning strategy: the Goose Bay Gambit

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    6. Ira,

      The border has not been acknowledged in law but it has in fact by the failure of successive Quebec governments to seek so-called legal redress. Call it a tacit acknowledgement, if you will.

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    7. The biggest tacit acknowledgement would come if Canada recognised the border with an independent Newfoundland and Quebec said nothing.

      This issue is the main reason I was hoping the yes side would win the 1995 referendum. I wanted to see what borders Quebec tried to define for itself.

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    8. The boundary dispute was settled by means of a trial in 1927, judgement was handed down by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Canada has recognised the Labrador border since, both Canada and Newfoundland were independent dominions at the time of the decision and through the Newfoundland Terms of Union.

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  5. I think the forum poll with cons up 5 to 32 and libs down 3 to 26 is an outlier . This can be explained by their sudden jump of 10 points in Quebec and the Maritimes and the libs drop of about 15 in the Maritimes . I don't think this will hold up but further polls will confirm or refute the bump/ jump

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  6. Having watched the current situations for several months, having observed all the poll numbers and watched the various parties and their outputs I will say the following.

    We are in for a long period of non-majority Govt !! How this will work out depends on basically all three parties !! As the years go on we could see some dramatic changes taking place or we could see much the same as now or most likely something in between.

    The one thing I am sure of is that what exists now will not exist after the vote in Oct. !! Guaranteed !!

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    1. In some ways I can see where you're coming from: at the moment we have three weak national parties; perhaps this will lead to minority parliaments but, I can also foresee one of the three parties achieving paramountcy and majority government, 40% in October seems achievable for any one of the three main parties at the moment.

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  7. I understand the rational for leaving Quebec out of this provincial tour d'horizon, but Bryan Breguet has an interesting analysis at 'Too Close to Call' today on "l'effect Duceppe". (French only): http://www.lactualite.com/actualites/politique/analyse-des-sondages-leffet-duceppe-sur-le-bloc-quebecois/
    The gist is this: the Bloc will have to get 20% pop. vote to get a significant number of seats, but Duceppe's return does put them back in contention in a number of ridings. Taking Chicoutimi as an example, Breguet says the BQ chances have gone from a 5% chance of winning the riding to 37%, while the NPD's falls from 79% to 38%. His bottom line is that while the NPD should still finish first for number of seats in Quebec, Mulcair had better look out for the Bloc if he wants to form government.
    I agree - my worst nightmare is an NPD minority government with the BQ holding the balance of power, with a vengeful Duceppe holding a knife to Mulcair's throat!

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    1. I like Duceppe quite a bit more than I like Mulcair, so if we're to have an NDP government that might be the one I'd want.

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  8. I agree the only thing we can be sure of is the cons will lose seats and libs/ Ndp will gain

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  9. Interesting. Besides all of the jokes about Notely being the first Alberta Premier ever who had never ridden a horse, the NDP has managed that most amazing of things.

    They haven't put their foot in their mouth yet.

    And that's a huge advantage. Until they do.

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    1. I'm frankly surprised that she's never ridden a horse. There was horse-riding on school trips when I was a kid (I'm a bit younger than Premier Notley).

      This has lowered my opinion of Grant Notley.

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    2. The royalty review is basically a foot-in-the-mouth operation, no one is investing in the Alberta oil because of the uncertainty and the uncertainty will draw out the recession in Alberta longer than necessary. If a Government is going to raise royalty rates-and it was pretty clear during the campaign this was Notley and the NDP's objective-they should just do it! Industry doesn't like uncertainty and the royalty review simply magnifies the uncertainty by creating an unnecessary and time consuming process.

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    3. "They should just do it"

      They would have, but when the federal NDP had a bump in the polls I am sure Mulcair requested that Notley no do anything to upset his momentum. No royalty increases, no budget, etc. Try to stay as low profile as possible until October.

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    4. Walter,

      I don't think Angry Beard is telling Notley what to do-the blame for the prolonged recession in Alberta will rest squarely at the feet of the Alberta NDP. However, the fact the NDP would sacrifice jobs to improve their polling results (as you suggest) doesn't speak very highly of them does it? It implies the NDP knows their policies are wrongheaded and unpopular and they know the only way to achieve power is to simply fool the electorate into believing the NDP is something they are not!

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  10. It found it amusing that the National Post and Calgary Sun had a field day that the Wildrose is ahead of the NDP in polls. Articles already mentioned how the Notley honeymoon is over and her government has a slump in the polls! Yet, Notley has a personal approval rating of 53%.

    Either way, doesn't matter. It's way too soon to determine the outcome.

    Same situation in Ontario or BC, where the opposition is usually leading the polls in-between elections while the governing party wins the election. I highly doubt Andrea Horwath (who recently became a social democrat again) will beat Kathleen Wynne in 2018.

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    1. Unless Wynne gets the finances in order, Brown is likely the winner in 2018.

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    2. Was thinking NDP in the last Ont. Prov. election till Horvath surfaced. That was all I needed to vote liberal !!

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  11. If an election were held in BC today Christy Clark may well increase her majority, this may be counter-intuitive but, the BCNDP has been completely invisible: I doubt more than 10% of British Columbians know who John Horgan is and virtually noone can name another NDP member now that Jenny Kwan has left to seek a federal seat. I don't remember the last time they opposed Government legislation effectively- Do they even oppose any more? What was their position on the Transit Referendum? It is a party that has almost zero media impact or influence, they seem incapable of getting their message out and border on irrelevancy. By contrast the BC Liberal have a message and a plan. One can criticise the plan of course but, then at least you're debating the Liberal narrarive. By contrast the BCNDP doesn't have a narrative consequently no one talks about them.

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    1. Honestly, the BCTF is a more effective opposition than the BCNDP has been.

      The BCNDP needs a charismatic leader and some compelling policies if it's going to be relevant again. The Saskatchewan NDP has the same problem.

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  12. Looking forward to your federal aggregations later this week - perhaps with some skookum new tweaks, yes?

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    1. I expect Éric is waiting for another poll. That last Forum poll will do some wacky stuff to the projection, and that's not valuable to Éric unless it's corroborated by another poll.

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  13. “Profound impact" might be a bit of an overstatement, Eric.

    Though interestingly enough, provincially the NDP might have a trend currently going on in every province except where they actually hold power.

    It’s very easy to get caught up in the “surge” rhetoric if you ignore the diverse regionality of political circumstances across Canada. Case in point, the federal NDP surge comes crashing down at the doors of Manitoba leading to a pertinent question: How substantive can this new found support actually be if all it takes is one provincial government to kill that momentum? We’ve seen a poll out in Alberta in recent days indicating that if the province were to go to the polls today, the WRP would form government. Lets assume that polls keep showing a cooling off in NDP governed provinces, when does this start to have an effect else where?

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  14. The Alberta election was important because it showed that the NDP can become government anywhere, even in the most conservative province; that impacted those voters who in their hearts are NDP but who had voted Liberal because they thought that was the only way to stop the Conservatives. Another factor was Liberal support for Bill C-51: among the people who want a change in government, that decision made the Liberal Party appear to be more like the Conservatives, thus making the NDP stand out as the better choice for achieving change.

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    1. Definitely! http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndp-viewed-as-clearest-alternative-to-conservatives-poll-shows/article25348097/

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  15. Nanos On The Numbers - Party Power Index

    NDP 55.6

    CPC 50.4

    Lib 51.0

    Released July 14

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  16. Most Admired Country

    Canada is once again the most admired country in the world according to a new survey by the Reputation Institute. Canada lost its top rank to Switzerland last year but managed to climb back to the top in 2015 on the strength of its appealing environment.

    http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/canada-reclaims-reputation-as-worlds-most-admired-country/54322/

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  17. There do seem to be some clear indications that something shifted at the provincial level after May 5, though I would hesitate to describe the Alberta NDP victory as merely a catalyst. The increases in federal and provincial level NDP support may look similar because they are for contradictory reasons. The Alberta NDP victory does seem to have had an influence, however, and from May 5 until now, this seems to have been such as to crystallize the narrative that Canadian public sentiment, over the first half of 2015, has been moving, to some degree, to the social democratic left.

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