Monday, August 31, 2015

Riding to watch: Kenora

Throughout the campaign, I will be profiling some of the ridings to watch. Today's selection: the northwestern Ontario riding of Kenora.

Major Candidates

Conservative Party: Greg Rickford (incumbent)
New Democratic Party: Howard Hampton
Liberal Party: Bob Nault
Green Party: Ember McKillop

Though it was a comfortable win for the Conservatives in 2011, the riding of Kenora has been a close race in the past. It was a veritable three-way contest in 2004 and 2006, when the margin between the first and third place candidates were 8.3 and 6.6 points, respectively. The Liberals eked out wins in both cases, first against the NDP in 2004 and then against the Conservatives in 2006.

Greg Rickford won the riding from the Liberals' Roger Valley in 2008, and widened his advantage in the 2011 election. It that contest, Rickford captured 47% of the vote, with the NDP's Tania Cameron finishing second with 27.9% of the vote. The Liberals fell to third with just 21.9% of the vote, while the Greens came off a high of 4.7% in 2008 to drop to just 2.6%.

There was a big swing between the Liberals and the Conservatives between 2006 and 2011. The Liberals dropped just under 15 points, while the Conservatives picked up 16 points. Voters, then, seemingly moved directly from the Liberals to the Tories, by-passing the New Democrats.

Rickford won the southern portion of the huge riding in 2011, where most of the population lives. He won the polls in Kenora handily, as well as winning Dryden by a fair margin. Aside from a few individual polls here and there in the south, the Liberals and New Democrats only won the sparsely populated north. If either party is to have a chance to win the riding, they will need to make gains in Kenora itself.

All three parties are gunning for the riding. Rickford is the incumbent, and a cabinet minister to boot. When parliament dissolved, Rickford was the Minister of Natural Resources.

The New Democrats and Liberals have put forward strong candidates of their own. Most interesting is Howard Hampton's candidacy for the NDP.

Hampton has a long political history in the riding. He represented the provincial riding from 1987 through to 2011, serving as a cabinet minister in Bob Rae's government (as Attorney General and, later, as Minister of Natural Resources). He was also the leader who replaced Rae in 1996, leading the party through the 1999, 2003, and 2007 provincial elections. He had his best performance in that last vote, when his Ontario NDP captured 16.8% of the vote and 10 seats.

The Liberals are looking to their past as well, with former MP Bob Nault carrying the Liberal banner this time. Nault was the MP for the riding from 1988 to 2004, when he stepped down. Nault was a minister himself in Jean Chrétien's federal cabinet, occupying the post of Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development from 1999 to 2003.

The Greens are running Ember McKillop, a Dryden school teacher.

The current projection suggests this could be a very close riding, and potentially a three-way race as well. The NDP's Hampton is narrowly favoured with between 33.7% and 37.9% of the vote, which would represent his party's best result since the riding was created in 2004. Rickford is a close second with between 32.5% and 37.6% of the vote, which would be his party's worst performance since 2006, when the Tories took 31%.

The Liberals' Nault is projected to take between 23.9% and 28.4% based on current polling trends. This is an improvement over 2011's result, but well below Nault's and Valley's winning numbers in the past.

The Greens' McKillop is projected to take between 3.2% and 3.8% of the vote.

It is still early going, however. If the Liberals make some gains in Ontario, Nault could be quickly favoured in the projection. But a three-way race between three heavyweights can make for a very unpredictable outcome. The role of strategic voting could be significant: will voters currently splitting between Hampton and Nault go en masse to the party more likely to defeat the Conservatives? Or, if the NDP is leading nationwide, could the Liberals who voted for Rickford in the last few elections go back to the Conservatives to block the NDP? Keep an eye on Kenora.

Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Federal Election Link Round-up, Week 4

The beat goes on. Just seven weeks to go! Seven! After this one!

Friday, August 28, 2015

- Are the Conservatives headed for third place? I ask this question in my CBC analysis this afternoon. The trends are pointing in that direction, and two of the last three polls are showing it. Could be a blip, or could be something really unexpected.

- The Poll Tracker has been updated with the Ipsos and new EKOS polls. It is getting to the point where we can only call this a three-way race within the historical context. The riding projections have also been updated.

- It's poll day. Ipsos Reid was out last night, showing the same close race but with the Liberals narrowly moving up into second place. It's a wobble within the margin of error, but since the end of July Ipsos has definitely recorded a movement from the Tories to the Liberals. An interesting parallel to yesterday's Forum poll, which showed some of the same trends (though with the NDP up) but might have also suffered from a little elephantitis. EKOS will be out later today, and I'll be looking to see if they are showing some of the same movement. The next Poll Tracker update will come after EKOS is out.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

- The Poll Tracker has been updated with the Forum poll, pushing the NDP's likely seat range above that of the Conservatives. The riding projections are now up-to-date as well.

- I joined Chris Hall on Power and Politics last night to talk about my piece on the leaders' tours. We also went over where the numbers stand today. Speaking of which, Forum broke the mold this morning. Harbinger of things to come, or the kind of quickly-corrected swing we've seen from Forum before?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

- Two Pollcast episodes are up today! A special treat, with three this week after yesterday's podcast with Mario Canseco. Today, a discussion with Facebook's Kevin Chan about what they are doing in this campaign, and another discussion with the Angus Reid Institute's Shachi Kurl. What are her numbers showing? You can find both episodes here. You can also subscribe on iTunes or with the iPhone podcast app.

- The Poll Tracker has been updated, reflecting the latest Angus Reid numbers as well as those for Alberta from Insights West. The riding projections are also up-to-date. And watch for the next episode of the Pollcast coming later today. Today's guest is Shachi Kurl from Angus Reid Institute to talk about their new poll.

- I tried to read the tea leaves of the leaders' tours in my piece for the CBC this morning. My conclusions? The Conservatives are playing the long game, the NDP is consolidating gains, and the Liberals are focusing on ridings that are on the bubble now.

- The latest episode of the Pollcast features Mario Canseco of Insights West. We discuss their latest B.C.-only poll.

- An Angus Reid Institute poll was released this morning, showing numbers broadly in-line with other surveys. But the numbers for the Liberals were a little lower than the norm.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

- The riding projections have been updated to reflect the latest numbers on the Poll Tracker.

- An interesting poll from Insights West on the race in B.C., with detailed regional breakdowns. Watch for the latest episode of the Pollcast, in which I discuss the poll with Insights West's Mario Canseco.

- A lot of talk about the economy today, so I took a look at how the parties and leaders rate on the issue. The verdict? The economy is not the Conservative trump card it once was.

- Nanos's four-week rolling poll is out, showing everyone still clumped together. The big bone of contention with the other polls, though, is in Ontario. Nanos has the Tories doing much better than other polls, and I don't think we can chalk it up to old data.

Monday, August 24, 2015

- This weekend, I joined Chris Hall on The House to talk about Battleground Quebec: the recent CROP, the Conservatives' chances in Quebec City, and how the Bloc Québécois is doing.

- Quiet weekend and Monday morning on the polling front. There have been 11 polls conducted during the campaign so far after 22 days. At this point of the 2011 campaign, there had been 46 polls. Of course, that was a shorter campaign. In the same period this far out from the 2011 vote, there had been eight polls conducted. We're beating that mark, at least.

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 Federal Election Link Round-up, Week 3

With the trial continuing to unfold in Ottawa, one might be forgiven for forgetting there is a national campaign happening! But the pollsters have started to weigh-in, so we're in it now.

Friday, August 21, 2015

- My analysis of the Duffy polls and the latest Poll Tracker update.

- The riding projections have now been updated to align with the latest Poll Tracker.

- I spoke on Maritime Noon about the latest Duffy polls.

- The Poll Tracker has been updated with the new Forum poll. Boosts the NDP in the seat count, the Liberals in the vote.

- With all the talk about kids lately on the parties' campaigns, I took a detailed look at what parents are thinking of the race.

- A couple polls from Abacus Data and Angus Reid on the Duffy trail. Potentially bad news for the Conservatives.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

- Some interesting riding polls conducted by Environics for LeadNow. I'm not sure how to handle them, since they are from an interest group. At this stage of the campaign, though, it is not too important to take riding polls into account. If these are still coming out in October, then I'll have some serious thinking to do. The vast majority of them line-up with the projection pretty closely.

- A CROP poll with some surprising results makes waves in Quebec. No, this isn't a rerun from 2011. Full regionals are here.

- I was on Power and Politics last night, talking about the latest numbers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

- Discussion sur le sujet des sondages: Format libre, Radio-Canada à Moncton (37:30)

- Exclusive, original content alert! I wrote a post here on ThreeHundredEight about the latest Saskatchewan poll, with regional breakdowns.

- To discuss the findings of his latest poll, Abacus Data CEO David Coletto joined me on the Pollcast. Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes so you don't miss an episode - we're currently recording two per week!

- Here's my deeper analysis of the state of the polls.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

- The riding projections are now up-to-date with the Poll Tracker.

- Two updates today! The Poll Tracker has been updated again, now with the just-released Abacus Data poll. It has a heavy weighting because, when it comes down to it, the data is the only new data since the Léger poll that was out of the field on August 12 (almost a week ago). And look out for the new Pollcast episode coming soon - David Coletto of Abacus will be joining me to talk about his latest numbers.

- The Poll Tracker has been updated with the newest Nanos poll. These four-week polls pose a bit of a problem for the weighting model. But to let you know how I am handling them, I am treating each Nanos poll as if it is a new poll with 1/4 of the total sample. So, from the model's perspective, it is as if Nanos was releasing a weekly poll of 250 people.

- A few new polls were out today. Nanos has its weekly tracking out, though again we're still talking about a poll that includes almost two weeks' worth of pre-writ information. Forum has a poll for Spadina-Fort York, showing Olivia Chow leading Adam Vaughan by a wide margin. It matches the current projection almost perfectly, which is a good sign that the new by-election methodology is on the right track. And finally, a big-sample poll for Saskatchewan showing a close race between the Conservatives and the NDP.

Monday, August 17, 2015

- I looked in detail at the race in Quebec, thanks to the regional breakdowns of Léger's new poll.

- The riding projections have been updated to match the latest numbers from the Poll Tracker.

- The Poll Tracker has been updated, incorporating the latest numbers from the Léger poll. The Conservatives have taken a hit.

- This latest update also includes a change in how by-elections are handled. After doing some testing, I have settled on a better method than one that relied entirely on the results of the by-election, where the polls were in that region at the time, and how things have swung since then. That is still a consideration, but now the previous general election is also taken into account. The weighting applied to the swing from the general and the by-election is now determined by the turnout in each. One immediate impact of this change is that the Greens' chances in Victoria and the old Calgary Centre riding have been reduced.

- On The House, we discussed battleground Saskatchewan. That shows how weird this campaign is - Saskatchewan is a battleground!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

New poll shows how Saskatchewan is a province to watch

A new Insightrix Research poll was published yesterday, showing the race in Saskatchewan could be closer than it has been in over 30 years. But the regional breakdowns, provided to me by Insightrix, show that there are battlegrounds all over Saskatchewan.

Overall, the Conservatives led in Saskatchewan with 39%, followed closely by the New Democrats at 35%. The Liberals were third with 21%, while 5% supported the Greens.

Another 1% opted for another party, while 10% said they were undecided.

This aligns closely with some of the polling we have seen from EKOS Research, which includes a breakdown for Saskatchewan but never has a large enough sample to really say anything definitive.

It also means that, since the 2011 vote, the Conservatives are down 17 points, the NDP is up three, and the Liberals are up 12.

But most interesting from the poll is the breakdown for the province. We never get to see those kinds of numbers.

Regina is the big surprise. It shows the Liberals narrowly leading with 35%, followed by the Conservatives at 34% and the NDP at 27%. On the face of it, this would suggest the city is up for grabs. But Regina includes Ralph Goodale's riding of Regina-Wascana, and if Goodale takes some 60% of the vote or so, which is where the projection model puts him, the Liberals could be polling in the high-teens in the city's other ridings. That means that, despite the close overall race, the Liberals may not be in a position to make any gains.

The New Democrats are looking very strong in Saskatoon, where they lead with 39% to 32% for the Tories and 23% for the Liberals.

Perhaps most surprising, though, is that the New Democrats are also very competitive in northern and southern Saskatchewan. They are running neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in the north, and are only seven points behind the Tories in the south. If that vote is concentrated in the right places, the NDP could potentially win a seat or two outside of Regina and Saskatoon.

Of course, the samples are small. The margin of error of a probabilistic sample of similar size would be eight or nine points in Regina and Saskatoon, which could change things dramatically. That increases to 10 points in the north, and is a little more than six points in the south. And since we don't have any other numbers to compare these to, we have to take those margins of error into consideration.

So that could, on the one hand, mean the Conservatives are not in much danger outside of the two big cities, and could be leading comfortably in Regina. Saskatoon, at best for the Tories, would be a close race. But on the other hand, it could also mean that the NDP is leading in every part of the province. It will be interesting to see if more polls come out for Saskatchewan in order to shed a little more light on the state of the race in this new battleground.

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 Federal Election Link Round-up, Week 2

Week 2 begins! Polling from Week 1 was notable for its absence, which is perhaps not too surprising. Polling takes a little bit of lead time, and vacations can be difficult to re-schedule on such short notice. Hopefully we'll see some more numbers this week.

Friday, August 14, 2015

- The riding projections are now up-to-date.
- The Poll Tracker has been updated, and here is my latest analysis of the numbers (including the new poll from Mainstreet Research).
- A new episode of the Pollcast was uploaded yesterday. The guest is Dimitri Pantazopoulos, a pollster that has worked with the B.C. Liberals and the federal Conservatives. He gives us a peek at how parties are doing and reading their polls.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

- The Poll Tracker's been updated with the latest Forum poll. The impact has primarily been a downturn for the Conservatives.
- I was on Power and Politics last night talking about the effect of the Duffy trial and the debate on the polls.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

- Here's my analysis of the latest Poll Tracker update.
- Riding projections have been updated to reflect the latest Poll Tracker update.
- The Poll Tracker has been updated with the new Ipsos-Reid poll for Global News. You might notice that the poll has a very high weight. It has run up against the cap the model has on the weighting applied to any one poll, that being 67%. The Ipsos poll has hit this cap because it is, really, the first poll to have been conducted since August 2. That makes it over a week newer than the previous poll in the model (Forum's). The Nanos poll, though it ended on August 7, was primarily conducted before the writs dropped as it is a four-week rolling poll. Simply put, the model considers the Ipsos poll to be pretty much the only current information we have, so it has a high weighting. This will not happen very often going forward, as the pace of polling will undoubtedly pick up.
- For my CBC column today, I wrote about the impact of incumbents not running for re-election. Some interesting findings, drawing on the calculations used for the model as well as the riding projections.
- The latest episode of the Election Pollcast was uploaded last night. This week's guest is Paul Adams, associate professor of journalism at Carleton University and someone who has worked both as a journalist and as a pollster. A really fascinating discussion of the way the relationship between pollsters and the media has changed over the last 20-30 years.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

- The riding projections have been updated to align with the latest Poll Tracker numbers.
- Finally, a poll! Sure, it is a four-week rolling poll with the bulk of it having been taking before the writs were dropped (and all but one day of it done before the debate), but we've gotten desperate. Here's the link to the Nanos poll. The Poll Tracker has been updated too, but the changes have been marginal.

Monday, August 10, 2015

- Time to check-in on the polling averages for July.
- The polls are in for Thursday's debate, and the results are...oddly regional. Mainstreet Research looked at what British Columbians thought, while Forum Research looked at what residents of the GTA thought. Well, residents who were at home in the middle of the day on a Friday. Sheesh. If we can draw anything from these, it is that Justin Trudeau and Elizabeth May probably did the most to help their respective causes.
- RDI Matin Week-end, au sujet des sondages politiques.
- Following the interesting discussion with Christian Bourque in last week's podcast, I looked at the challenges this long and tight campaign poses for pollsters.
- In our regional go-around, Chris Hall and I discuss Alberta on The House.
- Debate reaction on CBC Ottawa News, starting at 14:30.

Monday, August 10, 2015

July 2015 federal polling averages

Now that the campaign has begun, it is a little unusual to look back on the polls in July. But there were a lot of polls conducted last month: 13 in all, interviewing some 24,934 Canadians. So let's look at the numbers, for the sake of continuity at least.

The New Democrats led in July with an average of 32.1% support, down 0.5 points from where they were in June. The Conservatives were up 2.8 points, a significant jump, putting them at 31.4%. The Liberals were down 0.5 points to 25.8%.

The Greens were down 0.3 points to 5.1%, while the Bloc Québécois was down 0.7 points to 4.8%. Another 0.8% of Canadians said they would vote for another party.

The NDP was in front in British Columbia with their best score on record (going back to January 2009), up 2.8 points to 40.5%. They have made gains worth about 16 points over the last three months. The Conservatives were up 1.1 points to 28%, while the Liberals were down 1.2 points to 22.4%. That's their third consecutive month of decline. That is also the case for the Greens, down 1.3 points to 8.7%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives were up for the third consecutive month, picking up 0.6 points to hit 48.6%. The NDP was down 1.1 points to 27.5% and the Liberals were down 0.4 points to 16.8%. The Greens were up 1.5 points to 5.1%.

The Conservatives also lead in the Prairies with 38.8%, up 0.3 points from June. The New Democrats were up for the fourth consecutive month, up 2.1 points to 29.8%. The Liberals were down 0.3 points to 26.1%, while the Greens were down 1.6 points to 4.3%.

In Ontario, the Conservatives were up 3.4 points to 35.2%, followed by the Liberals at 29.9% (down 0.2 points, and their sixth consecutive month of decline). The NDP was down 2.7 points to 28.6%, while the Greens were down 0.7 points to 2.8%.

Things were relatively stable in Quebec, where the New Democrats continue to lead with 35.7% (up 0.8 points). The Liberals were down 0.5 points to 21.8% and the Bloc was down 3.1 points to 19.3%. The Conservatives were up 3.5 points to 19.2%, while the Greens were down 0.7 points to 2.8%.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals dropped for the fifth consecutive month, down 2.7 points to 38.4%. The NDP was up for the fourth month, gaining 3.7 points to hit 31.8%. The Conservatives were up 0.8 points to 24%, while the Greens were up 1.3 points to 4.4%.

These levels of support would deliver 130 seats to the Conservatives, 121 to the New Democrats, 84 to the Liberals, two to the Bloc, and one to the Greens.

Compared to June, that represents a drop of six seats apiece for the NDP and Liberals, a slide of one for the Bloc, and a gain of 13 for the Conservatives.

The Conservatives picked up eight seats in Ontario, two in Quebec, and one apiece in British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, and the North. They were down one seat in the Prairies.

The NDP was down five seats in Ontario, two in Alberta, and one in Quebec. They were up one seat in B.C. and one in the Prairies.

The Liberals were down three seats in Ontario, two in Quebec, and one in both Atlantic Canada and the North. They were up one seat in Alberta.

So this was the lay of the land before the race kicked off in earnest. A close race between the NDP and Conservatives with the Liberals losing momentum, and nobody close to a majority government. At least, for now.

Friday, August 7, 2015

2015 Federal Election Link Round-up, Week 1

The campaign begins! We've all been waiting a long time for this.

During the campaign, I will be using this site as a hub. I'll be posting links to my CBC stories, interviews, and podcasts, as well as any interesting links I stumble upon during the campaign. I'll also have some original content (such as the July polling averages) that I will 'link' to as well. And, of course, the riding projections are still here on ThreeHundredEight.

These weekly posts will be continuously updated throughout the week, so check back every day to see what is new!

Friday, August 7, 2015

- The new episode of the Pollcast is up! This week's guest: Léger's Christian Bourque. We talk about the challenges of a long campaign and, of course, Quebec. Who better to talk about Quebec than Christian? The feed is now up, so you can subscribe. We'll have a new episode every week.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

- Talking about uncommitted voters, second choices, and the relative popularity of the premiers vs. their federal doppelgangers on last night's Power and Politics.
- I was on CBC Halifax radio's Mainstreet yesterday, joined by Duane Bratt of Mount Royal University in Calgary and Elizabeth Thompson of iPolitics. We talked about tonight's debate.
- We're aiming to post the latest episode of the podcast tomorrow. If we're lucky, it might even be out today. And yes, it will have it's own feed!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

- Wynne has an ad trying to boost the Liberals in Ontario, Harper is talking about Notley to hurt the NDP in Quebec. So, I took a look at how the premiers might hurt or help their federal colleagues.
- I took a look at undecideds and uncommitted voters in my column for the CBC this morning. The upshot? A lot of stuff can still happen. You heard it here first.
- We're recording our next episode of the Pollcast today - it should be a good one!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

- My analysis of the first official day of polling. The Poll Tracker had three new polls added to it: from Nanos, Innovative, and Forum. The first two suggest a close three-way race. The last one suggests the NDP is on track for a big victory. What will the next one say?
- Here I am on Power and Politics discussing the general state of the race.

Monday, August 3, 2015

A little bit of catch-up today from what was a momentous weekend.

- The riding projections have been updated, and are current with the Aug. 2 update of the Poll Tracker.
- The newest Forum poll that raised some eyebrows. 39% for the NDP and 11-point lead: start of a new trend, or the result of polling on a long weekend Sunday?
- The Poll Tracker was updated today, boosting the NDP's lead slightly.
- Here I am on The House on CBC Radio with Terry Milewski, talking about Battleground Toronto.
- Désautels le matin, pour Radio-Canada.
- What does a long campaign mean to you? I was on Ontario Today on CBC Radio on Thursday, you can find it in the list of past episodes.
- And here is the analysis I wrote for Friday's Poll Tracker update.