Friday, December 23, 2016

As Conservative leadership deadline looms, list of 14 could be winnowed down


Should auld contestants be forgot, and never brought to mind?

A few Conservative leadership candidates might be asking themselves this question on New Year's Eve.

That's because the first deadline in the Conservative leadership race looms on Dec. 31, when contestants who have already launched their campaigns have to pay the party a $50,000 compliance deposit in order to stay in the running.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Pollcast on the year in politics: Leadership races, Trudeau and Trump


It was a year for change. A new government getting settled in Ottawa, a new president on the way in the United States, and two opposition parties searching for the next leaders to take on Justin Trudeau.

But if there was one lesson to take from 2016, it is that politics can be unpredictable.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

What were the successes of Trudeau's first full year in office? What were some of his failures? What has the Liberal government's new approach and the election of Donald Trump taught the media about what matters most to people outside of the political bubble in Ottawa or Washington, D.C.?

And what to make of the candidate-less NDP leadership race and the cavalcade of contestants in the running for the Conservative top job?

Joining me on the last Pollcast episode of 2016 are Susan Delacourt, columnist for the Toronto Star and iPolitics, and Althia Raj, the Ottawa Bureau Chief of The Huffington Post Canada.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Justin Trudeau still in strong position in polls, but recent drop suggests vulnerability


For most of 2016, public support for Justin Trudeau's Liberals appeared to be invulnerable to the slings and arrows of the opposition. But a series of recent polls suggests some of the attacks might be leaving a mark — though the extent of the damage isn't entirely clear just yet.

The first indication of Trudeau's troubles came a little over a week ago in a Forum Research poll conducted for the Toronto Star. It was the first survey done in the aftermath of the government's decision to approve two oil pipelines and reject a third. It was also taken as the controversy surrounding the prime minister's attendance at $1,500-per-ticket fundraising events was in full tilt.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Pollcast: 6 months to go before B.C. goes to the polls


The next provincial election in British Columbia is six short months away, and the campaigning has already unofficially begun.

Will British Columbians decide to re-elect Christy Clark's B.C. Liberals, a party that has been in power since 2001? Or will they instead install John Horgan's New Democrats, setting off a possible confrontation with the neighbouring NDP government in Alberta over pipelines?

And will pollsters get redemption after missing the call in 2013?

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

The B.C. election will be held on May 9. Polls suggest the race is close. While the New Democrats were leading in the polls by about 16 points at this point in 2012, the latest survey puts the gap between the two parties at just one point.

Clark has a booming economy on her side, but after 15 years in power the B.C. Liberal government is long in the tooth. Horgan still has a low profile, and is challenged from the left by the B.C. Greens, who hold one seat in the legislature and have designs on more.

Richard Zussman, the CBC's legislative reporter in B.C., joins me to break down the coming election season.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Just for the rich? All taxpayers pitch in for $1,500 fundraising tickets


It doesn't matter if you can't spend an evening with the prime minister because the $1,500 ticket price for entry to a party fundraising event is too high. You'll still be on the hook for some of the bill.

And you can thank Canada's political financing laws, which award donors significant tax credits on contributions to political parties and in election years reimburse parties half (or more) of their election expenses, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Poll suggests no Conservative leadership contestant has captured Canadians' attention yet


A new poll suggests no candidates for the Conservative Party leadership have been able to lift themselves out of the pack in the eyes of Canadians and Conservative supporters — a stark contrast to the last two races for the leadership of the New Democrats and Liberals, when clear front-runners had already emerged at this stage of the campaign.

The poll, conducted by Forum Research and published in Postmedia's Sun chain of newspapers, found that none of the contestants tested in the poll scored more than 9 per cent support among Conservative voters, while 49 per cent said they preferred "someone else."

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Pollcast: Electoral reform, like math, is hard


Some of the government's most controversial files — pipelines, fighter jets, a new health accord with the provinces — could seem like child's play when compared to the minefield of electoral reform.

Justin Trudeau's campaign pledge to ensure the 2015 federal election was the last held under the first-past-the-post electoral system is looking like one of his most difficult promises to keep. Time is running out, the opposition is howling for a referendum on proportional representation and the government has yet to give any indication of what it plans to do.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Last week, the special committee on electoral reform put forward its recommendations after spending months hearing expert testimony and speaking directly with Canadians. The report recommended the government develop a proportional representation system and put it to Canadians in a referendum.

But the report was not without its contradictions, with a supplemental report from the Liberals on the committee suggesting that implementing a new electoral system before the 2019 federal election was unrealistic and casting doubt on the necessity of a referendum.

Further complicating matters, the New Democrats and Greens also included a supplemental report of their own questioning the necessity of a referendum.

Maryam Monsef, the minister for democratic institutions, then criticized the committee for not doing its job and falsely claimed the report recommended putting a mathematical formula on the referendum ballot. She subsequently apologized for the comments.

Now the government has launched an online survey to gauge Canadians' views on electoral reform. But the opposition has made a mockery of the survey's questions and raised privacy concerns.

So, what now?

Joining me again to discuss the ups and downs of the electoral reform file are the CBC's Aaron Wherry and Kady O'Malley of the Ottawa Citizen.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

November 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of November. The averages combine four federal polls (Mainstreet, Forum, Abacus and EKOS) and one Quebec poll (CROP), altogether surveying 11,652 Canadians.

Compared to the October 2016 averages, the Liberals were down 0.1 point, the Conservatives were up 0.2 points, the New Democrats were up 0.1 point, and the Greens were up 0.4 points.

Monthly tracking chart

The tracking chart below shows the monthly polling averages stretching back to January 2009. Elections and campaigns as well as the arrival of new federal leaders are also included.


You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections

The chart below shows how many seats each of the parties would have won in an election held in this month. This seat projection uses the current first-past-the-post system. For full methodology, see here.

The tracking chart below shows the maximum and minimum seat ranges (which are wider than the likely ranges above) projected for each party since the 2015 federal election.
You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections with alternate electoral systems

The chart below shows potential seat outcomes using alternative electoral systems.

In addition to first-past-the-post (FPTP), the chart shows estimations for proportional representation (PR) and alternative voting (AV).

For PR, each province retains the number of seats they currently have. The number of seats each party receives is rounded up or down according to the vote share received in each province, and any leftover seats are awarded to the party that finished in first place in the region.

A very simple calculation is done for AV. Because the Liberals and New Democrats tend to be each other's second choice, they are awarded any seat where they are projected to be in first place (along with the Greens). Any seat that the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois leads with 45 per cent or more is awarded to that party. Any seat where the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois is in first place but with less than 45 per cent is given to the Liberals, the NDP, or the Greens, depending on which of these parties was in second place.

Though a crude method, past experience with more sophisticated methods have yielded virtually identical results in the current political landscape.

These projections also assumes no change of behaviour by the parties based on the system in place, no change in the behaviour of voters, and no other parties on the ballot. All of these assumptions are likely to be greatly tested in any change to the electoral system.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Liberals hold on to honeymoon gains in national polls


Justin Trudeau's Liberals continue to enjoy more support today than they did in the 2015 federal election and have yet to see their poll numbers take a negative turn. But as the government enters the second year of its four-year mandate, it's making decisions that have the potential to disappoint some of its new supporters.

Over the last quarter, the Liberals have averaged 47.9 per cent support in national polls, a marginal gain over the previous quarter but up 8.4 points compared to election night. The Conservatives have averaged 28.7 per cent, down 3.2 points from the election, while the New Democrats have slipped 7.1 points to just 12.6 per cent support nationwide.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Maxime Bernier's donor base is bigger and broader than Kellie Leitch's


The most recent set of fundraising data for the Conservative leadership race put Kellie Leitch narrowly ahead of Maxime Bernier in total dollars raised. But an analysis of where these contributions came from suggests Bernier has a bigger and broader base of national support within the party — and that puts him in a much better position to win than Leitch. 

Between April 1 and Sept. 30, the latest data available from Elections Canada, Leitch raised $450,421.56, a little more than Bernier's $427,508.72. Ontario MP Michael Chong raised $208,913.72, while Alberta MP Deepak Obhrai raised $1,100.

The other 10 contestants either launched their campaigns after Sept. 30 or had no contributions to report prior to that date.

Taking into account individuals who made multiple contributions and counting them only once, Bernier raised his money from 1,788 individual contributors, compared to 1,049 for Leitch, 370 for Chong and two for Obhrai. In other words, Bernier received money from 56 per cent of all donors to the race in this period, compared to 33 per cent for Leitch and 11.5 per cent for Chong.

But over and above Bernier's advantage in the number of donors, he has a superior regional distribution of that support than does either Leitch or Chong.

And that's a decisive factor in the Conservative leadership race.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Pollcast: 4 byelections and many questions in Quebec politics


Voters head to the polls in four provincial ridings in Quebec on Monday. The contests will mark the first test for Jean-François Lisée, the Parti Québécois's new leader.

Byelections will be held in the ridings of Arthabaska, Marie-Victorin, Saint-Jérôme and Verdun. The last riding, held by the Liberals on the island of Montreal, is not considered to be at play.

But the Parti Québécois will be looking to hold their ridings of Marie-Victorin and Saint-Jérôme, while the Coalition Avenir Québec will try to defend its turf in Arthabaska. The CAQ may also try to make a play for Saint-Jérôme, a seat that Pierre-Karl Péladeau won away from the CAQ in the 2014 provincial election.

A few surprises could be in store. Will the results prove to be bad news for Lisée, could they blunt the gains that François Legault's CAQ has recently made in the polls, or will they turn out to be a shot across the Liberal bow, as the government's satisfaction ratings reach new lows?

Joining me to discuss Quebec's politics on this week's episode of The Pollcast is pollster Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of Léger.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Canadians' views on pipelines divided, but 'social licence' gives opening to Liberals


The decision by the Liberal government to approve the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines while dismissing the application for Northern Gateway has the potential to be a divisive move, particularly in British Columbia where opposition to the pipelines is highest.

But polls have suggested Canadians are moderately in favour of the construction of new pipelines — and that the "social licence" the prime minister has looked for can be a big factor in getting more Canadians on board.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Justin Trudeau a big money draw for Liberals


With all of the controversy surrounding the prime minister's attendance at what the opposition parties call "cash-for-access" fundraising events, one might wonder why the Liberals are willing to risk the potential political cost for a few donations.

The party insists it's following the rules. But in the end, the political calculation might be an easy one — according to an analysis of Elections Canada data, the average event headlined by Justin Trudeau raises slightly more than $100,000 for the Liberal Party.

The prime minister and other members of his cabinet routinely attend fundraising events that come at a price of $1,500 per ticket, near the limit of donations allowed by Elections Canada. We don't know how much of the party's $12.2-million fundraising haul for the first three quarters of the year came from those events, but $1,500 tickets can pile up quickly.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Pollcast: Conservative leadership race begins to heat up


The list of contestants in the running for the Conservative Party leadership has ballooned to 12. One official debate has already been held and the contours of the race are starting to become clearer.

So who is standing out from the pack with six months to go before members make their choice?

The dozen contestants include four MPs from Ontario (Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Erin O'Toole and Lisa Raitt), two from Quebec (Maxime Bernier and Steven Blaney), two from Saskatchewan (Andrew Scheer and Brad Trost) and one from Alberta (Deepak Obhrai), along with two former MPs (Chris Alexander and Andrew Saxton) and Manitoba physician Dan Lindsay. 

It makes for a crowded field and a need for contestants to carve out a niche of their own. Leitch has pushed her screening of immigrants for "anti-Canadian values," while Bernier has proposed a series of libertarian-style policies. Chong has put forward a carbon-pricing plan and Blaney has endorsed a ban on the niqab in the public service and attacked Bernier over his views on supply management. Scheer and O'Toole have each touted a long list of caucus endorsements, while Trost has claimed the socially conservative ground in the race.

Is any of this moving the needle among party members?

To break it down, Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy are back with host Éric Grenier on this week's episode of the Pollcast.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Canadians open to ending door-to-door delivery, government-commissioned poll finds


Less than a year after implementation of Canada's community mailboxes was put on hold, a poll commissioned by the Liberal government indicates two-thirds of Canadians support a transition away from home delivery to these boxes in urban and suburban centres.

The poll also suggests Canadians are widely satisfied with the services they receive from Canada Post, but would be willing to accept some changes — including alternate day delivery.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Planned coal phase-out holds few political risks for Justin Trudeau


In promising an end to what he called U.S. President Barack Obama's "war on coal," Donald Trump won the strong support of America's coal miners, who played an important role in his victories in two key swing states.

But the Liberal government's decision to phase out coal-fired power generation in Canada by 2030 is unlikely to have significant electoral ramifications for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Pollcast: Were the U.S. polls right, wrong - or somewhere in-between?


The results of the U.S. presidential vote came as a surprise to many. Almost every national poll gave Hillary Clinton a lead over Donald Trump and the polls also suggested she held the lead in enough states to win the election.

Instead, though Trump lost the popular vote, he won the electoral college and will be America's next president.

As mail-in votes continue to be counted in Democratic-friendly states, Clinton's edge over Trump in the popular vote will likely grow — and the national error in the polls will shrink. Still, at the state-level the error was significant enough to up-end expectations.

What did the polls miss? Was there a problem with how polls — and the uncertainty intrinsic to the science — were interpreted? And where does the media and the polling industry go from here?

Joining me on this week's episode of The Pollcast is pollster David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Ontario byelections come at difficult time for Kathleen Wynne's Liberals


Two Ontario provincial byelections on Thursday come at a difficult time for Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government. Her party is at its lowest point in the polls in years and the premier's approval ratings are even worse than her predecessor's, Dalton McGuinty.

And when his ratings were plumbing new depths, McGuinty announced he would resign.

Byelections are being held in the ridings of Ottawa–Vanier and Niagara West–Glanbrook, the former a solid stronghold for the Liberals and the latter a bastion of the Progressive Conservatives.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What MPs' endorsements say about the Conservative leadership race


Though six months remain before Conservatives choose their next party leader, nearly half of the Conservative caucus has already backed one of the 12 contestants officially in the running. Two of them, Andrew Scheer and Erin O'Toole, have received the bulk of these endorsements. 

But if endorsements are at all reflective of organizational strength and membership support, where these endorsements are coming from might be as important as the number each contestant receives. 

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Shades of Ralph Nader: Did Gary Johnson and Jill Stein tip the 2016 U.S. election?


The parallels between the U.S. elections of 2000 and 2016 are striking. A candidate seeking a third consecutive term in the White House for the Democratic Party narrowly wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College to the Republican nominee, while a third-party candidate takes a significant and potentially decisive share of the vote.

Does that make Gary Johnson and Jill Stein the 2016 equivalent of Ralph Nader?

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

October 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of October. The averages combine three federal polls (Abacus, Forum and EKOS), one Quebec poll (CROP) and one Alberta poll (Lethbridge), altogether surveying 7,070 Canadians.

Compared to the September 2016 averages, the Liberals were down 2.9 points, the Conservatives were down 1.4 points, the New Democrats were up 2.4 points, and the Greens were up 1.9 points.

Monthly tracking chart

The tracking chart below shows the monthly polling averages stretching back to January 2009. Elections and campaigns as well as the arrival of new federal leaders are also included.


You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections

The chart below shows how many seats each of the parties would have won in an election held in this month. This seat projection uses the current first-past-the-post system. For full methodology, see here.

The tracking chart below shows the maximum and minimum seat ranges (which are wider than the likely ranges above) projected for each party since the 2015 federal election.
You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections with alternate electoral systems

The chart below shows potential seat outcomes using alternative electoral systems.

In addition to first-past-the-post (FPTP), the chart shows estimations for proportional representation (PR) and alternative voting (AV).

For PR, each province retains the number of seats they currently have. The number of seats each party receives is rounded up or down according to the vote share received in each province, and any leftover seats are awarded to the party that finished in first place in the region.

A very simple calculation is done for AV. Because the Liberals and New Democrats tend to be each other's second choice, they are awarded any seat where they are projected to be in first place (along with the Greens). Any seat that the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois leads with 45 per cent or more is awarded to that party. Any seat where the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois is in first place but with less than 45 per cent is given to the Liberals, the NDP, or the Greens, depending on which of these parties was in second place.

Though a crude method, past experience with more sophisticated methods have yielded virtually identical results in the current political landscape.

These projections also assumes no change of behaviour by the parties based on the system in place, no change in the behaviour of voters, and no other parties on the ballot. All of these assumptions are likely to be greatly tested in any change to the electoral system.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pollsters missed the call by failing to spot Trump's support among white voters


Pollsters are diving deep into their data to try to figure out why things went so wrong for them on Tuesday.

Answers may not begin to emerge for some time. But the results of the U.S. election in the closest swing states provide clues to what the polls might have missed — and how those misses led pollsters astray.

The error the polls made at the national level was both relatively small and enormously consequential. Hillary Clinton's margin over Trump averaged a little more than three points in the polls. As votes continue to be counted, Clinton could end up ahead in the popular vote by about one point.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How Trump defied pundits and pollsters to win the White House


Around the United States and throughout the world, people are waking up this morning and asking, 'What just happened?'

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the American presidency, was elected to lead the free world, against the expectations of most polls, pundits and political observers. He did it by getting his core supporters — white Americans — out to vote for him in bigger numbers than expected, delaying for at least one more electoral cycle the demographic challenges facing the Republican Party.

As of writing, it wasn't clear whether Trump would emerge with the highest share of the popular vote (ed: he won't). But winning the support of most Americans was a secondary concern. He needed to win the support of the most Americans in the right states, and he did just that.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Clinton win or a Trump surprise: A viewer's guide to election night in America


When Americans cast their ballots today, the polls suggest they will probably elect Hillary Clinton as their next president. But the margin between her and Donald Trump remains narrow enough that the outcome might not be clear until late into the evening or even early morning.

So how might the night unfold in either scenario?

According to Monday's update of the Presidential Poll Tracker, Clinton holds a three-point lead over Trump nationally. That margin has held firm over the past week, suggesting Americans' views of the two candidates may have crystallized in these final days.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hillary Clinton has the lead for the final weekend, but will it hold through Tuesday?


As the American election campaign rolls into its final weekend before Tuesday's vote, Hillary Clinton remains the favourite to become the next U.S. president. Her edge over Donald Trump remains narrow but her recent decline in the polls seems to have halted.

Nevertheless, the margin she enjoys over the Republican nominee remains small enough that it could be overturned over these final days.

As of Friday's Presidential Poll Tracker update, Clinton has the support of 47.4 per cent of decided voters, compared to 44.5 per cent for Trump. That margin of 2.9 points is far more comfortable than the 1.9-point margin she had in the polls at the beginning of this week.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Pollcast: Two seasoned Canadian campaigners on the U.S. election


The American election is now just days away and polls suggest the race is the closest it has been since Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton secured their respective parties' nominations in July.

Whatever the result, what will this campaign mean for the future of the Republicans, the Democrats and the United States?

Joining me on this week's episode of The Pollcast are Bob Rae, former premier of Ontario and past interim leader of the federal Liberal Party, and James Moore, former federal Conservative cabinet minister.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton's lead dwindles to 2 points in wake of FBI's email probe


Little more than a week ago, Hillary Clinton was leading Donald Trump in national polling by six points or more. Panic was setting in among Republicans that they would not only lose the White House, but maybe the House and Senate, too. Now, with only days to go before election day, the gap is just two points — and closing.

But despite Trump's improving odds, he still faces a stiff challenge in cobbling together enough states to give him a winning electoral map. Nevertheless, the momentum is not heading in Clinton's direction, a shift that was building in the polls before her trouble with emails re-emerged on Friday.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Maxime Bernier beats Conservative rivals in fundraising over the summer


Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier out-fundraised his rivals over the summer, raking in $371,000 between July and September, more than the rest of the field combined.

The financial reports posted on Elections Canada's website also show the Liberals raised the most money in the last quarter, while the Conservatives and New Democrats had their worst fundraising quarters in five years.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Justin Trudeau should get used to being heckled by disillusioned voters on the left


At an event organized by the Canadian Labour Congress this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was confronted with harsh criticism by young members of the labour organization who felt the Liberal leader had turned his back on them.

"Honour your promises!" demanded some.

This discontent on the Canadian political left is not yet a big problem for Trudeau's Liberals. They have more support today than they did on election night in 2015, much of those gains coming from past supporters of the NDP.

But as the government moves forward — or fails to — on a number of controversial files, from electoral reform to pipelines to peacekeeping, this discontent could indeed become a problem.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Pollcast: When will the NDP leadership race get going?


When Peter Julian, an MP from British Columbia, stepped down as NDP House leader to explore a bid for the party's leadership, he immediately became the front runner.

That's because no one else has expressed any interest in the job.

Since Tom Mulcair's leadership was rejected at the NDP's convention earlier this spring, the race to replace him has yet to start. Even Julian has not officially thrown his hat into the ring yet.

But more names can be put forward as potential candidates, including current MPs Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus and Guy Caron. Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario MPP, has also been mentioned as a potential contender.

The campaign will be a long one, as votes will be cast throughout October, 2017.

Joining me to discuss the lack of candidates in the race and the list of names that could soon emerge are NDP insiders Sally Housser of Navigator and Robin MacLachlan of Summa Strategies.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Federal byelection has good signs for Conservatives and Liberals, but not NDP


Byelections rarely hold any wider political significance — one held in the reliably Conservative stronghold of southern Alberta doubly so. But Monday night's results in the Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner federal byelection do provide some signals as to the states of the federal parties: resilience for the Conservatives, popularity for the Liberals, and deep malaise for the NDP.

The byelection, called to replace a vacancy following the death of Conservative MP Jim Hillyer earlier this year, was easily won by the incumbent party. And the Conservatives rightly deserve recognition for their creditable win.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Polls favourable to Donald Trump may be overestimating his support, state polls suggest


Depending on which presidential candidate you favour, American polls have something to appeal to all tastes. A competitive race? A narrow lead for Donald Trump? A landslide for Hillary Clinton? The polls have you covered.

But that doesn't mean that we have no idea where things really stand in the U.S. election. The consensus of national polling still points to a comfortable Clinton lead — and that lead is corroborated by state-level polling that also heavily favours her.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Polling associations look to increase transparency with merger, but not everyone is on board


Two organizations representing market research firms and pollsters in Canada have announced they are entering into merger talks to speak on behalf of the public opinion polling industry with one voice and apply a uniform set of standards for their members.

But at least one prominent polling firm has concerns that some aspects of those standards could undermine the level playing field in the industry.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Pollcast: Has the Liberal government given up on electoral reform?


Has Justin Trudeau given up on electoral reform?

In a recent interview, the prime minister explained that the appetite for electoral reform has diminished now that his government has replaced Stephen Harper's. Some have seen this as an admission that the Liberals have lost interest in changing the way Canadians vote now that the system has put the Liberals in power.

But others see Trudeau as laying down the gauntlet to the opposition parties that are in favour of electoral reform: find consensus or it won't happen.

So where do things stand on the electoral reform issue? Can it still happen? And if the government is backing out, why did it start this process in the first place?

Joining me to discuss the issue are the CBC's Aaron Wherry and Kady O'Malley of the Ottawa Citizen.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

As final debate looms, Hillary Clinton opens widest lead yet over Donald Trump


Donald Trump's worsening position in the polls was sparked by his poor performance during the first presidential debate and has been sustained by a torrent of problems dogging his campaign — including the emergence of allegations of inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault from about a dozen women.

Tonight's third and final presidential debate may be Trump's last opportunity to turn things around. And it's women — for whom Trump says he has "great respect" — who might just be the most significant obstacle to his White House ambitions.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Donald Trump and the war on polls


One of the few remaining polls showing Donald Trump in a competitive race with Hillary Clinton turns out to have been overly influenced by one young African-American voter from Illinois who, unlike virtually everyone else who fits his demographic profile, is a committed Trump supporter.

It's another knock against the credibility of polls at a time when Donald Trump is talking about the election being "rigged" and questioning the legitimacy of many reliable election surveys.

Trump has complained that a hostile media and widespread voter fraud, or a combination of both, could steal the election from him.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Pollcast: Yukon goes to the polls


Yukoners will go to the polls on Nov. 7, the day before the presidential election south of the border — or, in the case of the Yukon, west of it.

But though the Yukon election is tiny by comparison, the result might be just as unpredictable.

The right-of-centre Yukon Party has governed the territory of about 37,000 people since 2002. Party leader Darrell Pasloski is asking for his second consecutive term as premier and his party's fourth. The New Democrats under Liz Hanson and the Liberals under Sandy Silver are both vying to replace Pasloski's government.

But polls in the territory are few and far between. The last one is eight months old, and a majority of Yukoners at the time said they were undecided.

So who has the inside track?

Joining me to discuss the territorial election is Chris Windeyer, editor of the Yukon News.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Federal precedent favours Yukon Liberals, but campaign will decide the result


Yukoners will go to the polls to elect their territorial government on Nov. 7, barely a year after they cast their ballots in last year's federal election. So can the results of that 2015 vote provide any indication of what to expect at the end of this campaign?

While there is a definite relationship between the performance of territorial parties and their federal cousins, that relationship is only strong enough to provide a hint at what may be in store for the Yukon on election day.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Trump's campaign could cost the Republicans their majority in Congress


If Donald Trump's polling numbers don't improve, and soon, he won't win the White House.

But if the bottom continues to fall out of his campaign, he might drag the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives down along with him.

Americans will not only be voting for their next president on Nov. 8. They will also be filling many other offices, ranging from county sheriff to state governor. The most important races after the presidency, however, will be in the two chambers of the U.S. Congress.

You can read the rest of this analysis here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump's dwindling paths to the White House


Even before the release of audio of lewd and offensive comments about women Donald Trump made in 2005, and before scores of fellow Republicans called on him to step down, Trump's chances of winning the U.S. presidency were looking slim.

They may now be non-existent. 

But if Trump somehow weathers this storm, an electoral map that puts him in the White House can be cobbled together if he can swing just a few battleground states in his direction.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 7, 2016

September 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of September. The averages combine four federal polls (Léger, Mainstreet, and Forum x 2) and one Quebec poll (CROP), altogether surveying 10,481 Canadians.

Compared to the August 2016 averages, the Liberals were up 1.8 points, the Conservatives were unchanged, the New Democrats were down two points, and the Greens were down 0.5 points.

Monthly tracking chart

The tracking chart below shows the monthly polling averages stretching back to January 2009. Elections and campaigns as well as the arrival of new federal leaders are also included.


You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections

The chart below shows how many seats each of the parties would have won in an election held in this month. This seat projection uses the current first-past-the-post system. For full methodology, see here.

The tracking chart below shows the maximum and minimum seat ranges (which are wider than the likely ranges above) projected for each party since the 2015 federal election.
You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections with alternate electoral systems

The chart below shows potential seat outcomes using alternative electoral systems.

In addition to first-past-the-post (FPTP), the chart shows estimations for proportional representation (PR) and alternative voting (AV).

For PR, each province retains the number of seats they currently have. The number of seats each party receives is rounded up or down according to the vote share received in each province, and any leftover seats are awarded to the party that finished in first place in the region.

A very simple calculation is done for AV. Because the Liberals and New Democrats tend to be each other's second choice, they are awarded any seat where they are projected to be in first place (along with the Greens). Any seat that the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois leads with 45 per cent or more is awarded to that party. Any seat where the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois is in first place but with less than 45 per cent is given to the Liberals, the NDP, or the Greens, depending on which of these parties was in second place.

Though a crude method, past experience with more sophisticated methods have yielded virtually identical results in the current political landscape.

These projections also assumes no change of behaviour by the parties based on the system in place, no change in the behaviour of voters, and no other parties on the ballot. All of these assumptions are likely to be greatly tested in any change to the electoral system.

The Pollcast: The second presidential debate, the media, and the polls


The next confrontation between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take place on Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

The first debate did not go very well for Trump. Since that debate, Clinton's lead over the Republican nominee has grown in national polls and her electoral college advantage has solidified. At the second presidential debate, can Trump do anything to turn his campaign around?

Joining me to discuss the upcoming debate and the role of the media and polls on the U.S. presidential campaign is Matthew Yglesias, co-founder of Vox.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Republican Mike Pence narrowly wins VP debate in poll, but upside appears limited


Mike Pence, Donald Trump's Republican running mate for the U.S. presidency, narrowly won last night's debate against Hillary Clinton's VP candidate, Tim Kaine, according to a poll of voters who watched the vice-presidential bout.

But Pence's performance appears unlikely to have a significant impact on Trump's chances of taking the White House.

The CNN/ORC poll, surveying 472 registered voters who had previously been contacted and said they would watch the debate, found that 48 per cent of respondents felt Pence had done the best job, compared with 42 per cent for Kaine.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tim Kaine, Mike Pence little known as they head into VP debate


Tonight's vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will feature two of modern history's least-known vice-presidential candidates, vying to be next in line to two of the oldest U.S. presidential candidates ever to stand for the top job. The stakes are high.

But the debate is unlikely to have a major impact on the comparatively epic tilt between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Mike Pence, the Republican candidate, and Tim Kaine, for the Democrats, are unknown to many voters. According to Pollster's averages, one-third of Americans have no opinion of Pence, the Governor of Indiana. Kaine, a senator and former governor from Virginia, is a mystery to 40 per cent of voters.

You can read the rest of this article here.