Friday, February 26, 2016

Week in Polls: Manitoba PCs hold lead, NDP down nationally, margin narrows in Ontario

The latest poll out of Manitoba, which will vote on April 19, shows the Progressive Conservatives under Brian Pallister continuing to hold a wide lead over the governing New Democrats and surprising Liberals.

Mainstreet Manitoba poll
The new poll from Mainstreet Research put the PCs at 50%, down just one point from Mainstreet's previous poll of February 11. Rana Bokhari's Liberals were up three points to 23%, while Greg Selinger's New Democrats were unchanged at 21%. The Greens followed with 6% support, down one point.

These numbers have been holding steady for some time, as Mainstreet has pegged the three parties within a tight band of support over their last three polls: 50% to 52% for the Tories, 20% to 23% for the Liberals, and 20% to 21% for the NDP.

With half the vote and against a divided field, the PCs would win a big majority government with these numbers. And that should come as no surprise: in addition to their 27-point lead in the 'rest of Manitoba', they are also up 18 points in Winnipeg.

Seat and vote projections for the Manitoba election will be launching soon, likely after next week.

Liberals dominating in Forum national poll

New federal numbers from Forum Research show the Liberals with a big national lead as well as some impressive numbers at the regional level. The party suffering, though, is not the Conservatives, but rather the New Democrats.

Forum federal poll
The Liberals led with 49%, up three points from Forum's previous survey of December 6-8. The Conservatives were unchanged at 32%, which matches their election result, while the New Democrats were down three points to 10%.

That is half of the vote they took on October 19.

The Liberals put up some massive leads in this poll: 15 points in British Columbia, 16 points in Ontario, 37 points in Quebec, and 50 points in Atlantic Canada. The Conservatives were only ahead, though by 34 points, in Alberta, while the Prairies were a toss-up.

This is a very bad poll for the New Democrats, who ranked fourth in Quebec with just 11% (behind the Bloc, which was down to 13%). The best result for the NDP in this poll was in British Columbia, and there it only scored 14%.

Margin narrows in Ontario

Despite polls showing Kathleen Wynne being one of Canada's least popular premiers, her party is still running competitively with Patrick Brown's Progressive Conservatives in Ontario.
The new poll from Mainstreet Research (which quickly seems to be supplanting Forum as Canada's busiest pollster) puts the Tories at 36%, down four points from Mainstreet's previous poll of November 1. The Liberals were up five points to 33%, while the NDP was up one point to 26%.

These numbers match quite closely to a Forum poll from the end of December.

Regionally, the province is quite divided. Only in Southwestern Ontario, where the Tories are up by 10 points, and in Toronto, where the Liberals are up by six, does any party have a robust lead. Elsewhere, the margins are much closer: a four-point PC lead in Eastern Ontario, leads of two points for the Liberals in Northern Ontario and the Hamilton/Niagara region, and a lead of just one for the PCs in the 905 area code.

Lethbridge poll provides window on Alberta

Polling by Lethbridge College shows some interesting results in the city of Lethbridge, providing a bit of a glimpse on where things stand in the province today.

At the provincial level, the poll found the Progressive Conservatives leading in Lethbridge with 33% support, followed by the New Democrats at 26%, Wildrose at 22%, and the Liberals at 12%.

Compared with the provincial election results in the two ridings of Lethbridge East and Lethbridge West, this represents a slide of between 26 to 31 points for the NDP — a huge number. All the other parties have taken advantage, though primarily the PCs. They were up between nine and 12 points, the Liberals up between six and seven points, and Wildrose between three and five points.

The NDP also seems to be suffering at the federal level in Lethbridge. The poll put the Conservatives ahead with 50%, followed by the Liberals at 31% and the NDP at 8%.

The boundaries are not contiguous, but to put these numbers into perspective the Conservatives took 57% of the vote in the federal riding of Lethbridge in October. The Liberals took 19% and the NDP took 21%, suggesting that the federal NDP has also taken a tumble in the region.

Trump, Clinton heavily favoured in Super Tuesday

About a quarter of delegates for the Republican and Democratic primaries will be handed out over the next week, and Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are poised to dominate.

Our go-to site, FiveThirtyEight, gives Trump some big leads in some of the states voting on Tuesday. According to their "polls-plus" forecast, Trump is up by 5.5 points in Virginia, 10 points in Georgia, 10.5 points in Alabama, and 25 points in Massachusetts. Oklahoma is a toss-up while Ted Cruz is up by 13 points in Texas.

On the Democratic side, Clinton is up by eight points in Massachusetts, nine points in Oklahoma, 32 points in Virginia, 33 points in Arkansas, 35 points in Tennessee, 36 points in Texas, and 49 points in Georgia. She is also ahead by 39 points in this weekend's primary in South Carolina.

Only in Vermont is Bernie Sanders forecast to win on Tuesday — by 74 points!

At the national level, there hasn't been much change in the last week. Trump leads with 35%, followed by Cruz at 19%, Marco Rubio at 16%, and Ben Carson and John Kasich at 8% apiece. For the Democrats, Clinton is ahead with 49% to 39% for Sanders.

My CBC articles this week

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Week in Polls: Wall and Pallister lead, Liberals strong in Quebec, Notley's approval down

The next election on the calendar is in Saskatchewan. The province will vote on April 4, and the campaign itself should officially start in the first week of March. Accordingly, I've launched the vote and seat projections for Saskatchewan.

They show a big advantage for Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party. They are projected to win 44 to 52 seats at the likely ranges, with the New Democrats taking between nine and 17 seats.

These new numbers are driven by the latest numbers from Mainstreet Research. Its poll published earlier this week pegged the Saskatchewan Party to have 56% support among decided and leaning voters, compared to 32% for the NDP. The Liberals and Greens trailed with just 8% and 4%, respectively.

Wall leads in every part of the province, though the NDP is in a better position to compete for seats in Regina and Saskatoon.

PCs continue to hold lead in Manitoba

Another new poll from Mainstreet in neighbouring Manitoba also shows little change in voting intentions as the next election approaches. Manitobans go to the polls on April 19.

The survey from Mainstreet found the PCs leading with 51% among decided and leaning voters, followed by the New Democrats at 21% and the Liberals at 20%. There was very little change from Mainstreet's previous survey from January.
With a 20-point lead in Winnipeg, the PCs seem to be in little danger. 

I will be launching the vote and seat projections for Manitoba soon.

Federal, provincial Liberals lead in CROP Quebec poll

Following on the heels of last week's poll from Léger, CROP is out with new numbers for the province. Like Léger, they also show both Philippe Couillard's and Justin Trudeau's Liberals in a good position in the province.

CROP federal poll in Quebec
Trudeau's Liberals led in the province with 48% support, followed at a distance by the New Democrats at 24%, the Bloc Québécois at 16%, and the Conservatives at just 9%.

Among francophones, the Liberals were down to 41% support, with the NDP and Bloc up to 28% and 19%, respectively.

The Liberals led in every part of the province, though their margin over the NDP in and around Quebec City was just two points.

CROP provincial poll in Quebec
At the provincial level, Couillard's Liberals were ahead in the poll with 36%, followed by the Parti Québécois at 31%, the Coalition Avenir Québec at 18%, and Québec Solidaire at 12%.

Compared to last month, this represents a swing of four points from QS to the PQ.

Among francophones, the PQ was up slightly to 36%, while the Liberals were at 26%, the CAQ at 21%, and QS at 13%.

The Liberals were well ahead on the island of Montreal, but only narrowly in front of the PQ in the Montreal suburbs and the regions of Quebec. The CAQ led in Quebec City.

Trudeau still favoured as PM, Ambrose trends up

The weekly Nanos numbers on who Canadians prefer as prime minister continue to give Justin Trudeau a huge lead. But Rona Ambrose is inching forward.

Trudeau led in the poll with 51%, with Ambrose at 15% and Tom Mulcair at 11%.

Though Ambrose's numbers continue to head in a positive direction, the change from month-to-month has not been statistically significant.

Trump leads South Carolina, Clinton narrowly favoured in Nevada

The latest forecasts from suggest that Donald Trump will win the South Carolina Republican primary quite easily tomorrow. He leads with 31% in FiveThirtyEight's "polls-plus" forecast, followed by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio at 19% apiece.

Jeb Bush stands at 12%, John Kasich at 10%, and Ben Carson at 7%. 

Compared to when we last checked in last week, the movement in FiveThirtyEight's forecast has been towards Kasich (+5) and away from Rubio (-4).

There have been few polls out for the Democratic caucus in Nevada, but FiveThirtyEight forecasts Hillary Clinton to take 53%, with Bernie Sanders capturing around 46%.

My CBC articles this week

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Week in Polls: Trudeau and Couillard lead, Ontario PCs win, Alberta NDP in third

The Liberal honeymoon continued in a new poll from Léger, which gave the party a wide lead over its rivals. Only in Alberta did the Liberals register less than 43% support, and that was also the only region in which the party was not in front.

This was the first poll from Léger since the election, and it showed the same kind of significant gains for the Liberals that we've seen in other polls. Overall, the party had 49% support, followed by the Conservatives at 27% and the New Democrats at 15%.

Of note at the regional level was that the Conservatives were trailing the NDP for second place in British Columbia, while in Quebec the NDP narrowly edged out the Conservatives and Bloc for second spot.

Léger federal poll
The poll also showed wide satisfaction with the government, at 54% to 33% dissatisfaction. Even 54% of NDP voters said they were satisfied with the Trudeau government.

Trudeau led on who would make the best prime minister with 40%, followed by Tom Mulcair at 10%, Rona Ambrose at 9%, and Elizabeth May at 4%. Trudeau led in every region of the country, while Ambrose only hit double-digits in Alberta and the Prairies. Mulcair only did so in Quebec.

Those numbers were somewhat different from the polling done by Nanos Research, though the permitted responses could have been behind that. Léger allowed respondents to say "someone else" or "none of them", which together captured 20%. Nanos only provided an "unsure", which stood at 17% in its last poll — not too different from Léger's combined 16% for "I don't know" or "I prefer not to answer".

The weekly poll from Nanos showed little change of significance from its previous independent sample. Trudeau led with 51%, with Ambrose at 15%, Mulcair at 12%, May at 4%, and Rhéal Fortin at 1%.

Ontario PCs win Whitby–Oshawa by-election

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives won yesterday's by-election in Whitby–Oshawa in dramatic fashion. The PCs' Lorne Coe took 52.9% of the vote, with the Liberals capturing just 27.5% and the New Democrats 16.1%. Turnout, however, was only 28.9% of eligible voters.

This represented a big increase for the Tories over the 2014 provincial election, with a jump of 12.3 points. The Liberals dropped four points and the New Democrats shed seven points.

The by-election results were forecast quite closely by Mainstreet Research.

As you can see, its final poll taken on Monday pegged the PCs at 46%, compared to 29% for the Liberals and 12% for the New Democrats. Considering the low turnout and the difficulty in polling both by-elections and individual ridings, I'd consider this a very respectable showing.

Pierre Karl Péladeau falters in Quebec

Léger was also busy at the provincial level in Quebec, finding that the Parti Québécois continues to struggle to make inroads despite the unpopularity of Philippe Couillard's Liberal government.

Léger poll in Quebec
The Liberals led in Quebec with 36%, followed by the PQ at 29% and the Coalition Avenir Québec at 21%. In fourth stood Québec Solidaire at 10%.

That represented a drop of three points for the PQ since November, but remarkably the Liberals improved their score slightly despite satisfaction with the government sliding three points to only 29%. Fully 62% of Quebecers said they are dissatisfied with the government.

PQ leader Pierre Karl Péladeau does seem to be part of the problem for the PQ, as just 17% of Quebecers see him as the best person to be premier. That is down five points from November, putting him behind Couillard (23%) and just narrowly ahead of François Legault (15%). Françoise David stood at 11%.

Support for sovereignty was also down to just 35%, as Péladeau is in the midst of setting up an organization to promote sovereignty and there is talk about more concerted efforts between sovereigntist parties. At this stage, though, a divided vote doesn't seem like the issue — even if one party garnered all of the sovereigntist vote, it still might not win an election today.

Three-way pile-up in Alberta with the NDP at the bottom

In Alberta, the governing New Democrats have taken a hit in the polls, dropping to just 27% support in the latest Mainstreet Research survey.

Mainstreet poll in Alberta
Wildrose held onto its lead with 33% support, but also took a bit of a tumble. The Progressive Conservatives, against all odds, were the beneficiaries, jumping over 10 points to 31% support.

But if an election were held today, the PCs would have some difficulty winning a lot of seats. The New Democrats continue to hold a wide lead in Edmonton, while Wildrose narrowly edged out the Tories in both Calgary and the 'rest of Alberta'.

We will have to wait and see if this is just a blip or not, as there hasn't been much going on in Alberta that would warrant the PCs making such significant gains — unless voters are just tiring of both the NDP's governing and Wildrose's opposition styles.

A check-in south of the border

The most exciting electoral battle at the moment, though, is taking place in the United States. And, little surprise, my go-to for the data on this is

Polling for South Carolina and Nevada (where the primaries/caucuses head next on February 20 for the Republicans and Democrats, respectively) has been thin, with no new data for Nevada since before the New Year. Nevertheless, the FiveThirtyEight poll averages there give Hillary Clinton a lead of 50% to just 28% for Bernie Sanders.

At the time of the last polling in Nevada, the national polls gave Clinton a 25-point lead over Sanders. Now, that leads stands at 16 points. So, it is reasonable to think that Clinton's lead in Nevada may have narrowed as well, but perhaps not enough to put her at risk of losing the caucus.

On the Republican side in South Carolina (where polling dates from mid-January), FiveThirtyEight gives Donald Trump an average of 36% support, followed by Ted Cruz at 20%, Marco Rubio at 13%, Jeb Bush at 9%, Ben Carson at 9%, and John Kasich at 2%.

The site's "polls-plus" forecast, which takes into account other factors like endorsements, gives Trump an average forecast of 33% to 23% for Rubio, 19% for Cruz, 12% for Bush, 6% for Carson, and 5% for Kasich.

Again, looking at how the national polls have shifted since the last polling was done in South Carolina, we would expect Trump to be down a few points, Cruz to be unchanged, and Rubio to be up a few points. So, as in Nevada for the Democrats, not enough to change the dynamic dramatically — but I suspect the results in New Hampshire would be more likely to give Trump some new momentum, while sapping Rubio's.

My CBC articles this week

Sunday, February 7, 2016

January 2016 federal polling averages

Justin Trudeau's honeymoon continued into January, but a small dip in Liberal support in some key provinces suggests the love affair may be settling down a little. Nevertheless, the Liberals still hold a very wide lead over their rivals.

(Note that the provincial polling averaged for January have also been updated. Scroll to the bottom of this post.)

Three national polls and one Quebec-only poll was conducted in the month of January, totaling a little more than 10,000 interviews.

The Liberals averaged 45.2% support in January, down one point from their December 2015 averages. The Conservatives followed with an average of 28.4% support, down 1.2 points.

The New Democrats were up 2.1 points to 16.4%, followed by the Greens at 5.7% (up 0.3 points) and the Bloc Québécois at 4% (also up 0.3 points).

This marks two consecutive months of decline for the Liberals, which has coincided with two consecutive months of increase for the New Democrats.

But it should be noted that the Conservatives never averaged anything close to 45% throughout their tenure in office, while the New Democrats, at just over 16%, are where they were a few months before the 2011 federal election.

The Liberals led in British Columbia with an average of 40.5%, followed by the Conservatives at 23.3% and the New Democrats at 13.4%. The Greens were up for the third consecutive month to 13.4% in the province.

The Conservatives were ahead in Alberta with 52.1%, trailed by the Liberals at 32.2% and the NDP at 11.1%. The Greens averaged 3.6% support here.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives narrowly edged out the Liberals with 40.3% to 39.7% support. The NDP followed at length with 14.8%, while the Greens were at 5%.

In the West, the Liberals would likely win 33 to 51 seats with these levels of support, largely thanks to their strong numbers in British Columbia. The Conservatives would take between 41 and 59 seats and the New Democrats between eight and 15 seats, virtually all of them in British Columbia. The Greens could take between one and two seats, also only in B.C.

The Liberals dropped for the second consecutive month in Ontario, falling slightly to 48.7% support. The Conservatives took advantage and were up to 30.8%, while the NDP was at 15.2% and the Greens at 4.7%.

This would likely deliver between 74 and 98 seats to the Liberals, with the Conservatives winning between 18 and 38 seats and the New Democrats between four and 10.

In Quebec, the Liberals led with 45.5% support, with the NDP in second at 19.9%. The Conservatives stood at 15.5%, the Bloc Québécois at 14.7%, and the Greens at 3.8%. With these numbers, the Liberals would virtually sweep Quebec with between 59 and 70 seats, leaving eight to 13 seats for the Conservatives and zero to three seats apiece for the NDP and Bloc.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were ahead with 57% against 24.1% for the Conservatives, 12.7% for the New Democrats, and 6.1% for the Greens. The Liberals would likely win between 27 and 29 seats, with three to four seats going to the Conservatives and zero to one seat to the NDP.

In all, the Liberals would likely win between 196 and 251 seats with these levels of support, a significant increase over the 184 seats the party currently holds but down a little from their December projection.

The Conservatives would win between 70 and 114 seats (they now hold 99) while the NDP would be reduced from 44 seats to between 12 and 29.

The chart above shows the progression of seat projections based on the monthly averages. Unlike the table showing the projections for January, this chart increases the ranges to the minimum and maximum tallies, which includes 95% of all projected outcomes.

You can see that despite the small drop in projected seats for the Conservatives, their maximum projected range has inched up since December, and is significantly higher than in December. The NDP has seen a steady increase at their maximum range.

The Liberals are still coming down from their post-election highs, as might be expected. They have dropped for two consecutive months in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada — but in all of these regions the party is still over 40% support. Nothing for them to worry about just yet, as the party is still comfortably ahead of the 39.5% of the vote the Liberals captured in October.

Though the Conservatives were up again in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, they were mostly holding steady. The NDP had upticks in British Columbia and Quebec, but was also wobbling back and forth in Ontario and Alberta.

This could be the holding pattern for some time, as Canadians checkout of the day-to-day political coverage and withhold their judgment until the Conservatives (and possible the New Democrats) deal with their leadership issues.

Provincial polling monthly averages chart updated below
(click to magnify)

  • Saskatchewan Party led the NDP by 59% to 28%.
  • Manitoba Progressive Conservatives ahead with 48% to 23.5% for the Liberals and 21.5% for the New Democrats.
  • Quebec Liberals in front with 35% to 27% for the Parti Québécois, 19% for the Coalition Avenir Québec, and 16% for Québec Solidaire.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Electoral test for B.C. in two by-elections

Update: You can check out my post-election analysis of the by-elections here.

Polling has been very light in British Columbia, with only three surveys having been published for the province in 2015 and none since November. So the two by-elections taking place today in the ridings of Coquitlam–Burke Mountain (CBM) and Vancouver–Mount Pleasant (VMP) will provide a revealing peek at what the political landscape in B.C. currently looks like.

With an election a year away, that may prove useful.

In the 2013 provincial election, Douglas Horne won the riding of CBM for the B.C. Liberals with 49.9% of the vote, followed by the New Democrats at 37.4%. The Greens and Conservatives trailed at a distance with 5.8% and 5.5%.

This will likely be the riding to watch, as the margin was relatively close. A loss for the B.C. Liberals here would signal some malaise with the government that should be of concern for Christy Clark. If the margin narrows significantly, that may also be a sign that the New Democrats are a real threat.

But if the margin does not narrow, or if the margin increases, the New Democrats will have to wonder if they are on track for another defeat.

The B.C. Liberal candidate is Joan Isaacs while the NDP is putting Jodie Wickens. The Greens and Libertarians are also running candidates. Full by-election information for the riding can be found here.

The by-election in VMP is unlikely to be as interesting. Jenny Kwan, now a federal NDP MP, won the riding with 65.8% of the vote in 2013, followed at a distance by the Liberals at 18.7% and the Greens at 11.9%.

Few doubt that the New Democrats will win here, but it will be interesting to see if the margin narrows. It likely will, as often happens in by-elections that were won by a landslide in the previous general vote. The result will not be as revealing as in CBM, as VMP is not a riding that the B.C. Liberals would be targeting anyway.

The New Democrats are running Melanie Mark against the Liberals' Gavin Dew. The Greens, Libertarians, and Your Political Party are running candidates. Full info here.