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