Friday, March 25, 2016

Canadians support budget, accept deficit, poll suggests

Canadians may not love the $29.4 billion in deficit spending announced in Tuesday's federal budget, but they can live with it, are broadly supportive of many of the measures included in the budget, and would pass it if they were MPs, a new poll suggests.

The survey, conducted by Abacus Data shortly after the budget was tabled and commissioned by EY, found that Canadians are generally looking on the budget favourably, if not enthusiastically.

You can read the rest of this article on Abacus Data's budget poll here. The article also contains the latest episode of the Pollcast, with Abacus Data CEO David Coletto.

Saskatchewan leaders' debate unlikely to move many votes, poll suggests

Despite the heated rhetoric of Wednesday's Saskatchewan leaders' debate, a poll of debate-watchers taken immediately afterwards suggests that the event may not have moved many votes.

The poll, conducted by Mainstreet Research for Postmedia and surveying 1,006 Saskatchewan people who said they had watched the debate, showed that 56 per cent of debate-watchers thought that Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall had done a better job, while just 32 per cent gave the nod to NDP Leader Cam Broten. Another 12 per cent were unsure.

You can read the rest of this article on the Mainstreet poll on the debate here.

Donald Trump persuading Republicans, but would lose to Hillary Clinton

As the Donald Trump train continues to roll after winning Arizona and all of its delegates on Tuesday, the question of how Trump might fare against the Democrats becomes more and more relevant.

The answer? Not very well. In fact, a Trump candidacy in November could result in some very red states turning reluctantly blue.

You can read the rest of my look at the U.S. primaries and would it could mean for the general election in November here.

Web traffic suggests anticipation for Liberal budget high

The Liberal government's first federal budget to be presented Tuesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau is greatly anticipated. But despite the high web search traffic, the numbers suggest the budget might not be as hotly anticipated as some past budgets delivered by the Conservatives.

One reason may be that Canadians aren't too worried about what may or may not be in a budget brought in by a popular government.

You can read the rest of this article on Canadians' interest in the budget, as well as some discussion of the new Abacus Data poll on federal politics, here.

The Pollcast: The importance of the Saskatchewan leaders' debate

As the campaign reaches its halfway point, Wednesday's leaders' debate between Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall and NDP Leader Cam Broten could be decisive. That is, if people in Saskatchewan haven't already made up their minds.

Joining me again to break down the state of the election campaign is the CBC's Stefani Langenegger.

You can listen to the latest episode of the Pollcast here.

Manitoba PCs hold lead in new poll as NDP struggles to gain traction

A new poll shows that Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives are still leading in the first week of the Manitoba provincial election campaign, though a large number of undecided voters in the poll might give hope to Greg Selinger's beleaguered New Democrats

But without gains outside of their traditional stronghold of the provincial capital the NDP will have only a very tenuous shot at re-election.

You can read the rest of this article on the latest Manitoba projections and the poll from Mainstreet Research here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

New federal poll from Forum, Alberta poll from Insights West

Forum Research has a new federal poll out today, showing continuing strong numbers for the Liberals.

Insights West also has a new poll on the Alberta provincial scene, focusing on the 'unite-the-right' debate, and where supporters for each of the party think they are on the political spectrum.

Despite Donald Trump's wins, U.S. primaries far from over

The American presidential primaries have been playing out for six weeks — and they are not even close to being over.

That is because the outcome will remain uncertain for another three months — or even until July, when the Republican Party could have to hash things out on the convention floor in Cleveland, Ohio.

You can read the rest of this article on the U.S. primaries here.

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party gains in 2 new polls

Two new polls suggest that the Saskatchewan Party's position is improving as the province's election campaign continues into its second week.

The CBC Saskatchewan Poll Tracker now pegs the Saskatchewan Party to hold the lead with 56.1 per cent support, a gain of just under three points since last week's update. The New Democrats have slipped about two points to 32.7 per cent, while the Liberals and Greens trail with 7.3 and 3.2 per cent support, respectively.

You can read the rest of this article on the Saskatchewan provincial election here.

The Pollcast: Breaking down the Manitoba election

Voters in Manitoba will be heading to the polls on April 19, as Premier Greg Selinger dissolved the legislature today.

But will he still be in the job on April 20?

You can listen to the podcast with guest Cameron MacIntosh, the CBC's senior report in Manitoba, here.

How embattled NDP Leader Tom Mulcair stacks up against his predecessors

The New Democrats' rise to Official Opposition status in 2011 was sudden and euphoric, its fall back to third-party status traumatic.

Nevertheless,Tom Mulcair's electoral performance in 2015 ranks positively against those of NDP leaders who preceded him.

However, the party's concentration of support in Quebec masks regional weaknesses that make Mulcair look much less impressive when stacked up against his predecessors.

You can read the rest of this article on Tom Mulcair's NDP leadership situation here.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Week in Polls: Provincial Liberals lead throughout Atlantic Canada; Trudeau still tops for PM

The latest quarterly numbers from the Corporate Research Associates for Atlantic Canada are out, and they show the Liberals, which govern in each province in the region, still leading by wide margins.

Starting in Nova Scotia, the Liberals led there with 56 per cent support, followed by the Progressive Conservatives at 23 per cent, the New Democrats at 16 per cent, and the Greens at 5 per cent.

Compared to CRA's last poll three months ago, this represents a drop of eight points for the Liberals and a gain of six points for the PCs. In fact, the Tories are at their highest level of support in CRA's polling since the 2013 provincial election.

Stephen McNeil led on who Nova Scotians prefer to be premier with 41%, followed by Jamie Baillie and Gary Burrill at 15% each (Burrill's numbers were partially split with the former interim NDP leader, Maureen MacDonald).

In New Brunswick, the Liberals were down 10 points to 45 per cent. But that still put them ahead of the PCs, who were up only two points to 27 per cent support. The New Democrats were up six points to 18 per cent, while the Greens were at 8 per cent support.

While this is a big drop for the Liberals, it still puts them above where they were before the federal election last year.

Brian Gallant's numbers on being the preferred premier were down nine points to 30 per cent, followed by Bruce Fitch (interim PC leader) at 19 per cent and Dominic Cardy and David Coon of the NDP and Greens at 10 per cent apiece.

The Liberals were steady in Prince Edward Island, holding at 61 per cent support. The PCs trailed at a distance with 19 per cent, the Greens at 11 per cent. and the NDP at 9 per cent.

Wade MacLauchlin was the preferred premier of 41 per cent of respondents, down seven points. Peter Bevan-Baker of the Greens was second at 22 per cent — meaning his own personal support was more than twice that of his party. Jamie Fox of the PCs and Mike Redmond of the NDP had 13 and 10 per cent support, respectively.

Finally, the Liberals were up to 66 per cent support in Newfoundland and Labrador, after winning the last election there in November with 57 per cent of the vote. The Tories were at 23 per cent and the New Democrats at 11 per cent.

Dwight Ball was the preferred premier of 53 per cent, with Paul Davis at 29 per cent and Earle McCurdy at 8 per cent.

Trudeau still leads by wide margin on preferred PM

The latest Nanos numbers on who Canadians prefer as prime minister continue to show Justin Trudeau way ahead of his rivals. In fact, it doesn't seem like the honeymoon is wearing off, as Trudeau's numbers are as high as they have been since the October election.

Trudeau led with 54 per cent, up almost three points from the last independent four-week sample from Nanos.

Rona Ambrose and Tom Mulcair were down only marginally, to 14 and 11 per cent, respectively. Elizabeth May was at 5 per cent and Rhéal Fortin at just under 1 per cent.

Trump could run table on Tuesday

The next Super Tuesday will see votes in Illinois, Ohio, Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina. Donald Trump could win all them, with RealClearPolitics giving him a 2.5-point edge over John Kasich in Ohio, a 15-point edge over Marco Rubio in Florida, a 12-point advantage over Ted Cruz in Illinois, and a 10-point lead over Cruz in North Carolina.

There haven't been any recent polls in Missouri. Cruz won the neighbouring states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa, while Trump took Kentucky, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Cruz won his states by an average of 11.4 points over Trump, while Trump prevailed over Cruz in his three states by 6.9 points. Missouri is a state that is more important to Cruz's map than it is to Trump's, so perhaps Cruz gets the nod.

Nationally, Trump leads among Republican voters with 36 per cent, followed by Cruz at 21 per cent, Rubio at 17 per cent, and Kasich at 10 per cent. Compared to when we last checked-in two weeks ago, that is a gain of one point for Trump and Rubio and two points for Cruz and Kasich. Of note, however, is that two weeks ago Ben Carson was in the race with 8 per cent of the vote.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is leading in the four Super Tuesday states with polls by between 20 and 34 points, and Missouri is certainly the kind of state she should win. Bernie Sanders may be cooked by Tuesday night.

Nationally, Clinton is up three points over the last two weeks to 52 per cent, while Sanders is down one to 38 per cent among Democrats.

My CBC articles this week

'Lame duck' U.S. President Barack Obama hits new high in popularity - Compared to what is happening in the presidential nominations, Obama appears to be looking good.

The Pollcast: Can the Saskatchewan NDP make an impact? - The latest episode is with the CBC's Stefani Langenegger. We'll have mini-podcasts every week with Stefani on the Saskatchewan election.

Brad Wall continues to lead in new Saskatchewan polls - My latest analysis on the state of the race in Saskatchewan, with a look at the new polls this week from Forum and Mainstreet.

Marco Rubio's hopes for Republican nomination could be over - After his terrible results this past week, I pronounce Rubio's campaign to be as good as done.

The challenges parties face as Saskatchewan campaign begins - My set-up of the Saskatchewan election campaign.

Friday, March 4, 2016

February 2016 federal and provincial polling averages

Polling was particularly thin in the month of February at the federal level, with only two national and one Quebec poll being conducted and published. In all, just under 4,000 Canadians were surveyed.

The polls suggest that the high levels of support the Liberal government has been enjoying since its election victory in October are, for the time being, holding fast.

In the two polls conducted in February, the Liberals averaged 49 per cent support — up about four points from their January averages.

The Conservatives under interim leader Rona Ambrose were up about one point to 29.5 per cent, while the New Democrats were down four points to 12.5 per cent.

The Greens averaged 5 per cent and the Bloc Québécois 3 per cent.

Tom Mulcair's New Democrats were at their lowest level of support in February since I began calculating the monthly averages in January 2009, or over seven years ago. Going through my sparser archives before that date, it seems likely that February 2016 could have been the worst month in polling for the NDP since the end of 2003.

The Liberals led in British Columbia with 46.5 per cent support, followed by the Conservatives at 27 per cent and the New Democrats at 19 per cent. The Greens averaged 7.5 per cent. With these numbers, the Liberals would be able to win 22 to 38 seats in British Columbia, with the Conservatives winning between two and 13 and the New Democrats between one and nine. Elizabeth May would be in no danger in her seat.

The Conservatives averaged 57.5 per cent in Alberta, and would take 28 to 32 seats with those levels of support. The Liberals were at 29 per cent, good for two to six seats, while the New Democrats averaged 7 per cent, good for none. The Greens were at 5 per cent here.

In the Prairies, the Liberals moved narrowly in the lead with 42.5 per cent (enough for nine to 11 seats), while the Conservatives slipped to 39.5 per cent (17 to 19 seats). The NDP was down to 12 per cent. The Greens were at 5.5 percent.

There was little movement in Ontario, where the Liberals led with 50.5 per cent support (and could win 80 to 101 seats with that number). The Conservatives were at 32 per cent (19 to 39 seats) and the New Democrats dropped to 11 per cent (one to three seats). The Greens were at 5.5 per cent.

The Liberals dominated in Quebec with 50.3 per cent support, enough to win them 68 to 73 of the province's 78 seats. The New Democrats were down to 17.3 per cent (zero to one seat), while the Bloc Québécois was unchanged at 14.7 per cent. The Conservatives dropped to 13.7 per cent, but would win five to nine seats with that level of support. The Greens averaged 3.3 per cent.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were at 72 per cent — a big 15-point jump that we can mostly ignore since it was derived from just two small regional samples. The Conservatives were down to 16 per cent and the NDP to 9.5 per cent, and would continue to be shutout of the seat count. At 3 per cent, the Greens had their lowest level of support here.

Likely ranges
Overall, that would put the Liberal tally at between 216 and 264 seats, a big increase from the 184 seats the party won in October.

The Conservatives would win between 71 and 112 seats, putting them in the ballpark of the 99 seats they currently hold, while the New Democrats would be down sharply to between two and 13 seats.

The Bloc would not win a single seat and the Greens would retain their one.

At the maximum ranges, the Liberals and Conservatives barely overlap even at the 95 per cent confidence interval, while the New Democrats are solidly in third — or worse.

Provincial polling averages

New polls were conducted and published in the month of February in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

In Alberta, the Wildrose was narrowly ahead in a three-way pile-up with 33 per cent, followed by the Progressive Conservatives at 31 per cent and the New Democrats at 27 per cent. The Liberals had 5 per cent and the Alberta Party just 4 per cent support. This represents a rather big spike for the leaderless PCs, though Brian Jean's Wildrose and Rachel Notley's NDP have been jostling for position since the May 2015 election.

The Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall continued to lead in Saskatchewan with an average of 54 per cent support, followed by Cam Broten's New Democrats at 33 per cent. The Saskatchewan Party has led in the province since before the 2007 provincial election.

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives under Brian Pallister averaged 50.5 per cent in February, followed by Rana Bokhari's Liberals at 21.5 per cent and Greg Selinger's New Democrats at 21 per cent. The Tories' lead against a divided set of opponents continues to look unassailable for the April election.

In Ontario, the Progressive Conservatives were well ahead with 40 per cent support. Trailing in second were the governing Liberals under Kathleen Wynne at 30 per cent, with the New Democrats under Andrea Horwath at 24 per cent support. Patrick Brown's PCs have been leading since August 2015, though this is the widest gap since September.

And in Quebec, the Liberals continued to lead with 36 per cent support, followed by the Parti Québécois at 30 per cent, François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec at 19.5 per cent, and Québec Solidaire at 11 per cent. After a brief surge following Pierre Karl Péladeau's PQ leadership victory, the lead of Philippe Couillard's Liberals has been holding steady.