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.


  1. No real surprise from CRA's polls. Mr. Bevan-Baker's best premier numbers are perhaps a first but PEI is unique in so many ways I can hardly call the numbers unusual or unexpected.

    1. If one listens to the man speak (as I did when the PEI election was being held), the reason why he outperforms his own party by so much become apparent. He's a rare example of an intelligent, wise, honest and kind politician, yet one who also has the political skills of persuading people. I wish we had someone like him in Ontario.

  2. You note that Gary Burrill's numbers are "split" in the Nova Scotia CRA poll. CRA was in the field from February 4 until March 1, Burrill was elected leader of the NSNDP on February 27th, leaving his name used only in the final few days of polling. The vast majority of respondents were given Maureen MacDonal, interim leader, as their NDP option.

    1. I think it was a mistake electing Burrill as leader as nice and personable as he may be. The NS NDP tried to have a leader not in the House and it did not serve the party nor end well for the party or leader. For an opposition leader not to be in the House is to take away what should be the party's strongest weapon both in terms of media attention and message dissemination. Time will tell of course and hopefully Burrill is better suited to the position than Helen MacDonald was back in 2000-2001 but, it is hard to remember when or where an "outside" leader took an opposition party to Government.

    2. Gordon Wilson then Liberal leader in B.C. came relatively close back in 1991. Had the campaign carried on another week the Socred vote may have dissipated entirely and Wilson may well have found himself premier.

    3. "Time will tell of course and Hopefully Burrill is better suited to the position than Helen MacDonald was back in 2000-2001 but, it is hard to remember when or where an "outside"leader took an opposition party to Government.

      Brain Mulroney did.

    4. A very good guess but, I am afraid incorrect. Mulroney was already the M.P. for Central Nova as Elmer MacKay had resigned in 1983 to allow Mulroney to run in a by-election. He was M.P. for Central Nova for 369 days until the election of Sept. 4th 1984 when he became M.P. for Manicougan.

  3. The Trudeau honeymoon likely won't wear off until the Conservatives find a new leader. Rona isn't even eligible to run for the leadership and since Mulcair lost most NDP have found a home with the Liberals.

    1. In Saturday's Vancouver Sun (and I suspect the rest of the Southam newspapers) Michael den Tandt speculates that Rona is the best woman or man for the job and that a nascent draft Rona movement is afoot, even likely to grow!

    2. Worst thing for the country bede

    3. Rona's not eligible. Making her eligible would damage the party's credibility.

    4. I'm not in support just reporting what is in the Vancouver Sun. I think it would be a big mistake not to have a leadership race. Parties need to have an open internal discussion to set the larger tone and direction of the party, leadership politics help do this. For the Tories I feel this is especially important in order to help re-build an organisation and support in the Maritimes and other regions of the country. As well as to bring in new talent and ideas.

    5. They need a race.

      The party needs to demonstrate that it contains more voices than just Stephen Harper's and those of his inner circle (read: Jason Kenney).

      For the party to move forward strongly, I think McKay, Bernier, Kenney, and at least 2 women need to run.

      Ideally, neither of Kenney nor McKway will win, and both hearken back too strongly to the old parties (Reform for Kenney, PC for McKay).

    6. At the moment I favour MacKay to be the next leader but, I will wait to see who is running before formally making my decision. Lisa Raitt could easily get my vote if she decides to run. Bernier has a lot of baggage, Denis Lebel would be an interesting choice but, I suspect nobody will declare until the Autumn at the earliest.

  4. When Is Mulcair Leaving ??

    1. When is Mulcair leaving? Everybody knows it's over but Tom. His wife better confront the issue before humiliation sets in.

    2. Mulcair should have resigned, that is quite obvious. He is not going anywhere until after April though and judging by his rhetoric will try and hold on even if he receives a poor score. The question really is: how low will he go? Will the minimum approval rating (50%+1) convince him to continue? Will a vote in the 60's? Mulcair is clearly downplaying expectations in the run-up to the convention in Edmonton.

      My own prediction is that old Tom will receive an approval rating in the mid-low 60's. He'll stick around until at least next Spring. The catalyst for his eventual leaving will be a series of by-election defeats sometime in 2017 or 18 after the BC NDP lose their fourth consecutive general election.

    3. "after the BC NDP lose their fourth consecutive general election."
      Actually it will be their fifth straight - Campbell era 2001, 2005, 2009, C Clark 2013 and 2017.

  5. Right you are! Just abysmal.

    The BC NDP do it to themselves though: Ujjal Dosanjh and his month long junket to India, choosing Carole James as leader, then Adrian Dix. The backroom operators and Party HQ within the BCNDP don't have a clue. It is run by people like Mike Magee, who have been in the business for so long they think it the "real world". They have so many bad policies from a BC perspective from abolition of the Monarchy and Senate to an over reliance on unions and a carte blanche they continually give to the BCTF. Everybody loves teachers but, that particular union's leadership is so one sided and biased that they have long stopped standing up for kids and instead pursue their own overtly political agenda.

    The BCNDP and perhaps the entire party needs to think about what they want to be and how to achieve it. Perhaps, there is no longer a need or use for a social democratic party or perhaps their utility is derived as an opposition force exclusively? Being all things to all people is not working well for the NDP.

    1. Ahh....I don't know. Parties have to morph and change with the times and meet the current (and somewhat anticipated) needs of the country or prov. Though to some degree they also cannot escape their brand which is why I think you ask the question...I mean the NDP can change over time, like any party, stay somewhat true to their roots and address current needs and issues..Ultimately I think that time out of office gives a party a chance to calibrate itself, generate good policy, and find a way to connect and meet the needs of the electors. Some parties just might be better at doing that than others...or circumstances ie implosion and chaos of their opponents hasn't manifested itself yet.

    2. Time out of office is one thing but, perpetual opposition quite another. It leaves B.C. without an effective government-in-waiting and a very hobbled Opposition. What pressure can an Opposition exert on Government when their chances of replacing them are slim-to-none? Not much I would answer. The outcome for B.C. is in effect an elected dictatorship which should please noone.

      If the BC NDP are unable to get their act together they should do the honourable thing and disband!

    3. Now Mikki Ashton won't pledge allegiance to Mulcair and 37 Quebec NDP luminaries (probably too distinguished a term for a crowd that mainly hails from the social-activist rabble) call for his departure in a coded op-ed in Le Devoir. It appears the only way Mulcair will be able to hang on is if he announces his resignation before the April convention!

      But, it probably isn't as dire as I proclaim in NDP circles. It should be true Dippers should wake to the fact their party is dying and appears to be in long term decline. Dippers are a kind hearted lot though the type of people who always give second chances so, maybe Mulcair will pull it off. 70% support at Edmonton for Tom is unlikely but, he should be able to get relatively close, low sixties perhaps so long as he shows some more contrition and presents a nominal plan for renewal-a party committee of some sort-social democrats love committees, everybody should be listened to-followed by a giant group hug! Then bam!!!! Fast Ferries, A Skytrain line that only goes through NDP constituencies and fudgeit budgets!!!

      I will go out on a limb and prognosticate Kennedy Stewart M.P. will be the next leader of the NDP (possibly interim).


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