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.


  1. Although the NDP is still far behind it does appear the PC and Liberal vote have peaked and are in a slow but noticeable decline both in popular votes and seats. It is probably too late to save the NDP government but, time enough to put in a respectable showing come April 19th.

    1. Mainstreet have the PCs up 1, the Libs no change and the NDP down 3 on a week ago. The trend line for the Liberals is up since the end of January. The PC and NDP picture is a bit confusing. Both Forum and Mainstreet believe that the Liberals have the greater capacity to grow their support in the coming weeks while most pundits are still talking about the old PC/NDP battle.

    2. Up perhaps since the end of January for the Liberals when they hit a low but, below their high at the beginning of January when they hit 27%.

      The PCs need to be careful and campaign hard, they were lucky Selinger called the election so early and now must keep their momentum going lest people simply not show up due to boredom or apathy and the (mis)taken belief of an easy PC victory!

  2. We've got to that stage in the electoral cycle when I think we need to take note of the smallest changes; after only one week, among decided and leaning voters in the key battleground of Winnipeg, Mainstreet have the NDP down 2 points and the Liberals and Tories up 1 point each.
    As for the actual bottom line numbers, we still need to be wary of what Mainstreet are telling us. I gather Probe have been in the field these last few days and will publish later in the week. We will have a clearer understanding of the bigger picture only then.

    1. Those changes you cited are within the margin of error of the poll - so paying attention to them is pointless.

    2. Margin of error relates more to bottom line numbers rather than to changes. We are talking about changes over just 7 days at the start of an election campaign. Pointless to ignore them.

    3. ... no, that's now how you should read it.

      If one poll has the results 45-23-22 with a margin of error of 5%, and the next poll out 7 days later has 44-25-21 with a margin of error of 5%, then nothing has really changed in the race.

      Why? Simple: that 44-25-21 result could *actually* be 45-23-22, or it could be 46-21-24, or 41-27-19, and so on. With each result you have a different view of the race from your initial interpretation, but they could all be accurate! So how can you sit there and claim the margin doesn't apply with teeny tiny shifts like the ones you pointed out, and they're now somehow significant?

      Especially when you're dealing with regions which have a smaller sample than the province-wide numbers. A 1,000-person Manitoba sample size is a 550-person Winnipeg sample size, your margins increase dramatically. Small shifts become unimportant.

    4. @Kyle H.: Your arguement seems to be that we should ignore any poll if it tracks any movement within the bottom line margin of error. Now if a pollster continues to track this same small movement over more than 2 polls, you think it should be ignored as each movement is still within a margin of error. Some pundits may choose to ignore every small movement, but some pundits will note that movement while observing the bigger picture.

    5. No, I didn't say "ignore" the poll, not once. My point is that you need to keep it in context - polls are snapshots in time, they are dependent upon response rates, and they're also prone to error both major and minor, the latter being accounted for specifically in the numbers released. You can certainly point to two consecutive polls with some differences between them and *say* there is movement, but there is a big caveat there.

      Also, benefit of hindsight to your "bigger picture" argument. With what we have now, we can only say any movements are within the margin of error of these polls, thus the race so far as we can say is static - but maybe, in a month from now when Bokhari is Premier, we'll look back and say that hey maybe these movements were significant - they aren't and they won't be, but that is besides the point.

      Jumping to conclusions now about movement based on two polls - great sample size by the way - with shifts within the margin of error is what pundits do, yes - but they do it because they need headlines, not because they know what they're talking about.

    6. The person jumping to conclusions is you with your opinion that these movements won't be significant. You may be right. You want to express your opinion about what will happen - that's fine. All I am saying is that we need to take note of the smallest changes and the NDP dropping 2 points in Winnipeg in one week is notable whichever way you look at it.

    7. and then up 4 in the next poll....which all would be within the margin of error...which means you cannot possibly know if any real movement actually occurred. That is not an opinion....that is what margin of error means. The explanation that Kyle gave with the % ranges and overlaps is correct.

    8. "Now if a pollster continues to track this same small movement over more than 2 polls, you think it should be ignored as each movement is still within a margin of error" (Greg Pallister,March 23, 2016).

      Kyle does not write the movement should be ignored. He is simply pointing out a 2% change within a 2.95% 19 times out of 20 margin of error is not statistically significant! So both polls are equally correct. Which should be obvious as both polls indicate almost exactly the same thing albeit differenced by 2%.

  3. Does anyone know the Calgary-Greenway by-election results? I can't find them anywhere and Elections Alberta has not published any information!

    1. Neat 4-way split of the vote:

      PC: 27.7%
      WR: 23.7%
      Lib: 22.6%
      NDP: 20.2%

  4. I realise now the by-election is today! I incorrectly heard it was yesterday.

  5. And we can all sit back and listen to the squeaks and screams of the opposition over the Budget. Good piece by Chantal Hebert in today's Star as to what the opposition parties need to do !

    1. I dislike how the media is reporting the change to the income splitting rules. It wasn't just for the rich; it was for any household where one income was significantly larger than the other.

      If one spouse lost his job, the other could transfer income to him in order to reduce their overall tax burden. It was a responsive system that allowed people to pay less tax when they were suddenly less able to do so.

      The government could have achieved their stated objective by simply capping the household income at which income splitting was allowed (for example, if your total household income is greater than $120K, you can't use it) rather than just killing the program.

      It also allowed families to transfer income to the family member who did the bulk of the unpaid work (typically housework and child-rearing), thus reducing one huge element of gender-based income inequality.

      I don't understand their decision at all, unless their objective is to discourage single-income households.

      That guaranteed minimum income can't come fast enough.

  6. I'm not with you on Trump. Yes, some stalwartly Republican states could well vote democrat (Utah, for example), but Trump also seems to appeal to low-income white democrats. That could move swing states like Ohio and Florida and Nevada in his direction.

    An election between Trump and Hillary would turn on states like Colorado and Oregon and Michigan and Maryland, which is historically really weird. But Trump is an historically weird candidate.

    For good or ill, it's far too soon to write-off Donald Trump.

    1. I am persuaded Trump will beat Hilary for the simple reason that Trump will hit below the belt where ever and whenever it suits him. Hilary by contrast has standards as low as they may be. She is the "good guy" in this campaign too much negativity on her part will lose her votes by portraying her as a divisive figure and hand Trump the presidency.

      Ira is right Trump doesn't need to win Utah, he needs to win Ohio and Florida two states where Regan-Democrats are susceptible to his message. Two states hit hard by the great recession

      It's Bernie or Bust for America in my opinion and the way things are going.....

    2. What nonsense. The blue collar voters who would vote for Trump are already voting Republican for the most part, especially whites - Romney beat Obama by a 20-point margin among whites in Ohio - think on that for a second, and consider the lengths Trump would have to go to expand that margin. Not an impossible task, sure, but hardly evidence of how Ohio is going to fall Trump and automatically doom Clinton or whatever bullpoppy Bernie supporters throw around these days.

      Speaking of Trump being able to take the low road - if you want to sit there and tell me that somehow Trump's insults wouldn't work against Bernie, who is already painted as an extremist communist two heartbeats away from meeting his maker (if he even believes in one, that atheist!) and whose supporters are apparently, but they will against Clinton who has stood up against about as much as you can throw at her and still stick around, then that is simply a delusion.

    3. No, outside of the south poor people vote primarily Democrat.

      Trump isn't going after Reagan democrats. He's going after Truman Democrats and, if there were any still alive, Coolidge republicans. That's who he looks like, policy-wise.

      It's interesting that Hillary describes herself as an "early-20th century progressive" (which doesn't have a direct analog among US presidents - the only democratic president in the early 20th century was Wilson, and he expanded government powers to silence dissent and basically had George W. Bush's interventionist foreign policy), while Trump cites the early 20th century industrial expansion (under people like Taft, Harding, and Coolidge) as the period when America was last great.

    4. No Trump is going after Regan-Democrats because although aged some still walk upon the Earth.

      I do not believe your assertion that: "No, outside of the south poor people vote primarily Democrat (sic)". The Atlantic found that people who make up to $75K favour Democrats. The very poor favour Democrats by about a 2:1 margin but, the margin declines and Republicans increase their popularity with every thousand dollars earned. So, by the time income reaches $75K it is even. By the time you reach $25K annually the ratio is about 40%/ 55% Republican v. Democratic voters and continues its decline thereafter.

    5. Your evidence supports my assertion.

  7. Jeffrey Simpson in today's Globe speculates Gerard Deltell may be a good pick for Tory leader if he decides to run. A dyed in the wool bleu the former media personality already has a large following in Quebec, counts Brian Mulroney as a friend and has Opposition experience as a former ADQ-CAQ M.N.A.

    Since, we yet again have a PM from Quebec I am not so sure picking a francophone Quebecker is a sure path to victory especially when Mulcair is digging in his heals-Do we really want all three party leaders from Quebec, all frnacophones? I suspect Deltell already knows this and will not run. At 51 he is still young enough to run in the next leadership race if he bides his time. His influence in the coming race will however be very important. Deltell could well be the Tory Kingmaker an endorsement from him may have the effect of throwing a large number of Quebec votes to a particular candidate.

    Mulcair should scrape by in two weeks 52% against-48 in favour% of a leadership review. His leadership of course is already irreparably damaged. Charlie Angus and Nikki Ashton refuse to support him at least publicly and one wonders how many more M.P.s feel the same way. If already 5% of the caucus is public in their lack of support for the leader-many more are waiting in the wings. What is Mulcair to do? Win the leadership challenge then sack his entire front bench? The fat lady is warming up...

    1. If they do pick a leader from Québec, it will need to be one that will be accepted by the voters out west. They can't risk fracturing the party again (like Mulroney did).

      Which is why I think Maxime Bernier is the way to go.

    2. Mulcair is an anglophone.

    3. Yannick,

      Wikipedia states Mulcair "grew up bilingual" which is typical wikipedia garbage. The preceeding sentence does however make reference to his mother as a "French-Canaadain". So, one could say Mulcair's "mother tongue" or at least "mother's tongue" is French.

    4. His accent pegs him solidly as anglophone.

      Trudeau Sr grew up in a bilingual household as well, but I wouldn't pretend he wasn't a francophone.

    5. I don't buy that at all-what a double standard! Jacques Parizeau spoke with an English accent because he was educated at the LSE. Likewise Mulcair was educated at McGill. Mulcair is also a French citizen. Ultimately, I am confident Mulcair would describe himself as a Francophone.

  8. I still think Michal Chong is the best bet for the Conservative Leader but I don't think he will run.. I personally will NEVER EVER vote Conservative again after them reuniting and having Harper as Leader/past Leda er. He has put a taint to me on anything Conservative. Heck I would not even vote Conservative Provincially in any Province or Liberal in BC or Quebec because of the awful taste they left in my mouth. As for the NDP: forget that party, in my eyes is Finished, leaving me looking for something........Funny though I voted Liberal last election and I do not feel one iota of regret...not like me to feel that way.

    1. Brad I'm 100% with you. In the past I have voted PC and even once NDP. With what Harper did to the party and what Mulcair is doing

      NEVAIR !!


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