Friday, April 29, 2016

Liberals won over Muslims by huge margin in 2015, poll suggests

Muslim Canadians voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal Party in last year's election, helping Justin Trudeau secure the majority government that nine out of 10 of Muslims believe will help improve relations between themselves and other Canadians, according to a new survey.

The poll of Muslim Canadians also found widespread support for the right to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony and a large degree of opposition to the anti-terrorism legislation known as Bill C-51, two hot-button issues that may have cost the Conservatives dearly in the last federal election.

You can read the rest of this article here.

The Pollcast: Politics and Muslim Canadians

Never before has a federal election campaign in Canada focused so much on issues related to Muslim Canadians. But lost in the cacophony of the campaign might have been what Muslim Canadians themselves thought about the roiling debate.

A new survey by the Environics Institute, however, sheds some light on what Muslim Canadians think about these issues, their religion and the new Liberal government.

In addition to finding that Muslim Canadians are both increasingly patriotic and devout, the survey found high levels of support for the Liberals in the last election, belief in the right for Muslims to wear the niqab at citizenship ceremonies and optimism that the new government will help improve relations between Muslims and other Canadians.

Joining me to discuss the results of his landmark survey of Muslim Canadians is Keith Neuman, Executive Director of the Environics Institute.

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

Muslim Canadians increasingly proud of and attached to Canada, survey suggests

An overwhelming majority of Muslim Canadians have a strong attachment to their country and feel that Canada is heading in the right direction, according to a new survey.

But the survey also finds that young Muslims, a cohort that is increasingly devout, have more attachment to their religious identity than older Muslims and are more likely to be concerned and pessimistic about discrimination.

These are the findings of a survey of 600 Canadian Muslims conducted by the Environics Institute between November 2015 and February 2016. It follows up on a survey conducted 10 years ago and suggests that Muslim Canadians are becoming increasingly integrated into the broader Canadian society.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Donald Trump's path to Republican nomination looking clearer

New York, New York.

The state in which Donald Trump started his real estate empire gave his Republican presidential nomination bid a much-needed boost on Tuesday.

A huge boost. One of the greatest boosts anyone has ever seen. You wouldn't believe how big of a boost it was.

You can read the rest of my analysis on where Trump stands in the Republican nomination here.

The Pollcast: The politics and priorities of Canada's youth

A traditionally neglected cohort of voters may have tipped the scales in favour of the Liberals in last year's federal election, according to a new poll. If so, what does that mean for the political future of Canada's youth?

A new survey conducted by Abacus Data in partnership with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations found that the Liberals won the support of the youngest voters by a significant margin — enough to have potentially been decisive in the Liberals' majority victory.

But if the Liberals have the youth vote today, what will it take for the governing party to keep that vote into the future?

Joining me to discuss the politics and priorities of Canada's youth is David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

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

Selinger defeat reduces NDP governments down to one — again

With the defeat of Greg Selinger's Manitoba New Democrats on Tuesday, only one province in Canada is now governed by the NDP.

But the significance of this shouldn't be exaggerated. In fact, it is not at all unusual for the NDP to be holding power in only one provincial capital — indeed, the last time that happened was less than one year ago.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Brian Pallister's Manitoba PCs win record-breaking victory

The Manitoba Progressive Conservatives under Brian Pallister won a majority government in a historic fashion Tuesday night, putting up some of the biggest numbers by any party in the province's history.

In the process, the PCs ended the long reign of the Manitoba New Democrats, in office since 1999, as the NDP's vote collapsed in every part of the province.

You can read the rest of this results analysis here.

Six months in, Justin Trudeau's Liberals still riding high in polls

Six months after winning a majority government in last year's federal vote, the Liberals continue to poll above their showing on election night. But is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's honeymoon with voters over?

Short answer: no.

Long answer? Well, still no. In fact, there are very few negative indicators for Trudeau's Liberals in the polls in this early stage of their four-year mandate. But there are some signs that the Liberals may face some headwinds in the future.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Liberals onside with public opinion on doctor-assisted dying legislation

The Liberal government sided with public opinion in the doctor-assisted dying legislation that was tabled on Thursday. Canadians were already widely on board with legalizing it, but the Liberals have also aligned themselves with the views of most Canadians on the details, too.

The government had to come up with the legislation due to the unanimous landmark ruling last year by the Supreme Court of Canada that struck down the ban on doctor-assisted dying. Politically, it was not dangerous territory, as at least two-thirds of Canadians have supported legalizing doctor-assisted death since the late 1970s.

But the devil was in the details on how it would be implemented, who would be eligible and what protections would be put into place to spare the vulnerable.

Polling conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) in March suggests that the Liberals did not take many controversial positions in putting together this legislation.

You can read the rest of this article here.

The Pollcast: The impact of the Manitoba leaders' debate

Four party leaders faced off in last night's leaders' debate, with just a week to go before Manitoba goes to the polls on April 19. But this late in the campaign, did their performances do anything to move the dial?

A new poll taken just after the debate by Mainstreet Research found that 44 per cent of viewers thought PC Leader Brian Pallister did the better job, followed by NDP Leader Greg Selinger (24 per cent), James Beddome of the Greens (19 per cent) and Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari, with just 4 per cent rating Bokhari as the best performer.

Joining me to discuss what went down in last night's debate is the CBC's Cameron MacIntosh. You can listen to it here.

Keeping Tom Mulcair may have been safer bet for NDP, history suggests

Losing seats from one election to the next can sting for the devotees of a political party. The natural reaction may be to call for a change of leadership, as New Democrats did on Sunday at the NDP's convention.

But history suggests that a change in leadership is not necessarily a ticket for future success — in fact, holding on to the leader may be the safer choice.

You can read the rest of this article here.

NDP lost the left to Justin Trudeau before rejecting Tom Mulcair

New Democrats rejected the leadership of Tom Mulcair at their party convention on the weekend, kicking off a battle for the soul of the NDP. With their support for a closer look at the Leap Manifesto, NDP members seem to believe the party's future lies in a return to the left.

But that edge of the spectrum, if the New Democrats want to occupy it again, will need to be wrested away from the Liberals first.

You can read the rest of this article on how the NDP is polling among its core constituencies here.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

March 2016 federal and provincial polling averages (updated)

An update to this post was made on April 15, for two reasons. Firstly, the original post failed to include a poll by the Innovative Research Group that had been conducted in March. Secondly, there was an error made in how the maximum seat projection ranges have been calculated since the election. Edits have been made throughout the text and the graphics have been updated as well.


Federal polling picked up a little in March, with five national and one Quebec poll being conducted and published throughout the month. In total, over 10,000 Canadians were sampled, and the numbers continue to show robust support for the Liberals.

The Liberals led in March with an average of 45 per cent support, down four points from February. But they are down only 0.2 points from January and 1.2 points from December.

As February had only two national polls, it would perhaps be unwise to draw too many conclusions from a comparison to that month. It might be more accurate to say the Liberals are down slightly from where they were in December and January. It is also their lowest result since the election.

The Conservatives averaged 30.5 per cent support, up one point from February and 2.1 points from January. This was their best score since the election.

The New Democrats were at 13.1 per cent, up 0.6 points from February but down 3.2 points from January — and 6.6 points since the October vote.

The Greens were at 5.5 per cent and the Bloc Québécois at 4.4 per cent, steady numbers since the election. Another 1.5 per cent, on average, said they would support another party or independent candidate.

I won't make any direct comparisons to the regional results in February, as the two polls from that month would have still had very small combined regional sample sizes.

The Liberals led in British Columbia with 47.4 per cent support, a second consecutive month of increase putting the party back where it was in the aftermath of the election. The Conservatives have been wobbling back and forth, and averaged 25.6 per cent in the province. The New Democrats were down again, falling to 15.8 per cent. The Greens were at 9.9 per cent.

This would likely deliver between 29 and 38 seats to the Liberals, with the Conservatives winning between two and 11 and the New Democrats and Greens only one apiece. That is a decrease from last month for both the Conservatives and NDP, and a gain for the Liberals.

In Alberta, the Conservatives continued to lead with 58.7 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 28 per cent, the NDP at 6.6 per cent, and the Greens at 4 per cent. This would likely deliver 29 to 31 seats to the Conservatives and three to five seats to the Liberals.

The close race in the Prairies continued, with the Liberals and Conservatives tied at 40.8 per cent, enough to give the Conservatives 17 to 19 seats and the Liberals between nine and 11. The NDP was at 11.3 per cent and the Greens at 6 per cent.

The Liberals dropped to a post-election low in Ontario to 46.7 per cent, dropping them to 75 to 93 seats in the projection. The Conservatives were up to one of their highest level of support since the election with 35.4 per cent, enough to give them 27 to 43 seats. The New Democrats were at 12.6 per cent (one to five seats), and the Greens were at 4.5 per cent.

The Liberals were down 4.1 points in Quebec from February (there were three polls in the province that month) to 46.2 per cent, but that would still give them almost all of the province's 78 seats with 63 to 73. The NDP was up 0.6 points to 17.9 per cent, but that would likely only win them one seat. The Bloc Québécois was up 2.8 points to 17.5 per cent (zero to five seats), while the Conservatives were down 0.2 points to 13.5 per cent. That would likely give them five to nine seats. The Greens were at 3.8 per cent.

And in Atlantic Canada, the Liberal voted oscillated back down to 59.9 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 19.9 per cent, the NDP at 11.3 per cent, and the Greens at 6.5 per cent. This would likely give the Liberals 29 to 32 seats and the Conservatives zero to three seats.

Altogether, the Liberals would likely have won between 211 and 255 seats in an election held in March, well above the 184 seats they won in the election.

The Conservatives would have won between 80 and 116 seats, straddling the 99 seats they won in the October vote.

The New Democrats would win between two and seven seats, well down from the 44 they currently have.

The Greens would have retained their one seat, while the Bloc Québécois would have won between zero and five seats, an improvement over the projected shutout in February.

The maximum ranges take into account big polling and projection misses. But they might also be a good proxy for the impact of a campaign.

In 2015, when the one-election model was in use, the Conservatives began the campaign on August 2 with a projected maximum range of between 83 and 189 seats — so it did envision their eventual outcome.

For the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc, however, it took until October for the maximum ranges to extend to where the parties eventually wound up. So I think it is fair to say the maximum ranges give a window of what two to three weeks of campaigning could do to the polls. In that sense, they give an indication of what outcomes we might expect if we were in the early stages of a campaign.

The maximum ranges currently give the Liberals anything between a huge majority and a very slim ones. The Conservatives would almost certainly finish second.

The New Democrats could best hope to win 16 seats while the Bloc still could not achieve official party status (9 seats), or be shut out (the NDP too).

I had made an error with the earlier projections, as after the election I had forgotten to re-classify the parties. That is why the Liberal lower end was so low — they were being treated like a third party, not like the governing party.

With the chart now corrected, you can see that the Liberals have not been in a position since the election that would put their majority government in doubt. And only in January did the NDP have an outside chance of finishing in second place.

Provincial polling averages

It was a busy month at the provincial level, with new polls in every province but British Columbia.

In Alberta, Wildrose led with 34 per cent, followed by the New Democrats at 27 per cent, the Progressive Conservatives at 25 per cent, the Liberals at 8 per cent, and the Alberta Party at 4 per cent. Though Rachel Notley's governing NDP is back in second, they have been on a pretty consistent slide since the summer.

The March polling in Saskatchewan averaged 57.1 per cent for Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party, 32 per cent for the NDP, and 6.4 per cent for the Liberals. The result of the election on April 4, however, was 62.6 per cent for Wall's party and 30.4 per cent for Cam Broten's NDP.

The campaign continues in Manitoba and we have already seen some polls conducted in April. But in March, the Progressive Conservatives averaged 44.8 per cent, followed by the NDP at 24.8 per cent and the Liberals at 23 per cent. It was the first time the New Democrats were in second since last summer.

One poll in Ontario showed continued stability in the province, with Patrick Brown's PCs ahead with 40 per cent to 30 per cent for the Liberals and 24 per cent for the NDP.

In Quebec, the Liberals fell to 32.5 per cent, giving new support to the Coalition Avenir Québec, which was up to 23 per cent. The Parti Québécois was steady at 30 per cent, while Québec Solidaire stood at 10.5 per cent.

The Liberals dropped in New Brunswick to 45 per cent support, followed by the PCs at 27 per cent, the NDP at 18 per cent, and the Greens at 8 per cent.

In Nova Scotia, the Liberals were down to 56 per cent, with the PCs up to 23 per cent and the NDP falling to third place to 16 per cent support.

It was steady sailing in Prince Edward Island, wit the Liberals at 61 per cent, the Progressive Conservatives at 19 per cent, and the Greens at 11 per cent.

And in Newfoundland and Labrador, the post-election honeymoon is on with Dwight Ball's Liberals, who were up to 66 per cent. The PCs were at 23 per cent and the NDP at 11 per cent.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Pollcast: The future of the NDP and Tom Mulcair

Tom Mulcair will be fighting for his political life at this weekend's NDP convention in Edmonton. But the decisions the New Democrats have to make about the future of the party go beyond just who they want as leader.

How do the New Democrats position themselves against a Liberal Party trying to crowd them out on the left? Does the path to electoral success lie to the centre or to the left of the political spectrum for the NDP?

Is U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders or UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn a model for the NDP to emulate, or cautionary tales?

And what impact could electoral reform have on the NDP?

Joining me to discuss the future of the NDP on the latest episode of the Pollcast is Ian Capstick, founding partner of Mediastyle and an NDP insider.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Manitoba Liberal support slides, PCs gain in new poll

A new poll suggests that support for the Manitoba Liberals is fragile and dropping, but it is the Progressive Conservatives, and not the New Democrats, who stand to benefit most.

The Mainstreet/Postmedia survey, published Thursday morning, shows the PCs holding the lead with 50 per cent support among decided and leaning voters, compared to 24 per cent for the New Democrats, 17 per cent for the Liberals, and 9 per cent for the Greens.

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

Brad Wall's victory cements his place at centre of conservative movement

The reverberations from the Saskatchewan provincial election won't be felt so much in how the results have changed things, but rather in what they have confirmed.

Brad Wall's third consecutive majority victory — in which he nearly matched the record-setting 64 per cent of the vote he captured in 2011 — keeps the Saskatchewan premier at the forefront of the conservative movement in Canada.

And Cam Broten's performance as leader of the New Democrats, who were themselves dealt their worst popular vote showing in the party's storied history in the province, may be the first disappointment in what could be a very discouraging month for the NDP.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Brad Wall wins another majority in Saskatchewan's electoral déjà-vu

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party was re-elected to a majority government last night, taking over 60 per cent of the vote and sending the NDP leader to defeat in his own constituency.

Apparently, Groundhog Day in Saskatchewan has moved to April.

The results of Monday's provincial election in Saskatchewan were very much like the results of the election that came before it. Strikingly so, in fact.

You can read my parsing of the results here.

Brad Wall poised for another majority victory in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan provincial election campaign ends just as it began, with the incumbent Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall enjoying a commanding lead in the polls.

The CBC Saskatchewan Poll Tracker, including all polls published to Saturday, gives the Saskatchewan Party the support of 59.9 per cent of voters, with the New Democrats trailing at 30.7 per cent. The Liberals and Greens are projected to have 4.3 per cent support each.

That is only marginally different from where the numbers stood when the legislature was dissolved on March 8. At the time, the Poll Tracker pegged the Saskatchewan Party to be ahead with 53.5 to 34.5 per cent support.

You can read the rest of this article, my final pre-vote analysis of the Saskatchewan provincial election, here.

(The Poll Tracker will be updated with any new polls published on Sunday. Check here for the latest updates.)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Pollcast: Election night and beyond in Saskatchewan

Voters in Saskatchewan will head to the ballot boxes on Monday in an election whose outcome is in little doubt. But though the polls suggest the Saskatchewan Party is well-positioned to romp to another majority victory, these voters will have the final say.

What will they decide?

Joining me again to break down what to expect on election night is the CBC's Stefani Langenegger.

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

Saskatchewan Party lead endures in new poll

With only days to go in the Saskatchewan election campaign, a new poll suggests that voting intentions are not budging — and that's good news for the leading Saskatchewan Party.

Insightrix published its latest numbers on Thursday, showing virtually no change from an earlier poll conducted a week before the leaders' debate.

You can read the rest of this article on the latest Saskatchewan polls here.

Mulcair's support down from pre-election high among NDP voters as he faces leadership vote

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair received a bit of good news this week, getting the public support of the leaders of five big unions on Tuesday.

At the party's convention in Edmonton on April 8-10, however, Mulcair will require more than that: he'll likely need the support of a significant majority of the party's rank and file to stay on as leader.

Knowing how the NDP's membership, let alone the 1,500 delegates who will be making the trip to the Alberta capital, would vote on the question of Mulcair's leadership is virtually impossible. But polling conducted since he became leader in March 2012 does provide a glimpse of how NDP supporters feel about Mulcair.

You can read the rest of this article here.

The Pollcast: Whither the NDP in Manitoba's election campaign?

The Manitoba election campaign is entering its third week, but have the dynamics changed at all since it began?

Joining me again to discuss how the campaign is unfolding is the CBC's Cameron MacIntosh.

The narrative of the race continues to be about the split of the vote to the left of the leading Progressive Conservatives. Nothing is more emblematic of that battle than the race in Fort Rouge, where Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari is facing off against the NDP's star candidate, Wab Kinew.

Adding to the complications for the New Democrats is timing: a Saskatchewan election that could go badly for the NDP on April 4, and a federal party convention in Edmonton from April 8 to 10 that could go badly for Tom Mulcair — distractions that the Manitoba New Democrats don't need as they fight against the odds for re-election.

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

The Pollcast: The final stretch in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan provincial election is entering its final stages. But will the campaign go out with a bang or a whimper?

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

Did the leaders' debate move any votes, or are these last days of the campaign just about ensuring each party gets its supporters out to cast a ballot? How likely is it that turnout in Saskatchewan will go up, replicating the increase in turnout experienced in the last federal election?

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