Friday, May 27, 2016

More provincial aggregates added

More provincial polling averages have been added to the site today. You can access the one for New Brunswick here

The averages for Quebec, including regional and linguistic breakdowns, can be found here. The latest poll from the province was out just this past week.

The averages for Alberta are here.

And in case you missed them last week, pages for Nova Scotia and Ontario were also added.

For future reference, these averages can be found in the right-hand column of the site further down the page. 

The Pollcast: The Stephen Harper years and beyond

Stephen Harper will speak to party members on Thursday evening at the Conservative Party's policy convention in Vancouver. It could be some of the last words he will speak in public as an elected member of Parliament.

Canada's 22nd prime minister is expected to resign his Calgary Heritage seat before the fall, a seat he has held since returning to federal politics in a by-election in 2002. 

As leader of the Canadian Alliance, Harper led the party into a merger with the Progressive Conservatives in 2003. He then led the merged party to power in 2006, where it remained until it was defeated by Justin Trudeau's Liberals in October.

Harper's 10 years in office have left an impact on the political landscape of the country and shaped the modern Conservative Party. How will Canadians remember his time as prime minister and what will the Conservative Party look like without the only permanent leader it has ever known?

Joining me to look at Stephen Harper's legacy and the future of the Conservative Party is Postmedia's Ottawa political bureau chief, John Ivison.

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

Canadians shrug off Justin Trudeau's elbow, polls suggest

The altercation in the House of Commons last week between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of the opposition captured Canadians' attention, but two polls published this week suggest a majority of those Canadians have shrugged it off like a wayward elbow on a crowded subway.

The latest poll, conducted by Ipsos for Global News, shows that 63 per cent of Canadians feel the tussle was "no big deal," a "momentary lapse of judgment" on the part of the prime minister, and that "we should all just move on."

You can read the rest of this article here.

Leadership race rules could exacerbate Conservative Party divisions

The Conservative policy convention being held this week in Vancouver will help determine the future of the party. But how much of the party's divided past is still a factor, more than 12 years after the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives united the right as the Conservative Party of Canada?

Compared to the Liberals and New Democrats, the Conservative support base is split more evenly between its centrist supporters and those on the edges of the political spectrum.

Polling data provided by Abacus Data suggests that 45 per cent of Conservative voters self-identify as being centrist, compared to 45 per cent who say they are either on the centre-right or right.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Provincial poll aggregations to be added

You may have noticed last week that I added a poll aggregation page for the upcoming provincial election in British Columbia. It is at the top of the right-hand column of the site.

Today, I have also added one for Nova Scotia and one for Ontario (they are a little further down the right-hand column).

My intention is to continue adding these pages until I have one for all 10 provinces. Links to them will be in the right-hand column, and they will be ordered from top to bottom according to the electoral calendar.

Though there are not always a lot of polls for every province, I've set these up so that they can be an easy reference for the latest polls. Each page features an aggregation (including a regional aggregation, if regional breakdowns exist), the monthly poll averages chart for the province, and links to all recent polls so that you can read them yourselves.

As time allows, I will add seat projections to these pages.

As I'm sure long-time readers have noticed, I have cut down drastically on original content here on The reason is simple — because I now work for the CBC, I do not have the time or energy to dedicate to original content here. I hope that these provincial poll reference pages (in addition to a federal one eventually) will give you reason to still come to the site frequently.

I will also continue to post snippets and links to my articles and podcasts for the CBC. That's the analysis you can expect to find here on a daily basis, whereas the provincial poll averages will be updated on a weekly basis as new polls are published.

I've also changed the font used at to update the look of the site, which was getting very dated. A small tweak that I hope makes the site a little more readable. Obviously a complete overhaul of the design would be better, but that is not in the cards for the time being.

Comments on these changes are welcome!

The Pollcast: The state of the Conservative leadership race

With Michael Chong launching his leadership campaign this week, the race to replace Stephen Harper now has three contestants. What are their chances?

With a year to go before members of the Conservative Party cast ballots, Chong has joined fellow Ontario MP Kellie Leitch and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier in the marathon race. None of them, however, are seen as front runners — which is why they have launched their campaigns early in order to build up their profile and organization.

Can they use the time ahead of them to build a constituency large enough within the party to prevail? What impact might the upcoming party convention have on the race? And who will be the next Conservative to throw his or her hat into the ring?

Joining me to break down the race are Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy.

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

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton: not a coin toss yet

Last week, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had drawn almost even in a general election match-up. The gap between the two candidates had dropped to just one point.

Headlines blared that the race for the White House was a toss-up. Clinton and Trump were neck-and-neck. Much ink was spilled.

The next day, Reuters/Ipsos was back in the field with their five-day rolling poll. This time, the gap between the two candidates had widened again to four points, a more conventional margin. The poll went mostly unnoticed.

Welcome to the fevered coverage of public opinion polling in the U.S. presidential election, which will culminate a mere 173 days from now. Expect polls which show a competitive race to get outsized attention compared to their duller counterparts.

You can read the rest of this analysis of the U.S. election here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Pollcast: The Liberals' electoral reform gambit

On Wednesday, the Liberals announced they would be striking an all-party committee to study options for changing the way Canadians vote. The intention is to ensure that the 2015 election will be the last decided under the first-past-the-post system.

But this all-party committee includes two parties, the Greens and Bloc Québécois, that won't be able to vote on how Canadians should vote. And a majority of the seats on the committee will be held by Liberals.

Has the Liberal government stacked the deck in their favour, as the opposition parties claim? What about holding a referendum to put the government's electoral reform proposal to Canadians? And can a change to the way Canadians vote be implemented in time for the next election in 2019?

Joining me to try to answer these questions on the latest episode of the Pollcast are the CBC Parliamentary Bureau's Aaron Wherry and Alison Crawford.

You can listen to this podcast here.

Partisan interests difficult to avoid in electoral reform debate

"This is not about what's good for one party over another," said Maryam Monsef, minister of democratic institutions, on Wednesday after announcing the Liberal plan to set up a committee that will look into changing the voting system.

"This is about what's in the best interests of Canadians."

Maybe. But the fact remains that some parties stand to do better than others, depending on which rules are in place by the next election. And the people who will be deciding on the rules just happen to be those who will be most affected by them.

You can read the rest of this analysis on electoral reform here.

How Conservative and NDP leadership contenders stack up on the money

Money talks — especially in party leadership races, and the money raised in recent years by potential Conservative and NDP leadership contestants suggests that a few candidates could prove to be more formidable than currently thought.

And others may have more of an uphill climb ahead of them.

Contributions received by sitting MPs, as reported in the financial returns of their electoral district associations can be indicative of a leadership contestant's potential success.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, May 6, 2016

April 2016 federal and provincial polling averages

Six months after the 2015 federal election, six national polls were conducted during the month of April, surveying a total of just over 15,000 Canadians. The Liberals continue to lead by a wide margin, picking up a little support after dropping back in March.

The Liberals averaged 47.4 per cent support in April, up 2.4 points from where they were in March.

The Conservatives followed with 28.1 per cent, down 2.4 points, while the New Democrats were up one point to 14.1 per cent.

The Greens averaged 4.9 per cent, down 0.6 points, and the Bloc Québécois was down 0.1 point to 4.3 per cent. Another 2 per cent said they supported another party.

The Liberals led in British Columbia with 45.4 per cent, down two points from March but good enough to win 26 to 38 seats in the province. The Conservatives were up 1.4 points to 27 per cent, and would win between two and 12 seats. The New Democrats were up 0.7 points to 16.5 per cent, and were up to a projected one to four seats. The Greens were up 0.6 points to 10.5 per cent, and would win one or two seats.

In Alberta, the Conservatives dropped 5.8 points to 52.9 per cent, and slid down significantly to between 23 and 28 projected seats. The Liberals were up 5.5 points to their best numbers since November, with 33.5 per cent. They could win six to 10 seats with that level of support. The New Democrats were up 2.3 points to 8.9 per cent, and could be shut out or win one seat. The Greens were down 1.3 points to 2.7 per cent.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been remarkably stable since the election, with the Conservatives averaging between 38 and 41 per cent and the Liberals between 39 and 43 per cent. In April, the Conservatives were down 0.7 points to 40.1%, followed by the Liberals at 39.7 per cent (down 1.1 points). The Conservatives would win 17 to 19 seats with that level of support, and the Liberals between nine and 11 seats. The New Democrats were up 2.4 points to 13.7 per cent, followed by the Greens at 5.7 per cent (down 0.3 points).

The Liberals made their biggest gain in Ontario, where they were up 6.8 points to 53.5 per cent, their best showing since November. The Conservatives were down 6.4 points to 29 per cent, their worst since November. The New Democrats were down 0.6 points to 12 per cent. Seat-wise, this would give the Liberals between 96 and 116 seats, a big increase since March. The Conservatives would win between five and 22 seats, and the New Democrats zero to three. The Greens were down 0.1 point to 4.4 per cent.

The Liberals also led in Quebec with 45.6 per cent, down 0.6 points from last month but good enough for 60 to 70 seats. The New Democrats trailed at length with 17.7 per cent, down 0.2 points, with the Bloc Québécois at 17 per cent (down 0.5 points) and the Conservatives at 15 per cent (up 1.5 points). The Greens were down a point to 2.8 per cent.

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals were up 0.9 points to 60.8 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 19.2 per cent (down 0.7 points), the NDP at 13.4 per cent (up 2.1 points), and the Greens at 5.9 per cent (down 0.6 points). This would give the Liberals 29 to 32 seats, the Conservatives up to two, and the NDP up to one.

This all adds up to between 229 and 280 seats for the Liberals, up about 20 seats from the March projection.

The Conservatives would take between 55 and 96 seats, down about 20 seats, while the New Democrats were up a couple seats to between one and 10.

The Greens would win between one and two seats and the Bloc between zero and four.

The Liberals are still comfortably over the majority mark, even at the 95 per cent confidence interval. April was their best month since November.

The Conservatives are still running below their 2015 result, while the New Democrats continue to struggle to register enough support to guarantee official party status.

So the Liberals are still riding high, six months after their majority victory in October 2015. And much of that new support has come at the expense of the New Democrats. But unlike last month, we now know that the NDP will have a new leader come 2019. Whoever it will be, the goal is simple — get those New Democrats parking their vote with the Liberals back.

Provincial polling averages

It was a busy month in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, where provincial elections were held. Elsewhere, though, only one poll was conducted in Ontario, Quebec, and in each of the Atlantic provinces.

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party won the Saskatchewan election with 62.4 per cent of the vote, with Cam Broten's New Democrats taking 30.2 per cent. Broten has since stepped down as leader. The polls had averaged 61 to 30 per cent support in April before the vote was held.

In Manitoba, the Progressive Conservatives under Brian Pallister won a big victory with 53 per cent of the vote, ousting Greg Selinger's New Democrats, who took 25.7 per cent. The Liberals won 14.5 per cent of the vote. Prior to the vote, the PCs had averaged 50 per cent in Manitoba, the NDP 25 per cent, and the Liberals 17 per cent.

Patrick Brown's Progressive Conservatives led in Ontario with 39 per cent, followed by the governing Liberals under Kathleen Wynne with 34 per cent. That was the best result the Liberals have managed in Ontario since November. Andrea Horwath's New Democrats were down to 21 per cent, their lowest since February 2015.

In Quebec, Philippe Couillard's Liberals were at 33 per cent, followed by the newly-leaderless Parti Québécois at 26 per cent — their worst since February 2015. François Legault's Coalition Avenir Québec was up to 25 per cent, its best since March 2015, while Françoise David's Québec Solidaire was at 14 per cent.

The Liberals under Brian Gallant in New Brunswick led with 51 per cent, followed by the Progressive Conservatives at 28 per cent, Dominic Cardy's New Democrats at 11 per cent, and David Coon's Greens at 9 per cent.

Stephen McNeil's Liberals led in Nova Scotia with 59 per cent, with Gary Burrill's New Democrats at 20 per cent and Jamie Baillie's PCs at 17 per cent.

The Liberals in Prince Edward Island under Wade MacLauchlan were at their highest level of support since before January 2010 with 69 per cent, followed by the PCs at 17 per cent and the Greens under Peter Bevan-Baker at 9 per cent.

There was dramatic movement in Newfoundland and Labrador following the province's recent traumatic budget, but it is worth noting that the only poll in the province last month came from MQO Research, and not from the Corporate Research Associates. So it could be an apples to oranges comparison. Nevertheless, Dwight Ball's Liberals plummeted to 37 per cent, their worst level of support in a poll from that province since May 2013. The New Democrats under Earle McCurdy were at their highest level since August 2013 with 31 per cent, while Paul Davis's PCs were at 30 per cent.

Donald Trump set for nomination, but Hillary Clinton still poised to beat him

Donald Trump has finally vanquished his foes in the race for the Republican nomination and is now the party's presumptive nominee. But polls suggest the White House remains as elusive a prize for him as it was when his nomination victory was still in doubt.

That's because Donald Trump is the most disliked candidate for the presidency in recent memory. Despite Democrat front-runner Hillary Clinton's own weaknesses as a candidate — she has high unfavourable ratings and is an establishment candidate in an anti-establishment election year — she is still the odds-on favourite to win in November.

You can read the rest of this article here.

You can also listen to the latest episode of the Pollcast. I was joined by Keith Boag, the CBC's senior reporter in Washington, D.C., to talk about where the presidential election goes from here.

Ambrose, MacKay, or O'Leary? What leadership polls tell us about the Conservative race

Rona Ambrose was chosen as the Conservative Party's interim leader six months ago, thereby ruling herself out of contention for the permanent job.

But just as quickly as some Conservatives began to organize to change the rules to allow her to run for the permanent leadership, Ambrose has ruled herself out yet again.

A recent poll, however, suggests she would be the favourite choice of Conservative supporters, which might increase the pressure on Ambrose to go back on her pledge. But what can really be gleaned from leadership polls with more than a year to go before the actual vote?

You can read the rest of this article here.

Pierre Karl Péladeau's resignation may help the Parti Québécois

In resigning as leader less than a year after winning the post, Pierre Karl Péladeau may have solved a potential problem for the Parti Québécois — his own leadership.

Péladeau's time as leader of the Parti Québécois was tumultuous, even by the standards of the PQ.

His political career was launched with a raised fist for Quebec independence, the beginning of a tailspin that took the PQ from front-runner in the 2014 provincial campaign to its worst result since 1970.

You can read the rest of this analysis on PKP's polls here.