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.


  1. And the Liberals just continue their march to total majority. !!

    1. The election is three and half years away and only the LPC and Greens have a permanent leader. I'm actually surpised there is as much polling on the federal scene as there is.

      These numbers are fairly static and the outlying Nanos poll has probably brought down the CPC all by it's own. Mainstreet and Forum have been showing stability for months.

      I agree that Notley has handled Fort McMurray fairly well, I think she'll get a bit of a boost from it for a the next six months to a year. Unfortunately it's going to damage an already fragile Albertan economy.

    2. I don't think May will be the Green leader in 2019. Retirement from political life beckons from what I've heard.

    3. I wouldn't read too much into the polls in terms of the net elections. They are a long time away. However they do point out that the CPC is not getting its message across to the people. They need to cut down on the negativity and put forward their vision of Canada.

      How would a Canada under the CPC look different than under the LPC? and do not say less taxes because the mood of the people seems to have turned decisively away from trickle down economics.

    4. There are other arguments for lower taxes. Smaller government, for example.

      And that doesn't need to be a trickle down. Replacing the bulk of the current welfare programs with a guaranteed minimum income could provide profound efficiencies and shrink the government, thus reducing the need for tax revenue.

      CPC and LPC objectives are often very similar - they just use different methods.

    5. Mincome is one of those ideas I think most people can embrace and bring people together on regardless of ideological spectrum. Unless of course you don't believe in the government spending anything on helping poor folks.

    6. "Smaller government, for example."

      You say this as if it was a good thing. Small government gives you Somalia, big government gives you first world countries that people want to live in.

    7. Non-existent government gives you Somalia.

      Are you honestly saying that, for any given developed country, its government is already the absolute smallest it could be without making the country worse?

    8. Lok at how much we spend on healtcare. Compare that to how much France, or Germany, or Sweden, or Switzerland, or Japan, or Australia spends on healthcare.

      They all spend less than we do, and they all produce comparable outcomes. I say there's some efficiencies available.

    9. "its government is already the absolute smallest it could be without making the country worse?"

      Not at all. In fact if I were to run a campaign I'd base it on efficient government, not smaller government. However people tend to overestimate how much room there is for cutting, (ask Rob Ford and his gravy train).

      So to sum up, the goal is not smaller or bigger government. The goal is right size government. Certain departments and lines need to shrink (e.g. healthcare) others need to grow (infrastructure, R&D).

  2. Nice to see the Liberals continue their ascendance !!

    I don't know about the rest of you but if one person has come out of this Fort McMurray situation with a real improvement it's Rachel Notley. From provincial premier to national figure with respect everywhere it's her !!

    1. Peter,

      Her genuine heart-felt emotion on Mother's Day was for me a watershed moment. Good on her.

      As for Justin, I prefer a plateau rather than remaining in the stratosphere. At this point, excessively high numbers are not a realistic assessment of longer term polling projections.

    2. I agree Notley has done very well at a difficult task. The fire is more salt in the wounds for the Alberta economy in the short term Alberta probably has 50,000 more unemployed. Medium to long term the Fort McMurray fires may prove to be a boost as insurance money flows for people and governments to rebuild the community.

    3. The fire has highlighted an unfortunate budgeting trick the ALberta NDP have used, but I can't fault Premier Notley's response to the fire. Even my father, one of the founders of the Reform Party, thinks that people who are currently critical of Notley's response are being idiots.

      That budgeting trick is irritating, though. This fire is demonstrating that the province will spend all the money it needs to spend in order to fight wildfires, which makes sense. But in their budget, they budgeted a much smaller amount for firefighting this year than was spent on firefighting in either of the past two years. Given that they had no reason to believe firefighting would be less expensive this year, that change in budgeting was done just to make the bottom line (the total deficit) look better, knowing full well that it wasn't accurate. And next year, when it's shown to be innaccurate, they'll just point to the fire and say they had an unexpected expense.

      Except it shouldn't have been unexpected.

      Now, there is a good reason to do what they did, but I don't expect them to cite that reason. Budgeted money tends to get spend even if it's not needed, so they could have budgeted less for firefighting in the hopes that they wouldn't need it, and thus wouldn't waste it. But that's an easy sell, so I would expect them to present that as justification if it were true.

      I'm reserving judgment.

    4. Derek saw Notley on the TV last night and one look at her face and you knew what the strain has done to her. Still like a real trooper she doesn't stop. Very impressive

    5. Ira,

      I understand your point about under-estimating the fire budget but, as fires are unique creatures-what is one to do? There is no guarantee using last years numbers will be any more accurate than estimating. The Wild Fire budget should be coordinated with the El Nino effect so in years of El Nino more money is available but, as any climatologist will tell you this is easier said than done.

    6. I would suggest a rolling multi-year budget based on historical averages, weighting more recent years slightly more heavily (not unlike how Éric weights polls).

      Alberta spent $500 million on fire fighting last year. They spent $500 million on fire fighting the year before. This government budgeted less than $100 million for fire fighting.

      Now, again, I can see an argument for that. Emergency funding isn't going to be withheld for budgetary reasons, and a smaller budget is less prone to misuse. I actually think the way they did it would be a good idea if the province's budget overall were balanced (or close to it). But with big deficits, deficit forecasting is valuable, and low-balling a large expense like this doesn't help.

    7. That might not be enough thanks to climate change. It wouldn't cover an upward trend. Five years likely isn't a large enough sample to deal with the volatility either.

    8. I don't think you can deal with the volatility. My goal is to have a realistic estimate of expenditures.

  3. There is no doubt that the rebuild will produce economic activity. But the big question that still remains !! Whence oil prices ?? That's the REALLY big one !!

    1. It will, but not enough to offset the cost of the disaster. This was always a problem with the broken windows theory: the economy stays farther ahead if the windows don't break.

      However, since a lot of the rebuilding will be funded by federal money, there may well be a local benefit. Alberta has lots of construction labour available at the moment, and rebuilding a city of that size (in a remote location) will do wonders for those businesses.

    2. From an oil price perspective, the fire was actually really well times. The fire has reduced Canada's oil production considerably, but with low global oil prices that doesn't cost us much money.

      However, since most gasoline in North America is refined from Canadian oil, this will likely cause a significant increase in gas prices as gas inventories drop.

  4. Ira, broken windows theory confuses wealth with GDP. Wealth is destroyed, but GDP goes up. That's because GDP is the yearly output of goods and services, and people and organizations have to spend money once something breaks.

    1. Exactly. Broken windows theory is the result of some remarkably shallow analysis.

      When I worked at the Fraser Institute, we'd send teams to schools to teach economics, and debunking broken windows theory was a big part of that.

    2. Ah, good to know you didn't buy into it. It's one of those largely Austro-libertarian stories that they tell that is more deceptive than illuminating to people who don't know much economics. (Of course, I think that a lot about Austro-libertarianism, but meh, I'm biased too :P ). It still may have some value in explanation, but that's not what it's generally used for.

    3. We're talking about two sides of the same thing. I'm on the Austrians' side on this one. There's a reason they call it the Broken Windows Fallacy.

    4. Ah, well I just think it needs to be stated that the confusion over GDP with wealth is kind of the feature with the BWF. The main economic problem with the BWF is it seems to forget that it helps out everyone else except the person whose window was broken. Think about how WWII helped out everyone economically except for those who got their countries destroyed :P

    5. The person whose window was broken matters. He's part of the economy, too.

    6. Of course they do, but you have to get the big picture of everything.

      Back to the original subject matter of insurance money flooding into Fort McMurray residents, that will definitely boost some people's businesses (construction materials, windows, furniture companies, the primary resource extractors, anyone employed within the broad field of home maintenance, etc.), but it will definitely hurt others in the long-term through higher premiums.

  5. I know that we get less than WTI for our oil. Does anybody out there know how much less and is this a fixed amount or does it vary with the WTI value ??

    1. It trades on the market as Western Canadian Select it is a blended crude oil; bitumen and condesates to make it viscous. It trades at anywhere from a 20-50% discount compared with WTI.


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