Friday, September 2, 2016

August 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of August. The averages combine two federal polls (Forum and Abacus) and one Quebec poll (CROP), altogether surveying 4,355 Canadians.

Compared to the July 2016 averages, the Liberals were down 0.8 points, the Conservatives were up 1.2 points, the New Democrats were down 0.3 points, and the Greens were unchanged.

Monthly tracking chart

The tracking chart below shows the monthly polling averages stretching back to January 2009. Elections and campaigns as well as the arrival of new federal leaders are also included.

You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections

The chart below shows how many seats each of the parties would have won in an election held in this month. This seat projection uses the current first-past-the-post system. For full methodology, see here.

The tracking chart below shows the maximum and minimum seat ranges (which are wider than the likely ranges above) projected for each party since the 2015 federal election.

You can click or tap on the chart above to magnify it.

Seat projections with alternate electoral systems

The chart below shows potential seat outcomes using alternative electoral systems.

In addition to first-past-the-post (FPTP), the chart shows estimations for proportional representation (PR) and alternative voting (AV).

For PR, each province retains the number of seats they currently have. The number of seats each party receives is rounded up or down according to the vote share received in each province, and any leftover seats are awarded to the party that finished in first place in the region.

A very simple calculation is done for AV. Because the Liberals and New Democrats tend to be each other's second choice, they are awarded any seat where they are projected to be in first place (along with the Greens). Any seat that the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois leads with 45 per cent or more is awarded to that party. Any seat where the Conservatives or Bloc Québécois is in first place but with less than 45 per cent is given to the Liberals, the NDP, or the Greens, depending on which of these parties was in second place.

Though a crude method, past experience with more sophisticated methods have yielded virtually identical results in the current political landscape.

These projections also assumes no change of behaviour by the parties based on the system in place, no change in the behaviour of voters, and no other parties on the ballot. All of these assumptions are likely to be greatly tested in any change to the electoral system.


  1. On the heels of the first bit of good news for the NDP in over a year, the Halifax-Needham by-election win. The monthly polling averages show the desperation and difficulty of the NDP's position and a continuing decline in Dipper support and ability to win seats. The idea the NDP could lose Vancouver East-a riding held continuously by the CCF/NDP since 1935 with two one term exceptions is shocking- Especially given the current incumbent!

    The good news for the NDP is that when you're down the only way is up! This isn't quite their nadir that will come on May 17th when they lose their fifth consecutive British Columbia general election but, their time of trial is nearing its end perhaps. If they don't go extinct that Halifax by-election may turn out to be the moment they began to turn things around.

  2. There is actually little evidence that voter behaviour will change with a new voting system, though party behaviour may well.

  3. Indeed. For example, some Reform ridings went NDP after the two conservative parties merged (their supporters would rather vote NDP than CPC). Another is BC back in 1952 when they used a form of AV. Supporters of the two main parties tried to punish the other party by voting for a third option. This led to the third option (Social Credit) coming out of nowhere to take power.

  4. I think it's a mistake to not consider the possibility of a Liberal seat flipping to the NDP or NDP to Liberal in your AV simulations, particularly with the NDP total so low.

    1. I would agree with Ryan. Sometimes that would be the right assumption to make but, as Junah points out a strong thread of populism runs through Canada, the West and Quebec in particular, that has little regard for left-right ideology.

      The second remark I'll make on AV or STV is voters may not understand how to "use" AV the first time to the polls. As was the case in the 1952 BC General Election. Unexpected outcomes may have a greater probability than common sense or history would suggest.

  5. The NDP are done, and not a moment too soon.

  6. Is proportional representation really being considered?

  7. Yes the NDP and greens are pushing heavily for it.

  8. The problem with projecting what would happen in a different electoral system is that how people would act with a different electoral system is not captured.

    If you move to AV you remove any strategic voting which should mean more first choices for parties other than the Liberals. We really do not know how people will act


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