Saturday, October 29, 2016

Justin Trudeau should get used to being heckled by disillusioned voters on the left

At an event organized by the Canadian Labour Congress this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was confronted with harsh criticism by young members of the labour organization who felt the Liberal leader had turned his back on them.

"Honour your promises!" demanded some.

This discontent on the Canadian political left is not yet a big problem for Trudeau's Liberals. They have more support today than they did on election night in 2015, much of those gains coming from past supporters of the NDP.

But as the government moves forward — or fails to — on a number of controversial files, from electoral reform to pipelines to peacekeeping, this discontent could indeed become a problem.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Pollcast: When will the NDP leadership race get going?

When Peter Julian, an MP from British Columbia, stepped down as NDP House leader to explore a bid for the party's leadership, he immediately became the front runner.

That's because no one else has expressed any interest in the job.

Since Tom Mulcair's leadership was rejected at the NDP's convention earlier this spring, the race to replace him has yet to start. Even Julian has not officially thrown his hat into the ring yet.

But more names can be put forward as potential candidates, including current MPs Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus and Guy Caron. Jagmeet Singh, an Ontario MPP, has also been mentioned as a potential contender.

The campaign will be a long one, as votes will be cast throughout October, 2017.

Joining me to discuss the lack of candidates in the race and the list of names that could soon emerge are NDP insiders Sally Housser of Navigator and Robin MacLachlan of Summa Strategies.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Federal byelection has good signs for Conservatives and Liberals, but not NDP

Byelections rarely hold any wider political significance — one held in the reliably Conservative stronghold of southern Alberta doubly so. But Monday night's results in the Medicine Hat–Cardston–Warner federal byelection do provide some signals as to the states of the federal parties: resilience for the Conservatives, popularity for the Liberals, and deep malaise for the NDP.

The byelection, called to replace a vacancy following the death of Conservative MP Jim Hillyer earlier this year, was easily won by the incumbent party. And the Conservatives rightly deserve recognition for their creditable win.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Polls favourable to Donald Trump may be overestimating his support, state polls suggest

Depending on which presidential candidate you favour, American polls have something to appeal to all tastes. A competitive race? A narrow lead for Donald Trump? A landslide for Hillary Clinton? The polls have you covered.

But that doesn't mean that we have no idea where things really stand in the U.S. election. The consensus of national polling still points to a comfortable Clinton lead — and that lead is corroborated by state-level polling that also heavily favours her.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Polling associations look to increase transparency with merger, but not everyone is on board

Two organizations representing market research firms and pollsters in Canada have announced they are entering into merger talks to speak on behalf of the public opinion polling industry with one voice and apply a uniform set of standards for their members.

But at least one prominent polling firm has concerns that some aspects of those standards could undermine the level playing field in the industry.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Pollcast: Has the Liberal government given up on electoral reform?

Has Justin Trudeau given up on electoral reform?

In a recent interview, the prime minister explained that the appetite for electoral reform has diminished now that his government has replaced Stephen Harper's. Some have seen this as an admission that the Liberals have lost interest in changing the way Canadians vote now that the system has put the Liberals in power.

But others see Trudeau as laying down the gauntlet to the opposition parties that are in favour of electoral reform: find consensus or it won't happen.

So where do things stand on the electoral reform issue? Can it still happen? And if the government is backing out, why did it start this process in the first place?

Joining me to discuss the issue are the CBC's Aaron Wherry and Kady O'Malley of the Ottawa Citizen.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

As final debate looms, Hillary Clinton opens widest lead yet over Donald Trump

Donald Trump's worsening position in the polls was sparked by his poor performance during the first presidential debate and has been sustained by a torrent of problems dogging his campaign — including the emergence of allegations of inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault from about a dozen women.

Tonight's third and final presidential debate may be Trump's last opportunity to turn things around. And it's women — for whom Trump says he has "great respect" — who might just be the most significant obstacle to his White House ambitions.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Donald Trump and the war on polls

One of the few remaining polls showing Donald Trump in a competitive race with Hillary Clinton turns out to have been overly influenced by one young African-American voter from Illinois who, unlike virtually everyone else who fits his demographic profile, is a committed Trump supporter.

It's another knock against the credibility of polls at a time when Donald Trump is talking about the election being "rigged" and questioning the legitimacy of many reliable election surveys.

Trump has complained that a hostile media and widespread voter fraud, or a combination of both, could steal the election from him.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Pollcast: Yukon goes to the polls

Yukoners will go to the polls on Nov. 7, the day before the presidential election south of the border — or, in the case of the Yukon, west of it.

But though the Yukon election is tiny by comparison, the result might be just as unpredictable.

The right-of-centre Yukon Party has governed the territory of about 37,000 people since 2002. Party leader Darrell Pasloski is asking for his second consecutive term as premier and his party's fourth. The New Democrats under Liz Hanson and the Liberals under Sandy Silver are both vying to replace Pasloski's government.

But polls in the territory are few and far between. The last one is eight months old, and a majority of Yukoners at the time said they were undecided.

So who has the inside track?

Joining me to discuss the territorial election is Chris Windeyer, editor of the Yukon News.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Federal precedent favours Yukon Liberals, but campaign will decide the result

Yukoners will go to the polls to elect their territorial government on Nov. 7, barely a year after they cast their ballots in last year's federal election. So can the results of that 2015 vote provide any indication of what to expect at the end of this campaign?

While there is a definite relationship between the performance of territorial parties and their federal cousins, that relationship is only strong enough to provide a hint at what may be in store for the Yukon on election day.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Trump's campaign could cost the Republicans their majority in Congress

If Donald Trump's polling numbers don't improve, and soon, he won't win the White House.

But if the bottom continues to fall out of his campaign, he might drag the Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives down along with him.

Americans will not only be voting for their next president on Nov. 8. They will also be filling many other offices, ranging from county sheriff to state governor. The most important races after the presidency, however, will be in the two chambers of the U.S. Congress.

You can read the rest of this analysis here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump's dwindling paths to the White House

Even before the release of audio of lewd and offensive comments about women Donald Trump made in 2005, and before scores of fellow Republicans called on him to step down, Trump's chances of winning the U.S. presidency were looking slim.

They may now be non-existent. 

But if Trump somehow weathers this storm, an electoral map that puts him in the White House can be cobbled together if he can swing just a few battleground states in his direction.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, October 7, 2016

September 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of September. The averages combine four federal polls (Léger, Mainstreet, and Forum x 2) and one Quebec poll (CROP), altogether surveying 10,481 Canadians.

Compared to the August 2016 averages, the Liberals were up 1.8 points, the Conservatives were unchanged, the New Democrats were down two points, and the Greens were down 0.5 points.

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.

The Pollcast: The second presidential debate, the media, and the polls

The next confrontation between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take place on Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

The first debate did not go very well for Trump. Since that debate, Clinton's lead over the Republican nominee has grown in national polls and her electoral college advantage has solidified. At the second presidential debate, can Trump do anything to turn his campaign around?

Joining me to discuss the upcoming debate and the role of the media and polls on the U.S. presidential campaign is Matthew Yglesias, co-founder of Vox.

You can listen to the podcast heresubscribe to future episodes here, and listen to past episodes here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Republican Mike Pence narrowly wins VP debate in poll, but upside appears limited

Mike Pence, Donald Trump's Republican running mate for the U.S. presidency, narrowly won last night's debate against Hillary Clinton's VP candidate, Tim Kaine, according to a poll of voters who watched the vice-presidential bout.

But Pence's performance appears unlikely to have a significant impact on Trump's chances of taking the White House.

The CNN/ORC poll, surveying 472 registered voters who had previously been contacted and said they would watch the debate, found that 48 per cent of respondents felt Pence had done the best job, compared with 42 per cent for Kaine.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tim Kaine, Mike Pence little known as they head into VP debate

Tonight's vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will feature two of modern history's least-known vice-presidential candidates, vying to be next in line to two of the oldest U.S. presidential candidates ever to stand for the top job. The stakes are high.

But the debate is unlikely to have a major impact on the comparatively epic tilt between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Mike Pence, the Republican candidate, and Tim Kaine, for the Democrats, are unknown to many voters. According to Pollster's averages, one-third of Americans have no opinion of Pence, the Governor of Indiana. Kaine, a senator and former governor from Virginia, is a mystery to 40 per cent of voters.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton's support grows in post-debate polls

After a rough few days for Donald Trump, the polls appear to be drifting back towards Hillary Clinton, erasing many of the gains the Republican candidate had made in the run-up to last Monday's presidential debate.

But the evidence that the race has shifted dramatically remains relatively thin, as only a handful of state and national polls have been published since last week's tilt.

The CBC's Presidential Poll Tracker now pegs Clinton's support among decided voters at 45.9 per cent, up 0.5 points from where she stood on the eve of the debate. Trump's support has slipped 0.6 points to 42.8 per cent.

You can read the rest of this article here.