Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Canadians' views on pipelines divided, but 'social licence' gives opening to Liberals

The decision by the Liberal government to approve the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines while dismissing the application for Northern Gateway has the potential to be a divisive move, particularly in British Columbia where opposition to the pipelines is highest.

But polls have suggested Canadians are moderately in favour of the construction of new pipelines — and that the "social licence" the prime minister has looked for can be a big factor in getting more Canadians on board.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Justin Trudeau a big money draw for Liberals

With all of the controversy surrounding the prime minister's attendance at what the opposition parties call "cash-for-access" fundraising events, one might wonder why the Liberals are willing to risk the potential political cost for a few donations.

The party insists it's following the rules. But in the end, the political calculation might be an easy one — according to an analysis of Elections Canada data, the average event headlined by Justin Trudeau raises slightly more than $100,000 for the Liberal Party.

The prime minister and other members of his cabinet routinely attend fundraising events that come at a price of $1,500 per ticket, near the limit of donations allowed by Elections Canada. We don't know how much of the party's $12.2-million fundraising haul for the first three quarters of the year came from those events, but $1,500 tickets can pile up quickly.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Pollcast: Conservative leadership race begins to heat up

The list of contestants in the running for the Conservative Party leadership has ballooned to 12. One official debate has already been held and the contours of the race are starting to become clearer.

So who is standing out from the pack with six months to go before members make their choice?

The dozen contestants include four MPs from Ontario (Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Erin O'Toole and Lisa Raitt), two from Quebec (Maxime Bernier and Steven Blaney), two from Saskatchewan (Andrew Scheer and Brad Trost) and one from Alberta (Deepak Obhrai), along with two former MPs (Chris Alexander and Andrew Saxton) and Manitoba physician Dan Lindsay. 

It makes for a crowded field and a need for contestants to carve out a niche of their own. Leitch has pushed her screening of immigrants for "anti-Canadian values," while Bernier has proposed a series of libertarian-style policies. Chong has put forward a carbon-pricing plan and Blaney has endorsed a ban on the niqab in the public service and attacked Bernier over his views on supply management. Scheer and O'Toole have each touted a long list of caucus endorsements, while Trost has claimed the socially conservative ground in the race.

Is any of this moving the needle among party members?

To break it down, Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy are back with host Éric Grenier on this week's episode of the Pollcast.

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

Canadians open to ending door-to-door delivery, government-commissioned poll finds

Less than a year after implementation of Canada's community mailboxes was put on hold, a poll commissioned by the Liberal government indicates two-thirds of Canadians support a transition away from home delivery to these boxes in urban and suburban centres.

The poll also suggests Canadians are widely satisfied with the services they receive from Canada Post, but would be willing to accept some changes — including alternate day delivery.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Planned coal phase-out holds few political risks for Justin Trudeau

In promising an end to what he called U.S. President Barack Obama's "war on coal," Donald Trump won the strong support of America's coal miners, who played an important role in his victories in two key swing states.

But the Liberal government's decision to phase out coal-fired power generation in Canada by 2030 is unlikely to have significant electoral ramifications for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Pollcast: Were the U.S. polls right, wrong - or somewhere in-between?

The results of the U.S. presidential vote came as a surprise to many. Almost every national poll gave Hillary Clinton a lead over Donald Trump and the polls also suggested she held the lead in enough states to win the election.

Instead, though Trump lost the popular vote, he won the electoral college and will be America's next president.

As mail-in votes continue to be counted in Democratic-friendly states, Clinton's edge over Trump in the popular vote will likely grow — and the national error in the polls will shrink. Still, at the state-level the error was significant enough to up-end expectations.

What did the polls miss? Was there a problem with how polls — and the uncertainty intrinsic to the science — were interpreted? And where does the media and the polling industry go from here?

Joining me on this week's episode of The Pollcast is pollster David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.

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

Ontario byelections come at difficult time for Kathleen Wynne's Liberals

Two Ontario provincial byelections on Thursday come at a difficult time for Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government. Her party is at its lowest point in the polls in years and the premier's approval ratings are even worse than her predecessor's, Dalton McGuinty.

And when his ratings were plumbing new depths, McGuinty announced he would resign.

Byelections are being held in the ridings of Ottawa–Vanier and Niagara West–Glanbrook, the former a solid stronghold for the Liberals and the latter a bastion of the Progressive Conservatives.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What MPs' endorsements say about the Conservative leadership race

Though six months remain before Conservatives choose their next party leader, nearly half of the Conservative caucus has already backed one of the 12 contestants officially in the running. Two of them, Andrew Scheer and Erin O'Toole, have received the bulk of these endorsements. 

But if endorsements are at all reflective of organizational strength and membership support, where these endorsements are coming from might be as important as the number each contestant receives. 

You can read the rest of this article here.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Shades of Ralph Nader: Did Gary Johnson and Jill Stein tip the 2016 U.S. election?

The parallels between the U.S. elections of 2000 and 2016 are striking. A candidate seeking a third consecutive term in the White House for the Democratic Party narrowly wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College to the Republican nominee, while a third-party candidate takes a significant and potentially decisive share of the vote.

Does that make Gary Johnson and Jill Stein the 2016 equivalent of Ralph Nader?

You can read the rest of this article here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

October 2016 federal polling averages

Below you will find the federal polling averages for the month of October. The averages combine three federal polls (Abacus, Forum and EKOS), one Quebec poll (CROP) and one Alberta poll (Lethbridge), altogether surveying 7,070 Canadians.

Compared to the September 2016 averages, the Liberals were down 2.9 points, the Conservatives were down 1.4 points, the New Democrats were up 2.4 points, and the Greens were up 1.9 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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pollsters missed the call by failing to spot Trump's support among white voters

Pollsters are diving deep into their data to try to figure out why things went so wrong for them on Tuesday.

Answers may not begin to emerge for some time. But the results of the U.S. election in the closest swing states provide clues to what the polls might have missed — and how those misses led pollsters astray.

The error the polls made at the national level was both relatively small and enormously consequential. Hillary Clinton's margin over Trump averaged a little more than three points in the polls. As votes continue to be counted, Clinton could end up ahead in the popular vote by about one point.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How Trump defied pundits and pollsters to win the White House

Around the United States and throughout the world, people are waking up this morning and asking, 'What just happened?'

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for the American presidency, was elected to lead the free world, against the expectations of most polls, pundits and political observers. He did it by getting his core supporters — white Americans — out to vote for him in bigger numbers than expected, delaying for at least one more electoral cycle the demographic challenges facing the Republican Party.

As of writing, it wasn't clear whether Trump would emerge with the highest share of the popular vote (ed: he won't). But winning the support of most Americans was a secondary concern. He needed to win the support of the most Americans in the right states, and he did just that.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Clinton win or a Trump surprise: A viewer's guide to election night in America

When Americans cast their ballots today, the polls suggest they will probably elect Hillary Clinton as their next president. But the margin between her and Donald Trump remains narrow enough that the outcome might not be clear until late into the evening or even early morning.

So how might the night unfold in either scenario?

According to Monday's update of the Presidential Poll Tracker, Clinton holds a three-point lead over Trump nationally. That margin has held firm over the past week, suggesting Americans' views of the two candidates may have crystallized in these final days.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hillary Clinton has the lead for the final weekend, but will it hold through Tuesday?

As the American election campaign rolls into its final weekend before Tuesday's vote, Hillary Clinton remains the favourite to become the next U.S. president. Her edge over Donald Trump remains narrow but her recent decline in the polls seems to have halted.

Nevertheless, the margin she enjoys over the Republican nominee remains small enough that it could be overturned over these final days.

As of Friday's Presidential Poll Tracker update, Clinton has the support of 47.4 per cent of decided voters, compared to 44.5 per cent for Trump. That margin of 2.9 points is far more comfortable than the 1.9-point margin she had in the polls at the beginning of this week.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Pollcast: Two seasoned Canadian campaigners on the U.S. election

The American election is now just days away and polls suggest the race is the closest it has been since Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton secured their respective parties' nominations in July.

Whatever the result, what will this campaign mean for the future of the Republicans, the Democrats and the United States?

Joining me on this week's episode of The Pollcast are Bob Rae, former premier of Ontario and past interim leader of the federal Liberal Party, and James Moore, former federal Conservative cabinet minister.

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

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hillary Clinton's lead dwindles to 2 points in wake of FBI's email probe

Little more than a week ago, Hillary Clinton was leading Donald Trump in national polling by six points or more. Panic was setting in among Republicans that they would not only lose the White House, but maybe the House and Senate, too. Now, with only days to go before election day, the gap is just two points — and closing.

But despite Trump's improving odds, he still faces a stiff challenge in cobbling together enough states to give him a winning electoral map. Nevertheless, the momentum is not heading in Clinton's direction, a shift that was building in the polls before her trouble with emails re-emerged on Friday.

You can read the rest of this article here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Maxime Bernier beats Conservative rivals in fundraising over the summer

Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier out-fundraised his rivals over the summer, raking in $371,000 between July and September, more than the rest of the field combined.

The financial reports posted on Elections Canada's website also show the Liberals raised the most money in the last quarter, while the Conservatives and New Democrats had their worst fundraising quarters in five years.

You can read the rest of this article here.