Friday, October 30, 2009

October Poll Soup: Turning 40

The common opinion when looking at opinion polls seems to be that 40 is a magical number where majorities become possible and leads become "commanding". Is this true? Well, it depends on the map, but it certainly does leave a psychological impact.

And the Tories are basically there, which means they're polling higher now than the numbers they got on Election Day one year ago.

I only hope Yo Yo Ma recognizes the damage he's doing to Canada...

Ekos (Oct 21-27, n = 3220 autodial)

CPC 38.4%
Lib 26.8%
NDP 16.7%
BQ 8.2%
GP 9.9%

Angus Reid (Oct 23-24, n = 1000 online)

CPC 40%
Lib 26%
NDP 17%
BQ 9%
GP 7%

Ipsos Reid (Oct 20-22, n = 1000 phone)

CPC 40%
Lib 25%
NDP 13%
BQ 11%
GP 11%

Environics (October 15-21, n = 2000 phone)

CPC 38%
Lib 26%
NDP 16%
BQ 8%
GP 10%

Nanos (Oct 10-18, n = 1000 phone)

CPC 39.8%
Lib 30.0%
NDP 16.5%
BQ 8.9%
GP 4.6%

Strategic Counsel (Oct 2-4, n = 1000)

CPC 41%
Lib 28%
NDP 14%
BQ 9%
GP 9%

(so, yeah, at least Peter Donolo knows what he's getting into...)

OVERALL (change since September in brackets)

CPC 39.5% (+3.0%)
Lib 27.0% (-2.2%)
NDP 15.5% (nc...for the third straight update)
BQ 9.0% (-0.5%)
GP 8.6% (+0.2%)

So Michael Ignatieff now finds himself in Dion territory (in Quebec too). Now I know I'm going to sound like a crazy person when I say this but maybe, just maybe, Stephane Dion wasn't responsible for all the problems facing the Liberal Party.

This situation is certainly reversible but it seems clear that the electorate has yet to find a reason to give up on Stephen Harper.


Despite all that's gone on in Canadian politics in recent years, there's been one constant: the 3 Liberal Premiers in the 3 biggest provinces. McGuinty, Charest, and Campbell have all taken their lumps over the past 6 years, but they've always come out on top.

So it's difficult to judge how deep their current wounds are.

In Quebec, Charest's approval rating has plummeted and he now finds himself in a statistical dead heat with Marois which, given the demise of the ADQ and the Quebec electoral map, would mean a PQ victory.

In Ontario, McGuinty's lead over Tim Hudak is down to 3 points, and a quarter of Liberal voters blame him for the eHealth fiasco. I haven't seen any new BC polls this month, but at last glance, the BC NDP has ridden the HST backlash to first place in the polls. Not that it makes a huge difference since most people expect Campbell to bask in the Olympic glow then drive off into the sunset (just, please Gordon, don't have a drink before hitting the road).

So while the recession seems to have strengthened Harper's fragile hold on power, previously unbreakable provincial Premiers are on the ropes. Hell, even the Alberta PC Party and Newfoundland Danny Williams Party both got dealt recent by election losses. And with Gary Doer gone, Manitoba is back in play.

So the next round of provincial elections could prove to be very interesting.



  • There's no way Campbell can win re-election. He'll announce his resignation so that he gets a full 10 years as Premier, and will leave someone else to clean up the mess (and lose to the NDP).

    By Anonymous BCJohn, at 9:52 a.m.  

  • Ignatieff is in Dion territory for the simple reason that he has offered nothing to voters, or perhaps he has nothing to offer. Instead of reinventing a party with flagging support he has decided not to bother with much of anything. Ignatieff has been so close in policy terms to the Conservatives that he seems to have no idea how to distinguish himself.

    By Blogger Kirbycairo, at 10:20 a.m.  

  • Respect the fact that you want to include Strategic Counsel in the series, but if Oct 2-4 is their range don't you think it might be too stale to include with the others?


    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:25 a.m.  

  • Dan, in your opinion, what accounts for Nanos's significant difference in the Green polling numbers, compared to the other companies? Is it methodology, different polling stratification, or just a uniquely weird distribution that happened just this one time?

    By Blogger Maestro, at 10:49 a.m.  

  • September October 2008 vs same period 2009?

    The new range for the LPC is 25-30%?

    With respect I don't blame the opponent for the LPC failing to land an effective narrative.

    The Public are not interested, trust the LPC on the major issues including "fit to govern".

    I don't think a change in the back office will improve from the new range.

    By Blogger CanadianSense, at 11:00 a.m.  

  • I live in BC and up until Campbell won the leadership in the early 2000,s BC was broke, Businesses were leaving for other places, Real Estate was dead, the NDP with Glen Clarke were in a total mess and when Campbell became leader, BC prospered big time. Real Estate came back, businesses began to grow, and Jobs were plentiful, being on strike all the time was not didn’t happen as often. BC has a lot of unions and the NDP are backed by unions and unions drove big business away. They would even go to workers job sites and tell them who to vote for. I know, I was a union worker and so was my husband. The province was broke and I don't believe residents want to go back there again. BC grew and if you think sensible BC residents don't remember that, you obviously don’t reside in BC and are still paying to much attention to the Media who do nothing but stir the pot. Campbell has been a good premier and god help us if mouth piece Carol James ever does.

    The only places in BC where the NDP are strong on Vancouver Island. I lived there for 34 years I for the hospital and hubby for the mill. Strike pay was 14.00 a week and that literally forced all the women to find minimum wage jobs like cleaning hotel rooms, witnessing, janitorial service in government buildings, pumping gas, they still did that then. No EI either. Raising a family of three children was not an easy task during those strike years. Putting food on the table, paying off a mortgage and having enough monies to put fuel in the car to get you to your measly job was a challenge. A lot of you have never been there or had an NDP government so you really wouldn’t know the hardships we had to deal with under the NDP. Let me tell you that unless your on welfare and an NDPer, you will vote NDP. I am none of the above and would never give them my vote ever again
    Unless you have been there, you only think you know by what you hear.

    By Blogger marie, at 11:25 a.m.  

  • Nanos doesn't read ANY party names. he just asks "Which party would you vote for?". Other pollsters read a list of parties and for the last few years they have started including the Green party in that list and IMHO that tends to give people the idea that the Green party is juxtaposed with the major parties and it becomes a convenient place for quasi-undecided people to "park" their votes. I think most serious observers of Canadian politics expect that when the votes are counted in the next election - Green support will be closer to what Nanos says than what any of the others are saying.

    By Blogger DL, at 11:26 a.m.  

  • I'm not sure what "Marie" means about the NDP leaving BC "broke". Last time I checked BC had balanced budgets the last couple of years the NDP was in power - then Campbell came in caused a big deficit with his ill-advised tax cuts for the rich etc...

    and btw: since the NDP took 42% of the vote in the last BC election, its obviously a lot more than just "people on welfare" who vote for them.

    By Blogger DL, at 11:29 a.m.  

  • Maestro - DL is right. Nanos asks the party names open ended, which is why the Greens always do lower on his polls. If you give people the Greens as an option, it often serves as a "none of the above".

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:10 p.m.  

  • Jaker - I agree the SC numbers are a bit stale, but they're not significantly off from the others, so I figured it didn't hurt to include them.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:11 p.m.  

  • The most interesting thing I saw was on one poll where the number wanting a Harper majority was over 30%. It seems that the argument that people are afraid of a Harper majority has faded.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 1:22 p.m.  

  • That also means that about 70% do not want a Harper majority.

    By Blogger DL, at 2:16 p.m.  

  • Its interesting to note that when there is shifts provincially, there is always shifts federally. You saw it with the rash of PC and other opposition wins in the 90's when Chretien came in after crushing them federally, and then that trend reversed when the Liberals started to win back provinces, and the federal Liberals started faltering back again.

    So if the provincial Liberals start dying off again, maybe we'll see another shift again federally. It would be interesting to see.

    By Blogger Kyle H., at 3:02 p.m.  

  • If being in Dion territory is not entirely Dion's fault, then what else is wrong with the LPC?

    Could a lack of credibility be part of it?

    By Blogger Paul, at 6:35 p.m.  

  • Yeah, Marie is right. After a decade, the NDP doubled the province's debt during the 1990's, BC was the highest taxed jurisdiction in North America alongside Quebec, and business was fleeing to both Alberta and Washington State.

    Statistics Canada even wrote an article entitled "BC's Lost Decade" referring to the NDP economic years. Throw in all of the NDP scandals and well, BC voters crushed the NDP in the 2001 election. BC's largest political collapse.

    NDP politicos back then referred to the NDP political scene as feeling like they were on the "the last helicopter leaving the U.S. embassey during the collapse of Saigon". Brutal stuff.

    Campbell still has to go (long past is "best before due date") and I suspect Surrey mayor Dianne Watts will eventually take over the Lib reins. In that vein, Carole James is completely useless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 p.m.  

  • I see the third quarter fundraising results are in and the Grits are back to their usual level (raising less than half of what the Tories raise). Does this mean Rocco Rossi will be receiving "the Full Davey" in the next few weeks?

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 9:40 a.m.  

  • re: nanos methodology

    when you vote, the ballot lists all the parties competing in that riding. wouldn't listing all the parties in the poll provide a more accurate recreation of what the voter would experience in the booth?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:44 p.m.  

  • @herringchoker:

    No, because there are very obvious reasons why the Liberals raised less that were out of Rossi's control. What is important though, and Rossi's shining achievement in all of this, is that we're raising about half of what the Conservatives (don't call them Tories, because they aren't) raise! Before, we barely raised a quarter.

    By Blogger Kyle H., at 3:57 p.m.  

  • re: nanos methodology

    "when you vote, the ballot lists all the parties competing in that riding. wouldn't listing all the parties in the poll provide a more accurate recreation of what the voter would experience in the booth?"

    You are correct, however people who are undecided/apathetic will not show up to the polling station to see the list of parties at all.

    Someone who is taking a poll doesn't have the same choice to 'not show up' and may simply throw their 'vote' to the Green party because they feel they should vote for someone. I believe that polls have shown that Green support is the weakest of all the 'major' parties.

    Moreover, in the last elections it was typical for most polling companies to overestimate Green support. Most put it at 6% before the 2006 election (they got 4.5%) and in 2008 most put it above 9% (Ekos even had them at 11% several times, Harris-Decima had them at 12% too) but as we all know they only got 6.8%

    By Blogger Eric, at 3:24 p.m.  

  • No, Dion was not the only reason for the failure of the LPC. He was just unable to wallpaper over or do the hard work required to solve the problems.

    Apparently, the new guy can't either.

    Instead of thinking about how to beat the current government, how about considering what it is that Canadians want from government? I'm guessing that institutionalized daycare is not in the top five.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 6:03 p.m.  

  • Um, I think the BC Liberals rather clearly separate themselves from the fed party. If they didn't they'd be annihilated.

    By Anonymous Peter Jay, at 10:22 a.m.  

  • @PeterJay:

    I disagree; they wouldn't be quite as strong but they wouldn't be annihilated either. BC politics is a fight between pro-business and pro-labour forces. After the collapse of the SoCreds, the Liberals were the only pro-business party left to counter the pro-labour NDP. That is why support coalesced around the BC Liberals. There is no BC Conservative party strong enough to win any seats, and that was especially true back then.

    To be honest, most BCers are actually socially liberal or socially democratic; it is the economic sphere where the differences matter.

    By Blogger Kyle H., at 6:00 p.m.  

  • Just to mention it because no one has that I can see - the undecided vote. The 40% for Harper seem to be for decided voters only - certainly the EKOS ones we pay for via the CBC are. I didn't check all the polls but the numbers for EKOS from last week showed 17% undecided. That was close to if not higher than the NDP number on the same poll.

    You could dice that undecided any number of ways - say assume they are all waiting to pick NDP or Liberal depending on how strategic they need to be to fend off the Harper majority, or on the other hand waiting to decide what they are going to watch on TV instead of voting at all. I'm not going there but I think we are well shy of majority territory for any number of good reasons including this one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:17 p.m.  

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