Friday, March 02, 2007

Concerning Poll

The new Angus-Reid poll puts Harper in majority terrority:
The Conservative party holds a 14-point lead in Canada, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 40 per cent of decided voters would support the Tories in the next election to the House of Commons.

The Liberal party is second with 26 per cent, followed by the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 15 per cent, the Bloc Québécois with 10 per cent, and the Green party with eight per cent.

The poll gives the Tories a big lead in British Columbia and Ontario, with Quebec split down the middle. I suppose you can fluff off these polls, but in mind, there is no question we have a trend. This poll is the first I can remember that puts Harper in majority terrority, and it should give everyone pause.

The calendar is the Conservative's friend, hard to see a scenario where they are hurt by a feel-good budget. The latest polls certainly make a spring election more likely, Harper may orchestrate his own demise after the budget.

As an aside, my earlier post on the Quebec ads having no effect may have been pre-mature. Those numbers in Quebec are the highest I have seen for the Conservatives in some time. Take this poll in isolation, everything comes up roses for Harper, and the Liberals are in serious trouble. I just hope this is bottom.


Scott Tribe said...

Big caveat to this poll:

It's an online survery, not a traditional phone survey.

Concerning numbers still... but you need to keep that in perspective - online surveys arent proven yet to be as scientific as the regular ones.. and that isnt partisan spin - the Zogby polling firm in the US has started online surveys.. and his polls using that method havent exactly been borne out when the votes came in.

Steve V said...


Point taken. I just don't want to dismiss this poll out of hand, because of the methodology.

ottlib said...

This poll has raised some suspicions in me. Let's leave aside the fact it was done for CanWest/Global.

Last week the same polling firm had the Liberals at 34%. Now they are at 26%, a drop of 8 points in a week.

That kind of drop usually proceeds some major event, such as a breaking scandal.

No such thing has happened in the past week. The closest thing is the lead-up to the vote on the Anti-terror provisions.

That hardly sparked the imagination of the electorate.

I remember when the sponsorship scandal first broke. It was the talk of the town. Heck, I even heard some fellow Canadians talking about it by the pool in a resort in Mexico.

The same chattering occured after the first Gomery Report.

I have not heard the same chattering from people in the past week. Like I said in a previous comment the talk was the different hockey trades at the NHL trade deadline, not anything political.

So why the big drop? Something is not right.

The results of this poll should be taken with more than just a grain of salt.

Mind you that can be said of all polls but this one has a little bit of an odour to it.

Steve V said...

It could easily be an outlier, since it puts the Tories in majority terrority. You're right about no major scandal to move the numbers so much, and I doubt the terrorism clauses caused such concern.

I'm surprised by these results, and the other poll for one reason- I thought Harper would pay for his behavior. The Decima poll showed Harper making gains with woman, and generally, they have a particular distaste for ugly politics. That being said, I'm not looking at these polls as though they are complete fact, but it's certainly not good news, even if it just allows the media to frame the arguments.

Anonymous said...

The thing I find strange in this is that when you look at the drill-down numbers for last week's Decima poll and this week's, it shows a dramatic swing (radically dramatic). The conservatives are up 10 points in Ontario, when the same tracking poll showed the liberals up 10 points in Ontario last week:

Last Week This Week

Cons 30 42
Libs 40 32

That's a 12-point swing in one week. When they say the margin of errors are larger in any given province, I think they must be huge.

Having said that, I think the 3-week averages for Decima are very useful - though they dont make headlines. And they show the trends they talk about in the article in a more believable trend pattern.

While I'm not convinced the conservatives will call an election this spring, I think if the numbers look like this after the budget, Harper will be tempted.

Anonymous said...

This poll is the first I can remember that puts Harper in majority terrority, and it should give everyone pause.

Polls had Harper in the 40s last spring. It was the Taliban and bringing home coffins that brought his numbers down during the summer.

player_hater said...

Only thing the polls show that his negative ads are working, for the short term at least. They haven't taken the Bains situation into account at all or the resignations at the Refugee Board citing partisan interference.

We will continue to see the ads, because the Harpocrits know in order to get a majority they can't take the low road. Since they can't win a rural seat outside of Alberta in English Canada to save their life, they will never have a majority. So continue with low road, keep voter turn out down, and stay in pathetic minority power with all the stretch limos, five star hotels and challenger trips that come with it. Oh the Harpocrits.

wilson61 said...

At the risk of scott's and catnip's:

If you can step outside of a partisan box for a glance at what Canadians see:

Conservatives are 'mean spirited, I demand an apology, we are looking at our legal options'
(doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the Libs can handle the hard stuff)

paired with:
The 911 surviors group is a 'sideshow',
we will stop oilsands expansion (as Ontarians sit in line ups for gas because one refinery had a fire)
Hillier is a 'political prop'
(most popular Commander in 50 years)
the RCMP have no place on judicial panels (because we think they are conspiring with PMSH against us),
the Conservatives are unstacking the Liberal judiciary.....blah

Libs are caught in a time warp, circa 2004.
PMSH is baiting you to stay in the whining mode.

Steve V said...

"If you can step outside of a partisan box for a glance at what Canadians see"

Wilson, lord help us if we are relying on your for an OBJECTIVE reading of the situation.

Daniel said...

What the Liberals need to realize is that most Canadians don't see some sort of evil partisan interest in putting RCMP representatives on judical appointment committees, nor do they see a "get tough on crime" approach as "scary right-wing American", nor do they see the country's top military official as a prop for the Tories, nor do they see the placement of a few more right-leaning judges as a "radical hidden agenda", nor do they see the concerns of the victims of terrorism as a side-show.

The Conservatives may have thrown a lot of mud at the Liberals in the past little while, but the Liberals managed to sink even LOWER than that by throwing mud at everyone BUT the Conservatives. (For future reference: it's pretty hard for a party to win over public opinion when they look like they're picking fights with weeping widows, neighborhood policemen and a popular military figure.)

The Liberals also need to realize that the only Canadians scared solely of Mr. Harper are the ones who already vote for them. They can go fishing for NDP or Green votes with this strategy, but I somehow don't think that's gona fly - Dion's "progressive" sash has faded badly, and any rash attempt to recolour it could drive blue Libs into the Tories' waiting arms.

rockfish said...

Yep, these numbers are concerning but the on-line nature of it eases the mind a touch. Is the trend a growing one or was the decima #s the point? Harpor has to be tempted...
I'm certainly questioning the party's overall strategy in combatting Harpor's low-balling tactics. I know why we're not talking big policy platforms now -- save them for the writ. But why are we chatting about law suits (look into it behind close doors maybe) when we should be throwing fire back at Harpor. Why are we scared to raise his past actions that show him as someone who will trample individual rights for political points -- Arar for one. Why are we not stepping up to microphones with legal experts and law professors and speaking and listening to why Harpor's machinations are leading us to the worst kind of politicization of the law. Why are we not putting a spotlight on areas that he's weak on? Or are we trying but the mainstream media is ignoring us?

Scotian said...

Assuming these numbers can be trusted they show something I have been afraid of, that being the ability of the CPC government to exploit the tools of government for partisan purposes as well as their ability to be incredibly dishonest and not pay much a price for it since those that would normally be exposing such are paying more attention to the process/gamesmanship being played than they are the more substantial issues and how honestly they are being represented. It is the manipulation of the media that gave the Bush Administration the ability to ram so many things through the American system that were clearly contrary to their own Constitution, and I am very much afraid of seeing that happen here as well.

The most dangerous belief in Canadian society on this is the idea that "it can't happen here", that the kind of extremism that came to power in 2000 in America could never happen in this country. That is what set Americans up for the disaster and long term problems they must deal with thanks to Bushco and it is the same sort of thing I fear if Harper is successful in his aims. Harper is cloaking himself as a centrist and thanks to the way he has clamped down on his party's media messaging and the exclusion and reducing the power of the Parliamentary Press Gallery (which also makes them less likely to report that which would offend this government since their access has already been limited extensively, just as Bush did to the WHPC once he came to power) to expose the deceptions of this government

When one considers he throws out so much misleading partisan spin both in terms of making him and his party look good and claiming all sorts of nasty things about Dion and his Liberals it becomes a common result/effect that the original smear/spin/fiction is remembered while the truth/facts that disprove the smear will get far less coverage making the smears the things that stick in the minds of the average Canadian who is not paying close attention to what is really going on in the political world. They rely on the media to do that for them, which is why this particular tactic is so lethally effective for a time until those using such tactics have so badly bungled a lot of things that their own incompetence/ideology/unfitness to hold power becomes impossible to ignore. When one adds that the mantra of the CPC from the moment of its birth is: Liberals are corrupt/venial/immoral/unpatriotic/evil and therefore this tactic plays right into the refrain of the last three years both from Opposition and government positions by the CPC underscores just how well this tactic works with everything they have been saying from day one. Just like the spin on the ATA clauses and the Lib leader somehow owned by "ethnic" extremists in the party fits the "Liberal's multicult policies/actions are selling out ordinary/"real" Canadians "spin we have heard for years from Reform/CA/CPC supporters/members/MPs.

We are seeing the increased truthiness instead of truthfulness method from this Harper/CPC government, and I fear by the polls coming out lately that it may be working. I had hoped for better from my fellow Canadians and I certainly have not given up now will I in exposing why Harper and the CPC are not to be trusted with power (and that it is not because I want another party to have it but because I see it as a direct threat to the future of this nation's survival, something I have explained in great detail in many places over the past few years), yet I am very worried about this.

Canadian progressives need to recognize the danger that is Harper and unite around a party in the next election to defeat them, Libs, NDP, even Greens, I don't really care so long as Harper and his brand of Conservativism goes down, preferably very hard. The main reasons I tend to back the Libs is mainly because they are the best chance of defeating the CPC, Layton's NDP has been too close to be a good bet for that and the Greens are totally untested even in Parliament which makes them one hell of a risk to give government to on their first time in Parliament (if they elect in the next election any MPs, something the polls now make probable but until it happens cannot be assumed is a given) and I have a hard time seeing Canadians being willing to take that kind of risk. That leaves the Libs and the NDP as the main options from where I sit and given the clear Layton/NDP willingness to work with Harper for gains to his own party (and i am including the way they worked together to bring down the last government as well as his actions since that govenrment was forced into an election) at the potential expense of the future of this nation staying a progressive one which is why I tend to favour the Libs despite their own problems and warts. They at least I trust to be proud of Canada as a progressive nation and not ashamed and contemptuous of it as Harper has shown himself many Many MANY times to be over the years including as LOO.

Steve V said...

"Canadian progressives need to recognize the danger that is Harper and unite around a party in the next election to defeat them"

Scotian, well said all around. I think you just hit on the campaign strategy, particularly as it refers to the Greens. Dion must try to rally the 60 plus percent that don't want a Harper majority, and it is fair to catergorize a lot of the new Green support as soft. A strong May presents a big challenge, as I suspect she will impress and be treated as media darling. It may be one of those elections where Harper looks poised, the polls confirm, but right at the last minute enough people consider the consequence and hold their noses.

knb said...

I just heard that there is a new Ipsos poll that states the following:

36% Cons
32% Libs
15% NDP
8% Greens
8% Bloc

I can't find the poll, I heard it on the radio.

So, I don't know what's going on, but something is whacky.

I will say that I find it disturbing that Canadians seem to buying what Harper is selling, including the lies.

I feel like taking out a full page ad somewhere with two columns. One side, listing the lies, spin etc., with a counter point of truth on the other side.

If I win a lottery, I'll do it, :).

knb said...

While I agree with you Scotian, I don't know how you get the NDP on board to build the strategy as Steve said.

Unless there is a way to get Layton to change his ways, I'm not sure you'll get his supporters. The thing is, Layton has much more to gain with the Lib's so I just don't get his stance. Given his numbers though, his strategy does not seem to be working, so maybe there is a small chance.

Steve V said...


Let me know if you find a link. Did you hear Greg Weston on the CBC today? He said he didn't want to divulge too much, but they have an SES poll coming out Sunday that shows a "major change" in Quebec. He might have been refering to the polling Scott Tribe cited, about the comfort level for Tories in Quebec, but it will interesting to see what SES finds.

ottlib said...

I am loving this.

So many polls saying so many different things.

What is an ordinary voter to do?

I would imagine that the only thing it is going to do is confuse people, which will certainly reduce any negative or positive perceptions they might generate.

Steve, I really do appreciate you publishing these polls because I have a professional interest in them. However, I would suggest that you not take any of them too seriously as they are usually suspect and the shear volume of polls is just leading to information overload for most people, reducing their impact.

Steve V said...

"Steve, I really do appreciate you publishing these polls because I have a professional interest in them. However, I would suggest that you not take any of them too seriously as they are usually suspect and the shear volume of polls is just leading to information overload for most people, reducing their impact."

Ottlib, I just find them interesting, as a political junkie. I like discussing them. However, when you have an opinion, based on your own perceptions, that the Liberals aren't doing particularly well at the moment, and then you see polls that tends to validate that opinion, it is noteworthy in my mind.

Having said that, this poll may well be an outlier, I'm not taking it as fact. I do find it interesting, the blogs have debated the merits of this poll all day, while the MSM has simply reported it, with no mention of methodology.

ottlib said...


The Liberal fortunes have slipped of late but I would argue that they were artificially high anyway so they have really just gone back to where they should be.

The Liberals really had no reason to be as high as they were for as long as they were so it was only a matter of time before they slipped.

I certainly would have preferred a more gradual decline but politics usually does not work that way. Usually once it gets going it picks up steam. However, nothing is forever in politics so I am not worried.

One thing the polls are consistantly saying is there are only two parties that can form a government. The NDP is out, the Greens forget about it. Therefore, when the time comes it will be the Liberals that will stand out as the alternative to the Conservatives amongst progressive voters.

Anonymous said...

Except I'm not so sure "progressive" voters will again buy into a party that essentially becomes "Diet Tory" when in power with a majority.

The Liberals are scrambling to the left thinking that they can haul back some NDP/Green support, without realizing that this could cost them votes on the right.

I don't think people are NEARLY as scared of Harper as they were before the last election, and I think that another Liberal campaign based on fear of Harper will badly backfire (especially in areas like the 905 belt and British Columbia).

Calling Harper a "scary right-winger" just won't resonate like it used to; people who aren't blinded by red goggles just aren't that afraid of him anymore, and rightly so.

Daniel said...

I see a lot of comments saying that the Green vote will surely flood back to the Liberals come election time; I'm not so sure that's the case.

Probably around 3-4 points of that support came from the NDP, to start with. (Not to mention some of that support came from Tories.)Plus, the greens still roped in 5% of the vote last time, even when in relative obscurity. So, there's a possibility of a 2-3% swing back to the Liberals that may occur, but I wouldn't bet too heavily on that.

Dana said...

We're just going to have to get used to the idea that we're no different than US voters. Campaigns built around confusion, division and fear work just as well here as they do there.

H.L. Mencken, who I find more and more prophetic "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."