Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back To Reality

Last week's Ipsos poll came with the headline "Tories Lung Toward Majority". Today's Strategic Council poll is less encouraging, "Tory Majority Seen As A Long Shot":
The Conservatives have gained public support but not enough to give them a majority government, despite a month of troubles for Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, a new poll shows.

The Prime Minister's Tories now have a five percentage-point lead over the Liberals, 34-29, according to a new poll conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV News. The NDP has 15 per cent, the Bloc Québécois 10 per cent, and the Green Party, 12 per cent.

In August, the Tories and Liberals were tied, 33-33. Now, a new survey of 1,000 Canadians taken between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 shows the Conservatives have opened up a five-point lead, largely by gaining in Quebec while the Liberals fell there.

In Quebec, the numbers mirror the Ipsos poll:
The best news for the Tories is in Quebec, where the Conservatives are now solidly in second place behind the Bloc. It has 37 per cent support in the province, the Conservatives have 26 per cent, the Liberals 17 per cent, the Green Party 12 and the NDP 9.

In Ontario, Ipsos had the Tories with a slight lead, which was an eye-opener, because most outfits usually show the Liberals with the lead. Strategic Counsel offers the Liberal some good news:
But in Ontario, the picture is more discouraging for Mr. Harper's Tories. There, the Liberals lead the Conservatives by a 40-33 margin...

ONTARIO POLL NUMBERS

Aug. 10-12 Oct. 11-14
Liberal 40% 40%
Cons 35% 33%
NDP 17% 14%
Green 8% 14%

The difference between these two polls seems to be in Ontario, which explains why one has majority flirtation, the other well short. I'm inclined to take the SC numbers, simply because they seem more in line with other polls, while the Ipsos finding looks the outlier. What is interesting, both firms find virtually the same results for Quebec, which is hardly surprising.

The last SC poll had a 33-33 tie, so while we have seen Liberal erosion, Harper has failed to capitalize, reaffirming the theory that many Canadians approach the Conservatives with great trepidation. SC lays out a telling timeline, that illustrates Harper's failure to move his numbers:
ELECT'06 POLLING 06 POLLING 07
Cons. 36%.... 39%.... 34%
Liberal 30%.... 28%.... 29%
NDP 16%.... 18%.... 19%
Bloc 11%.... 9%.... 10%
Green 5%.... 5%.... 12%

One other point on the Quebec numbers, while Harper has increased his support, relative to the last poll, and the Liberals have fallen, it is noteworthy that the Conservatives are basically (+1.4%) at the same level they were at in the election. For all the Liberal troubles, they are only down 3% from the election. The Greens are up 8% (12%), and where that vote moves, or if it holds, will be the big story come any election.

Conclusion, majority is still very elusive and the Liberal floor is firm.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I doubt any poll that has the Green Party at these numbers.

Steve V said...

Why? Didn't they just score 8% in Ontario? The Greens at 12% doesn't seem like a much of a stretch in the least, whether it holds or not is another question. Also, given the "none of the above" phenomenon with voters, it seems completely logical that a "protest" sentiment would emerge.

Anonymous said...

This is why there will be no election.
The only one with anything to lose is Harper.
Dion gets another kick at the can even if the Libs are held in Oppo.

Anonymous said...

And yet, this imminent Green "breakthrough" because of numbers like these that we keep hearing is going to emerge during election campaigns never happens.

It just goes to show that the Green Party are nothing but fringe players that wish they were something more. When the leader of their own Party needs the help of another Party leader to even run for a seat, they're clearly not.

Steve V said...

"And yet, this imminent Green "breakthrough" because of numbers like these that we keep hearing is going to emerge during election campaigns never happens."

Are you people paying attention? The Greens just staged a "breakthrough" in Ontario. Seats aside, there is no question that those type of totals will have an effect in general election. The Green vote didn't evaporate in Ontario, which represents a new reality.

Anonymous said...

"Seats aside"? Well isn't that that a convenient statement to justify never winning anything. Seats are all the matters. "Having an effect", especially of this dubious nature, means absolutley nothing. The "reality" is that the Green Party continues to be nothing but fringe players. Perhaps it is you that needs to pay attention.

Steve V said...

""Seats aside"? Well isn't that that a convenient statement to justify never winning anything. Seats are all the matters."

Have you heard of vote splitting?

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm talking Federally here. Second, if they can't even win a single seat let alone one for their leader, and vote splitting is the limit of what they are capable of, then that only proves my point - the Green Party are fringe players, nothing more.

Steve V said...

"First of all, I'm talking Federally here."

Well, I'm using the last concrete example for reference, to support the idea that the Green support won't evaporate, like it has in previous elections. A party that can actually influence results goes beyond "fringe" in my mind. You don't seem to recognize that the Green support is rising, which is articulated in the polls.

Anonymous said...

Thats nice. They can "influence results" all the live long day, it still doesn't get them, nor their leader a seat. What I say doesn't marginalize the Green Party; the fact that their leader needs or even wants the help of another Party leader to even get ONE seat does.

Steve V said...

"They can "influence results" all the live long day, it still doesn't get them, nor their leader a seat."

Well, what I find relevant is how they will influence results, and I suspect your LEADER does too :)

wayward son said...

"I doubt any poll that has the Green Party at these numbers."

I agree with Steve. After the Ontario election there is no reason to doubt Green polling numbers. The average of the polls in Ontario before the election was about 8%, they got 8%. It shocked pundits who automatically expected the numbers to evaporate. Furthermore they are more popular on the Federal side due to having more money and a charasmatic leader. You appear to not even believe what you said because you continually change the subject when you are shown you are wrong.

"And yet, this imminent Green "breakthrough" because of numbers like these that we keep hearing is going to emerge during election campaigns never happens."

Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not. There was no immenent breakthrough talked about in any realistic manner before now. Before the last federal election the GPC was polling an average of 6%, now they are routinely double that.

""Seats aside"? Well isn't that that a convenient statement to justify never winning anything. Seats are all the matters. "Having an effect", especially of this dubious nature, means absolutley nothing. The "reality" is that the Green Party continues to be nothing but fringe players. Perhaps it is you that needs to pay attention."

You are getting dumber by the minute. If the GPC is polling at 12% and taking support from every party then both the Liberals and Conservatives know that in order to get a majority they need that support back. You don't think that allows the Green agenda influence? You don't think Harper and Dion look at the Green support and says we need to do something to win that support back? The same goes for the NDP. If Jack Layton wants to have more seats he needs to influence the supporters he has lost to the GPC to come back.

"First of all, I'm talking Federally here. Second, if they can't even win a single seat let alone one for their leader, and vote splitting is the limit of what they are capable of, then that only proves my point - the Green Party are fringe players, nothing more."

Again you seem to have little knowledge of politics. Believe it or not the chances of winning seats are much higher when you are polling 12% then when you polling 6%. One would think that would be obvious. But apparently not. Furthermore the showing by Jolley in Ontario will make many people realize that it is possible for the Greens to win seats. No, of course, Jolley didn't win his seat but he finished 2nd with 35% of the vote. In fact his 15,000+ votes was more than many people who won seats got. More than NDP leader Howard Hampton received for instance. Several thousand votes more than Liberal Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Indian Affairs David Ramsay received too.

"What I say doesn't marginalize the Green Party; the fact that their leader needs or even wants the help of another Party leader to even get ONE seat does."

That is irrelevant. More people support the Greens than the BQ. More people support the Greens than supported the NDP in 1993 and a couple other elections. That is not to say that the Green Party is going to win a bunch of seats. But, think of this ass-hole the Greens have managed to influence all the other political parties and to garner 12% of the nation's support all the while being dismissed as a fringe party who will never win a seat by the media and at the same time not being allowed in the debates. Now that the media is finally starting to take them seriously you can expect their support to continue to rise and if they ever allow Elizabeth May into the debates she will win it. Harper, Dion and Layton are all very afraid of that and they should be - she has more charisma then all of them put together.

Anonymous said...

The Green vote did not disappear in the Ont elections because the Libs were heading for a majority government. You cannot make the same assumption when parties are tied.
Pollsters often oversample Green residents - students, stay-at-homers, etc who are more likely to respond to surveys.
The Liberals should be concerned about the Quebec numbers. They are just awful.

Steve V said...

wayward

Slightly off topic, but I just read the Green party platform. I thought the "tax shifting" proposal was bang on, actually pretty close to what Ignatieff had proposed, "revenue neutral".

May made one quote today, which I found interesting. May said we must act immediately, to get as "close" to Kyoto targets as possible. That perspective is a slight change from achievable, which is probably an acknowledgement of too much lost time. However, what May offers is key, because it says we must stay within the framework and TRY, as opposed to what Harper will say tonight.

Steve V said...

"Pollsters often oversample Green residents - students, stay-at-homers, etc who are more likely to respond to surveys."

You are thick. Polls showed the Greens at 8%, the vote was 8.1%.

wilson said...

'If the GPC is polling at 12% and taking support from every party'

If the GPC support is rural and urban, it's a concern to all.
If the support comes mostly from the big cities, let May into the debates!!!!

Steve V said...

"If the GPC support is rural and urban, it's a concern to all.
If the support comes mostly from the big cities, let May into the debates!!!!"
Rural.

Scott Tribe said...

Quite frankly. Mr. Anonymous had better hope the Greens vote does stay parked in the Green column, because its not unlikely if it doesn't, wit the detente May and Dion have, a lot of that vote will go to the Liberals.

It's in the Conservatives interest that it doesn't... so Mr. Anonymous should be careful what he wishes for.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Anon thinks STUDENTS are more likely to respond to surveys???

Have you ever even MET a student???

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Anon,

"Seats aside"? Well isn't that that a convenient statement to justify never winning anything. Seats are all the matters.

Do you even think about what you're saying? It's enough to make an electoral reformer weep.

burlivespipe said...

The trend line in all these polls, minus that 'Harper nears majority' outlier, suggests serious stall on the CON side of things. Banging your head on the ceiling is a no place to be when you are reaching for the stars. So, how soon before the Blue Pirhanas begin to start nipping at the Suprememe Leader?

As to the Greens, historically a major breakthrough is done after repeated minor gains, even some slippage. In BC during the 1991 election, the governing Social Credit began to fall apart at the seams; the opposition held and grew, but it took one brief moment in the debate (where a party leader with no seats was surprisingly invited to attend) for the ignition switch to hit the public.
With both governing parties stalled in popularity, this could be the seed needed for a breakthrough. Smilin' Jack is wet-dreaming about it being his; however, those Quebec numbers aren't showing the effects of Mulcair's win (yet). The conditions are there, but it could equally result in, during a campaign, one of the two main parties' leaders rehabilitating their images enough to beat back the eager pups.

And that poll today on Afghanistan, where something like only 14% agree with Harper's position of re-upping for combat, and 40% for a different, kinder mission there, and 44% get out all together, really do complicate things for the PM and that new committee, doncha think?
I read about it over at Kady O'malleys place...

Dr. Tux said...

Regarding the debate at the top, my take is that the Greens are here to stay, and thank goodness.

I know so many people who are sick and tired of Jack Layton's petty partisan politics. Elizabeth May is a breath of fresh air compared to his constant striving for partisan gain.

The NDP is supposed to be Canada's party of Conscience. Under Jack Layton the NDP has become a highly partisan source of disinformation, and has lost its political integrity. Quite simply, the party has lost it's way.

Steve V said...

burl

Those Afghanistan numbers are pretty interesting.

ottlib said...

This poll has further demonstrated that things are pretty steady politically in Canada.

The Conservatives went up 1 point, which is insignificant considering the margin of error is over 2 points.

The Liberals dropped four so that is significant but they are still only 1 point below the 30-33% range they have been in for over a year. That is not too bad considering the brutal month they have had.

In Quebec, the Conservatives went up 4 points but the MOE for Quebec is over 5. So, it is not as big of a deal as some would have you believe. Again the Liberals lost 7 points but that is not as bad as you think considering the provincial MOE. A cause for concern if the stay there but I suspect they will climb back into the 20-25% range in Quebec once The House begins sitting and the MSM has something else besides the troubles of the Liberal Party to focus on.

Ontario is stubbornly sticking with the Liberals, which has to give Conservatives pause.

All in all to be behind by only 5 points after this last month is not bad. It is not good either but the Liberals are still within striking distance and that is all we can ask for at this point.

As an aside, and not to blow my own horn (ok maybe a little bit :))but did I not say something was up on the weekend? The Conservatives have been conducting tracking polls since the beginning of September I bet they are not liking what they are saying, particularly if they are planning on a Fall election.

Steve V said...

ottlib

Fair points. One caveat, as it relates to the Quebec numbers, you are right about MOE, but this is now the third poll recently that shows very similar results and trends. I take the Quebec numbers at face value.

ottlib said...

Steve:

I am not saying the Liberals have not fallen off in Quebec. However, I am saying that they have not collapsed as many would have us believe.

It has been a bad month for the Liberals in Quebec and the numbers back that up.

However, it is not so bad that the Liberals cannot recover much of what it has lost as the media begins to chew on the daily grist from Question Period instead of the troubles in the Liberal Party.

Steve V said...

ottlib

And, the one unknown, how well Dion performs in the Quebec debate, which could be a key moment, to at least hold on.

Wayward son said...

Steve,

Yes I love the tax-shift proposal. I don't know when or who initiated the proposal but I remember reading it many years ago and thinking that it was absolutely necessary. As the Greens were polling under 1% at that time, and as I was an NDP member back then, I decided to bring up the idea with the NDP. Wow, bad idea. The NDP members I discussed it with told me it was the worst idea ever and that no progressive person could even think about it. Well I thought about it more and I studied the issue more, decided that they were wrong, and tested the waters again to find that the NDP was even more deadset against it so I switched parties. I really believe that under the current tax system trying to reduce ghg's is like trying to push a boulder up a hill, but after tax shifting it is like trying to roll a boulder down a hill - still not simple but much, much easier than the current system and once you get the boulder rolling it becomes easier and easier, whereas under the current system each revolution of the boulder is just as difficult.

Yes, Ignatieff's proposed "revenue neutral" idea is fairly similar. It is one of the reasons why I think that the Greens can and should work with the most environmentally progressively Liberals, but see less common ground with the most environmentally progressive dippers.

"May made one quote today, which I found interesting. May said we must act immediately, to get as "close" to Kyoto targets as possible. That perspective is a slight change from achievable, which is probably an acknowledgement of too much lost time."

Definately, I was hoping that we wouldn't get to the day when it was too late to meet our kyoto targets, but we have surpassed it. A real shame.

"However, what May offers is key, because it says we must stay within the framework and TRY, as opposed to what Harper will say tonight."

Exactly, it is bad enough that we have broken international law. But if we can at least make some progress in the next couple years then the rest of the world (and future generations) will not look at Canadians with the disdain that I suspect they will be directing towards us if we continue down the Harper path.

Steve V said...

"Exactly, it is bad enough that we have broken international law. But if we can at least make some progress in the next couple years then the rest of the world (and future generations) will not look at Canadians with the disdain that I suspect they will be directing towards us if we continue down the Harper path.'

You might remember, at the Nairobi Conference, several countries when on record acknowledging Canada's "challenges" in meeting the targets. I took this as some understanding that we would ultimately fail, but could still remain with the framework. That was an out for Harper, but he has turned it into an all or nothing affair.