Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Mixed Bag

A pretty bad week to be away from blogging for a poll addict ;) The SES poll has some interesting results. Obviously the statistically tie is striking, which further validates the results from Decima and Strategic Counsel. What I found quite telling, the SES internals, which are both a good news/bad news scenario for Harper and Dion.

On the leadership question, the Conservatives can take some solace in the widening gap with Dion, particularly in Quebec and Ontario:
Canada:

…….Aug…..Nov

Harper 31….37

Dion 23….13

Layton 18…..17

Quebec:

…….Aug…..Nov

Harper 24….41

Dion 15….11

Layton 19….15

Ontario:

…….Aug…..Nov

Harper 24….35

Dion 33…..15

Layton 17…..19


These type of results make sense, given the turmoil surrounding Dion’s leadership in the media. The Ontario results are of particular concern, because while the Liberals still enjoy a healthy lead, based on brand, this represents a definite weak spot heading into a campaign, where the leader is front and center. That said, it is hard to remember another time where we have seen such a massive leadership disparity and that sentiment hasn’t translated into the party support numbers.

The Liberals can take comfort in the fact that, while Dion has serious challenges, he remains largely unknown outside of Quebec. When asked what people like or dislike about Dion, the overwhelming responses were “nothing” or “unsure”. If you look at what people don’t like about the two leaders, apart from Dion “not a leader”, the Harper ledger is far more daunting. Lots of references to Harper’s policies, too Bush-like, arrogant, stand-offish, secretive. It would seem the perception of Harper is more concrete, while Dion has challenges, but the edges are still blurred. On that score, Dion has more opportunity to change his image than Harper.

My read, while the horserace numbers suggest a tie, I would still give the Conservatives the advantage, based on the internals. Leadership does matter, Dion has huge hurdles, but there is hope, the unknown factor could work to his advantage.

5 comments:

Gayle said...

Hopefully what this tells the liberal party is that they should stop yipping to the media about Dion, and get behind him instead.

It seems to me that if Dion's leadership numbers go up, so do the polling numbers for the party. I believe that people want to vote for the liberals - the only reason they are not parking their vote right now is because of the liberals themselves. This is not about policy, it is about internal conflict.

By the way, good to see you back.

Scott Tribe said...

Sorry Steve, but I disagree. As I've been saying at my site the past couple of days, we elect parties, not Presidents. As SES says, the supposed leadership advantage Harper has right now is not translating over into party preference, which validates what I am saying.

Remember too that Harper had 10% leader popularity at one point during his tenure as Opposition leader, and it didnt stop him from being elected. The "leadership" poll is the most overrated aspect of polling, right up there for me (but not quite at the same level) as any polling company who gets their results via the "online' route ;)

tori said...

"If you look at what people don’t like about the two leaders, apart from Dion “not a leader”, the Harper ledger is far more daunting. Lots of references to Harper’s policies, too Bush-like, arrogant, stand-offish, secretive. It would seem the perception of Harper is more concrete,..."

and yet harper enjoys a 20 point lead in the leadership numbers.

it's just interesting looking at the problems each has to overcome, and how exactly opposite they are. Dion's personal numbers are horrendous, yet the liberal "brand" is steady. Harper's numbers are amazing, yet his party numbers are holding him back.

Anonymous said...

These polls mean little to nothing.
Go back and checkout Martin vs Harper not 2 years ago.
Harper was not and is not a leader.

Steve V said...

gayle

It sure sends a powerful message, that being, if the Liberals can get their act together, the prospects look pretty good.

scott

I hear your logic, but I do believe the leader becomes more of a focus during a campaign. I'm not a big fan of using the Harper/Martin dynamic, primarily because we can't expect a sponsorship scenario, or the trust fiasco during the campaign, to counter the leadership concerns. I guess what I'm saying, if all things are equal on the horserace side, I would still pick the Conservatives, based on the other factors. If you asked Liberal strategists which ledger they would prefer, I still think you would side with Harper. That said, you still see some serious apprehension about the Conservatives.