Saturday, January 12, 2008

Deadheat?

Ipsos poll, which contradicts the Decima poll earlier this week, that showed the Conservatives reclaiming a sizeable lead. The Ipso poll, done between Tuesday and Thursday, gives the Liberals a slight lead:
The national survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National, found the Liberals switching places with the Conservatives since the last poll two weeks ago. The Grits gained two points to 35 per cent while Tory support slipped a similar margin to 33 per cent. The NDP also dropped two points to 13 per cent while the Greens bumped up one point to nine.

Ontario:
In Ontario, Grit support was 41 per cent, a decline of two points, compared with the Tories with 37 per cent, an increase of four points.

Quebec, Liberals in second:
Bloc Quebecois maintained their lead with 35 per cent support, gaining four points from the last survey. The Grits slipped a point to 26 per cent while the Conservatives stayed in third place with 21 per cent.

The bizarre part of this poll, which frankly I put no stock in, the apparent Liberal "surge" in Alberta:
Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos-Reid, said it appears that most of the Grits jump in support, and subsequent slump for the Tories, is a result of the Conservatives declining a remarkable 23 points in Alberta.

But the troubles Premier Ed Stelmach faces in Alberta due to his government's decision to charge higher royalties and taxes in the oil and gas sector are hurting the federal Tories polling numbers in that province. Meanwhile, the Liberals have jumped 20 points to 30 per cent in the federal poll.

I can't find the margin of error for the Alberta results, but generally they are quite high (9-10%). Ipsos offers nothing really to justify such a remarkable turn in fortunes, for both the Liberals and Conservatives, so take this result with a large grain of salt.

On the whole, Bricker offers this analysis, which seems to bait the Liberals:
"The only difference is that it's likely to be lead by the Liberals. This is very good news for Stephane Dion. Even the slimmest minority would be a major victory for him and his party," said Bricker, adding that the Grits would be "foolish" not to try and trigger an election.

Foolish? Let's not get carried away, with full knowledge that this was the polling outfit who consistently showed the Tories with a double digit lead, on the verge of majority, on a couple months ago, while every other poll disagreed. That said, good news for the Liberals to have Ipsos delivering these type of numbers.

While the Decima and Ipsos polls differ on the Libs and Cons, both suggest the same for the NDP, namely a lowly 13% support number. I wonder if Dion's leadership, which has tended to move the Liberals left, is starting to erode the NDP's support, coupled with the Green appeal? Whatever the reason, these type of numbers translate to official party status scenarios, definitely a concerning trend.

11 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

Uh.. that wasn't a typo, was it? 30% in Alberta, for the Liberals? CalgaryGrit (now in Toronto) would be ecstatic if that were somehow true.

I'll have to say though, that as much as some of us were thinking Ipsos polling was an outlier when showing big Conservative leads as other polling companies showed dead heats, I just can't think that Stelmach would have that much of a negative effect on Con. polling numbers. I mean, negative publicity for threatening to sue a blogger only goes so far ;) I have a hard time believing that this many people in Alberta has seen the light and wants to do something about GHG emissions, which is about the only other issue I can think of that might spur this.

Steve V said...

scott

What I find funny, these guys are the pros and yet they fail to keep the margin of error in mind. Bricker knows better than to project those Alberta numbers as real, and his analysis to explain it is so weak, it's actually laughable. Don't bother with the regionals, if the MOE is that high, and certainly don't try to tell us some definitive, using shaky numbers. Is there a person on earth that believes the Libs have jumped 20 points in Alberta?

Ti-Guy said...

Is there a person on earth that believes the Libs have jumped 20 points in Alberta?

Why not? Albertans are sensible people. ;)

Ken Chapman said...

Speaking as an Albertan, and a Dion and Stelmach supporter, I think the Ipsos numbers are way off. And blaming Stelmach's response to the Royalty Review is ludicrous.

Stelmach got a 10 point positive bounce in Alberta when he released his royalty response in late October.

The Calgary media and elites push the perceptions and they tend to think that Calgary is Alberta. they have too much sway with the national media so they don't look at the entire province to get a take on what is happening here.

They all seem to get suckered into believing Alberta is a monoculture of cowboys, roughnecks and rednecks. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Do a poll of 1000 representative Albertans before such claims are even considered...never mind actually being made. This result is suspect given the usual small sample size in Alberta for such national polls.

Steve V said...

"Do a poll of 1000 representative Albertans before such claims are even considered...never mind actually being made. This result is suspect given the usual small sample size in Alberta for such national polls."

Bingo! Why publish results that are inherently flawed, based on your own measurements. Pretty embarassing to have Bricker take these bogus numbers, then extrapolate them using flawed logic. Mickey mouse if you ask me.

ottlib said...

"...adding that the Grits would be "foolish" not to try and trigger an election."

I found that statement very interesting. As you say Steve it does sound like Liberal baiting.

In actual fact the Liberals would be foolish to trigger an election at the moment.

In all likelyhood Conservative support will continue to gradually erode. This will be particularly true if the economic slowdown the experts are predicting comes to pass.

Do you think that maybe Conservative supporters like Ipsos-Reid realize that and would like to see an election before that erosion really begins to take hold?

Steve V said...

ottlib

That statement is suspicious, particularly when his own numbers show a very tight race in Ontario. Foolish is the last word to use, and yet he does....

daniel said...

Though these numbers look good on the surface for the Liberals, two things need to be considered: 1) It's Ipsos-Reid, people. C'mon. 2) It appears that most of the Liberal increase comes from a rebound in Quebec (plausible) and a surge in Alberta (duhhuhuhh...no, Ipsos, I don't think so).

Even assuming that these numbers were the real deal, the Alberta surge would amount to no more than 2 or 3 extra seats. The Ontario numbers are stagnant, while the Quebec rebound (the most significant trend in this poll) could easily net an extra 15 seats for the Liberals (but almost entirely at the expense of the Bloc).

If I were Stephane Dion, I don't think I'd go out of my way to trigger the government's collapse based solely on a single poll telling me that the prospect of a razor-thin Liberal minority is somewhat probable - especially given that a poll released earlier this week states that support levels are pretty much where they were on election day in 2006.

Seriously, all polling outfits except for SES should be banned from publishing outside of an election period. Any party leader who pledges to crack down on pollsters has my vote ;)

Gayle said...

"Do you think that maybe Conservative supporters like Ipsos-Reid realize that and would like to see an election before that erosion really begins to take hold?"

In the alternative, if the numbers are actually turning to the liberals (though I too do not accept the Alberta numbers - and even if they are true, as soon as Albertans realize the results of their little protest they will run back to Harper) - IR actually believes this is a good time for Dion to go, and wants to push the notion Dion is being opportunistic and hypocritical by doing so now after failing to bring Harper down a couple of months ago.

burlivespipe said...

While Alberta demographics have changed drastically over the past 4-5 years, due to the influx of new Canadians and easterners, it would be a huge leap of faith to think that it could result in a 10% jump in Liberal support. So does that make the CONs at 50% now?
Edmonton remains potentially ripe territory, in 2-3 ridings. But the rest is dreamsville.
However, perhaps Stelmach's troubles -- and he is suffering bad press of late, with the Chandler thing and now the 'stolen personality' joke making the rounds -- is confusing the respondents when they give their answer. A provincial election is in the offing, and its apparent that if you want a different government, the only choice at this time is Taft's Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Isn't it against the law or something to vote anything but Conservative in Alberta?