Friday, February 08, 2008

Harper Rolling The Dice

When is the last time we saw two seperate polls, showing the Liberals ahead? The headlines tell a similar story, from Decima "Conservative Support Sags", now Nanos(SES) chimes in with "Tory Support Slides". Quite an interesting backrop, considering all the election saber-rattling coming from the Conservatives. Both polls are within the margin of error, but it seems clear the Conservatives have fallen back. Nanos:
Liberal Party 33% (-1)
Conservative Party 31% (-4)
NDP 19% (+2)
BQ 10% (+1)
Green Party 8% (+2)

November results in brackets

Good news for the NDP, which haven't scored this high from Nanos since the second quarter of 2006. Bad news for the Conservatives, just like Decima, now hovering around the 30% mark (Decima 29%), an indication of real erosion in support.

The regionals:


Liberal Party 43% (NC)
Conservative Party 31% (-1)
NDP 19% (NC)
Green Party 7% (+1)


BQ 37%(+4)
Conservative Party 23% (-6)
Liberal Party 22% (-1)
NDP 12% (+1)
Green Party 6% (+3)


Liberals 42
NDP 27
Cons 22

There is also numbers for the "west", whatever that means. which shows the Tories up 11%, 2% less than the November polls.

The margin of error is quite high for Atlantic Canada (10.4), but still noteworthy, the NDP is now in second for the first time.

Last week, we had two very reliable Quebec only polls released. Nanos tends to mirror those findings, with the Bloc re-establishing itself as a dominant force, the Conservatives falling, Liberals stabilized. These type of numbers are real trouble for the Conservatives, they represent no pickup in Quebec.

What is more concerning, coupled with the Quebec numbers, the Liberals continue to enjoy a very large lead in Ontario (sorry Ipsos-Reid). Again, if these type of numbers hold (Decima shows Libs +14), we could actually see the Liberals gains seats, remembering that last election the gap was only 5%.

It isn't a stretch to see the Conservatives lose seats in Atlantic Canada, go nowhere in Quebec, lose seats in Ontario and maintain the status quo out "west" (British Columbia aside). The possibility of a Liberal government is real.


Raphael Alexander said...

I saw a funny Rick Mercer Report [which is now quite old I guess] in which Mercer and Rae go fishing. Yeah, the skinny dipping one. Anyway, Mercer asks Bob how many seats are in the float plane and he answers "4". Mercer replies, wow, that's how many seats the Conservatives have east of Ontario. A great one-liner.

Anyway, mightn't this have anything to do with Harper and the Atlantic Accord and booting Casey to the curb? Maybe... maybe...

Steve V said...


I don't think there is any question the handling of the Atlantic Accord has hurt them. I'm still not sure I buy the third place finding, but I do believe they are well behind the Libs.

ottlib said...

Lower polling numbers, the perception that the economy is heading into the ditch and the chains that all governments fashion for themselves getting heavier by the week.

There is a nagging feeling that Mr. Harper is not bucking for this election because he is in a position of strength. He is doing it because he fears further erosion of support and no easy way to turn it around.

Now the million dollar question. When will the media take notice of this?

Raphael Alexander said...

Strange, however, that a record low in unemployment [in 33 years] hit the news ahead of recession fears.

Anonymous said...


They are. The tone of the columnists have not been positive towards Harper (unless you read National Post and Sun Media rags). The Economist calls him "The Automaton". It has not been a good winter for the Cons.

The truth is that all these negatives are measured against Stephane Dion. At the same time, can you see a control freak such as Harper letting the present minority government eroding to the point of being overthrown by a vote of non-confidence?

Reports from the ground suggests that the CPC caucus is now energized, full of funds, and ready to go. Much better for them to be on the hustings than being stifled by a control freak in Ottawa.

WesternGrit said...

Hi Raphael... The line reads well the way you wrote it (that's the way I tell it), but Mercer actually said, "that's the number of seats the Liberals have WEST of Ontario"...

I don't think Harper is rolling dice on this one. It's pretty calculated. They are trying to pull the same thing as we did to them with elections before the new leader is ready... This time it's backed up by a few other things: 1) sliding economy - usually goes against incumbents 2) Dion's starting to get better 3) Conservative scandals are brewing, or have already gone public. Since they're headed down in the polls (probably also in the millions of internal polls they commissioned), they are deciding to go now, before it gets worse. If they don't get their way with an election, at the very least they will get their way with the confidence votes. "Win/win", or so they think...

Steve V said...


It's calculated for certain, but that doesn't mean Harper isn't rolling the dice here. Taking his chances now, thinking it will only get worse. Most people assume, despite today's numbers, that the economy will hit bottom in the fall.

Russo was on the CBC roundtable today, and he offered this logic for Harper forcing an election, in spite of bad polling. The confidence motion routine started right after Harper's meeting with Dion. Harper made the calculation that he "could take Dion", and that tipped the scales. A measure of the man argument. Not sure I buy that one, but it is true that leadership is at a premium in a campaign, Harper might be banking on his relative strength, compared with Dion.

IslandLiberal said...

Based on the Atlantic Canadian polls, I think the Tories lose their Newfoundland seats thanks to ticking off Demagogue Danny, and maybe the seat in New Brunswick they won from Andy Savoy last time.

Raphael Alexander said...

Westerngrit I think you're right actually, and that would make sense since Rae is a Liberal and he was burning him I guess... interesting I could get it so utterly backasswards.

Anonymous said...

These numbers are for DECIDED voters. Any idea of how many UNDECIDED/WON'T ANSWER? THAT is the most important number in a poll.
WHY don't the4se pollsters tell the whole story?

wilson said...

You can analyze these numbers until your brain hurts.
It's all about the campaign.

SES poll
Dec 3,2005
Liberal 38
Conservative 29

It's all about the campaign.

Steve V said...


Funny thing, I don't remember that lame spin when polls had the Cons on the cusp of majority. You're funny.

wilson said...

And the Quebec bi-elections, turned out NOTHING like the polsters said, same thing in the US recently.

It's all about the campaign Steve.

Steve V said...

"It's all about the campaign Steve."

No shit sherlock. You're still so lame, you make a three-toed sloth look agile. Carry on.

liberazzi said...

What are the Cons up to at the moment, trying to "trap" the Libs into voting down the gov't when the current polls are not in their favour? According to CTV, they are going to beat their old horse that Dion is not a leader. However, the Libs need more discipline and cannot start questioning Dion's judgement with regards to Afghan. How stupid...

Steve V said...

"However, the Libs need more discipline and cannot start questioning Dion's judgement with regards to Afghan."

Liberazzi, it might just be that part of the equation is exploiting the rift in the Liberal Party over Afghanistan. There is just no question, that privately at least, there are different perspectives. You present a united front, but the Cons will try to exploit that fact, Manley for example, at every turn, to undermine Dion.