Saturday, April 12, 2008

Late To The Party

I'm sure everyone has already digested the latest Nanos poll, but I have a few thoughts on these results. I also have a few comments on people misinterpreting these numbers, as some justification for the Liberal current strategy.

The national numbers are good news for the Liberals, up 3, but the Conservatives are up 5, from the last Nanos poll. The Liberals owe their bounce to Ontario, the Conservatives well up in the "West". It would appear both gain, in different regions, at the expense of the NDP.

Anyone who argued that the by-elections results weren't bad news for the NDP, faces a sobering reality in these numbers. People have gravitated back to the main parties, and the NDP seems to be fighting a "relevance" perception.

In addition, the erosion of the NDP in Ontario could be directly related to the Flaherty-McGuinty feud. This poll is further evidence that the Flaherty assault represents the biggest political "boner" for the Conservatives in recent memory (has anyone seen Jim, seems to have disappeared?). There were two players in this fight, the Liberals and the Conservatives, the NDP choose to take some misguided highroad, taking no sides, implicating both, arguing that it was all counter-productive. The failure of people like Hampton to champion his province, and try to paint the NDP as outside of political wrangling, essentially made the NDP irrelevant. People in Ontario overwhelming saw the "fight" as mostly one-sided, correctly viewed the problem originating in Ottawa, McGuinty merely defending. The failure of the NDP to acknowledge that reality, try to paint both in the wrong, I think a tactical error. When push came to shove, there was only one party fighting Flaherty's dissing of Ontario, and that was the Liberal Party. To a great extent, the federal Liberals owe much of the gain in Ontario to their provincial counterparts. People rallied to the Liberals, as the safe bastion, the only alternative to replace a perceived anti-Ontario government. The by-election results, and an absence from the fed-pro argument, has hurt the NDP in Ontario.

What I'm not a big fan of, people viewing these results, and extrapolating that the media narrative is irrelevant, the Liberals aren't being hurt by abstaining. I believe you have to view all the elements working concurrently, meaning, the Liberal gain in Ontario is more reaction to the Conservatives, than it is some endorsement of our posture. Take Ontario out of the equation, and the Liberals would actually be down nationally, even with this, the Conservatives actually fared better in this poll, compared with Nanos last offering. I immediately referred to Flaherty as "the gift that keeps on giving", and that's what he was, don't let arrogance assume we benefited because of our message. In times of a threat, people return to what they are most comfortable with, in Ontario, this has been the Liberals for the last 15 years.

These results don't mean "we don't look bad", they aren't the comfort blanket of denial, and the biggest danger, they are used to justify. When I've argued that we should force an election now, I've repeatedly used the Ontario numbers to calm the fears that we will lose. Hopefully, instead of using these results to continue on in the delusion that nobody notices, the media has it wrong, things are good, they will bring less "nervousness" about bringing this government down.

Here's your window, Nanos confirmed it, use it or lose it.


Koby said...

The NDP's rise in Quebec has disguised how much they have slipped in the rest of the country. The last election the NDP took 7.5% of the popular vote in Quebec. Now polls consistently show the NDP at around 12% in Quebec.

Steve V said...

Koby, that's a good point, you could probably knock them down another point nationally, if not for Quebec. That said, it's not like Quebec doesn't count, or it is entirely out of the realm that they could win another seat.

Jim said...

I am very surprised that people are taking the Ontario results at face value. With 50% the librals woudld pick up like 30 seats (didn't they get 50% in 2000 when they won 100?). That is just simply not going to happen. As a Liberal, my best scare scenario is they pick up 15 with a vote somewhere in the low 40's. 50% is simply not going to happen. Bring the liberal number down to the low 40's and now the national # drops several points so people taking so much comfort in this (especially Cherniak andd co) need to look closer.

Quebec too is not credible the margin of error is 7%. So the Libs could be below 20 andd the cons up at 30. Until a larger Quebec poll shows the Cons/Libs tied I won't trust it.

I would love to belive these results, but just can't. The Libs I think are doing ok (see for some good analysis), and I'm sure the national number is still above 30, but people looking at regional results with 7% MOE's (James Curran and Cherniak obviously made the same mistake) need to think again.

Steve V said...


6.4% isn't a huge margin of error for Ontario. Although the same size for this poll is smaller than most national one's.

Are the Libs really at 50% in Ontario? I don't believe it either, but it does suggest some momentum in the province, Flaherty has done damage, and the NDP is wounded. The big themes are consistent with other polls, which is more important than the individual numbers.

On Quebec, all the polls show basically the same, with the exception of CROP. CROP has a good pedigree, and it's a poll of Quebec alone, but it is curious that none of the other outfits support the Cons tied, Libs well back. La Presse just released a poll, which again didn't replicate CROP. I'm inclined to take CROP, but it would be nice to see something else, relying on one poll is dicey.

The thing with Cherniak, it all has to fit into the head office narrative. A poll like this allows people to say "see no damage", everything is fine. It's the party approved line, it's pretty much the same as listening to Dion in a scrum, you're never going to get anything independent. Canadians don't want an election- yawn. The media is irrelevant- hello in there. We don't look bad abstaining- how is that possible? I mean, come on. The Dion loyalists don't realize they are killing him softly.

Anonymous said...

"The Dion loyalists don't realize they are killing him softly."

I would not call people like Jason, Dion loyalist. The comments that will kill poor Stephane are: "Look at the bump in the polls which Bob Rae's return to the House of Commons has brought us."

The latest Nanos poll shows one thing. Peggy Nash, Olivia Chow, and Paul Dewar are sleeping less soundly than a month ago. Yet, failing to take a stand on immigration means that by the fall, we may be bemoaning a lost opportunity.

Rick said...

Steve, pretty good analysis, especially after Jim's comments.

I too have a hard time believing The Libs are at 50% in Ontario. 40% for sure, but 50 I have a hard time with.

Of course some Libloggers jump all over the poll numbers they like (I'm waiting for James Curran to "smell" the victory).

4 polls came out yesterday - Segma, Nanos, Ipsos ad Decima. 3 of the 4 had the Tories at 36%, 3of the four hatd the Liberals at 30 or 32%, and 3 of the 4 had the Ontario numbers for the Libs around 40%. But everyone has discussed the 50% number only from Nanos (I would like to know why Nanos did only 837 or so, instead of the usual 1000)

As for QC, you and I are on the same wavelength - CROP should be the most accurate, and since they only cover QC, the 1000 people are all from QC as opposed to nation wide. Segma had 454 respondents in QC, but 225 of those were Montreal based, so those numbers should not be as reliable as CROP. However, CROP's poll was a couple of weeks ago, and things may have changed some to explain the difference.

Now, polls aside, let's get a bloody campaign going. I need one of the 2 main parties to get me excited again, and only a campaign will do that. I also want one (or both) of Stephane and Steven to go. The parties need renewal.

The only bright spot is that the NDP are on the brink. I can respect people who support the NDP, it is a free country after all, but I will never support the NDP and take pleasure in knowing that JACK! is falling.

wilson said...

Steve you keep repeating that Flaherty has done damage in Ontario. Where is the hurt in these numbers?
It looks like the Dippers going to the Libs to 'stop Harper', or 'save Dion (the Bob Rae effect)

Ontario (N=251, MoE ± 6.3%, 19 times out of 20)

Liberal Party 50% (+7)
Conservative Party 32% (+1)
NDP 13% (-6)
Green Party 6% (-1)

Also the Greens and Bloc are also down, not just the NDP.

clh said...

Wilson makes a good point. Flaherty likely galvanized the anti-Harper/Flaherty crowd, bringing more Greens and NDP to the Liberals in Ontario, but his actions didn't budge the 30-33% in Ontario who seem to support the Conservatives whether they want to single us out for less representation or for less financial support or just generally slam us as a province. I really don't think that 30% or so cares how the feds treat Ontario.

James Curran said...

I trust Nik Nanos 19 out of 20 times with a margin of error of 3.2percent. ;-)

Jim, the next poll out in Ontario will reflect similar mid 40 percentages in Ontario as Jack becomes completely irrelevant, CAITI keeps erecting more anti-Flaherty billboards and Native Rights, Gay rights and Childrens issues stay on the front burner.

And,Yes Rick, I do smell victory. Now if only I was in caucus.

James Curran said...

I'm looking for an in depth look at this CROP poll you speak of. Naturally, I can't find. All I find is a non-existant CROP website. Very professional. Anyone have a sight where the poll can be found?

Steve V said...


If you look at most of the polls, prior to Flaherty's assault, you will see that the Cons actually had some momentum in Ontario, some had them ahead, Nanos aside. Decima, Strategic Counsel, Ipsos, all had the Tories ahead or tied. You will see a strong co-relation between falling Tory numbers and the Flaherty assault. It was striking, one poll had a 16 point swing in a matter of 3 weeks. It's simply delusion to think that Flaherty didn't hurt the Cons in Ontario, it's beyond OBVIOUS. But, then again, you never shown any propensity for a non-partisan shot, the Cons are always right, they never make a mistake. Carry on, the real world suggests otherwise, in stark terms.

Steve V said...

Just to prove the Ontario erosion point, using a couple other outfits, before and after the Flaherty assault:


Feb 20th (last poll prior):

Conservatives 40%
Liberals 40%

April 11:

Liberals 40%
Conservatives 33%


Feb 15

Conservatives 37%
Liberals 34%

March 20

Liberals 43%
Conservatives 33%

I would add, the last SC poll, which had regionals, done in late February had:

Conservatives 42%
Liberals 34%

Nothing since, but it reinforces the point that the Conservatives appeared to be at a high water mark in Ontario, a condition which EVAPORATED after Flaherty's attacks on Ontario. An obvious co-relation.

Rick said...

James, do a search for the many articles from La Presse (or CTV, or the Hill Times, etc.) on the CROP poll, and you will find many entries:

1004 people just from QC were surveyed, giving a 3.1% margin of error, versus all the national polls, which survey between 454 and 4.6% MOE (Segma, the highest) and Nanos, which had lower total numbers this poll (202 for all of QC, a 7% margin of error)

I know that you either can't or don't want to see any facts that do not mesh with your view, but please try to live in the real world. BTW, when the Nanos poll has the Libs up 3 and the Tories up 5, yes the Tories have gained an ounce, in fact they have gained 5, and 2 on the Libs.

And before you attack me for being a Torie troll, I am not impressed with Harper or Dion and want one of them gone. To do that, I want an election so that one of them will lose and resign. With that background, I wish you were in caucus, because if you have 50% of Ontario, why wouldn't you go to an Election tomorrow?

Answer? Because not much would change in Parliament, meaning Tory minority gov't and Stephane would resign. Even if they raise their seat total overall, the knives will be out for Stephane.

So please James, with all of your influence, push for an election now. Based on the only poll you want to read, you will take all 106 ridings and cruise to a majority gov't. Right?

Koby said...

“That said, it's not like Quebec doesn't count, or it is entirely out of the realm that they could win another seat.”

NDP support in Quebec is not very efficient and it not high enough to win them any more than 1 to 2 seats there. It is not concentrated in Montreal or Quebec. It is pretty evenly spread throughout.

It is not come close to compensating what would happen in the rest of the country. A 2 point drop across board in the rest of the country would spell disaster for Marston, Nash, Charlton, Mathyssen, Tony Martin and Catherine Bell. However, the news is worse then that. The NDP is bleeding support to Greens in urban centers and loosing support to the Liberals in Ontario. Toronto looks particularly bad for them. By contrast, they seem to be holding there own in rural ridings such a Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. So when you factor that in you can add Chow and Dewar to the list.

If the NDP drops two points from where they were nationally in 2006, but still remains far above where in 2006 in Quebec, and the crop poll puts them at 15% in Quebec, you can virtually add every other NDP MP to the list.