Monday, August 04, 2008

Dion's Numbers Improve

I was given the pdf for the latest Angus Reid online poll. The horserace numbers remain largely the same from the last offering, with the Conservatives at 35%(up 2), Liberals 30%(same), NDP 17%(down 2), Greens 8%(up 1). The regionals show trouble for the NDP in Ontario and the Conservatives down in Quebec. It is the leadership numbers that I find intriguing, and they contain a silver lining for Dion.

First the internals. Ontario:
Liberals 40%(up 5%)
Conservatives 39%(up 6%)
NDP 12%(down 8%)
Greens 8%(down 1%)

That is a disasterous number for the NDP, given the small margin of error, hard to spin that as anything but a significant fall. I wonder if the NDP is getting lost in the Green Shift debate and/or economic uncertainty rising as an issue, never an NDP strong suit. Whatever the reason, that's a huge drop and not easily dismissed. As far as the Liberals and Conservatives, Angus tends to show a closer race than say NANOS, Decima or Strategic Counsel, so I still tend to think the Liberals have a decent lead, outside of MOE.

Quebec:
Bloc 35% (down 2%)
Conservatives 21% (down 4%)
Liberals 20% (down 1%)
NDP 15% (up 1%)
Greens 9% (up 6%)

Conservatives still can't seem to get much traction, every time they rise, they fall back. Interestingly, this poll was taken during the supposed "show of force" Conservative love fest in Quebec.

Now, for what I find to be the most relevant part of this poll, the leadership numbers. I don't want to overstate things, Dion still has a LONG way to go, Harper clearly enjoys the advantage, but the trends are certainly better. Harper's disapproval number has climbed further, to 46% and his "momentum score", which gauges improving and lowering opinions rose to -21(-19 in June). For Dion his approval rating remains unchanged (up 1%), but his momentum score is -19 (-26 in June). Here is where the difference for Dion manifests itself:

Has a vision for Canada

Harper 43% (down 1%)
Dion 36% (up 7%)

Understands complex issues:

Harper 41%(up 1%)
Dion 26% (up 5%)

Is honest and trustworthy:

Harper 32% (unchanged)
Dion 32% (up 7%)

Generally agrees with you on issues you care about:

Harper 27% (down 2%)
Dion 23% (up 6%)

Cares about the environment:

Harper 24% (down 4%)
Dion 49% (up 6%)

Can manage the economy effectively:

Harper 40% (down 4%)
Dion 14% (up 4%)

A couple of other measures, with no real change. Of note, Dion is up 4% on PM preference, "neither" still beating both men. Again, Conservatives will remind us who is ahead overall, in some cases by a good margin, but no one can deny that Dion's numbers have improved, his personal stature on the rise. UP on almost every measure, some by a noticeable margin, it's a good sign.

I've always argued that the Green Shift's greatest achievement politically will be if it gets Dion's popularity off the mat, lowers the gap between he and Harper. While it isn't champagne time by any stretch, I think it safe to say that this poll shows a positive effect for Dion, and in the final analysis may prove key in an election. The incumbent always enjoys the advantage, but Dion clearly has to close the personal gap to have any chance.

44 comments:

Mushroom said...

Are the leadership numbers Harper v. Dion? Is Layton on the radar for these?

Steve V said...

They don't mention Jack, but his overall approvals are down 4%.

bigcitylib said...

This is good news, I suppose, but also an argument for the idea that the leadership numbers mean nothing.

Steve V said...

BCL

I don't buy that, especially when there is a large discrepancy. If Canadians don't think Dion is up to the task, the Liberals will never win, and it's as simple as that.

And, people will point to Harper trailing Martin prior to the election, but I seem to remember the Liberals way up in the polls at that time too, so that argument doesn't fly, or it's tortured at best. The incumbent should have an advantage, but it's the degree that's important. Besides, part of the "nervous nellie" sentiment came from an unease about Dion, if leadership is irrelevant, why the worry?

knb said...

Good trends overall. Let's hope they continue.

That NDP number is something. It's reasonable to think that the Green Shift hurt them or rather their initial response to it. Probably due more to the fact that environmental groups denounced them immediately, so anyone serious about the subject may have shifted their support.

Whatever it is, their current strategy clearly isn't working.

Steve V said...

"Whatever it is, their current strategy clearly isn't working."

Shhhh ;)

the electioneer said...

Online poll?

In the middle of summer no less.

As we get closer to the US election watch the tracking polls.

You'll see a pattern. Days over the weekend noticeably rise for the Dems, then fall again in a fairly consistent pattern. Too many reasons to get into, but generally holiday's/vacations undercount cons (have families going away ect)

That's a non-online poll.

An online poll (which is less controlled) in the middle of summer will have a markedly more dramatic affect.

Translation: This poll is disastrous for Dion.

The party internal polls (which are much more expensive as they're bigger, more scientific, and drill down to voter intention much more effectively) are likely confirming this, which is why Dion's backing away from his fall election taunts.

That said, Steve V's previous post still holds true. He has to go now or it will only get worse for the party.

Steve V said...

"Translation: This poll is disastrous for Dion."

All I can do is chuckle.

knb said...

I was thinking I need a new key on my keyboard to signify eye rolling.

Anonymous said...

The electioneer is full of it. The Democrats hold both houses of Congress and a majority of state houses in the US. Since elections are held on Mondays, his logic would dictate the oppositie.

Online polls, I'd suggest, overcount conservatives (i.e. more affluent) b/c they'd be more likely to have a PC, internet connection, and the time to answer these polls in the middle of the summer from their cottages and such.

That said, Dion is not a leader (TM). Harper is now on a cross-country rolling-thunder tour (while Dion is fishing) to jack-up his numbers.

Call it an electoral surge, if you will. It's bound to get his numbers up, but hopefully not his weight. All the pastry in planes and hotels could chunky-up anybody.

the electioneer said...

If Dion does not take down the government (notwithstanding all of Steve V's excellent points),

then the internals show what I'm saying. No one calls for an election if its going to be a blowout, and right now it appears to be a blow out.

Steve V said...

electioneer

Why don't you look at this way then. If Dion was saying Canadians want an election more and more, then the Liberal internals must look better. Backing away is politically necessary, and I'm sure you can understand why it's stupid to telegraph your entire plan.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately none of the polls measure the "none of the above" crowd which probably runs between 20 and 30 percent of voters. Many of them are former PC voters, some of whom parked their votes with Harper last time. I suspect most of them east of Manatoba, if they vote, will shift to the Liberals to get rid of Harper but in the West there is no easy alternative.

If the NDP shifted from attacking Liberals to attacking Harper personally they are probably the only party that could mine this large group of voters and along with pockets of Liberal suporters voting strategically could perhaps take a few seats in the west. These could even be a safe Conservative seat or two considering the low voter turnout in many ridings because the result is normally a forgone conclusion.
And especially if you consider that they have similar polices to the Conservatives like cap and trade, infrastructure and transit rebuilding and expansion and a belief that a price on carbon should be born by industry and the money kept there rather than using it for other purposes. Every time I hear Layton open his mouth, I shake my head. I know Steve, SHHHH.

knb said...

And especially if you consider that they have similar polices to the Conservatives like cap and trade, infrastructure and transit rebuilding and expansion and a belief that a price on carbon should be born by industry and the money kept there rather than using it for other purposes

Actually, that neatly sums up why it's so difficult for Layton to attack Harper. The best they have is the Conservative plan is weaker than ours.

Anonymous said...

KNB

Exactly my point. The NDP has a stronger policy than the Conservatives but instead of playing to his strength Layton seems bound and determined to play his weakest hand. If he attacked Harper personally the fact his policies would appeal to weak Conservative and western Liberal voters would draw many votes without going head to head on policy.

As a former PCer and having many aquantences who are the same, our biggest fear is the NDP turning into an irrelevent socialist party like in Europe. With Harper pulling too far to the right this gives the Liberals lots of elbow room on either side which will mean another generation of Liberal governments.

If the Liberals gain a minority in the next election with the NDP gaining a bit in the West to offset Eastern seat losses this would mean the end of Harper and hopefully a rebirth of the Conservative party closer to center and once again becoming electable coast to coast.

BTW I suspect that the drop in NDP suport in the east is the soft Liberal support going home again, that they gained last election which makes Laytons moves even more curious.

the electioneer said...

It's a known fact in the industry. Cons underpoll on weekends and holidays.

Over the summer, Conservatives (the past few presidential elections are a good example) underpoll considerably in the summertime.

It's not because less people are conservative in the summer, it's that the data collection doesn't capture them.

The Dem "drop in support" that traditionally occurs after the summer break is a myth - it was never that great to begin with.

knb said...

Yikes anon, that is quite the strategic voting scenario.

I'll agree with you on this though. I'd be delighted at this point to see a PC party again.

The current crew of Conservatives is precisely what I feared they be. How that hasn't permeated many Canadian minds is a mystery.

I hope your comment about Lib's going home is correct, because I think there room there, likely not coming forward until an election call.

Steve V said...

"Cons underpoll on weekends and holidays."

This poll wasn't done on a weekend or holiday, so you're point would be what exactly?

the electioneer said...

Cons also underpoll in the summer. In fact considerably more so - it's one long holiday (see my dem summer polling example above).

Sorry but its historically correct.

Dion knows this, and his internals (I believe you used the phrase "internals" incorrectly in your post btw - those are done by the parties and are considerably more expensive (and accurate) than press polling) I suspect back this up.

Steve V said...

Hey genius, I meant the poll internals.

And, I don't have a clue what you keep going on about, the past two summers Harper has gone up. I'm not buying any of this, sorry.

knb said...

Singular reading of the polls is what he/she is doing.

It's nonsense.

Frankly Canadian said...

The N.D.P. have done nothing substantial to actually get rid of this conservative government, they have in fact gotten behind Harper and attacked the Liberals at every opportunity. If the N.D.P. were serious about taking the cons down, they would work with the Liberals and the Block and even the Greens to find ways to achieve their common goals. I hate it when people talk about the Liberals sustaining from voting, when everyone knows that an election during that time would have only give Steven Harper a majority government. In my opinion and most of the people I work with, Jack Layton's N.D.P. have made it easier for the cons to continue their games and propaganda. Everyone should remember that Buz Hardgrove (the biggest name in organized labour here in Canada) had thrown his support to the Liberals and Paul Martin in the last federal election, that says hugely where the N.D.P. are at this point in Canadian history. If Mr. Layton continues to work in unison with Steven Harper more and more Canadians will see that, good for the Liberals and Greens but bad for the N.D.P.

bigcitylib said...

"Besides, part of the "nervous nellie" sentiment came from an unease about Dion, if leadership is irrelevant, why the worry?"

Well, *cough cough*, I was never worried. It was the self-immolationalists that were panicking. Remember that?

Steve V said...

bcl

Sorry, I didn't mean you specifically. Just that, Dion's poor standing was part of the equation for many who didn't want an election.

Anonymous said...

Steve V,

for a partisan, you're more of a straight shooter than the next guy.

But,

the churlish name calling "hey genius" gives an aura of ignorance and pettiness,

that unduly detracts from the points you're trying to make.

JimmE said...

er, respectfully mr election guy; since you seem to be all knowing, all seeing, can you please tell me who was leading in the polling the summer prior to the 1993 election? - I can't seem to remember the summer of 2006 either? Steve, you are likely going to drop my replies on account of repetition, but what the hay - this next election will not be the same as the last, if nothing else, the media will pop the STEVE IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE campaign - What will be the issue the election will fought over? I dunno but, I'm old enough to remember a summer when politicians went off about an upcoming election that would be all about how that rat Pearson would kill our (British) flag; while we kids at summer camp spent endless hours drawing amazing new Canadian Flags. (Bastards! they totally should have chosen mine it had 3 EFFING beavers on it not to mention TANKS!!)

wilson said...

Dippers just got a big endorsement from numerous Ontario Unions.
It is not wise to think the NDP is irrelevent. Remember Outremont? NONE of the pollsters predicted a Dipper win there.
What about Guelph?

http://news.guelphmercury.com/News/article/362660

Anonymous said...

If I were a Liberal I would be very worried about being in a dead-heat with the CPC in Ontario - that would mean a loss of about 15 seats. I'd also be worried about being in 3rd place in BC and Atlantic Canada and still being at such a low level in Quebec that once you factor in the almost unanimous support for the Liberals among non-francophone Quebecers - among francophone Quebecers, the Liberals must be in 5th place!

Anonymous said...

"Remember Outremont? NONE of the pollsters predicted a Dipper win there."

That's not quite true. La Presse published a poll three days before the Outremont byelection that had the NDP narrowly ahead - the fact that they ended up winning by almost a 2-1 margin was a surprise.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone should remember that Buz Hardgrove (the biggest name in organized labour here in Canada) had thrown his support to the Liberals and Paul Martin in the last federal election,"

Yeah, he also endorsed the Bloc Quebecois and put his foot in his mouth in so many ways that he ended up doing the Liberals far more harm than good.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I must say I'm disappointed in Dion's Green Shift summer proselytizing. It's August. Dion float the tax shift way back in May. Two-thirds of the June-July-August summer sales pitch should have made more impact.

I expected Dion's top lieutenants -- Rae, Ignatieff and Goodale -- to be making headlines all summer with support and simple explanations of the program. So far, not much of that.

Dion is not the greatest salesman or communicator, to say the least. The LPC does have some great communicators among its ranks, though, and we're not hearing much from them.

JB

Steve V said...

"I expected Dion's top lieutenants -- Rae, Ignatieff and Goodale -- to be making headlines all summer with support and simple explanations of the program. So far, not much of that."

JB, so did I. I understand the thinking is too have different people out on various issues, like immigration, industry. That's fine, but the Green Shift is the only story here for the Libs at the moment, properly defining it key moving forward.

anon

The genius crack was in response to the arrogance of correcting me on "internals", as though all knowing, when in fact it wasn't in error. If you think it detracts, fine, I don't.

wilson

The NDP endorsed by unions, OMG!! I've never heard of such a thin, this is clearly a startling development. I have a feeling the membership may vote differently, and feel free to come back Sept 9 for a big plate of crow (seems to be your favorite dish).


anon

Third in Atlantic Canada? I didn't even mention the high MOE regionals because they aren't predictive. This is obviously an outlier, there hasn't been one poll that comes close to this result. Liberals lead in Atlantic Canada, and BC is a dogfight. As for Ontario, as I said, this poll tends to have it closer than others, so until I see NANOS and some others, I still think the Liberals enjoy a good lead.

knb said...

Ignatieff is out East selling it and was on the radio this morning for about an hour speaking about it.

Goodale had an article on it this morning.

Rae seems to be more focused on Foreign Affairs at the moment.

I think many are out selling it, but the press aren't really interested in that as much as they are the feud or controversy surrounding it.

Anonymous said...

So you decide that the Angus Reid poll is believable when it says what you want it to say about the NDP's fortunes in Ontario - but it should be dismissed as an outlier if it shows that the Liberals are dead even with the Tories in Ontario?

Make up your mind. Either you believe the Ontario numbers or you don't - you can't pick and choose.

Steve V said...

anon

Other outfits show the NDP struggling in Ontario, so this isn't a one off. As for the tight race at the top, there does seem to be a consistent overstating of Con support, which is why I'm not inclined to believe it, or more rightly waiting to see more from others.

Anonymous said...

The last Ipsos poll has for Ontario Libs 37 (down 3% from the election), CPC 34 (down 1%), NDP 16% (down 3%) and Greens up -

The last Environics poll also had Ontario as Libs 37%, CPC 36%, NDP 16%.

which probably indicates a fair amount of vote parking by anti-CPC people who can't decide which opposition party to support.

Steve V said...

anon

"Ipsos tends to overstate Conservative support relative to other pollsters"

Don Martin, columnist for Canwest(the company that Ipsos works for)


What does NANOS say (Libs up 18)? Strategic Counsel (Libs up 8)? Decima (Liberals up 9)? Different story, like I said before, waiting for more.

Anonymous said...

The last Ipsos poll had the CPC and Libs. virtually tied nationally at 32-31% - I don't remember anyone complaining that they overstate Tory support.

Face it. We all try to find reasons to believe polls that we like reasons to dismiss the polls we don't like.

Steve V said...

"The last Ipsos poll had the CPC and Libs. virtually tied nationally at 32-31% - I don't remember anyone complaining that they overstate Tory support."

Actually, I said at the time, that if Ipsos had it tied, it must be really good for the Liberals.

Face it, you don't want to deal with my points, you just ignore and continue on...and on..

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I said at the time, that if Ipsos had it tied, it must be really good for the Liberals."

As it turned out - all the other polling companies had better numbers for the Tories. So, Ipsos tends to overestimate Tory support - except when they underestimate it.

Steve V said...

"As it turned out - all the other polling companies had better numbers for the Tories. So, Ipsos tends to overestimate Tory support - except when they underestimate it."

No, they didn't. In fact they hadn't polled. You're a bore.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the CPC isn't doing better - since they always go up in the polls when parliament in not in session. I think that says something.

Anonymous said...

I have never noticed any pattern of the CPC doing any better when Parliament is not in session.

ottlib said...

Then you have not been paying attention.

At any rate this poll is only further demonstrating that nothing has changed in two-and-a-half years.

The Conservatives cannot build their support beyond the 36% mark for any length of time and the Liberals seem to be stuck around the 30% mark.

The Regionals seem to flop around more but most of the flopping is within the MOE so there really is not much happening there.

It is interesting that Mr. Dion's leadership numbers are climbing a bit but I would be surprised if they had not. His Green Shift Plan has been the talk of the summer, so the increased exposure that has brought him was liable to bring his personal numbers up a bit.

All-in-all, this poll is rather unremarkable.