Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mixed Bag

The new Angus Reid poll shows a 9% lead for the government, up from a 6% spread, but well short of the 20% gap AR had in December. The poll is sort of a mixed bag for the Liberals, but we still see positive internals.

Angus Reid's last poll had shown Ignatieff actually one point ahead of Harper on the "best PM" score, a result which was quite surprising. A sitting PM should always lead, and historically always does, because, well, he/she IS the PM, leader of the opposition generally doesn't enjoy the same consideration. In this poll, we see Harper taking a slight lead on this measure:
A Toronto Star/Angus Reid survey shows 27 per cent of Canadians think Harper is the best choice for prime minister, with 24 per cent preferring Ignatieff.

Last month, the two leaders were in a virtual tie, with Ignatieff slightly ahead at 28 per cent compared with Harper at 27 per cent nationally.

New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton was the choice of 12 per cent of respondents, up two percentage points from last month.

Interesting to note, Harper's stuck at 27%, the difference a very slight erosion for Ignatieff, but nothing that raises any alarms from here. In fact, if note for the past exceptional result, I would categorize these numbers as quite bad for Harper and encouraging for Ignatieff. You don't need to best Harper, just lurk in the same ballpark, a score of 27% is hardly indicative of Harper popularity.

On the critical question of the economy, Harper now enjoys a 14% lead, up from 9%, but this larger gap is a result of a lower score for Ignatieff, Harper remains at the same level. Still, the gap is a relatively good one for Harper, although other outfits have it closer.

On the horserace numbers, some statistical noise:
The Conservatives are at 39 per cent support nationally, compared with 30 per cent for the Liberals, 17 per cent for the NDP, 9 per cent for the Bloc and 5 per cent for the Greens.

Liberals virtually unchanged (down 1), Conservatives up 2%, ditto for the NDP. Green support seems to be waning, across the board. As the pollster points out, the Conservative lead isn't as strong as the national numbers suggest:
"(The Tories) might be at 39 per cent (nationally) and that might suggest that they're on the verge of forming a majority government. However, when we look at the findings from the specific areas, it's not as easy as it seems," said Mario Canseco, vice-president of the polling company Angus Reid Strategies.

In fact, the Liberals are up in Ontario, to 40%(plus 4%), while the Conservatives are unchanged at 42%. I floated a theory the other day, that with the debate narrowing around the economy, and Ontario being ground zero, there is a danger that the NDP could get squeezed, the issue not necessarily their strong suit, particulary in this region. Some support for that view, because this is the first poll that shows the two principles at the 40% threshold in Ontario, while the NDP slumps to a mere 12% (down 3), 6% drop since the election. The Greens are also down.

The Liberals are up in British Columbia (the MOE is high), which is another positive. A slight downtick in Quebec, but given some other findings, I'll chalk it up to statistical noise at this point. It would seem, that the slight Conservative rise is primarily a function of more support in the prairie provinces. If you actually do the regional breakdowns, this particular AR poll is a mixed bag, rather than the perception of a widening gap, it's pretty much an electoral wash.

As an aside, I conducted my own poll this morning. Two voting age adults were sampled, and 100% agreed with the statement "Harper is a weiner". Results accurate 19 times out of 20.


Kris said...

A mixed bag on it's own but compared to 6 months ago it's hard not to be pleased.

Odd stat at the bottom of the article:

"One quarter of respondents said their opinion of Ignatieff had improved since last month, while 41 per cent of respondents said their opinion of Harper had worsened over the past month."

What opinion do you suppose made up the remainder of those respondents?

Steve V said...


Most of it is usually the "same opinion", not more favorable or unfavorable.

Anonymous said...

The really question is what people will think of Ignatieff if he supports the budget and becomes de facto deputy PM of a Conservative-Liberal "grand coalition".

Steve V said...


Given people want the budget passed, and parliament to get on with it, consider me unconcerned.

Anonymous said...

Good to know that you are so unconcerned about letting a montrosity like Harper continue to wreak havoc on Canada for as long as he wants. If the budget passes the window of opportunity to ditch him without an election will be gone and he could have a year or more in which to drive the country into the ground and it will be ALL Ignatieff's fault - and people will be reminded of that again and again and again and again.

Quebecers in particular will be nauseated by Ignatieff supporting Harper since they are so strongly pro-coalition and any honeymoon he has there will quickly turn into a one night stand that Viagra could not save.

Steve V said...

Yes, all Ignatieff's fault. Yawn.

Kris said...

People may want Harper out now, but I don't think any great percentage of the population is going to upset that we aren't going into yet ANOTHER election next month.

Anonymous said...

We won't have another election. All Ignatieff has to do is tell the GG he can form a government and BINGO the Liberals are back in power by the end of the month. Just think of all the Liberals who can get cushy jobs as ministerial assistants and all the patronage that can flow again - not to mention how within 24 hours the new coalition can start to systematically revoke every single solitary horrid policy that Harper brought in during these past three LONG years of awful government.

Joyce said...

Harper's campaign on the economy, "tax cuts for the middle class" and other sound bites, is underway. Ignatieff has already made clear that the Liberal approach on tax cuts is not the same as the Harper/Flaherty one. Ignatieff will have the not so easy task of making sure Harper does not fool all the people all of the time. He is definitely up for it and there are plenty of economists willing to speak out.

Anonymous said...

Poll results after the 27th will be the ones that count. Those are the ones that will determine what Iggy does.

There'll be about a week between that budget and the first confidence vote.

If the polls continue to show a stagnating or declining Tory support after that, Iggy will pull the plug.

Anonymous said...

"Just think of all the Liberals who can get cushy jobs as ministerial assistants and all the patronage that can flow again"

Unless you were a Leblanc or Rae supporter, in case you'd want Harper to Dionize Iggy so that YOU can get those cushy jobs.