Thursday, January 29, 2009

"The New Darling of Quebecers"

The new CROP poll shows the Liberals neck and neck with the Bloc, the Conservatives freefall confirmed. Particularly noteworthy, the Liberals have doubled their support amongst francophones, and are actually competitive outside of what was their "last stronghold" in Quebec. I know, I know, it's all going to change now, after the budget fallout (not), but allow me my real world delusions for a moment:
Bloc 34% (down 4% Oct)
Liberals 31% (up 7%)
Conservatives 16% (down 6%)
NDP 15% (up 3%)

The Liberals more than double the support of the Conservatives, clearly the appearance of the "federalist option" is supported. Better still for the Liberals, finally some evidence of decent support with francophones:
Bloc 40%
Liberals 26%
Conservatives 15%
Liberal support with francophones doubled, Conservative support halved, good news indeed.

The Liberals are also competitive in Quebec City region, while it's more bad news for the Conservatives:
Even in the Quebec City, the stronghold of the Conservatives since January 2006, the political scene is beginning to change. The Bloc Quebecois is ahead in this region with 30% followed by the Conservative Party (28%) and the Liberal Party (27)%.

The numbers are almost ridiculous on the best PM score:
Ignatieff 37%
Harper 16%

My flippant comment aside, there was some risk for the Liberals with this budget strategy, because it gives Duceppe some ammunition, and the coalition concept did enjoy support in Quebec. That said, my initial read, gauging the reaction of commentators, Ignatieff still enjoys the benefit of his "newness", so firm opinions have yet to gel, how the numbers pan out as we move forward, will very much be decided on future performance. I don't sense any lasting damage with this budget decision, and the immediate call to Charest after the announcement is evidence of a strategy beyond this one "test". I remain optimistic, and with a temporary lull on the horizon, I expect to see Ignatieff make excursions into parts of Quebec, Dion never dared contemplate. The above are excellent numbers for the Liberals, and it isn't a stretch to say the Conservatives are forever DEAD in Quebec.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this keeps up, we could see the emergence of a new coalition -- involving Harper & Duceppe.

Steve V said...

Wouldn't be the first time ;)

Mike said...

This is better that I would have expected in the aftermath of the budget, but definitely good news.

Though we should remember that we got 33.9% in 2004 and only netted 21 seats, so that would be only a pick-up of 7 seats, putting us at 84 if the rest of the country stood still. We need a solid rebound in the rest of the country just as badly to win the next election. But this kind of news can't hurt obviously.

Anonymous said...

"This is better that I would have expected in the aftermath of the budget"

That may be because the poll was fielded entirely BEFORE the budget was brought down - so it tells us NOTHING about how Quebecers will react to Ignatieff deciding to prop up Harper.

Steve V said...

Mike

Don't forget that Bloc had 49% in that election, so a caution on the math. You could argue, with some of the internals, that these numbers represent a possible 20 seat swing, between us and the Conservatives. A swing in Ontario, of the same order or more, isn't an outlandish scenario, so then you'd be down to a few seats here and there, and the Liberals have a path for victory.

Anon is right, this is pre-budget, we might see some slight movement, but as I said nothing of the permanent damage variety.

Antonio said...

given the reaction of the Quebec press painting Harper as a dog and Ignatieff as the owner, I'd say the opinion leaders are certainly applauding ignatieff's decision

Steve V said...

Antonio

Obviously, you have a much better read than I do, but from what I caught here and there, I don't get much sense of a backlash against Ignatieff for this decision, despite the coalition support. Sorry about Vinnie btw :) Don't forget about Antropov ;)

Jim F said...

When the new seats are added to Alberta (5), BC (6), and Ontario (21) (most of which will likely be in suburban and exurban areas that leans right) the importance of Quebec in elections will be reduced (from 24.3% of the seats to 22.0%) - none of the parties will need to pander to Quebec as much anymore.

New AngusReid poll numbers that just came out (commissioned by Toronto Star and polling performed on Jan 27th, n=1020, +/- 3.0%)

Canada:
Conservatives 38%
Liberals 29%

Ontario:
Conservatives 41%
Liberals 33%

B.C.
Conservatives 44%
Liberals 25%

Anonymous said...

Jim
That the poll is damn close to a Harper majority.
If it's true, one wonders why he wouldn't have poison-pilled the budget.
Dion also had a huge bump in Quebec following leadership. Look where that got us! Times are early but fingers crossed.

KC said...

Of course Quebec is going to like Ignatieff. He cheerled for the nation resolution and legitimized faux grievances like "fiscal imbalance".

All these polls show is that pandering is a potent political strategy. I didnt need a poll to tell me that.

Steve V said...

Jim

That poll pretty much mirrors the same AR poll two weeks ago. If you actually break down the regionals, it's anything BUT a Con majority. 77% in Alberta, and the huge support in Sask don't do the nationals justice. Liberals clear second choice in BC and Quebec, I've seen better numbers in Ontario, so it's actually not that bad. Also, Harper's numbers in this poll are bad, especially on the economy.

Don't the new seats come into effect in 2011? I have a funny feeling, we'll see an election well before that :)

Anonymous said...

About that poll:

Some polls are saying the Cons are 9-10 points ahead. Others are saying the Libs are within 0-5 points.

What's with the discrepancy?

Steve V said...

anon

Seems to be the Ontario numbers, depending on the poll, they're different, but I think it speaks to volatility. Ontario will move around until any election, and it will be up for grabs for both parties. Also, when you consider where ground zero is for the economic downturn, I'm not sure the "incumbent" is an advantage, and I'll use history as my guide.

Jim F said...

Steve V: "If you actually break down the regionals, it's anything BUT a Con majority. 77% in Alberta, and the huge support in Sask don't do the nationals justice."

You could probably say the same the other way, if you broke down the Ontario numbers and excluded the City of Toronto from those numbers. If the huge Liberal polling numbers in Toronto were excluded (and the Liberal Party has nothing to really gain there since they already have 20 of the 22 seats in Toronto), Conservatives would have a huge lead in the rest of the province (84 seats are currently in rest of ON outside city of Toronto, Conservatives have 51 of them). I would bet that most of that Liberal 33% in Ontario are centered in the city.

Almost all of the new Ontario seats (probably 19 of the 21) will be going to currently held Conservative areas, according to the forecast maps I've seen based on recent population numbers (i.e 613 and 905 suburbs, plus 519 and 705). (Only 2 new seats at most will go to 416)

I wish the polls would break Ontario down further, because lumping the whole province together as one big blob doesn't tell you a thing about how the seats would break down.

Mike said...

"when you consider where ground zero is for the economic downturn, I'm not sure the "incumbent" is an advantage, and I'll use history as my guide."

I know you don't comment much on prov politics, but on the basis of your comment do you think McGuinty is finished?

I do find it curious to see some Lib bloggers on the one hand say "Harper will wear this recession, he's finished guaranteed", meanwhile on the other end talking about how McGuinty will get off scot free.

I mean won't Ontario end up seeing deficits (and deficit spending) larger than even under Bob Rae?

Oh well that's way off topic here, just couldn't help but think based on your comment about Ontario.

Anonymous said...

The next redistribution will be based on the 2011 census - after which time a redistribution commission will be created and will take a couple of years to create a new map which will then have to be passed by parliament after hearings etc... You won't see a new electoral map until 2014 at the earliest.

The new seats that get created won't necessarily favour the Tories. They will be in burgeoining suburban areas around Toronto where the Liberals are quite strong - while rural seats that go Tory are likely to eliminated.

Danny said...

Anon 5:34, a lot of those suburban 905 numbers swung in between the 2006 and 2008 elections - the margin of victory for Liberals there shrunk a lot in many cases, and in at least 3 cases in the 905 where Liberals won (including 2 Mississauga seats), it was a nail-biter until the end.

Tories won Burlington, Thornhill, Newmarket, and Oak Ridges-Markham in 2008, which the Liberals won in 2006 - new seats will be going into those areas for sure.

Under the Election Act, there is an assurance written into the act that rural areas maintain their representation - they won't eliminate any seats from those rural areas when the redistributuon is done in 2011, instead they add seats to those areas that are under-represented (those 613 and 905 suburbs, and 519 and 705 areas that were mentioned earlier).

Anonymous said...

As the 905 region gets more and more urbanized and more ethnically diverse - the Tories will find it harder and harder to win any seats there. Tories (like their Republican counterparts in the US) can only win in old WASP Canada.

However, since any new electoral map won't come into effect until the election after the election after the next election - its probably dumb to even speculate.

Anonymous said...

"Under the Election Act, there is an assurance written into the act that rural areas maintain their representation"

FALSE. The Elections Act says that PROVINCES maintain their representation - meaning that Quebec or PEI etc... cannot lose any seats. But WITHIN a province, seats with small populations can and will be eliminated.

Steve V said...

"but on the basis of your comment do you think McGuinty is finished?"

Mike, McGuinty has a majority, he doesn't have to face the electorate for years. Completely different scenario. Harper will face Ontarians before we see the other side of this downturn, that is a certainty. McGuinty may well be fine, because when he faces another election, we may well be in full recovery.

Steve V said...

"You could probably say the same the other way, if you broke down the Ontario numbers and excluded the City of Toronto from those numbers."

Ya, you probably could, if the Libs were running at 75% in Toronto. Big difference. Everyone concedes, that the national numbers skew the Conservative support, the Liberals vote much more "efficient". That's why, generally, when you see polls with a national number that is tied, or even slight Con lead, you can see a clear path to a Lib minority. BTW, this isn't just my opinion, I've heard the pollsters say the same, time and again.

Danny said...

"But WITHIN a province, seats with small populations can and will be eliminated."

There is a "variance clause" in the Elections (or Elections Boundaries) Act, whose intent is to maintain seats in rural areas. That is why, while ideally there are supposed to be around 105000 voters per riding, some seats in Ontario has only 80000 voters, while others have over 140000, specifically to ensure rural representation.

Why do you think there are some seats in the 905 that have double the voters that seats in Northern Ontario or some rural areas do, and this was also the case when the boundaries were last re-drawn in 2001? It's because of this clause.

"As the 905 region gets more and more urbanized and more ethnically diverse - the Tories will find it harder and harder to win any seats there. Tories (like their Republican counterparts in the US) can only win in old WASP Canada."

Liberals can't take visible minorities for granted anymore. Those 905 ridings that I mentioned earlier are already multi-ethnic, have been for years, and they swung towards the Conservatives in 2008 when compared to the 2004 and 2006 elections. Immigrants who arrived in the last 20 years, especially those in the Chinese and South Asian communities, have no loyalty to the Liberals like earlier immigrants from the 1960s and 70s do, their support is split and can swing either way. Your "old WASP Canada" comment also can't be assumed when it comes to political party support (and quite frankly, I find the comment offensive and bigoted, and I'm not even white myself).

Jim F said...

"Everyone concedes, that the national numbers skew the Conservative support, the Liberals vote much more "efficient". That's why, generally, when you see polls with a national number that is tied, or even slight Con lead, you can see a clear path to a Lib minority. BTW, this isn't just my opinion, I've heard the pollsters say the same, time and again."

Really? I've heard the opposite, and I distinctly remember pollsters saying in the 2004 election that because so many Liberal votes are "wasted" in Toronto and Montreal, a tie or small Liberal lead in the popular vote would have led to a Conservative minority.

Although not recent, this is what happened in the 1979 election (with a similar regional breakdown as today) - the Trudeau Liberals (40.11%) got more votes than the Clark PCs (35.89%), but the PCs won a minority in that election (136 vs. Liberals at 114).

Steve V said...

"Really? I've heard the opposite"

Well then, you've been under a rock for a few years, because I assure you, I'm not making it up. Here, this took me about a nanosecond to find an example:

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=756713

Note the word "efficient", as it relates to support. If you want more, I can oblige :)

2008, not thirty years ago...

Jim F said...

Although, 2004 when I heard that Toronto/Montreal wasted vote discussion, wasn't thirty years ago :-)
And even then, that 1979 example I used wasn't irrelevant, it's a perfect example of how a party's votes may not be "efficient". I can also bring up a more recent provincial example - 1998 Quebec election- where the Quebec Liberals dominated Montreal, got a higher overall vote than the PQ, but got hammered in the seats (PQ 76, Liberals 48).

Obviously, there are wasted votes and inefficiencies for all the parties.

One only has to find a map of Ontario showing what party won which ridings in the province in the last election. You would see mainly red in Toronto and some bordering suburbs, blue just about everywhere else in the province (except the north), with orange in the north and dotted here and there. (would be similar for Quebec, with red mostly in Montreal, and other colours elsewhere).

Obviously, Toronto and Montreal are places where Liberals win by huge margins (it's not even close in most of those ridings), and so a lead increase there won't make any difference. This is also the case for Conservatives in Alberta, as you said. Inefficiencies go both ways.

My point in an earlier post was that pollsters need to break down Ontario into smaller distinct regions, as it's not one big blob. During the last couple elections, both Nanos and Ekos (and maybe another polling company) amalgamated several days from their rolling polls to get big enough numbers so they were able to show how Ontario broke down between different areas of the province, and there was a distinct difference in the party support numbers between Toronto, the 905, Eastern Ontario, and Southwestern Ontario. Overall Ontario polling numbers don't really say anything without this breakdown.

Steve V said...

"This is also the case for Conservatives in Alberta, as you said. Inefficiencies go both ways."

I've already spoke on this, but make the point again if you must. The margins are far more extreme in Alberta, than in Toronto. In my rural Ontario riding, the Con received 66% of the vote, so what's your point exactly?

As it stands today, the way the regionals breakdown, the Liberal vote is more efficient than the Conservatives. Other examples are meaningless, I'm talking about today, right here, right now, and you're trying to argue it's not the case. If the two parties are tied nationally, the chances are the Libs will get a minority, unless these regionals change substantially. That's the reality.

Anonymous said...

"this is what happened in the 1979 election (with a similar regional breakdown as today) - the Trudeau Liberals (40.11%) got more votes than the Clark PCs (35.89%), but the PCs won a minority in that election (136 vs. Liberals at 114)."

The situation in 1979 was totally different. That was back when the Liberals under Trudeau would sweep almost every seat in Quebec by gigantic majorities leaving everyone else in the dust. The Liberals don't have wasted votes in Quebec like that anymore.

Mushroom said...

"The Liberals don't have wasted votes in Quebec like that anymore."

Steve,

Note also that the 10 seats in the Quebec City area is tough to break for the Grits. Harper ran a dud of a campaign in La Belle Province and they held big time.

There will be three party races in most of francophone Quebec this time around with the Grits a viable alternative. Much different than last year so there are possible gains.

Jim F said...

My point was that those Ontario numbers don't reflect who would actually win any seats without a further breakdown of the province into smaller regions, because of the Toronto factor. Even if the margin isn't as big as Alberta, there is a distinct and known difference between how Toronto votes and how the rest of the province votes, all polls and election results have consistently shown this.

I don't see how you can completely disregard my examples. You're quoting an "opinion" of a pollster and how you "think" that votes would turn into seats today, whereas I'm quoting actual general election "results" that really happened.

One other point is that Ontario has a far bigger impact on national polling numbers than Alberta - Ontario currently has 39% of the population (and hence would have that many respondents in a scientific national poll), and Alberta has only 10% (and thus 10% of respondents in a scientific poll). I think you overstate the impact on which Conservative dominance in the Alberta polling would skew overall national numbers.

Mike said...

Sorry late to reply, very fair points but the economy had basically entirely recovered when Rae faced the voters in 1995 (and Clinton south of the border was wildly popular at that time under similiar economic circumstnaces) and he got thrashed anyways mostly for having run up a deficit that will end being smaller than McGuinty's.

Gordon Brown has a majority too and well no one thinks he'll survive no matter how long he delays the election.

It's obviously not something we will have a better idea of until 2010 at the earliest, but I still find it a bit contradictory for many Liberals (perhaps not yourself) to be 100% confident of a Harper loss due the economy while at the same time 100% confident of a McGuinty victory in 2011.

Oh well extreme overconfidence is something Liberals have always been good at (with a brief hiatus federally over the last two years).

Steve V said...

Mike

Please. 100% confident, all I've done is point out the obvious, the two men face very different circumstance in the short and near term. I have no idea if McGuinty will be re-elected, but I sure as shit would prefer a stable majority and a few years, rather than looking an election in the face during a maelstorm. I guess that's just me. If common sense is over confidence, consider me guilty as charged.

Mushroom said...

"but I still find it a bit contradictory for many Liberals (perhaps not yourself) to be 100% confident of a Harper loss due the economy while at the same time 100% confident of a McGuinty victory in 2011."

McGuinty's survival is dependent on who the Tories bring forth. Less so if Tory is turfed.

I said it all along. Grits will do no better than 100 seats. This makes the coalition still prominent, despite Layton campaigning against Iggy. Unfortunately, attacking Grits are like a disease for NDP diehards.

Anonymous said...

McGuinty faces another challenge that doesn't apply to Harper. By the 2011 election he will have been Premier for eight years and running for a third term and even in the absence of any recession its always tough to win a third term when people start to get tired of your face and want change for the sake of change.