Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nanos Poll

A new poll from Nanos that shows minimal tightening nationally, but somewhat more telling regional numbers. For the first time since the last election, a Nanos poll shows the Conservatives leading in Ontario, with a pretty dramatic rise. Nanos seems to confirm what others have shown this week, slight Liberal pullback in Quebec, Conservative fortunes improving in Ontario. Nationally, a 5.4% Liberal lead is now 4.1%, hardly noteworthy:
Libs 36.3% (37.2%)
Cons 32.8% (31.8%)
NDP 16.8% (15.7%)
Greens 4.8% (7.4%)

Looking at the regionals, the numbers are a bit more telling electorally. While the NDP are up nationally, that tends to mask a very poor score in Ontario. The Conservatives haven't moved much, but a questionable result in Atlantic Canada tends to offset important gains in Ontario, and further evidence of a SLIGHT rebound in Quebec.

In Ontario, Nanos now puts the Conservatives out front:
Cons 42.4% (33.8%)
Libs 40.9% (42.1%)
NDP 11.5% (14.4%)
Greens 5.2% (9.6%)

That's a big gain in volatile Ontario. Nanos duplicates other pollsters, the Conservatives seem to have benefited from the election posturing episode. The Liberal number remains strong, but that kind of dynamic doesn't translate to a minority, no matter the national percentages. Nanos puts the NDP in very concerning terrority, falling below what was already weak support. Nanos consistently shows the NDP below their 2008 support.

In Quebec, we see further evidence of a change between the Bloc and the Liberals, with another pollster showing the Conservatives getting an every so slight uptick:
Bloc 38% (35%)
Libs 35.4% (38.2%)
Cons 14% (11.6%)
NDP 10.8% (13.3%)

Still a strong number for the Liberals, but the trend is the same.

Part of the reason the Conservative national number doesn't rise as much a one would think, given a large move in Ontario, up marginally in Quebec, is partially due to a questionable result in Atlantic Canada. Nanos shows the Conservatives falling to 19% from the previous 33% support level. A very high MOE, and that number seems suspiciously low for the Conservatives.

Nanos does seem to confirm apparent Liberals strength in British Columbia, with the party leading with 36% support, Conservatives 30%, NDP 24%. Another high MOE, but that Liberal number isn't out of line, relative to other pollsters.

On the question of party leaders, Nanos finds a very unpopular Harper, Ignatieff fairing much better:
Harper Impression Question: Do you have a positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or negative impression of Stephen Harper?

Net Impression Scores*

Canada: -14.8
Atlantic Canada: -28.6
Quebec: -33.3
Ontario: -13.9
Prairies: +9.1
British Columbia: -8.4

Ignatieff Impression Question: Do you have a positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative or negative impression of Michael Ignatieff?

Net Impression Scores*

Canada: +5.2
Atlantic Canada: +18.0
Quebec: +12.9
Ontario: +5.6
Prairies: -11.1
British Columbia: +4.5

No previous poll with the same question, so it's hard to denote any trends. Ignatieff has a far higher "neutral" score with voters, which is a testament to his relative unknown status compared with Harper. I suspect the Conservatives will retool their message in the coming months, taking the focus off Harper and more onto the party brand itself. For the Liberals, Ignatieff has some latitude with Canadians, but these numbers don't dissuade me from my view that we need to define him quickly, particularly on the economy.

I would categorize this poll as somewhat better for the Conservatives than the national numbers suggest. Ontario will be the election battleground, the Conservatives appear to be rebounding according to all the pollsters. That said, despite this ebb and flow in Ontario, the Liberals have reason for optimism, primarily because the dynamic seems to be a fluctuation between a big lead and statistical tie. This fact suggests we are well placed, but the campaign will be the key in moving soft support.


Paul Raposo said...

We should have forced an election when we had the chance. We look like cowards in the eyes of voters and the Cons will have all summer to hammer that image home.

I don't care what pollsters say, voters favor strength and if Iggy acts like a ball-buster, he will sweep the house with a strong minority.

ottlib said...


As you say Ontario is volatile and it has been so since the November economic update. Ontarions are having severe second thoughts on their decision in October and they still do not know whether to conclude it was the right one or not.

BC is encouraging but we all know the history of that province when it comes to actual votes.

The movements in the Prairies and Quebec are well within the regional MOEs so they really do not tell us anything.

The Maritimes can be explained by the recent Nova Scotia election. The Conservatives got trounced. That is going to have some effect on national support. So, considering the size of the sample for the Maritimes the Nova Scotia portion of it would cause such a big swing.

So, I would not say the Maritime estimates are questionable. They are real although I would also say they are temporary.

Anonymous said...

Accept the Liberals got killed in the NS election even though Iggy was the only leader to put resources in the province. So I think 20% margin error there has some of effect.

DL said...

But, but, but, I don't understand, just two days ago, the Angus Reid poll had the NDP at 20% in Ontario and Steve was shitting bricks over it. Now Nanos says something different. Well I suppose that people from all parties will try to cherry pick the polls that are the most favourable to them. I think CROP is right about Quebec, Angus Reid is right about Ontario and Nanos is right about the rest of the country! :-)

Steve V said...


Actually, we've had two polls now since AR that shows a bad result in Ontario for the NDP. If you had half a brain, you might remember I said that poll might be one off, because every other poll showed the NDP mostly irrelevant in Ontario. So, you asinine cherry picking comment is just that, I report every finding, unlike some people ;)

BTW, you commentary reads like a 14 year old.

Steve V said...

"This poll is the first to show positive news for the NDP. It will be noteworthy to watch if this is a one off suggestion or future polling confirms this shift."

Post on AR poll. Looks like a one off, if one is being fair. Polls prior, polls after, don't replicate anything close. It's an outlier.

daniel said...

A few comments:

At face value, those BC numbers look good for the Liberals. However, I seem to have a feeling of deja-deja-deja-vu when I see the Liberals at that level of support in BC. We've seen them poll like that prior to the last election....and the election before that....and the election before that....and no matter how rosy the BC polling looks for them between elections, they always fail to win any more than a single-digit seat total. My gut tells me that this time won't be much different.

The Conservative numbers in Atlantic Canada do seem ridiculously low - another apparent inter-election polling trend that seems to be manifesting itself once again. The Conservatives had similarly abysmal numbers prior to the last election campaign, but actually ended up with a net gain of seats in the Atlantic region, even with their utterly disastrous results in Newfoundland.

The NDP numbers for Ontario aren't so hot - but again, we've seen all this before. Will those numbers hold up once the campaign buses are rolling? My guess is no.

Steve V said...


I hear you on the B.C. numbers, that is certainly true.

Anonymous said...

While I don't have a lot of experience with elections here, I think the Liberals will do better here in BC in the next election, and I do think the conservatives will slip a bit. I doubt it will be as impressive as that poll shows, but I don't think it will be as paltry as the last couple of elections for the Liberals in BC.

Anonymous said...

geez, with numbers like this, why didn't we bring the government down?