Monday, August 10, 2009

New Nanos

The new Nanos poll basically replicates the recent trend, but it also brings a new low mark for Harper on the best PM score. This result is somewhat surprising, given that Nanos also finds the economy fading as the dominant issue- one would think this emerging optimism would help the Prime Minister.

Liberal 33.8% (-2.5)
Conservative 31.3% (-0.9)
NDP 18.7% (+1.9)
BQ 9.2% (-0.6)
Green 7.0% (+2.2)
Undecided 15.7% (-6.5)

This is the first Nanos offering since the June "showdown", these numbers reaffirm what other pollsters have already shown. A 2.5% gap is still relatively good for the Liberals and lets not forget these numbers represent a 15% swing between the two principles since the last election. The NDP numbers are positive, mostly due to an apparent uptick in Ontario:
Libs 38.4%
Cons 35%
NDP 17.3%
Greens 9.2%

Previous Nanos polling has shown the NDP doing quite poorly in Ontario. For example their last poll had them at 11.5%, before that 14%, before that 11%. Looking at the last two polls from EKOS and AR- particularly a much lower margin of error from EKOS- I would be hesitant to put much stock in this number. A one off? A few more results before I would readjust any reading that sees real trouble for the NDP in Ontario. That said, even this relatively high score is still lower than 2008 results.

As for the Liberals, we really are seeing a potential firming up of support, hovering near 40%- poll after poll shows this consistent result. I would catergorize this development as encouraging, because the volatility seems less pronounced, this is a terrific base to begin a campaign.

Nanos gives the Liberals a strong showing in Quebec:
Bloc 35.8%
Libs 34.1%
NDP 14.5%
Cons 13.1%
Greens 2.4%

A little higher margin of error than other recent polling. The Green number appears low, NDP high.

Speaking of high, Nanos also puts the Liberal out front in British Columbia:
libs 34.1%
Cons 32.3%
NDP 22.6%
Greens 11.1%

Nanos actually gave the Liberals a larger gap in their last poll(6%). Maybe a touch high for the Liberals here, but interestingly not that far off the recent EKOS offering that gave the Liberals 30%, only 4% back of the Cons, NDP same terrority.

These numbers translate to the slightest of possible minorities for the Liberals.

Nanos also polled people on issue importance. The economy as top issue is down 5.4%, further evidence that we are becoming more optimistic about the future, a sense that the worst is behind us taking hold. At first blush, I would assume this development would help Harper, because it's been a maelstorm of bad indicators prior to June. If there is a sense of rebound looming, the sitting PM should benefit. However, Nanos captures Harper's "best PM" score at its lowest in quite some time. To be fair, Ignatieff also posts a lower score:
Stephen Harper 29.5% (-2.7)
Michael Ignatieff 26.2% (-1.2)
Jack Layton 15.2% (+2.3)
Gilles Duceppe 5.8% (-0.2)
Elizabeth May 4.0% (-2.0)
None of them 7.4% (+0.6)
Unsure 11.9% (+3.2)

Ignatieff now leads Harper in Ontario, erasing a former large advantage for the PM. I would describe that as significant. Ignatieff still leads in Quebec, although down noticeably. I've said this a million times, but this question has a built-in advantage for Harper, because he is the PM, obvious logic assumed. With that in mind, this tiny gap, trailing in key regions, not a good result at all for Harper. Considering the Conservatives still have a Harper-centric focus, this might be a concern during a campaign.


DL said...

I guess I take a slightly contrarian view on the impact of the economy as an issue. The fact is that whether we like it or not - for reasons that I find unfathomable, people tend to have a kneejerk attitude that the any rightwing party is ipso-facto better at "managing the economy" - particularly when that party is led by someone sent from central casting a cold bean-counter (ie: Harper or Gordon Campbell). A lot of people think (and i tend to agree) that in the recent BC election, Campbell was actually HELPED by the fact that there was fear of an economic meltdown because it forced the election to be on economic management as opposed to what the election otherwise have been about: health, education, environment, honesty in government (all issues which would have played to the NDP's strong suits).

Whether rightly or wrongly, I don't think that people blame or give credit to Harper on how the Canadian economy is doing and there is such a total convergence between the Tories and the Liberals on economic policy that this is not a wedge issue. If health care becomes the number one issue in the next election - that is really bad news for the Tories because that is in issue where they can never win. It would be like expecting the Liberals or the NDP to win an election that was fought over who was going to be "tough on crime".

DL said...

...and btw: I don't see why the 2.4% they have for the Green Party in Quebec "seems low". The Greens got less than 3% of the vote in Quebec in the last election and NOTHING has happened in the last year that would cause them to do any better than that.

Jesse said...

I read the article on Kevin Page in the Globe, in which, for about the millionth time, they mentioned that the PM is a 'trained economist' too. I still don't think a masters makes you a 'trained economist', but maybe that meme is part of what would keep him up in economically uncertain times. Not that he's not a cold bean-counter...

Steve V said...

I agree that people have this kneejerk belief that right wing parties are more economically prudent. However, I'm not sure I buy the idea that Harper's fate isn't somewhat tied to the economy. After all, the polls did move once the recession took hold. If not the economy, what else?

Steve V said...


Low compared to all the other polls.

Steve V said...


The Conservatives do a good job of mentioning Harper's background, which is why I think it's constantly referenced by the media.

DL said...

For Harper's fate "to be tied to the economy" - it helps if anyone can point to any specific policy decisions the Harper government has made that the official opposition would not have done and where a clear case can be made that his policies have made things worse than they otherwise would have been. Ask any Liberal MP the following question "If you're party were in power, what would you do differently to manage the economy?" - I suspect that in most cases the response will be "Give three months and I'll try to think of something".

Anthony said...

It is all a crapshoot really as long as 20% of the population or so is undecided. Points are allotted and the tie remains there.

All signs point to an October election on the issue of unemployment and lack of getting the stimulus out.

The Liberals will come up with their own way of spending the stimulus harper has yet to spend himself and cost it so Harper cannot say it is too expensive.

The people will move to the plan they like better and we wont get these "tie" polls anymore

It wont be people switching sides as much as it will be the undecided making their decision.

Steve V said...

True enough Anthony. In the last EKOS poll, almost half the undecideds didn't vote in the last election. I'm curious if Nanos uses only likely voters for this number or simply respondents. If it's the latter, then the undecided pool is really much smaller than you would think- EKOS it worked out to be around 9%.

Whatever party has the late momentum will get the breakers, for the Liberals even more critical because they can also potentially peel off soft NDP and Green support.

DL said...

Pay no attention to "undecideds". What does it mean when a poll has 15% undecided when we know that about 40% of eligible voters won't vote?!

I suspect that the proportion of VOTERS who are actually totally undecided at any given point in time is actually very low and that the real critical element are people who would say they would vote for so-and-so today but could easily change their mind.

Steve V said...

"What does it mean when a poll has 15% undecided when we know that about 40% of eligible voters won't vote?!"

Didn't I address that with the EKOS reference. It means about 60% voted in the last election, so 9% in that poll. It's not miniscule, when you consider how every % changes the landscape. That, and second choice, will have some effect.

Anthony said...


I think you assume way too much if you think people who give a pollster an answer for a political party are far more likely to vote than those who say "I dont know who I will pick yet"

If you follow almost ANY election, remove the undecideds from every poll, you will see that most party support RARELY goes down. As the undecided gets lower and it is distributed to whoever they are going for, some scores go up much more than others and that is where you see the end of a deadlock.

A large part of the population votes for the same party every time. The undecideds are the most important segment in any poll, definitely NOT to be discounted

Anthony said...


almost half of all Canadians didnt vote in the last election. I will grant you that the undecided proportion may be a little higher.

However, you have to imagine a third of the voters who actually picked a party (if not more) also did not vote

Steve V said...

"However, you have to imagine a third of the voters who actually picked a party (if not more) also did not vote"


Just a comment relating to your post today, wherein you mentioned the slight NDP gains last election. That is a mirage, based on what we are discussing here. The proportion of Liberals that stayed home was far above that of other parties. IF, even half of them did vote, then the NDP's actual vote percentage would not have moved up ever so slightly. The only reason it appeared as though support increased, was because of relative weakness with the Liberals. This is why, despite the slight uptick, less people voted NDP than in 2006.

Anthony said...

I was still quoting Rebick, albeit not directly, just summarizing what she said.

DL said...

15% is a pretty standard undecided percentage in just about any poll about vote intention - and most of those people are non voters. Ekos seems to get a somewhat lower undecided % because they use "robocalling" and so if you are someone who doesn't pay attention to politics, never votes and doesn't know who you would vote for if you did - you probably just hang up on the robot and so you don't get tallied as a "DK/NA" you are just a non-respondent. When Nanos does a phone survey - people will say I don't know. Keep in mind also that Nanos does one thing that is quite unique - he doesn't read the names of the parties - he just asks "what party would you vote for?" and its up to the respondent to spontaneously name a party.

Steve V said...

"and most of those people are non voters."

That's just not true, and the fact you used Nanos tactic of not asking party names counters your argument. Think about it.

DL said...

If you're not able to name the party you would vote for spontaneously without prompting - then you probably are too disconnected from political life to bother voting.

Every election someone always chirps about how the whole election could shift if the "undecideds" suddenly break en masse for one party or the other - and it never seems to work out that way. For those most part they either don't vote at all or else they divide themselves the same way as the decided voters do.

Anonymous said...


Voter turnout was down in 2008, while it went up in 2006. Harper had more votes in 2006 than in 2008.

Liberals staying home helped both the right and the left. In fact the margins of victory for the Cons and the NDP in some ridings are quite significant, as said in your post yesterday.

More Liberal votings may swing some ridings. But the incumbent MP still have the advantage in these ridings. Such as pork barrel, community profile, and voter apathy etc.

DL said...

How do we actually know that Liberals stayed home in 2008? Maybe supporters of all parties were equally likely to stay home and the base Liberal vote was simply lower to begin with even if we had had a 100% turn-out?

Steve V said...

"How do we actually know that Liberals stayed home in 2008?"

Umm, do your homework dude. Liberals stayed home in greater numbers, relative to other parties.


I don't dispute it helped the Conservatives too, as you say it worked both ways.

Steve V said...

"If you're not able to name the party you would vote for spontaneously without prompting "

DL, you're projecting your on engagement onto the vast majority that are disinterested. I know plenty of people that vote, that aren't sure how they'll vote, up until the last minute.

DL said...

"Umm, do your homework dude. Liberals stayed home in greater numbers, relative to other parties."

How do we know that?

Steve V said...

The amount of identified Liberal voters that didn't show up is astronomical. I can attest to that particularly, and I know for a fact it was virtually nationwide. They didn't come out. Part election fatigue, because we saw this with all parties, but it was very much more pronounced with Liberals.

Phillip Huggan said...

"...if anyone can point to any specific policy..."

Dion Oct/08, coalition Jan/09, Iggy July/09, or all opposition Parties?

1) Forced the Stimulus Bill Harper fought tooth and nail (GoC commercials don't mention Harper's version was a $600M tax credit or 2x election cost). Harper delayed action for 9 months in order to avoid the bad optics of debt/taxes.
2) Dion had a $10B Green Bond issue to weatherize homes. Weatherizing is the most utilized part of the stimulus and pays for itself in 3 years; a 30%/yr ROE. Harper's base is NB coal, AB/SK/Interior-BC fossil generation. Harper's version is the weakest weathering spending in the 1st world; misses out carpentry jobs.
3) Madantory sentencing. Right now there are maybe 30000 Canadian in prison for THC charges. They are just tax cheats while USA/Canada leaders evil here (I could be *suffocatingly* evil in the future like Dems/Cons/GOP are now) $400M/yr lowball costs and later $1B/yr THC taxes lost.
4) Kelowna Accord. Stuff like nursing, construction and carpentry schools and water treatment is high ROI. ABC had $2.5B here.
5) Green Shift. Could've been a modified debt slayer.
6) Harper's BS claim to match the USA Green policies. He intends to match cap-n-trade, which is now pushed to useless 1990s EU permit giveaways (auctioned off around 2020s when one climate model predicts droughty temp rises). One example, Americans plan $30B to retrofit car plants to wind and solar parts. Begged anyone to do this but instead of $10B IMPACT we get $10B Harper car subsidy (Asia won't buy our cars) and weak Zenn.
7) ABC killed oil sands tax loopholes and NDP had 26% oil corporate tax rate.
8) Universal Daycare is probably good, 3 studies say yes and one says makes toddlers cranky.
9) Harper killed $114M Genomics Canada funding renewal (these are implicit unless braodcast cut), probably what led to the two dozens of researchers who may cure AIDS, to relocate south.
10) Dion planned to log firebreaks around cities and towns to fight Mountain Pine Beetle.
11) Harper doesn't protect the human rights of Canadian jailed abroad. He lets innocent men rot away abroad and he permits the DEA to operate in Canada.
12) Isotopes. Ignored in House 2008. Dion mentions issue, Harper or underlings goad to call an election. Canadians die sexy?.
13) Platform of placing 14 year old boys in adult prison is stupid. "Fresh Meat" earned BQ my 2009 endorsement. Raping children is wrong ABC knows.

Want more or detail, already long.

Steve V said...


Don't waste your time, it's just that old "Liberal/Tory" bait from NDP supporters. They don't even believe it, at least I hope not because that would translate to just DUMB. Seriously, let's keep half a clue here. We might have moved closer to the center, but this guy is the most right wing concoction in Canadian history.

Phillip Huggan said...

Not a fan of S.Dion's right wing fiscal rates. Right of CPC in 2008probably for first time ever (why do people think leftie commercials make leftie policies?). But boy did he stick his neck on the line in 2009 just like in 1995.
Whatever gains we get from the stimulus (least green stimulus on Earth) are Dion's, despite MSM lies.

I can't believe DL forgot this or misrepresents Harpers as the Stimulus architect.
My local news anchor just had a baby, yet anchors for a company that seeks to impoverish children (I feel silly with my $5 trying to stop the wealthiest Jews in Wpg from initiating a future Holocaust 200x larger than Hitler's). Canwest went $4B in debt and lobbies against things like free daycare (for those who work in solvent corporations and earn solvent salaries) and the survival of our species.
Peter Newman points out the horrors of weed, as if the issue wasn't the evil cops and courts he serves (I could never accept income from a system that locks up innocent men especially if they are to rape 14 year old children). Hal Anderson on my local radio station, a funny jock, mocks Ignatieff's attempts at EI reform and setting a fall election no one wants (I assume didn't say a word last Sept). Funny thing is the weed he's shared with many locals in Winnipeg over the years along with Wheeler...those Calgary losers (been laid 1000x more than me of course) are really lobbying for their own arrest. Canadians just like them will be arrested under mandatory sentencing and have been charged for THC. If it happened early in their careers I can't see Hal Anderson at Labor Ready.

Rich Canadians are evil. Hal Anderson should be in prison for mandatory drug dealing if he honestly supports Harper. Harper should be arrested for attempting to assault children. If I have any future control over AGW-buffer wheat stores all MSM employee families go to bottom of global rations que.

Phillip Huggan said...

Rant is a microcosm of what happened in the USA and maybe how to avoid it. There are tactical election wins and there is the strategic dumbing down of one's population in non-election cycles, (minority gov stokes).

In HS I won President. Comes with a tacit scholarship large enough to equal what I'd save working 8 months or 1.5 months at 3 jobs. A teacher stole the election.

18, went to vote in 1st election. Liked Filmon's PC surpluses (turns out NDP run them even better). Told me need to live at residence for 6 months or go to previous riding to vote. There, they told me I wasn't 18 for 6 months...couldn't vote.
I've dozens of anecdotes being deprived of freedoms...but I've lived many ignored mild forms of evil from within the bounds of this social contract...easy to spot outside contract, but spotting evil from within is hard; best spotters almost always on cheating/winning side of this social contract.

Hal Anderson entitled to own opinion.
The fix is when a younger, poorer jock comes on weeks earlier and says (in 1/2 a second) while reading political news byte: he'd like to mention what he'd really think but he'd get in trouble from his boss.
Corus radio, by far our largest network I think; their CEO or Board or whoever has given permission behind closed doors (discrimination lawsuits otherwise) for the wealthy high ratings hosts (ones who vote CPC) to pepper Liberal criticisms while threatening or de facto intimidating the poorer punk-spinning hosts with demotion or dismissal should any personal political on-air commentary that isn't an Iggy attack.
This tiny little evil is vicious.
Just know your 7 million voters may experience blowback from choices you made for them, that they would not have otherwise made.

Did 7 million rural and Western Canadian voters choose a Party that would see 14 yr old children raped in jail, or were they manipulated. If no fix, we don't have worry about things like our children being raped in adult prisons. If no fix maybe voters themselves start building grassroots momentum for platform ideas, who knows?

Someone(s) at Corus is pretending to be the thought police; isn't right and might not be legal....