Thursday, February 25, 2010

Harper's Numbers Going South/Horserace Numbers Odd

EKOS released some leadership numbers today, that show a decided erosion for Harper. I'd also like to address a statistical curiousity I found with the poll horserace numbers.

First the leadership tallies:
Approval rating – Harper:
¤ 33% approve
¤ 52% disapprove
¤ 15% do not know/no response

• Approval rating – Ignatieff:
¤ 22% approve
¤ 48% disapprove
¤ 30% do not know/no response

These numbers are better for Ignatieff than first blush would suggest. First off, since the last time EKOS asked this question Ignatieff has rose 3% on approval, fell 2% on disapproval, for a 5% narrowing. What is particularly encouraging, this finding clearly demonstrates that Canadians don't hold firm views on Ignatieff, he is very much still a work in progress, which in an of itself denotes opportunity- the large "don't know" contingent speaks to this dynamic. Ignatieff clearly has work to do, but perceptions aren't cemented.

When you look at Harper's numbers, you see a large swing from the last finding. Disapproval up 10%, approval down 7%, which translates to a 17% widening. By any measure, that's a decidedly horrible trend. The numbers are even worse, when one considers the rabid approval Harper gets from Conservative partisans. On the other hand, one could argue Harper enjoys a more loyal base following, relative to Ignatieff. Still, Harper is a relatively known quantity, which makes these numbers that much more informative, cemented.

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I was reading the pdf for the horserace numbers, that show a Liberal Olympic bounce ;). EKOS is kind enough to release the day to day findings:


I note that February 19 shows a one off Conservative tally, which really helps their overall score. I'm not quibbling about that, but it is a "which of these things doesn't look like the other" proposition. That aside, take a look at the Liberal numbers for each day, because this is where I started doing some math. The Liberal overall total of 30.3% seems a tad low when you review the day to day totals. Okay, here's what I did, and maybe someone could point out my error. I took each individual day total of votes (for example 569 for Feb 17) and divided the party percentages into that number, to get a voter tally. For instance on Feb 17, the Cons received 32.2% which gives them 183 of the 569 people sampled that day. I did this for both parties, for each day, then divided the grand total by the grand total of voters sampled. In this way, the margin of error for each day is fully incorporated and weighted. What I found confirmed my initial questioning, it shows the Conservatives at 33.2%(33.4% reported) and the Liberals at 30.9%(30.3% reported).

Why this is important, is because you see this "Olympic bounce" argument evaporates (not that it was valid in the first place). The Conservatives still rise 2% poll to poll, but the Liberals rise 1.9%- in other words a complete and utter wash, nothing to see here, the dynamic unchanged. You tell me, because I can't see how a party averages their lowest daily score, when they had days well above??

18 comments:

ottlib said...

A disapproval rating of over 50% for a sitting PM is brutal.

If the Conservatives are seeing these numbers in their own internal polling then there will be no election triggered by Mr. Harper this spring.

My next question is when are these pollsters going to begin asking the "desire for change" question.

The months leading up to the 2004 election the media and pollsters virtually ignored the horse race numbers, which showed the Liberals holding a comfortable lead, and focused on the "desire for change" estimate instead.

In the interests of balance I would expect them to begin doing the same thing very soon.

As for an Olympic bounce, I do not believe it will happen. However, in the off chance it does it will not be that substantial and it will fade almost as quickly as it happens.

I hate to break it to the Conservatives but people do not dwell on positive sporting results for more than a day or two before they move on. Positive feelings from such events would not be sustained through a 36 day campaign. Hell, they would not even be sustained past the budget next week.

Gene Rayburn said...

the only Olympic bounce will be cheetos off Harper's gut during the hockey game.

bigcitylib said...

What about the new environics?

CK said...

Hold on sports fans: Nik Nanos was on CJAD with Dan Delmar (replacing redneck Ryan) saying that according to him, harper's numbers are going up; in part because of Olympics; what did I say about Harpercons taking credit for all gold medals? That's why I've been panicking with every gold medal Canada gets. According to Nanos, Harper is still considered best choice for PM.

I think that it was a mistake for Canadians to go back to apathy after the media beat up on the rallies.

It will be up to us to unseat Harper. I hope to Gawd we do, because nothing frightens me more than a Harpercon majority.

Ian said...

All those bounce numbers in the day-to-day poll are within the MOE. I wouldn't look at a 1% bump as anything more than statistical. Similarly the NDP apparently dropped 4% halfway through the Olympics! Except that's also within MOE there.

DL said...

Meanwhile Layton is way ahead of both Harper and Ignatieff on approval and is the only leader who is in positive territory when you subtract disapprove from approve. So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Gene Rayburn said...

someone's got a bug up their butt tonight.

RuralSandi said...

"Official" Opposition leaders always poll lower.

Layton - leadership always shows well, but he never wins the big prize. Canadians are just not that left.

Harper has always polld higher when parliament is out.

The Olympics reminds me of Christmas, people just aren't paying attention.

xyz said...

33% approval is absolutely brutal for a sitting leader. Those are the numbers that Bush was getting in the last couple of years of his presidency. To think that Harper is as unpopular as Bush.

The reason why Layton does well is that Conservative supports try to drive up Iggy's negatives and Liberals try to drive up Harper's negative. They don't pay attention to Layton as he will probably never be prime minister (or even official opposition for that matter)

CK said...

33% approval is absolutely brutal for a sitting leader. Those are the numbers that Bush was getting in the last couple of years of his presidency. To think that Harper is as unpopular as Bush.

Actually, not in this case. If you were to poll the U.S. in the last while, many would rather Bush serve a third term than have Obama as pres.

In this instance, People would rather have Steve as PM: 33% still trumps the others.

I am perplexed though. Why would anyone prefer a Christian Far Right Evangelical who would do all the things he dreamt about while in Reform, Pres of NCC and Leader of Canadian Alliance? Are Canadians that far to the right?

Are we more regressive than ever before?

Steve V said...

Layton will always benefit from being a bit player, that's just simple reality. It doesn't mean anything, the NDP numbers never really go anywhere. I guess DL forget to mention the party numbers ;)

penlan said...

CK wrote:

"I am perplexed though. Why would anyone prefer a Christian Far Right Evangelical who would do all the things he dreamt about while in Reform, Pres of NCC and Leader of Canadian Alliance? Are Canadians that far to the right?"

No, the majority of Canadians are not "that far to the right". The problem is that most of them are truly unaware that Harper is a Christian Far Right Evangelical, along with a lot of the other caucus Cons. There is very little in the msm about that. It needs to be revealed & reported on - a lot!

DL said...

The NDP's numbers do go somewhere - from 8.5% just before Layton first became leader to 18% in the last election and hopefully higher. After the next election if the Liberals have to make a deal with the NDP in order to take power - it MIGHT mean that the Liberals would be forced to actually keep all the promises they will make that they secretely would love to break.

Steve V said...

I'll go on record predicting a NDP seat lose in the last election, and I'm quite comfortable saying that.

DL, what you're not acknowledging, despite Layton's afterthought scoring, in this poll, the numbers are quite bad. So, there is a disconnect between saying Layton on the margins is attractive, and I'm ready to give them more power.

It is a plus for sure, because in a campaign leadership matters. I just think Layton's numbers are much more easily attained, relative to his rivals. For that reason, I take it less seriously than with the other two, although I don't entirely dismiss.

Rotterdam said...

Canadians do not like politicians.

rockfish said...

Heck, if DL's fantasy becomes reality, then he'll have to ask which NdP policies he'd jetison for 'expediency'... of course, in the la-la land of perennial bit player, the NdP can hug everything and squish it and expect the mess to produce gelato...

Gene Rayburn said...

Wow Rotterdam. Is the sky also blue?

CathiefromCanada said...

In regard to your questions, I wonder if the pollster left out a certain number of responses from their final percentages, which they explain by citing balance or something -- ie, if a poll of 1000 people shows 50 per cent support for Harper (500 people), but on that day they found that 70 per cent of the people polled had actually voted Con in the last election, then they would not count all 500 votes but instead would knock that down to reflect the actual Con vote percentage of, say 40 percent in the last election, which would loser the support level accordingly -- I don't know if I am explaining this very well. But maybe that's what happened in this poll.
(And I know there's all sorts of research into how valid this procedure is, but I am still intuitively uncertain about it.)