Monday, February 08, 2010

Nanos: Conservatives "Now Neck and Neck With Liberals"

The new Nanos poll confirms the recent trend, a large Conservative lead has "evaporated". The national numbers (last Nanos poll in brackets):
Cons 35.6% (39.5%)
Libs 33.9% (30.2%)
NDP 16.4% (18.7%)
Greens 5.6% (7.7%)

MOE of 3.1, this poll translates to another statistical tie. PDF hasn't been released yet, so regionals are scarce, but you can make some inferences. In Quebec:
In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois would reap 33.2% of the vote against 29.3% for the Liberals and the Conservatives at 22.2%. The NDP Jack Layton would receive 10.5%

Interestingly, these numbers are virtually unchanged from the last NANOS poll. It's safe to assume, that although the Ontario numbers aren't yet available, we've seen a significant shift in that province, akin to other pollsters.

A bit of a quirky result, in that the Liberals are the only party to have increased support poll to poll, everyone else down, and quite noticeably. Nanos is also the first pollster to peg Liberal support as high as 34%, which speaks to gaining a certain level of traction.

I'll post the rest of the regionals when the pdf is released. The thesis is clear though, Conservatives well down, Liberals reaping the benefits.


Tof KW said...

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois would reap 33.2% of the vote against 29.3% for the Liberals and the Conservatives at 22.2%. The NDP Jack Layton would receive 10.5%. Interestingly, these numbers are virtually unchanged from the last NANOS poll.

Nanos is just confirming what many other polls have found recently, that politics in Quebec have hit some sort of stasis. For several months now both federally & provincially, the numbers don't change much from poll to poll.

You are correct in your assumption - if Quebec is in stasis, then Ontario's numbers should be very interesting.

Also with the NDP at only 10.5%, is that enough for Mulcair to hold on to Outremont?

Northern PoV said...

Just another dogs breakfast is all I can see.
Keep the champagne corked.

now, if we were to forget the polls for a while and actually focus on a strategy that might lead somewhere ....

Tof KW said...

POV, your point is valid. However the problem the Libs had for most of the past 4 years was that anytime they would actually act like the official opposition - either they would have to back down to avoid an election, or Harper would steal their ideas and modify them to become the CPoC's own. That makes it very difficult to act as an opposition and differentiate yourself from the government.

With prorogation backfiring so badly for Harper, and with Mr Layton not being 100% for the next few months - neither the CPoC nor the NDP want an election anytime soon. At this point the Libs don't care - they are the only ones who win more seats at the expense of the other two federalist parties. An election call anytime soon for the Reformatories means 4 tries for Harper without a majority - and the very-real possibility of losing altogether this time. Either of these scenarios point to Harper’s departure as leader - without a majority the only question is when, not if.

The spring session in parliament could become very interesting. Watch for co-operation between the CPoC & NDP. This would give the Libs the chance to try those strategies you're asking about POV, and to function fully & unhindered as the official opposition.

DL said...

That strategy will lead absolutely NO WHERE. There is no will whatsoever in the Liberal Party or the NDP to start cooking up electoral arrangements where by any party stands aside in certain ridings. There are huge institutional barriers to it. For one thing Ignatieff has already stated that he rejects any coalition with any other party - so how does it look to say "no coalition" and then start running joint Liberal/NDP candidates in various ridings etc...?? On top of that parties get funded largely based on how many votes they get in each election - what happens to the formula and to party funding if the Liberals and NDP run less than full slates?

Then of course, we have the problem of NDP voters in western Canada (and elsewhere) who hate the Liberals more than they hate the Tories who would vote Tory if there were no Liberal on the ballot and then we have lots of "blue grits" who would vote Tory before they would vote NDP.

Someone needs to kill this stupid idea once and for all!

tjeerd said...

Similar numbers of last August.

Time for Ignatieff to hold a caucus meeting and tell Harper "your time is up".

Northern PoV said...

no one said it would be easy ....

McKenzie King defeated a Harper-like opponent in much the same circumstances in 1926. The Liberals ran joint "Progressive/Liberal" candidates in about a dozen ridings and ran no candidates in 6 ridings where the Progressives were extra strong.

After a narrow victory of his electoral coalition, we know King went on to lead Liberal majority gov'ts for many years and that the "Progressive Party" sort-of disappeared into ... you guessed it ... "Progressive Conservative Party"

as to western NDPers hating Liberals - well in those ridings I am sure there would be an NDP candidate as the Liberals were not likely competitive.

and as to the tjeerd comment - it is (sadly) the truth

Steve V said...

Unfortunately, Harper can't count on that gift again.


I find your simplistic, repetitive sarcasm boring. You don't like polls, ya GOT it. Why that translates to people being unable to walk and chew gum at the same time escapes me. I wouldn't be popping champagne, in fact there's plenty of work to do, particularly on the policy front. It's just a snapshot, that has real bearing on perceptions and coverage. Dismiss if you must, but that attitude demonstrates no understanding of how our political discourse works.

As for the "strategy" you propose, there is really no willingness on any party's part to address. Whether that's smart or not, self interest denies any possibility for the time being.

xyz said...

It's a shame that even with just 33% vote the Bloc Quebecois will end up with atleast 40-45 seats whereas Liberals with 29% probably wont go beyond 20.

Steve V said...

Maybe the Libs should push for prop rep in Quebec ;)

Looking at the regionals, another poll that shows a Lib uptick in B.C., up to 32%.

In Ontario, the Libs are up to 42%, but the Cons are also up to 39%. A bit of a head scratcher, the NDP down to 11%, which seems low.

Tof KW said...

I didn't even look at POV's link, so my bad.

A personal answer to you POV, I happen to be one of those "blue grits" that DL was mentioning. I still consider myself a Tory, at least in the historic sense of the term (meaning the CPoC paints me as one of the looney left with their broad strokes). If the Libs & NDP begin moving towards a union lost my vote. I already bolted from the Reform/Alliance after they took over my old party.

Omar said...

Makes you wonder where the Liberals would be in the polls if they had someone other than Micheal Ignatieff as leader. I don't know what Iggy needs to do in order to ignite the voter intention flame, but seriously, the Liberals should be doing better than a virtual tie with the CPC given the governments piss-poor performance of late.

Steve V said...


Considering the Libs lost the last election by 12%, were down that much just a couple months ago, that's a tad unfair and/or unrealistic IMHO.

The Liberal brand problem runs far deeper than Ignatieff.

Omar said...

I know, I know. I don't mean to be unfair. I like Ignatieff and I am not implying he should be replaced. I just don't understand why the Liberals can't seem to capitalize even further given what we have for a federal government these days. It drives me nuts sometimes.

Steve V said...

I'm not saying Ignatieff is the best we COULD offer, but I think we don't fully capitalize because the Liberal brand is seen as tired, part of the establishment, it bores people to tears.

The Con numbers will never fall below 30%, that's their base. The Liberals can squeak out a minority with this situation, but until they address the disaffected voters, the protest vote, a majority is very, very unlikely. It was only because of a disasterous split on the right that allowed the glory years, so that convenient reality is forever gone. Unless the Bloc really falls or the Libs suddenly get traction in the west, I see 36-37% as outright ceiling.

Tof KW said...

The Liberal brand problem runs far deeper than Ignatieff.

If it cheers you up Steve, the conservative movement has plenty of problems in this country as well. The main thing keeping them together now is a collective effort to keep the Liberals from winning government. But once Harper is defeated, those problems will need to be addressed. I look forward to the next CPoC leadership campaign.

Steve V said...

"I look forward to the next CPoC leadership campaign."

So do I :)

Omar said...

The main thing keeping them together now is a collective effort to keep the Liberals from winning government.

And once it comes time to replace Harper, I think it will be difficult for them to choose another westerner as leader. I believe the 'east will want in' on that score. Sorry, Jim Prentice.

Tof KW said...

Just to add to my previous post, the CPoC's main problem is the same as the LPC's do you win a majority?

I don't think it's possible for either party without the almost complete collapse of support for the other. If (actually my belief is more like 'when') the Harper government has their own full-blown spending scandal, the LPC could easily win a majority again. Short of that you are correct, this is a see-saw battle in the ~30% mark for both parties.

The further this situation continues, the more I see proportional representation as a favourable solution. Problem is Quebec would never agree to it as it would diminish the Bloc's numbers - and we know what they would drudge up to fight it.

Steve V said...

If Harper didn't mess up so bad in the last election, undercutting his chances in Quebec, he would have had a majority.

I actually think the Cons have more regional opportunity than the Libs. There are parts of this country that will never vote Lib, whereas the Cons have/had the potential everywhere. The Cons have the advantage, they are the only option on the center right/right, a viable electorate across the country.

DL said...

"The Con numbers will never fall below 30%, that's their base."

Don't be so pessimistic...the Cons got 29% in the 2004 election, surely they get be pushed to that level or lower again. According to some polls they already as low as 30% now - and surely its not as if every single solitary soft Tory vote has already been peeled way. After the 2006 election everyone said that 30% was the absolutely rock bottom Liberal core - the in 2008 it turned out that the floor was actually 26% not 30%.

Steve V said...


Actually, it rounded off to 30% ;)

Not being pessimistic, but realistically, you can't see the Con vote falling much below 30%. The Liberals have pressure on their left flank, something that doesn't plague a party that has half the spectrum to themselves. Sure, there are more soft votes to be had, but that assumes perfect storm.

Looking across the country, the Cons have solid base support everywhere except Quebec. You can't say the same for the Liberals, and this problematic. The days of sweeping Quebec and Ontario are OVER, extraordinary circumstances not withstanding.

Tof KW said...

Steve has a very good point about the CPoC being able to take that 30% to the bank, provided no major scandal erupts on the horizon. And to show it just look at the past Chretien majority wins as a guide:

1993 Election:
Lib = 41.3%
Con = 34.7%
(Reform = 18.7% + PC = 16.0%)
- and that was very much a throw the bums out election.

1997 Election:
Lib = 38.5%
Con = 38.2%
(Reform = 19.4% + PC = 18.8%)

2000 Election:
Lib = 40.9%
Con = 37.7%
(Alliance = 25.5% + PC = 12.2%)

The problem for Harper is that after the merg …I mean take-over of the PC party, that shook loose a number of voters who used to vote Conservative federally, myself included. Otherwise the CPoC could take that ~35% from the 1993 election as their base support. Remember that is with the Bloc winning 54 ridings in Quebec.

However the downside is that even with a perfect storm the upper limit for the Cons is now ~40%. Contrast that with Brian Mulroney’s wins; 50% in 1984 and 43% in 1988. OK true it’s without the Bloc, but still this shows that regional opportunity Steve speaks of. However the more the Cons bend to reach that ‘red tory’ vote, the more they risk alienating Alberta. There is a problem on the ‘right’ flank too, they could vote Libertarian, CHP or more likely just stay home.

As for the Grits, take a look at that 1997 result. Even with Chr├ętien’s worst performance he still managed to receive 38% of the vote. The Libs should be doing better than 31-33% right now, and I’m pretty sure Mr Donolo is working on this problem.

Steve V said...

The thing is though, in 1997, the Libs got 50% of the vote in Ontario, 101 seats. I don't think that's possible now, without a split on the right, as was the case then.