Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Polls Stabilizing

Two more polls today, both with similar results, both suggesting numbers have stabilized. Per usual, Harris Decima releases the most basic of findings, while Angus Reid provides full results.

Angus Reid shows no change poll to poll, the Conservatives maintain a thin 4% lead over the Liberals:
Cons 34% (+1)
Libs 30% (+1)
NDP 18% (-1)
Greens 8% (+1)

Angus Reid puts the Libs and Cons in a statistical tie for Ontario, NDP at 17%, Greens 11%. A strong showing for the Libs in Quebec, well ahead in Atlantic Canada. A pretty static result, much like other pollsters, the new norm seems to be a tight race between the two principles.

Angus Reid also does the leadership numbers. Much like Nanos, Layton fairs best, relatively speaking. One has to wonder if Layton is enjoying a certain amount of sympathy given his recent announcement. Common sense suggests yes, but that's just speculation. As for Ignatieff, his numbers are stable, much like Nanos, with the caveat being it's hard to fall below bottom. For Harper, his numbers continue to wane, despite party support firming up. Harper's trendline is the worst of any national leader, a distinction he's held for several polls.

Harris Decima continues to hold their poll internals as though the child of our maker. This annoying habit aside, HD provides more evidence of stabilization:
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey gives the Tories a slight edge at 32 per cent to the Liberals' 30 per cent. The NDP were at 16 per cent and the Greens at 10 per cent while the Bloc Quebecois was dominant in Quebec with 41 per cent.

The results suggest Tory support has stabilized while the Liberals have dipped two points since the end of January.

The telephone survey of just over 4,000 Canadians was conducted Feb. 4-14 as is considered accurate within 1.5 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

That's the entire release. EKOS also showed a slight Liberal dip poll to poll, but not enough to unequivocally suggest a trend. Statistical noise?

All the polls are in close agreement, a few points here and there. The new norm gives no real advantage to any party, which should provide for an interesting session of Parliament this spring.


Maybe they read my blog ;) Harris Decima releases a same day pdf.


Tof KW said...

Though I hold no delusions that the 'new normal' of a tight race between the CPC and the Libs will lead to a new age of congeniality on the Hill any time soon, I do have to wonder what the next session of Parliament will look like. Really with numbers like this, NO ONE should bring up election talk any time soon.

However, using the past as a guide I get the feeling the Harpernauts are just going to go into attack mode on the grits to shore up their numbers, they are so predictable that way. Harper may push for an election anyhow, his numbers may not get much better than 34%, and I seriously believe Sheila Frasier's report this Autumn will contain a number of horror stories on EAP spending. That alone threatens Harper's base and could send CPC numbers into the mid-20's.

Indeed there are interesting times ahead.

Steve V said...

That's a great point, foresight wise. There are already indications that this EAP money went out without very much oversight, bound to be a few eye raisers.

You would think these numbers would bring a spirit of co-operation to Parliament, but I suspect you're right, the Cons will keep pushing hard. Not sure the budget will offer any poison pills, but obstruction and avoidance will continue to reign.

Northern PoV said...

Expect a poison-pill-filled budget crafted to get defeated by the "coalition". The same poison pills will be spun up cute on the campaign trail and used against the dreaded coalition.

One of the pills will be party defunding.

Steve V said...

You think so? I think Harper has squandered all his political capital, should he decide to antagonize the opposition, it will reflect very poorly on him. I expect games, but I don't think we will see them in the budget, where everybody is watching.

The Rational Number said...

I'm with SteveV. The next one to get _blamed_ for a crisis loses. Mr. Harper may try something, but it would be a BIG risk to try something obvious now that the public is paying attention (IMHO, of course).

Steve V said...

I think the press would kill him, if he doesn't focus squarely on the economy in this budget.

Gayle said...

"One of the pills will be party defunding."

No chance he gets away with this without looking like a guy who wants an election.

Tomm said...


I fervently wish Harper proposes to de-fund parties. It is an abomination!

However, I also hope he lets the Liberal's amend it out, to show the voters who has their hands in the voters pockets.

But I expect we will just see a very mundane budget and a very contrite PM who will look earnestly towards the G8 and G20 building Canada's reputation for fiscal stewardship and a heart so big he will champion the cause of mom's and kids in places we don't visit on our holidays.

I also hope Ignatieff continues to champion abortion policy in the third world and child care here at home (heh,heh). So we can watch the noose slowly tighten.

Gayle said...

"I fervently wish Harper proposes to de-fund parties. It is an abomination!"

If he does that, and still allows those oh so generous tax write offs, we will know who has his hands in our pockets.

Tomm said...


Now you see it...now you don't!

Its all about perception and the optics around a party getting real cash money for each vote they get for each year is enough to shrivel my interest in voting.

The voter sees a direct line from their vote, through their pocket to the war chest of some political party.

If they wish to support the party, they can open their wallet, just like they do for breast cancer or MS.

Cash for votes is just a cynical piece of political hypnosis. It should end.

Tax write-offs are at least a direct expression of support.

I wonder how successful service projects would be in my community (or yours) without there being some tax incentive for local business?

Did you check out the names on the staircase in the new Art Gallery of Alberta?

Steve V said...


It's no such thing. It allows parties to focus their energy where it should be, rather than constantly touring the country scraping for money. It allievates distraction, and if you look south of the border, you'll see how.

Tof KW said...

"I fervently wish Harper proposes to de-fund parties. It is an abomination!"

Now, now Tomm ...you still think the Bloc is an illegitimate party? Sovereigntists don't pay taxes to Ottawa? Personally I think ALL political funding should be on the taxpayer's dime. That way ZERO dollars come from business lobbies, unions, and special interests. As Steve points out just look at our neighbours to the south for the reason why ...the USA has the best politicians that money can buy.

Tomm said...

I couldn't disagree with you more.

How complacent will we and they become if the political parties just sit in Ottawa taking our $ and live in their little cocoon?

Voting will continue to drop off and cynicism will keep growing among the media, and politician's too.

They have to get out and mingle with the hoi polloi. One of the best ways is to make them accountable in their wallet to those people.

You can't compare US to Canadian political contributions, the systems are entirely different.

The CPC nominates its members, elects its leaders and funds itself in a very different way than the Democratic or Republican parties in the US. This seems to be similar to how the NDP does it. The BQ does it entirely on the backs of the taxpayer and I'm still not sure how the Liberal's do it. I'm not sure Mayrand knows either since he keeps giving extensions to Liberal leadership contenders.

Steve V said...


The Liberals brought these reforms to take influence out of the system. It's been entirely successful, so if you want to reform again, then you have to change the rules.

You make it sound like fundraising keeps politicos connected. That's bull, it's just a glad handing with partisans and PANDERING, has no redeeming quality whatsoever.

Harper just wants to reform to hurt his opponents, there is no moral imperative from him, PURE POLITICS. If you can't see that, then your blind.

The Rational Number said...

@Tomm: what's your take on the Rob Anders affair, and how does that relate to your position on political party funding? The riding association represents people making contributions, but they feel their will is ignored.

I'm for government funding, to prevent elections being dominated by money. In the U.S. I think this is often attributed to Republicans, but I think it could just as well be attributed to Obama this time around.

Tomm said...


Sorry, you are just wrong. Without the rubber chicken circuit, many successful politician's would would sit in Ottawa riding their parties coat tails. We've seen enough of that anyway.

And your view that Harper is not killing this hand out for pure motives is also clearly correct. He can do the right thing and cripple his opponents at the same time. Kind of a twofer...


With respect to Rob Anders, the man appears to be a buffoon and I wouldn't vote for him unless he was running against Hedy Fry. The CPC takes a hit with voters like me when they don't deal with guys like this.

Steve V said...


Politicians still visit the ridings ALL THE TIME, under this system, so your point is a fabrication. Hello.

Gayle said...

"Its all about perception and the optics..."

Well that is not what you said. You said it was about how had their hands in the cookie jar.

So in the end, you don't really care about who is milking the system in order to have taxpayers subsidize their party - you care about perception.

Good to know.

Steve V said...

All he cares about is putting the boots to the Liberals. Period.

Tof KW said...

In the U.S. I think this is often attributed to Republicans, but I think it could just as well be attributed to Obama this time around.

Take a look at the politicians (senators and congressional reps) who receive the most lobby group dollars. You will find the Democrats dominate the top-25 list. There is a temptation to politicize and think this is a left-right thing (and say the GOP is the culprit being the party of ‘big business’ interests) but really this is a subject that should raise the alarm bells of all US voters. Business lobbies give money to both parties to ensure their voices and interests make it to any bills passed into law. That is reason alone to make all political financing 100% public – in every democratic nation. The Dems are currently being given the most money because they’re the ones in power. Whenever the GOP is in a similar position as it was under W’s reign, you can bet your last lobby dollar the Republican politicians are the ones showered with the most political contributions.

Tomm, the only reason Harper wants to reform public party financing here is to screw the opposition parties. Do you deny that?

The current system that Chr├ętien left us is actually not a bad system, it took away the big business dollars that used to go to the Libs and old PC party (and union money that went to the NDP) and made all parties more reliant on grass-roots members for small donations. This benefited the CPoC the most, since they could never rely on big business support back in Alliance/Reform days. The public financing portion is the fairness portion built into the system, so that any individual party who excels in collection small donations doesn’t automatically dominate the political scene.

Sorry Tomm but outside of Alberta, voters really don’t like the one-party system idea much. Harper should try floating this lead balloon again and see what happens. And if he tried it holding a majority government (fat chance) you’d see Quebec separation talk spring up faster than you can say maitres chez nous. But then again, I always suspected all ‘firewall’ Harper wants to do is let the provinces go their own way.

Linda Anne said...

The euthanasia movement has deliberately confused ethical pain relief treatment and active euthanasia in order to promote their cause. Their argument is that necessary ethical pain relief treatment that could possibly shorten life is euthanasia, (this is not so). They say to us inquiring Canadians who do not want to see someone suffer...."we are already giving such treatment and the vast majority of Canadians agree, so we should do so...i.e. end the life of misery of terminally ill patients who experience unrelieved pain. WE need to legalize euthanasia"

Therefore the euthanasia movement says:" we are practicing euthanasia with the approval of Canadians so we should come out of the medical closet and legalize euthanasia. Legalizing euthanasia is just a small incremental step along a path we have already taken. Why not legalize it?"

As a Liberal, I say: We need to distinguish treatment that is necessary to relieve pain, even if it could shorten life (a very rare occurrence if pain relief is competently prescribed) and the use of pain relief as covert euthanasia.

Acting with a primary intention to kill is a world apart from acting with a primary intention to relieve pain.
It is a tragedy for patients (terminally ill and in pain) and to physicians, nurses, and humane and good medical care to confuse these situations.
The proper goal of medicine and physicians is to kill the pain. It is not their role to kill the patient – to become society’s executioners – which is what euthanasia entails, no matter how merciful or compassionate our reasons.

Euthanasia becomes a treatment for pain through this false thinking: Canadians are being mislead into thinking there is only 1 choice:
(1.) Alleviate pain that cannot be treated ( which is not true given the new interventions available) and in order to do so we must legalize euthanasia.

It makes people have to agree to BOTH pain relief and euthanasia. Or to reject both which seems unreasonable.

Rights to pain relief have to be accessible (or it is empty words. ) We have serious obligations to make sure that accessible pain relief is available for all of society. Currently access to palliative care is available to only 25% of Canadians. It would be foolish to legalize euthanasia in this situation. This would not be a Liberal response.
I suggest that we Liberals: (1.) take an inventory of where palliation exists in Canada and make sure it is accessible in every region and community. (2.) Steps should be taken to increase the education of palliative care specialists in the country. (3.) Increase the number of students pursuing this specialty. Our seniors deserve this. They have paid into the medical system for many years and it should be there for them when they need it