Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ignatieff Mania Begins To Take Root?

Just joking, but maybe instructive for poll chasing. The latest EKOS is just one poll, but it's also a large sample that has shown some "wild" swings in support, leaving people scrambling for reasons. As I argued last week, it is the "realm of fools" to be definitive or draw far reaching conclusions based on a not yet sustained trend. I also mentioned a caution with Ontario, particularly the subset of voters that change on a whim, they've done it the past, they've done it in the present and we will see more in the future. The Conservatives have a 30% floor, as do the Liberals, while both seem to top out around 40%, the national numbers largely move with the flirting voter. There is nothing new in that proclamation, in reality it is the most well established fact in polling. The EKOS poll the latest example to back up the theory, as once again the vast majority of the huge shift comes with the "whim" Ontario voter.

Nationally, a large move, a 13% lead has largely evaporated to a mych more precarious 5% lead. Not only are Conservatives suddenly not flirting with majority, they are well below their 2006 election total, a very unimpressive 32%, all those weeks of upward momentum gone, right back to the previous predicament. The Liberals bounce back a bit, still challenged but enough to quite the jackals for now. When you look at the regionals, the Ontario volatility shows itself once again. Last EKOS in brackets:
Liberals 36.4% (30.3%)
Conservatives 35.9% (41.5%)
NDP 14.2% (13.6%)
Greens 10.3% (12%)

MOE 3.3

A terrific shift, the Conservatives go from a commanding 11% lead to the Liberals slightly ahead, statistically tied. There's your story with this poll, soft as Phil Kessel in the corners, these voters move on anything and everything, predicting where they land on election day, well... What is instructive, to know this reality, which probably explains why I didn't feel compelled to jump off a bridge the last two weeks as negative polls poured in. A few months of the same, then you can argue a new normal in Ontario, but we've simply seen this game way to many times to not preach caution. Digest yes, change direction, absolutely not. Okay, so Ontario volatile, Ontario whimsical, a large subset of voters available come the campaign, not particularly impressed and/or committed to anyone.

Moving to Quebec, there does seem to be a new dynamic that is becoming a common occurrence, namely the Liberals now mired in the teens, poll after poll, lumped in with the Conservatives as the federalist option. If people wonder why the Liberals can't touch 30%, it is the steady erosion in Quebec that provides the answer. When Ignatieff took the helm, for months we saw neck and neck with the Bloc, above 30% in the province, providing a nice boost to the federal numbers. The Quebec numbers stagnating, plateaued, until Coderre, where we went back to the mid 20's, again another meander period and now in the last few months a steady, slow decline to the present abysmal numbers. Students in Quebec politics will also remind us that Quebecers are completely disengaged at the moment, so while disappointing probably not dire. That said, one still wonders why the graph has such a persistent downward gradient over time. If I'm looking to the polls for any guidance, I'm ignoring Ontario, but I think Quebec is a present problem for the Liberals.

Until next time....


utterlyuseless said...

Here's hoping that a new party flourishes in Quebec that splits the Bloc vote....stranger things have happened.

doconnor said...

"The latest EKOS is just one poll, but it's also a large sample that has shown some "wild" swings in support, leaving people scrambling for reasons."

I would have thought to reasons where obvious. The Conservatives where up one week because of their ads and down the next week because of NOT-gate.

Tof KW said...

doconnor, I'm sure Bev Oda is part of it. The other is the now famous trend that whenever Harper's numbers approach majority territory, they usually come crashing down just as quickly ...because people remember this is Harper we're talking about.

Dylan said...

"There's your story with this poll, soft as Phil Kessel in the corners..."

No matter how bleak the situation may be for the LPC, it's never so bad that one cannot jab at the Leafs.

CK said...

@utterlyuseless: How on earth would a potential new provincial party in Quebec split the Bloc (a federal party) vote?? One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Steve V said...


Win tonight, only four back! ;)

I'm not sure this is all Oda, because we've seen the pattern so many times. I also don't think voters go "oh, he's getting close to majority" and then change preference. Maybe they attack ads created an artificial temporary high and/or election speculation and it just ebbing back.

Steve V said...

And, right on time, Harris Decima comes out with a poll showing Oda isn't resonating at all:

Sean Cummings said...

What would be exceedingly cool would be for the three parties in Ottawa that don't want to destroy the country to work together in the next election with the sole purpose of defeating the Bloc as opposed to each other.

Hell would freeze over first, I imagine, but wouldn't it be great if the Libs, Tories and Dippers declared war on the Bloc?

Steve V said...

Unfortunately, everyone seems content to play footsie with soft nationalists, this is how the NDP are trying to make inroads.

On the Liberal front, I'm not overly impressed with our Quebec strategy, we aren't very aggressive with the Bloc.

Sean Cummings said...

See, now Bob Rae is insulting Jihadists when he could easily go after separatists. The old fart must not have had his Ovaltine today.

Omar said...

Polls, shmolls. By the way, Rob Silver called, he wants his joke back ;-)