Friday, October 12, 2007

People Are Paying Attention

When the polls showed little movement, we assumed this was a reflection of the fact that people weren't really paying attention to the internal machinations of the Liberal Party. The latest Ipsos offering suggests there is real damage:

The federal Conservatives have surged to 40 per cent in the popularity sweepstakes, opening a 12-point lead over the Liberals and moving within sight of majority government, a new national poll says.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Reid exclusively for CanWest News Service and Global National, also says that almost seven in 10 respondents believe Canada is "moving in the right track these days," and that almost half (49 per cent) identified with the sentiment that "Stephen Harper has done a good job and deserves re-election" as prime minister.

The poll found Liberal support had dropped to 28 per cent, down four points from the August survey. The NDP dropped one point to 16 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois held at eight per cent, and the Green party was down one point to seven per cent.

Bricker said the latest survey's Quebec results show how the Liberals have fallen in Dion's home province. At only 18 per cent support, the party is only four points ahead of the NDP, and trails far behind the Bloc at 33 per cent and the Conservatives at 27 per cent. The Green party polled at seven per cent.

The really concerning part, Ontario, where Harper takes the lead:
The picture was slightly brighter for the Liberals in Ontario, where they trail the Conservatives by only three points, 40 per cent to 37. The NDP was well back at 14 per cent, and the Greens had eight per cent.

British Columbia (high margin of error):
the Conservatives held a strong lead in British Columbia, with 40 per cent support, compared to 30 per cent for the NDP and 23 per cent for the Liberals.

Atlantic (high MOE):
Atlantic Canada was a bright spot for the Liberals. Their support stood at 45 per cent, compared with 37 per cent for the Conservatives, 15 per cent for the NDP, and four per cent for the Green party.

The Quebec numbers are good news for Harper, hopeful for Layton and predictably bad for Dion. What should be giving the Conservative strategists the final election push, the encouraging numbers in Ontario, where Harper takes the lead for the first time in months.

As I've argued before, it is pretty intuitive to think a barrage of negative press coverage translates in the polls. Harper has finally moved his numbers, while the Liberals hit bottom.

Somehow I suspect the throne speech language just got tougher. My opinion remains the same, primarily because I see nothing on the horizon that changes the dynamics.


Dr. Tux said...


I hope this translates into hardline, tough-guy language in the Throne Speech.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

This is just one poll, but I do think the trend as of now is favourable to the Conservatives, but as I've seen in the past, this can all change during the course of a campaign.

I would though be interested on how you take the Liberal win in Ontario. On the one hand this should sound like good news for the Liberals in terms of suggesting Liberalism is alive and well in Ontario. On the other hand, Ontario has a long history of voting for opposite parties federally and provincially (i.e. Davis and Trudeau in the 70s, Mulroney and Peterson in the 80s, and Chretien and Harris in the 90s).

Anonymous said...

I am really happy with the changes Dion has made (e.g adding Turner and Rae). I think it is a very hopeful sign.

Anonymous said...

The BC numbers need to be considered.

Dion now third choice behind Harper and Layton.

With many Liberal-NDP tight races in the Lower Mainland, this is where the election will be decided.
Dion has been hoping for major traction as a result of his green agenda. To do this, Dion needs to win the air war which for has not been favourable to him.

Jim said...

Woman at Mile 0 said...
I am really happy with the changes Dion has made (e.g adding Turner and Rae). I think it is a very hopeful sign.

You are happy with that? Turner is a self important, bellicose moron and Rae is unelected. Yup great move!

Look for more old guard Libs to come into the picture as well to try and put the party back on the rails...the optics will be great for Harper.

Now that Rae is on board we don't want to hear any whining about Michael Fortier anymore, got it?

Steve V said...

"Now that Rae is on board we don't want to hear any whining about Michael Fortier anymore, got it?"

Rae would already be elected, if not for Harper's games with the by-elections. Fortier had his chance to run in Quebec, didn't he? Put a sock in it Jim, you have no point.

Rae will do a good job, well versed, articulate and experienced.


The BC numbers are suspicious, all the other polls have shown a very tight three way race. The margin of error is high.


Actually, this is now two polls. This week's Decima poll also had a 7% point spread, so this could be a trend, which isn't really surprising, given what has happened.

Lept said...

Ouch, really depressing stuff to come home to - from a family dinner.
A family dinner at which I continued my straw polling of fellow Parti Québécois voters in the clan. Wanting to confirm that this is not simply my perception as an 'outsider'.
The responses to my questions:
1.)Chance of separation?;
2.)Do you want Canada weakened (as in what Harper is doing)?;
3.)Would you vote for a clear NEW alternative that dealt with such issues as the environment on a federal level?;
Answers were:
Adamantly no;
Adamantly no;
Adamantly yes - if they respect 'us' and are not Québec-haters like Dion.
The recent conflict in the Liberal party has only solidified the obvious reality - across Canada - that Dion is an unilingual disaster with no vision but the tired old platitudes of the automated flag waving that Chretienites have made a fortune off of.

Steve V said...


That small sample tells us a great deal. I wonder if Harper gets some votes by default? Sounds like your group is waiting for something to fill the void.

Lept said...

Most of us will grudgingly vote Bloc - it was interesting hearing mu=y cousin Michelle - truly hardnosed separatist - anguish about how our votes will probably help Harper.
The Bloc is seen even by her as negative and redundant.

Koby said...

The BC numbers need to be considered

In the past 5 years the Liberals have always polled well in BC between elections and then were overtaken by the Conservatives when it all mattered. These latest polls are quite a change. I have a feeling talking to Liberals here that it could be a real blood bath and the Liberals could loose 4 (Bell, Wilson, Chan, Dhaliwal) or even 5 seats (K Martin) in BC

Anonymous said...

Steve V,
Can you tell my why, if lept can go out and get straght forward answers to straight forward questions, why the Liberals in Quebec (for that matter all of Canada) don't seem to have done the same thing, or have they, and for whatever reason, have not been able formulate (here comes the hard part) a much needed NEW and CLEAR alternative.

Lept - must have been very a interesting conversation, thanks for the summary.

Anonymous said...


If this is true than the Grits will have Dosanjh as the sole survivor and Joyce Murray joining him. This leaves Hedy who does not have an easy ride against Adrienne Carr and David Emerson's seat.

Steve V said...


It boggles the mind that the Liberal Party can think the old tired lines will resonate. I've asked the question before, what exactly is the Liberals strategy in Quebec? Seems like auto-pilot, because there is nothing fresh that I can see.

lance said...

Geez. And here I bit back a too vitreous comment in the "Rubbing Salt" thread.

I deleted a reply to a comment from you Steve that quoted Scotian saying that Canadians are recognizing "contempt" and then in the same comment quoted Gayle that Canadians weren't paying attention.

I guess I should have had two follow-ups.

The first would have been: pick one.

The second would have been something like: "Canadians might not be watching, but those hypothetical people represented by that guy in the second cubicle who bores us with politics is, and the Mom. And Dad. Same with the sisters husband that works at the TV station.

Canadians in general might be more caught up in the race to the Grey Cup, but that doesn't mean their minds and ears aren't open."

But, then, the bit bucket got my comment as I figured it would just stir up the hornets.

Seems I would have looked smart had I posted it. C'est la vie, opportunity lost.

Koby said...

Mushroom: I will be very surprised if Hedy lost. She won by nearly 10,000 votes and is a very well liked and well regarded. She is arguably the most socially liberal Liberal MP and Vancouver Center is certainly one of the most socially liberal ridings. Dosanjh is safe. Murray should win, but who knows given how badly things are going. Ditto Emerson’s former seat. I think Martin will survive. He seems to have 9 lives. Put another Liberal in there and there is no way the Liberals hold that seat. Blair Wilson, Don Bell, Raymond Chan and Dhaliwal are in for a real fight. North Vancouver and West Vancouver are blue Liberal seats and the Liberals lack the SSM issue this time around. To make matters worse, the Conservatives have replaced the crusading Cindy Silver in North Vancouver with Andrew Saxton a successful secular businessperson from a very wealthy family. In 2000 the Alliance took Richmond. However, in 2002 Reform candidate quite over Alliance over Harper’s defense of Betty Granger, of “Asian invasion fame”, and went over the Liberals. The Liberals won Richmond handily in 2004, but time, Harper’s stance on the Chinese head tax and people’s growing comfort with Harper means Richmond is a best a toss up. It was much closer in 2005/6 than in 2006. As for Dhaliwal, I am he will be involved in tight three way race again.

Anonymous said...


If Dion loses more traction to Layton then Keith Martin is a dead duck. Dippers are targeting his riding real bad.

In Richmond, John Reynolds' preferred candidate was knocked off by the homophobe Alice Wong. This shows that the BC Cons are a wild bunch. My dad will be the happiest Chinaman in Canada if Ray Chan loses his seat (will never forgive him on the head tax issue) so the animosity is there. But, Alice Wong (shakes head), I am getting leery.

For Sukh Dhaliwal, he can be knocked off by the return of Gurmant Grewal. Of course, I will not shed a tear if the Dippers take this riding.

Like I said, these ridings will swing depending on the air war and Dion is arguably weak here.

Koby said...

Alice Wong has been in there before and she got killed. I am glad she is the candidate again. That said, I do not think her being a homophobe will have that must traction. Reid, of Focus on the Family fame, was not known for his enlightened views on homosexuality and he came pretty close to winning last time. Moreover, SSM is not on the table this time around. It will be Don Bell that will really miss the SSM issue. It was the bread and butter issue last time. Silver’s social conservative views were the focus of virtually all the local and national media coverage. She was a god sent literally.

Ever since Keith Martin moved over the Liberals there has been talk of either the NDP or the Conservatives taking the seat. Either has a god shot at it, but unless the Liberals really tank I think he holds on.

Gurmant Grewal will not win. He is time bomb waiting to go off in Conservative’s face. Do you know any immigration Vancouver immigration lawyers specializing in immigration? Ask them about Grewal.

Anonymous said...

Keith Martin is toast - stick a fork in him

Grewal is not running again - the tory candidate in that riding is a former Liberal staffer, I forget his name (sandeep something.)

OMG we now have staffers defecting and running to the tories, either a sign they are more central now or so devoid of candidates that liberals can win their seats....


ottlib said...

I wonder how things will go now that the bad publicity that the Liberals had been experiencing has died down?

As well, I wonder how they will go when Canadians see these estimates and begin digesting the idea of a Harper Majority government?

I wonder how things will go once The House resumes this week and as it continues. This poll pretty much guarantees no election any time soon.

Steve: you mention that this could be the beginning of a trend. Perhaps. However, a much longer trend has been happening in this country that shows that Canadians have not embraced Mr. Harper and the Conservatives. I have not seen anything in the last few weeks or months that would change that.

Bad publicity might have caused people to turn away from the Liberals but that does not mean that they have accepted Mr. Harper. So it is logical that once the bad publicity dies down things could turn around.

Oh yes, just so you know, Ipsos-Reid has always shown the Conservatives to be in the lead in BC, within the MOA in Ontario, leading in the West and ahead of the Liberals in Quebec. As well, they usually show the Liberals in the high 20' with occasional forays to 30%. This has happened even when other polls have shown much different results. So we need to keep that in mind when assessing these estimates. Consider the source.

ottlib said...

Sorry, I am away from home this weekend so I have alot of time on my hands. It gives me way too much time to think of politics. (Which cannot be good for anybody.) :-)

Public polls lag internal political polls because they are taken over a set period whereas political parties tend to use tracking polls. Think SES tracking polls during elections.

Both of these public polls were taken either last weekend or early last week so they are already out of date. As well, most of these polls are done for news organizations who commission polls to keep a media narrative going. Political parties on the other hand use polls for decision making so they actually ask for polls that are more "objective".

We have had two public polls showing an uptick in Conservative support yet Mr. Harper takes a more conciliatory approach. By that I mean his backing away from his threat to make every vote in the upcoming session a confidence vote.

This from a guy who only take such an approach when it suits his political purposes and never when he believes that he is dealing from a position of strength.

Something is up.

Steve V said...

"We have had two public polls showing an uptick in Conservative support yet Mr. Harper takes a more conciliatory approach. By that I mean his backing away from his threat to make every vote in the upcoming session a confidence vote."

What is up, Harper is clawing back, for fear of looking to opportunistic. I honestly think it's framing, more than any fear of an election.

"As well, I wonder how they will go when Canadians see these estimates and begin digesting the idea of a Harper Majority government?"

I think that is a critical point, especially in Ontario, where any sense of majority will turn people back to the Liberals.