Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Decima Poll

Decima shows a widening gap between the Liberals and Conservatives:
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey indicates the Conservatives actually increased their lead over the Liberals, despite days of highly charged politicking over the dealings between the former prime minister and the German-Canadian businessman.

The poll, conducted last weekend, showed the Conservatives with 36 per cent support, compared with 28 per cent for the Liberals.
The NDP were at 17 per cent, the Greens, 11, and eight per cent of respondents backed the Bloc Quebecois.

Last week's Decima poll for context:
The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey put popular support for the Tories at 33 per cent - well short of majority government territory - with the Liberals at 29 per cent.

The NDP was at 17 per cent, the Green party at 12 and the Bloc Quebecois at eight.

Anderson said the provincial sample is small enough that drawing conclusions from a single survey is iffy, but the trends are clear over three weeks and they show the Tories challenging the Bloc strongly.

"You could probably make the case that in Quebec, where the Conservative numbers have shown up pretty strongly this week, that we do know that Quebec voters are pretty fed up with allegations of corruption and scandal and that sort of thing," he said.
"It's probably reasonable to assume that they like the way that Stephen Harper reacted to the Mulroney affair."

He said the Tories seem to be making progress in Quebec.

"On balance, it looks like those nationalist Quebec voters, those BQ voters from previous elections are saying that the Conservatives, so far, are on the right track."

This is all margin of error stuff, but if you look at the apparent uptick, Quebec might be the key. Mulroney is a different entity in Quebec, than in the rest of the country, so the government may be less vulnerable. Last week Anderson was cautioning that the fallout of the Mulroney affair wasn't fully reflected in their poll, this week would give a clearer picture. At the very least, further evidence that this entire affair has been met with a giant yawn from the people.


ottlib said...

Since every estimate for this poll is within the MOE from the last poll how much of this is actual change in support and how much is polling error?

As well, I love it when pollsters say the sample for a particular part of the country is so small that drawing conclusions is iffy but they draw conclusions anyway.

Mr. Anderson is right, it is more than iffy to draw conclusions regarding Conservative fortunes in Quebec from this poll and if he was allowed to he would have left it at that. However, his media client insisted on some sort of conclusion and he gave it and it is interesting because of what it says about the continued media narrative.

Steve, you mentioned in a previous post how the media narrative could be changing. The spin on the Quebec numbers given by Mr. Anderson would seem to indicate that it is not changing that much.

ottlib said...

Oh yes, the Mulroney-Schreiber affair is just starting so you cannot draw any conclusions about how it will effect the political landscape yet. Do not even try.

We are months away from seeing the true fallout of this affair.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see the reaction to Mulroney's "confession". A man struggling with a young family who didn't have enough money and accepted $300,000 in cash because Schreiber said that was how we worked and he didn't have to declare it as income because it was a retainer and he didn't have to mention it before because he wasn't asked. Does that sound plausible enough, you think? He also tries to take down two liberals with him, although one is dead and the other was out of politics for a decade at the time Mulroney is referring to.

Steve V said...


As it relates to Quebec, Anderson's assertion finds backing from the outside. It's not like other firms, or exclusive Quebec polls, also haven't found much the same, so I'm willing to buy the "spin".

This Mulroney issue may well take months, but I suspect we will all be so bored to tears, if we aren't already, that it will be a blip in the end, at least for the Conservatives.

ottlib said...


We should be endeavouring to look past the spin.

Look at past Quebec support patterns and how they are playing out now and you will note that what we are seeing from Quebec right now is unique in recent political history.

Quebecers rarely sit on the fence in between elections. When Trudeau was in power Quebecers largely supported the Liberals, at least until the end. The same is true with Brian Mulroney. When it was Chretien they supported the Bloc. (Mr. Chretien's success in the 2000 election had more to do with voter efficiency than real voter support.)

In all cases the party that lead did so by more that 20 points.

Now they are indecisive. The Bloc lead over the Conservatives is not very large nor is the Conservative lead over the Liberals. The numbers seem to bounce around between polls. In short there is no clear choice for Quebecers and that makes the situation fluid. A rarity in between elections in Quebec.

That is what the polls are telling me these days about Quebec and all of my years of observing politics in this country gives me very little clue of how it will all shake out in the end.

The inquiry could very well be a bore but then again maybe not. We will have to wait and see.

Steve V said...


I completely agree that any support is SOFT and things can well change. I do however see a Liberal ceiling in the near term, as they seem to be the 3rd or 4th choice with many voters. The vaciliation seems to be with other parties, everyone is complete unison on the Liberal numbers.

ottlib said...


By definition if support for a party is fluid the lack of support for its competitors is also fluid.

So to say Bloc and Conservative support is soft while the lack of Liberals support is set is a bit of a logical disconnect.

Like I said I have been an observer of politics in this country, both from the inside and the outside, for many years, and the current situation in Quebec is new to me.

Part of me agrees with you but that part of me that says "question everything, do not take anything for granted" keeps nagging me not to draw any conclusions just yet.

Anonymous said...


I know polls make good copy for a blogger, but they are not helpful right now.

Harper is not going to blink, and unless there is some rumor that Dion is thinking of pulling the plug, the pollsters are just wasting their clients money.


Anonymous said...

There are far, far too many polls. We're getting like CNN - a couple of polls a day.

Enough already.

SES at least stretch it out more and are far more accurate.

Anonymous said...

yeah....as much as I like to see the conservatives ahead in polls and crap, I really don't believe for a second that they matter. the only poll that ever matters is on election day.

ottlib said...


Polls are used by the media to back up a narrative not to really inform people of how Canadians are thinking

Paul Martin could not grow his support between 2004 and 2006 and it was big news for the whole period

Stephen Harper finds himself in the very same situation and it is ignored. In fact the media has had to resort to using the "internals" of polls to back up its narrative because the "horse-race" numbers are contradicting it.

The Sun Group's recent use of the leadership numbers of the recent SES Poll while ignoring the party support estimates is a case in point.

I do not believe the Sun ever published the party support numbers for a poll that they paid for. I had to find those results on the SES website.

Public polls are a media tool and nothing more.