Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nanos Poll

A new Nanos Poll, which comes just a couple weeks since his last offering. The striking parts of the poll, a national deadheat, with the Liberals well ahead in Ontario, the NDP withering:

A new Nanos Research-Sun Media poll shows the two main parties each with 34% of support from committed voters. Both have made slight gains since early February -- at the expense of the New Democrats.

Support for the Bloc Quebecois and the Greens remained stable through the month.

"We have a dead heat," said pollster Nik Nanos. "If an election were precipitated as a result of the budget, it's really anybody's game."

Nanos poll released February 4 had it:

Cons 31
Libs 34
NDP 19
Greens 8

Conservatives up 3, Liberals up 1, NDP down 5, Greens no change.

Part of the reason for the NDP's apparent decline, which we have seen elsewhere, might have something to do with the Afghanistan debate. The NDP has been largely marginalized in the media coverage, as people focus on the two main party positions. I think it fair to say the NDP has been relegated to the sidelines on this issue, really not part of the process moving forward. I'm not suggesting that the NDP won't have an argument in an election campaign, but during this exercise, clearly in the shadows.

Many of the other polls have shown a tightening in Ontario, or an outright Conservative lead. Nanos offers a completely different finding, in fact the Liberals have extended their lead:
Liberals 46%(+3 Feb 4 poll)
Conservatives 31%(unchanged)
NDP 14(-5)
Greens 9(+2)

Interesting dynamic in Ontario, the NDP drops considerably, which would appear to benefit the Liberals and Greens. Nationally, there is no co-relation, the NDP drop isn't accompanied by a Liberal rise, in fact it is the Conservatives that are up.

I honestly don't know what to say about these Ontario numbers. If Nanos is correct, then the Liberals are positioned to gain considerably in Ontario. I know Nanos is the "guru", and I generally trust his results, but I'm reacting with some suspicion to these Ontario numbers, the gap just seems too wide to be believable. My gut tells me Ontario is closer than this poll suggests, but who I am to question the soothsayer.


Oxford County Liberals said...

I'm just pleased that Nanos is doing a quick follow-up poll to his last noe. Perhaps with all the other polls gyrating all over the place, he decided to do another look-see. I hope he continues to do that.

Steve V said...

I'm glad he did another one so soon, because sometimes the results tend to look outdated, or you question them, because there are so many "fresh" ones. Maybe he senses an election?

Oxford County Liberals said...

As for the Ontario results, I wonder if Jim Flaherty's sniping about how the Federal Cons. don't believe in helping out Ontario's struggling industries with financial aid, and instead attacking McGuinty for not doing tax relief (and earning a blistering response from Sandra Pupatello) might

Steve V said...

I wonder if Flaherty is gunning for Tory's job? Apparently, he voted for a leadership review, which is interesting.

Oxford County Liberals said...

yea,, who knows.. maybe he wants his wife to run the PC's ;)

As for my last post.. I posted before I meant to.. I was just speculating whether his public attacks might have moved the Ontatio #'s up for the Federal Liberals, since everyone remembers what Flaherty did here under hArris (which Pupatello helpfully pointed out)

Oxford County Liberals said...

By the way, I know you don't always like what Warren K. has to say, but what do you think of this column he mentioned doing in the Hill Times before the Nanos poll got released? Makes a lot of sense to me.

Steve V said...


Seems to speak to Dion's inability to reign in his caucus. Part of the confusion comes from different MP's suggesting vastly different positions. I had a hard time reconciling what Coderre was saying, compared to what Rae was saying, compared to what Goodale was saying... Maybe Dion needs to pass out approved soundbites like Harper does?

Gayle said...

Steve - I said this on the thread below. It seems to me that it is easy to blame Dion, and I am concerned that doing so will mean the party itself remains damaged. This is a minority parliament with the liberals as the opposition. No leader would be in a position to control the MP's who wanted to undermine him. You cannot kick out half your caucus when you could be in election mode any moment.

When this party starts behaving more like a party that is interested in governing Canada, rather than a party that believes it is entitled to power, I will blame the leader, Right now it just looks like a bunch of pouting children who did not get their way so they are going to ruin it for everyone.

Steve V said...


Maybe Dion needs to spend less time trying to accomodate everyone's delicate sensibilites and start laying down the law.

wilson said...

Flaherty didn't come out sniping until the 20th, ran his 'Mcguinty is Ontario problem' on the 21st.
The poll wrapped up on the 20th, so the reaction to Flaherty is not much of a factor in this poll.

''...Finally, over 19% said they would vote Liberal for the party's "policies" -- or at least what they must imagine the Grit platform would be
if (a) there was one;
and (b) Dion could actually articulate it...'

A tough spot for Libs, this 19% likely includes those borrowed Dipper votes, still giving the Libs the benefit of the doubt.

An election on actual policy will certainly be a welcome change.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think it is more a timing issue if anything since the Nanos poll was conducted when most other polls showed the Liberals with a more solid lead in Ontario, while now that lead seems to have evaporated. As I've said elsewhere the Tories have a lock on about a 20 seats and up to 60 seats are potentially winneable, while the remaining 46 seats are off limits in Ontario.

I also wonder how the sniping between Flaherty and McGuinty will work out since Ontario does seem to have a history of wanting different parties in power at the federal level and provincial level and it is not as though Davis and Trudeau, Mulroney and Peterson, or Harris and Chretien didn't go at each other's throats frequently too.

Oxford County Liberals said...

The poll just wrapped up 4 days ago, as Wilson said. Are you saying Nanos's results are an outlier in Ontario, Miles? I'll trust Nanos over the other guys - particularly SC.

Steve V said...


You might be right, with all the recent polls disputing NANOS earlier Ontario numbers, it might have prodded him to see if this quick erosion was real.

The Libs near 50% in Ontario, that is hard to swallow for me, regardless of pollster reputation.

RuralSandi said...

Boy, Layton is smking something these days - his head is in the clouds. He says he's asking for Liberal votes to get rid of Harper - duh? This would ensure a Harper majority - I don't think Canadians are that stupid. Are Layton's days numbered with obnoxious and ambitious Mulcair around? I wonder.

Reality check - why would Liberals put out their policies prior to an election - Harper would either adopt some or try to destroy them. I think putting them out now would be foolish.

Anonymous said...

"or at least what they must imagine the Grit platform would be
if (a) there was one;
and (b) Dion could actually articulate it..."

I see Wilson is adding editorial commentary as findings from a poll and fact. Typical neo-tory.

Tomm said...

All of this polling is just candy until the writ is dropped. The writ only gets dropped if the Liberals decide to drop it.

I agree with Peter Donolo in his saying that whatever the numbers are when the writ is dropped is just how the horses start the race, not how they finish.

At some point the Liberal's have to take the plunge unless they wish to wait on Harper's imposed date, which seems a bit weak.

The NDP is certainly tryig to exploit it.


liberazzi said...

I am glad to see that Canadians do not seem to be buying into the whole "leadership" question, which is somewhat irrelevant in my view. It's too bad that Nanos did not wait until after the budget, then we could get a truer tale of where everyone stands. The reason why Canadians are comfortable with the Libs (which really seems to tick off Weston), regardless of who is leading the Libs is that they can balance out the views on the left and the right. Thus, voters feel safe that the Libs are not going to pull the country too far left or too far right. However, in turn they can pick out the best policies of both sides to the benefit of the country ie. being socially progressive vs. being economically prudent.

Personally, I will be very disappointed, if not down right angry, if the Libs continue to back down time and again against voting down the Cons. Leadership may not be a key factor for voters, but perception is. The perception that the Libs are a bunch of opportunists, with no clear convictions and seemingly no confidence in their leader, will only cause to hurt the party in the next election. The question btw the Cons vs. Libs needs to be decided by an election, not by weekly polls. Moreover, the Harper/Dion question will continue to remain murky, which only an election can solve. Dion's personal numbers are what they are and they are not going to improve, regardless of what pair of glasses he purchases. Oh wait, maybe if he ditches the napsack, then that might be the trick;)

Also, I thought the Libs have limited resourses. If that is true then why are some Libs saying that they can blow a bunch of money on 4by-elections in order to gain some sort momentum, then blow another whack of money on a real election whenever that happens? If the Libs can afford to blow a bunch of money on a bunch of frivolous by-elections, then maybe they do not require as much of my monetary resources anymore.

In short, lets get on with it already!

RuralSandi said...

Donolo also said that the leadership poll doesn't mean a thing. The incumbant always polls higher. He said Kim Campbell polled much higher than Chretien, Martin than Harper - so, actually the leadership poll is doo doo.

If I'm not mistaken, Harper polled between 19% and 10% from April to June of 2004.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Scott Tribe - I thought the poll was taken on February 4th. However, I generally tend to look at the trends of the polls. Considering how volatile the numbers are, it could be that the Liberals have regained their lead. I rarely take any one poll at face value. I should note that at the beginning of the month, most polls showed the Liberals with a ten point lead and now most showed them near tied.

Steve V said...

"If I'm not mistaken, Harper polled between 19% and 10% from April to June of 2004."

Sandi, I'm not big on this analogy, using Harper to argue Dion could eventually do the same. Harper benefited from Liberal scandals, a "kick the bums out" mentality. His last campaign was basically a stay out of the way affair, and even then he was only able to manage a fragile minority. People still don't like Harper, he just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, after 13 years people wanted a change, his only challenge, try not to look too scary.

Karen said...

Steve: People still don't like Harper, he just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, after 13 years people wanted a change, his only challenge, try not to look too scary.

Agreed. Canadians still may not see him as scary and while I beg to differ, they don't see him as he see's himself either.

I laughed out loud when I heard Layton again today, do his lend me your vote routine. I think he's marginalizing himself on many counts and while he keeps trotting out his star Mulcair, that man can be really nasty. Righteous indignation is one thing, but attacking everything in your sight line is not endearing, imo and all of the NDP team is doing that. They are looking more and more like the irrelevant national Party.

It's an interesting poll to be sure.

Steve V said...


I'm not sure Mulclair is wearing well. At first, I thought he looked pretty impressive, eloquent, definite leadership possibilities. Now, the more I see him, the more you sense that he does have a "nasty" streak, a bit of a used cars salesman vibe.

Karen said...

Weird isn't it? I don't know much about his history in Quebec. How did he conduct himself there?

Used car salesman, hmmm? An articulate Dean Del Mastro comes to mind. Nasty!

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I would generally agree people aren't exactly keen on Harper, although I don't think people find him quite as scary as they did in 2004. I still believe he would be a lot more right wing if he won a majority and I think most Canadians feel the same way, but unlike 2004, people are comfortable with him holding a minority government, just not a majority government.

I get the impression people aren't overly impressed with Harper and would happily kick him out and if there was a better alternative, but at the same tolerate him enough to re-elect him if there is no viable alternative. The question now is whether Dion is a viable alternative. Since Dion is still new and most people don't know him too well, I think a lot will depend on the campaign. If Dion pleasantly surprises people, I think he could win a sizeable minority government, while if he runs a disastrous campaign, the Liberals will probably lose seats. A lot can change during the course of a campaign, after all Harper trailed in pretty much every poll prior to the 2006 election campaign and here in Ontario John Tory polled better in pretty much every pre-election poll over what he actually got on election day.

Karen said...

Miles, one advatanges I see in the Con's running these stupid ad's, trying to define Dion, is that he is not what they have portrayed.

Yes, an election campaign will be the test. If it's comprised of taking him out of context by the Con's and the media eating that up, all bets are off and they'd better be called on it.

If he's offered up, warts and all, he won't come close to the caricature that the Con's are so eager to portray. Indeed, that may be their downfall. Too much false advertising about Dion and not enough honest portrayal of Harper.

Tomm said...

Good point about Mulcair,he is showing his canine's a bit too much. Certainly the case during QP today.

The NDP problem is themselves. They are still a party of Trade Unionists, marginalized socialists, and old hippies.

They've got to grow out of this 60's vibe and start trying to relate to the world as it exists, not how they wish it to exist.

They have somehow got to change. If they don't change than the Liberal Party will continue to have a pool of potential voters just to the left of them that they can draw on when needed.

Don't worry that there won't be a poll after the budget, you can bet there will be at least 3 within the week.


Anonymous said...

Caveat: CPC blogger

You guys might dislike the neg ads, but in relation to the not a leader stuff it must really hurt that its true.

I frickin hated Trudeau...but he was a leader

I frickin despised Chretien...but he was a leader too.

We are not lieing or embellishing when we say Stephane is not a leader. The proof is a proof.

Anonymous said...