Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Different Numbers, Same Trends

Two new polls today, both of which are worrying for the Conservatives, potentially good news for the Liberals. Decima shows a deadheat, while Strategic Counsel has a large lead for the Conservatives. I'll explain why I think both polls are good for the Liberals, first blush aside.

First the numbers:

The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey had support for both the major federal parties flatlining at 32 per cent.

The NDP was at 17 per cent, the Bloc Québécois 9 per cent and the Green party was at 8 per cent.

Strategic Counsel:

Tories had the support of 38 per cent of the electorate, down only one point from last month. The Stéphane Dion-led Liberals remained static at 27 per cent, while the NDP jumped two points to 14 per cent and the Greens stayed the same at 12.

Decima actually has the Liberals up 32-30 in there last week of polling. Of note, the Conservatives were as high as 35% four weeks ago, Liberals unchanged.

Where is the good news in the Strategic Counsel poll? National results can tend to skew seat totals, and in this poll, we see that the Conservatives ridiculous support in Alberta, and other parts of the west, are skewing the national results, leaving a false impression. Last month, SC basically had the same national results, but in the regionals we saw the Conservatives ahead 42-34 in Ontario, beating the Liberals 22-19 in Quebec. Things have changed, and when you factor these results, any perceived Conservative "lead" is less impressive:
In Ontario, the Tories are marginally ahead of the Liberals, 37-34...

In Quebec, the Tories enjoy the support of 20 per cent of voters, compared with the Liberals, at 23 per cent.

Trending down in Ontario, now in third in Quebec. Certainly not the majority numbers the national presentation entertains. One caveat for Conservative supporters, Strategic Counsel, while it recognizes erosion in Ontario, it is the only pollster to still give them a lead. In fact, Ipsos, Nanos and Decima all give the Liberals large leads, so SC would appear an outlier.


In Ontario, Liberals lead with 43 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 32, the NDP at 14 and the Greens at nine....

In Quebec, the survey put the Bloc on top with 37 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 27, the Tories at 19, NDP at 12 and Greens with four.

One month ago, Decima had the Tories and Liberals tied in Ontario at 40%, Tories tied in Quebec 23-22%. There has been erosion every since, to the point now, supported by other polls, where the numbers actually suggest a Liberal government.

Strategic Counsel overstates the Conservative support in Ontario, and this may explain part of the national lead. However, watching the trends with a particular outfit, you see that SC isn't much different from Decima, both show the Conservatives falling in Ontario and the Liberals rebounding somewhat in Quebec. In fact, every single national pollster has shown the same trends, making the prospects good that this is real movement.

Decima's Anderson was on Newman's show today, talking about his poll. He mentioned Cadman, and said he thought that had cost the Conservatives "a couple points". Interestingly, while SC tries to downplay Cadman, we get this admission:

The pollsters said the Liberals should not give up on the Cadman issue, as there may be some underlying weakness to exploit.

Overall, these are good numbers for the Liberals, and nobody should be afraid of the Strategic Counsel results, once you break it down. Two polls, both with encouraging signs, relative to their past findings.


Kris said...

What are the possible upcoming opportunities for an election? An opposition day? Any gov't confidence votes? Regardless of the downturn of votes in Sask. and Quadra, the Liberals need to bring us to the polls within the next month or two.

Karen said...

kris, there are 3 opposition days coming up when the House returns. In the first week in fact.

I doubt the trigger will be pulled then, because Van Loan pushed them out on the Friday when the house broke.

The Con's are going to have to play this very carefully and they imo, will have to do the big dare, again.

My bet is, the Lib's will go at the end of April, early May. You don't want a summer election...no one cares or at least they care less in the summer.

Everyone has been primed to expect an election now and Spring is the time when perhaps we are more alert.

Anyway, that is my guess.

Anonymous said...


You need to take off the rose coloured glasses.

If you see Alberta skewing national results, you also need to see Toronto doing the same. The LPC received the results of some real polling last night. If they force an election, they need to figure out a way to not lose 15% of their support to left wing drain in their urban ridings, and how not to swap 15% with the CPC everywhere else.

They need policies that legitimately differentiate them from their rivals they want to avoid a melt down with a spring election.

My belief is that after gazing into the tea leaves from last night, they will pay off some debt and wait for October 2009.


Steve V said...

"You need to take off the rose coloured glasses."

20/20 here Tomm, four polls, each one Cons trending down in Ontario, nowhere in Quebec. You do the math.

"If you see Alberta skewing national results, you also need to see Toronto doing the same."

Toronto isn't 70% Liberal, that's the difference.


I heard today May is the new "it" date.

There is an opportunity here, their tactics are failing where they have to grow.

Karen said...

Tomm, I really do not understand why the Con's continue to suggest that the Lib's should lay their platform out?

Would the Con's do that if the position was reversed? No.

The fact that they, the Con's, have no platform, save to look back and blame the Liberals is pathetic.

2 years and we are still at square on. Tough on crime and reviving Liberal measures that they previously either cut or ignored.


Anonymous said...

"If you see Alberta skewing national results, you also need to see Toronto doing the same."

Actually, I was once told by a very right-wing pollster that Toronto tends to be underepresented in most polls as the 416 is the hardest area to get people on the phone in. Which, if true, could actually indicate higher Liberal support in Ontario.

Anonymous said...


I can't help the way you see things, so if you are taking the situation today as good news for the LPC, then fill your boots!

However, in regards to opening up their platform, yes I think the LPC has to do it if they wish to engage Canadians. This yelling at each other in the House is not raising LPC fortunes, neither are the abstentions. If they want to poll higher, it will occur by engaging Canadian's who are thinking and wish to see what their alternatives are.

If they don't then whenever they drop the government and then start laying our their platform, they are competing with a well oiled Tory machine that will include platform ideas (policy a day?), key priorities (5?), plenty of money, and strategic negative advertising (is Karl Rove looking for work?).

If the LPC tries to "shout" their platform over top of that, the only media that will give it play will be the Star and the G&M.

They need to lay it out now to get the broadest coverage otherwise they just play to Toronto and lose everybody else (excepting Danny of course).


Anonymous said...

Just assisting my grade nine daughter with her Grade 9 Academic Math, and read the definition for "outlier". I agree with your use of a new word in my vocabulary.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I have to agree that the numbers in Ontario are not good for the Conservatives at the moment. Interestingly enough, they were close to 40% in most polls before Flaherty decided to pick his fight with Ontario. Now they are in the low 30s most likely which is probably their base. Whenever the right is united, they are pretty much guaranteed to get at least 30% in Ontario, but that is not enough to even form a minority government. Many Tories gloating over the strong by-election results should remember their gains were in Western Canada which is already predominately Tory, so sweeping the region won't do them much good.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, Ipsos, Nanos and Decima all give the Liberals large leads, so SC would appear an outlier."

Uhm? Really?

Take a look at the latest Ipsos poll.


From what I can tell Tory 35%, Libs 31% is not a "large Liberal lead".

How about a little fact checking before you publish bald-faced lies.

ottlib said...


And why don't you actually read Steve's post.

He clearly states that these polling companies indicate the Liberals have substantial leads in Ontario, not nationally.

As well, I would not be too happy about this latest Ipsos poll. When an Ipsos poll shows the gap between the Liberals and the Conservatives is just 4 points things are not good for the Conservatives.

Steve V said...


Hey asshat, why don't you read the post. Ipsos had the Liberals UP 9 in Ontario, whereas a month ago, the Cons were up. Pay attention.

I would add, if you breakdown the Ipsos results, an outfit that "tends to overstate the Conservatives support"(Don Martin, employee of Canwest, which commissions the polls), you actually see a Liberal minority, which might explain why the Liberals issued a press release arguing just that after Ipsos put this poll out.

Ipsos was always the one that had the Cons up in Ontario, while others had very different results. The fact that Con-friendly Ipsos is showing the same trends, should worry the Conservatives.

Sorry Dustin. If you want bald faced lies, might I suggest here.