Friday, August 29, 2008

Nanos Weighs In

A statistical tie, but room for Liberal optimism after the numbers:
Liberal Party 35% (+1)
Conservative Party 33% (NC)
NDP 17% (+2)
BQ 8% (-3)
Green Party 7% (-1)
(*Note: Undecided 16%)

Consistent with Decima's numbers today, and another Liberal high water mark from an individual pollster. Hard to find fault in that fact, especially when you consider Nanos isn't pushing leaners.

BQ 31% (-9)
Conservative Party 25% (+2)
Liberal Party 24% (+2)
NDP 13% (+8)
Green Party 7% (-2)
(*Note: Undecided 14%)

Before my NDP friends get to excited, let's not forget the last NANOS offering had a major slump in support, so this is simply a rebound to the previous mark percentage. Again, another pollster doesn't quite mirror CROP, which makes me more suspicious. If CROP is the best indicator, surely someone else would replicate, the fact no one does- you decide.

Now, the good news, yes GOOD news:
Best PM Question: Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister? [Read and Rotate]

Canada (N=1,000, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)

Stephen Harper 36% (+2)
Jack Layton 17% (+1)
Stephane Dion 15% (NC)
Gilles Duceppe 5% (-2)
Elizabeth May 4% (-3)
None/ Unsure 23% (NC)

Hello in there! Remember when Harper lagged well back in PM numbers, dwarfed by Martin? Cross reference those results with the horserace numbers and you will see a corresponding double digit Liberal lead. The fact that, and this is quite a telling anomaly, the Liberals are slightly ahead, despite this giant leadership chasm, translates to DEEP trouble for the Conservatives. What the above tells me, the Conservatives are at their high water mark, while the Liberals have real potential for further growth.

Is there anyone around, outside of the koolaid crowd, that doesn't think an election campaign offers Dion a chance to improve his standing with Canadians? All Canadians have seen to date, relentless attacks, pundit cynicism, very RARE glimpses of the man himself, that is an objective truth. A campaign affords Dion an OPPORTUNITY (what he does with it, another matter), a feisty debater, a guy who actually can mix it up thank you very much. In other words, this is the bottom for Dion, and yet the Liberals are well positioned. So, at worst, it remains the same, but anything else, should result in increased Liberal fortunes.

Harper routs Dion on leadership, and yet the Liberals have a slight advantage. There are only two places for that gap to fluctuate, either it stays the same or Dion narrows. The latter is victory, the former is potential victory. I'll take that everyday, and the Conservatives inability to capitalize on the perceived weakness of Dion should be quite concerning.


The regionals provide more good news:


Libs 42%
Cons 29%
NDP 21%
Greens 8%

NDP showing an uptick, Conservatives still fading. Maybe we aren't in a "technical" recession afterall Mr. Harper. Those numbers translate to a sizeable seat gain for the Liberals.

Nanos also shows the Liberals up almost a whooping 30% in Atlantic Canada (very high MOE, but that's cushioned by the sheer lead). So much for the fear mongering campaign in this region, another sign of a seat gain. West, whatever that means, largely unchanged.


Gayle said...

As you know, I take all polls with a grain of salt, but I agree with your analysis.

Steve V said...

Gayle, I really find it astounding that Harper leads Dion by 20%, Dion even trails Layton, and yet the Liberals are right there. I'm not even sure we've ever seen this circumstance.

Steve V said...

Great quote from Nanos (h/t mushroom):

“If you look at the numbers, they really should not be having an election,” said Nik Nanos, president and CEO of the polling firm.

Oh Nik, I'm sure those internal Conservative polls tell a different story, what to you know, you only nailed it down to decimal points last election.

Gayle said...

My colleagues, when they do comment on Canadian politics (most of them being obsessed with US politics), all tend to believe Dion is boring. Most of them also intend to vote liberal.

No one is paying attention. When they do, as you say, I think they will see they have been wrong. Dion oozes honesty and sincerity.

The other truth is that many people see Harper as being competent, but they do not like what is competent at.

Maybe Harper wants the election now because he hopes all the LPC voters will be distracted by the US election.

Anonymous said...

Check out those Atlantic #'s!!!

Steve V said...

"Maybe Harper wants the election now because he hopes all the LPC voters will be distracted by the US election."

Hard to see how the barrage of a change message, working in tandem with the Bush era ending, as a bad thing for the Liberals. Dion can play to that sense of a different kind of politics subtlety. Just as we go to the polls, the Repubs will be throwing heaps of dirt at Obama, someone Canadians overwhelmingly support, hard to see how that hurts the Liberals, especially when they see the similarities in the northern neocons.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great place to be at the start of the election.

I am curious how McGuinty will play in this election since he has said he intends to play a role in the federal election. I hope that can work. Personally, I'd just like to see him remind Ontario voters of how bad-mouthed the conservatives have been - particularly Flaherty.

Off topic but the G&M has another of those "liberals disagree' articles tonight, which I'm sure will be in their print edition tomorrow.

It actually seems to be a pretty weak association - a lot of random quotes or conversations with the journalist trying to show that minor nuances in how things are described as "disagreements." Then for good measure they quote insiders who say their is disgruntlement in the Quebec wing of the party. I think it is pretty minor overall, but the timing is questionable (as always with these hit jobs). What bugs me is the premise is "the Liberals won't be firing on all cylinders when an election is called," which is a horrid message out the gate.

Hope someone gets ahead of that message quickly and in unified fashion in the coming days.

burlivespipe said...

As poll numbers go, there may be a linkage between these and the silence from the CON koolaiders. Could it be their polishing their chess pieces?
It'll all come down to the campaign, and Harper must be fairly confident in his ability to trump Dion's resolution. Of course, when you've got Larry and Curly willing to help put the squeeze on the enemy, you should be a little confident. But there's something about these CONs and their inability to learn from their mistakes.
Case in point: the small paper I work at wanted to do a story on all this election talk. They make the call to the Liberal candidate, get some comments. Make the call to the CON candidate, but silence. No returned phone calls, no help in finding said candidate. Perhaps she was really 'unavailable' for this soft-soap interview. Or the marching orders of no words spoken unless from a prepared songsheet is enforced like 'lights out' at a convent.
At some point, that draws suspicion, or at least allows for interpretation.
Don't know if Harper's psychic dresser has been able to channel Diefenbaker, or if the Chief is refusing to take the call...

Anonymous said...

I agree this is a good position to start from.

Harper has given us lots to work with in defeating his government. I think Dion was trying to sell the Green Shift and win over Canadians before Parliament resumed and that was a good strategy and some of that should continue, but a lot of attention must be focussed on Harper and his record and how this is not giving Canada what it needs for the economy, health care, environment, and social justice.

I think there are a number of reasons for the timing of this election: downward trends in economy, various scandals. But cutting Dion's time short in getting himself out to Canadians and not having Parliament resume where one would see Dion and the Liberals in a more positive light must certainly have factored in. I know I was looking forward to Parliament resuming, knowing the Liberals would be in a position of greater strength.

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I'd just like to see him remind Ontario voters of how bad-mouthed the conservatives have been - particularly Flaherty."

Dalton is no Danny Williams. Speaking of Danny Williams, he will be a thorn in the side, talking about Harper's "culture of defeat" incessantly.

"But there's something about these CONs and their inability to learn from their mistakes."

Case in point: Harper moping on the tour bus at the end of the 2004campaign. Blaming everybody but himself when the Cons get off message. It can happen again. That will be priceless.

Anonymous said...

On being priceless, maybe someone can make Harper mad during the campaign and happen to have a video camera.

I am seldom surprised by Steven Harper. Indeed, I can recall only three times.

The first was when he was reportedly seen throwing a chair across the room in anger during the leadership convention that crowned him. (I can’t recall whether it was Belinda Stronach or Peter MacKay with whom he was stewed, or someone else who wouldn’t do what he wanted).

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7,

What were the other two times?

Still that chair kicking or throwing Harper is the norm and not the aberration. Ask Preston Manning, ask Deborah Grey, ask Randy White and many other Reformers. Belinda Stronach can shed some light to this.

Anonymous said...

Not to pour cold water on this librano love-fest, but the regionals have very high MOEs. So, the Tories could be as high as 30% and the Liberals as low as 20% in Quebec. Ontario is a different story.

On Dion's "room to grow", I'll say this. He is very good on TV - in interviews, etc. Not so hot giving speeches to audiences. And his English has improved substantially - let's just say it's a lot better than Chretien's ever was.

Still, Harper is a leader and Dion is not.

Steve V said...


Thanks for the remedial reading of MOE, so the Liberals could be up 8 points nationally too then...

"Still, Harper is a leader and Dion is not."

And yet, his party trails said "no leader". If someone can provide me another historical circumstance where one leader more than doubles the other on leadership, yet his party is tied or slightly behind, I'm all ears. No lovefest required, I would rather be the Liberals here, that seems obvious.

Joffré said...

Looks to me like those Québec numbers do mirror the CROP poll. You have to remember that CROP uses a full sample of 1000 or so people, so it has a margin of error of 3%. In national polls, Québec is just a sub-sample (here, 214 people), giving a MOE of 7 points. Take that into account, and the two sets of numbers do match up, though the CROP poll is more precise.

Anonymous said...

sorry, link isn't work. it is here

or here (without line break)?

other time was handshake with son and third time was now with threatening election after loudly proclaiming no prime minister should have such control.

Steve V said...


Good try. The only problem with that rationale, every single poll outside of CROP is then on lower side of MOE, you have to do what you just did with all of them. Maybe it's CROP that needs to adjust the MOE, 3 points either way, which then looks similar? Works both ways, and the fact we have a slew on the one hand, a lone poll on the other, is something that shouldn't be ignored.

Here's something to keep in mind, the regionals are part of the national numbers, right? So, if NANOS is off on his regionals, his national numbers are also in error. How do people reconcile his bang on track record, with this supposed inability to properly gauge 1/4 of his polling sample? NANOS has to be accurate in Quebec, or his numbers are in error, given his past accuracy, that doesn't seem likely.

Joffré said...

Just looked up SES' final poll in 2006, and yep, looks like you're right. Their regional subsample for Québec was dead-on with the actual results. Crow: eaten

Steve V said...

Why don't you look at NANOS results, bang on to the decimal point. Do you want a bowl, or will you eat it out of hand?

Just to put this into perspective, let's look at NANOS for August 2005:

Liberals 40%
Cons 28%

Best PM

Martin 32%
Harper 14%

Wow, strangely similar to the gap we see now between Dion and Harper, and YET Liberals lead by 12%. And, you will note, in the previous leadership poll, when Harper was closer, so too were the national numbers.

I like our chances!

Joffré said...

I'm getting the impression that you don't understand that I'm agreeing with you and that the crow eating was auto-referential, or maybe your comment was just too ambiguous. SES and Nanos are the same polling firm.

Now, if I get to be partisan, you'll see that Layton is the leader with the most "natural" room to grow in Québec, since he has a much higher leadership rating than poll rating. That gap can be pretty much chalked up to left-wing Bloc voters who just need to be convinced that the Bloc is useless before they jump ship.
I even optimistically think that, if the stars align, the NDP might be able to surpass the Liberals' vote total in Québec, though that'd probably take everything going well with the NDP campaign and Dion tanking, and probably still wouldn't translate into a seat advantage. Oh well, keeping hope alive!

Steve V said...


Why don't you look at NANOS last poll for 2006, with the Quebec numbers (exact same MOE).

Election Results

Bloc 42%


Bloc 42%

Election Results

Cons 25%


Cons 27%

Election Results

Libs 21%


Libs 19%

Election Results

NDP 8%


NDP 8%

Looks VERY accurate from here, with the same sample size as we have today.

Steve V said...


My apologies, I just saw CROP, where it was SES. My bad.

Give me that bowl!

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for the remedial reading of MOE, so the Liberals could be up 8 points nationally too then..."

No, because the national MOE is 3%. The NANOS QC MOE is about 7%.

However, if you assume the usual NDP/Green->Liberal shift in a tight race, then you could see a substanital shift in seats especially in Ontario.

Still, Harper is a leader and Dion is not. Have you not seen the commercials? Do you not believe what you see?

Red Tory said...

And Fruit Loops are part of a complete breakfast. ;)

RuralSandi said...

Sorry, I don't know how to link, but considering Chantel Hebert is usually on the attack re Liberals, I thought this was really interesting:

Tories' arts cuts spark ire in Quebec

Aug 29, 2008 04:30 AM
Chantal Hébert

The recent Conservative cuts to arts and culture have done what neither the pursuit of the unpopular Afghan war nor the demise of the Kyoto Protocol had accomplished: wake up a sleeping Quebec giant that is now gathering strength for a show of force in the upcoming election campaign.

In the swift-changing Quebec political narrative, the controversy is shaping up to offer the Liberals their best chance to rise from the dead in the province. By putting the axe to a host of cultural programs on the eve of a probable campaign, Stephen Harper's Conservatives may have given Stéphane Dion the kiss of life in Quebec.

On Tuesday, a 2,000-strong who's who of Quebec's art community gathered in Montreal to decry what has largely come across in the province's media as an ideologically driven federal disengagement from the front of culture.

While the $45 million cuts amount to a blip on the federal budget radar, they have hit a wide array of vocal artistic constituencies and convinced many others that the moves are part of a larger Conservative agenda to clip the wings of Canada's arts community.

On Tuesday, that sense was relayed by Quebec's cultural managers and artists, but also by leading members of the Montreal business community, including some with solid Conservative ties.

Economist Marcel Côté, a former chief-of-staff to Brian Mulroney, was on stage to protest the cuts as was the president of Montreal's board of trade, Isabelle Hudon, the daughter of a former two-term Tory MP and once a prime target of Conservative head-hunters.

A similar demonstration is planned for next week in the Conservative heartland of Quebec City. Meanwhile, the federal cuts are resonating in hosts of small towns and villages where Quebec's diverse cultural scene unfolds over the summer season.

If all goes as expected, the federal campaign will take place in parallel with the beginning of a new Quebec television season. Its launch will give media household names whose shows routinely command much larger audiences than any televised election debates unfettered access to the airwaves to drive home the message that the Conservatives are hostile to culture.

That message comes with an unexpected twist, given the traditionally strong sovereignist credentials of the Quebec arts community.

In a hard-hitting column on the cuts two weeks ago, Le Devoir's cultural affairs columnist Odile Tremblay described Dion as the "only real alternative to the Conservative rule" and suggested Quebecers overcome their visceral resistance to the federal Liberals to rally behind them in the coming election.

Since then, people who would usually not be caught dead entertaining a supportive thought for Dion have been openly musing about voting for the Liberals as the much lesser of two governing evils.

In Quebec, the arts community has a level of influence and a mainstream presence that its counterparts in the rest of Canada can only envy.

In the '60s and '70s, Quebec artists – more so than any other constituency – put sovereignty on the map.

A decade ago, they led many Quebecers into transferring the passion that they once invested into nationalism to the cause of the environment.

Conservative strategists are said to be scrambling to put together a cultural platform designed to put the issue to rest before election day. But there is no doubt that a timid Liberal genie has been let out of the Quebec bottle.

Steve V said...

Wow Sandi, I didn't realize the rally was that big, nor that others are planned. I can hear Gilles now, this one will resonate.


Do they still have Toucan Sam? ;)

liberazzi said...

The numbers are encouraging. However, are we dealing with the law of dimishing expectations? Before, it was the expectation of winning a majority, now it is lets hope we can sqeeze out a minority or keep Harper to a slim minority. I'm just saying...

On the thought of the fixed election date, I can remember numerous times when the Con attack dogs stating "we are quite willing to govern until October 2009" whenever the topic of an early election came up.

With regards to the NDP, is this not the same old tale with them before an election. When push comes to shove, they never quite reach their potential do they (federally)?

Finally, on the topic of Dion, I was at the Oakville town hall and I would say that his public speaking has improved and he appears more comfortable with himself on stage. Garth Turner and him are strange bedfellows though, but it seems to work.

No silly Flanagan articles today I think? Fading away hmmm we'll see.

liberazzi said...

Also, on the topic of Con MPs not being allowed to speak, I am not sure that is such a bad idea, considering certain Lib MPs et al don't know when to keep their trap shut. Is it Dion who will prevent the Libs from forming a gov't or the Lib peanut gallery? Zip it already!

RuralSandi said...

Not only do we have the listeria issue, there's been a salmanella (sp?) outbreak in Quebec - via 3 particular brands of cheese....

Hmmm....Nanos said the other day that the listeria outbreak could cause problems for Harper - now this.

Anonymous said...

Off topic.

Your comment on McCain selecting Palin as running mate. Maverick like the so-called straight talker, someone who took on the Stevens-Murkowski establishment in Alaska. Kind of lightweight like Dan Quayle.

Look forward to your response.

Anonymous said...