Friday, September 12, 2008


Good luck to any party, trying to be heard above the barrage of polls. Canada now has three tracking polls, with more to come, it's getting to the point of overkill. I say this as a poll junkie, so this may seem strange, but I'm becoming concerned that instead of a debate of ideas, the debate is being consumed by the state of the polls. The Decima poll today has already been digested, with the Conservatives holding a commanding 15% lead (Monday to Thursday). Now, we have NANOS and EKOS releasing their daily offering, and both show similar results. First NANOS:
Conservative Party 38% (+1)
Liberal Party 31% (-1)
NDP 14% (+1)
BQ 9% (NC)
Green Party 9% (NC)
Undecided 19% (NC)

A 5% lead yesterday, is now a 7% lead today. For the first time I can remember, NANOS has the Conservatives nearing majority terrority. Note the high undecided, and also some tidbits from NANOS that should be monitored moving forward. A full 60% of voters aren't firmly committed to any party, a fact which speaks to potential volatility. Further, in Quebec, voters are least likely to vote on leadership, most likely to vote for the party closest to their ideas, most likely to vote strategically to stop a party from getting "elected". Those results should bring some caution to any Conservative who thinks Quebec will bring them to the promised land.

As for EKOS, the headline for their poll is the erosion of the Conservative vote. While the Conservatives still enjoy a substantial lead in the four day rolling, the gap has narrowed to 7% for the last day of polling:
National federal vote intention: CPC 36%, Liberal 26%, NDP 19%, Green Party 11%, and the BQ 8%.

CPC vote has been declining steadily over the past week:

- Monday - 39%

- Tuesday - 37%

- Wednesday - 35%

- Thursday - 34%

Unless some miraculous happens today, the Conservative average number of 36% will drop tomorrow, as the older results are bumped off. The trend line might suggest the Conservatives have peaked, and this week hasn't been particularly good for their prospects. That said, EKOS had a huge lead, so the narrowing still leaves a decided advantage. Interestingly, EKOS shows a 3% drop for the Conservatives in Ontario since yesterday, down to a statistical tie- expect the numbers to change further tomorrow.

For the Liberals, both pollsters show potential trouble in British Columbia, as the party is now a distant third. Probably good timing for Dion today, he clearly has to stop the bleeding.


Chrystal Ocean said...

Only poll I pay attention to is Nik Nanos'. He does a daily national tracking poll using a methodology which does not feed back into the numbers the undecided/unsure. A great research article done by Kady O'Malley and another author (shall try to find it, if you're interested) explained the difference. It's why Nanos' projection in 2006 was within 0.1% of the actual vote.

Steve V said...

Please find the link. I agree about NANOS.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen one TV ad yet by the Liberals. Maybe they're waiting til the end of the campaign?

They could really turn this election around with a national TV blitz of the 5 clips featured on the website under "On the Issues". They are very well done.

He wins points for sticking to the issues, for looking comfortable, speaking well and for making sense. People don't know really know where any of the leaders stand. With the internet campaign it takes effort to go look up the website. The TV is still where you'll win this election. They have winning campaign material that nobody sees.

Steve V said...

I've seen one ad, but we're clearly holding back until later in the campaign.

bigcitylib said...


Who polls for CTV? They're coming out with one tonight

Steve V said...


bigcitylib said...

Duffy says "1984 all over".

Proudpinko said...

I would also be interested in Nik Nanos' polling methodology. But I find the media's fixation on polling results quite disturbing. The CBC's reporting early this afternoon of the Harris/Decima was particularly so. This poll is only one sample, and only gives a small snapshot. And how can we be sure it accurately reflects what public opinion is, e.g.,we don't know how the questions were formulated, and whether or not there was any inferred bias.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the CBC chooses to give a screaming headline to the Decima poll (even though they didn't sponsor it) - but they ignore other polls such as Ekos and Nanos etc...that show a much more modest lead.

I guess they figure that polls showing relatively little change since the 2006 election are too boring to report on - while one outlier that says a Tory majority is worthy of a 9/11 style headline!

Proudpinko said...

Re:Anonymous. Unfortunately, the CBC's unbalanced emphasis on this one "outlier" poll may introduce bias in the next round of polling. So how can pollsters guarantee that any of their polls are unbiased and independent?

Frankly Canadian said...

I wish someone would see the relationship between the mass media spending on prime time television, and the temporary meager bump the Conservatives get in the polls. It has been this way for the last two and a half years, from 38%-39% then a month or two later 30%-31%. I would love to see how much money has been spent by the conservatives on advertising and information pamphlets over the last two and a half years, I think Canadians would be astonished. I have been following the leaders throughout the first week and I certainly see real productive and thought provoking policies announcements coming from the Stephane Dion campaign. Steven Harper has been practising American style attack politics, with Jack Layton in tow. Steven Harpers plans call for a two cent reduction here and a four cent reduction there, all amounting to very little to help each individual and family. Harper's announcements have been mainly comprised of only thirty second sound bite to cut taxes, or get tough on crime, or bring accountability to Ottawa, or to have strong leadership (dictatorship) in tough economic times. How many Canadians realize that two and a half years ago the Liberals had the largest surplus in Canadian history, the Tories have squandered it away to buy votes. The Tories have also shown a enormous lack of accountability in Ottawa, to the point the government can not function anymore? I for one NEED the Liberals to win this election, so I can keep my good paying job!!! Stephane Dion's announcement this morning clearly shows how the green shift plan creates jobs in my sector (home building/renovating) and many other sectors including research and development, municipal and provincial infrastructure improvements, exports in all of the above, the list goes on. Harper on the other hand has said people can always move to the tar sands for jobs, what kind of policy is that? Canadians need to really listen to Stephane Dion and his real solutions for our economic future, and tune out those thirty second sound bite advertisements that make up this Steven Harper mandate.

Bailey said...

Here's the article about polls and the last election:

Another link to it is here

Steve V said...

Thanks bailey :)

Koby said...

Yes Nikos has the best track record. However, arguing over whether this or that poll is more accurate is to loose site of bigger picture. The polls all point in one direction and reveal that the Green shift has been an unmediated political disaster that is now the Liberals cross to bear. The Liberals need to change focus.

Anonymous said...

You know, you could bring up every poll in the land. But the only poll that is being reported wall-to-wall in every major news media today and into the weekend is the Harris / Decima poll for the Canadian Press.

This is the story going into the weekend. Even the Toronto Star, while quoting Dion's dismissal of the poll off-handedly mentioned that he (Dion) couldn't name the poll that had them closer. Like it his responsibility to give them information they could find themselves in 5 clicks on the computer.

It is the end of week 1. I think the Conservatives got a bye and ended on a note that will carry into the weekend papers and Sunday discussions.

That is as good as a win on a week they couldn't take a step without stepping into it.

I still say the Liberals need to realize this is a campaign, not a walk in the park. And they need to recognize that fast.

Steve V said...


That's just pure bullshit. Even the Decima poll, with the big lead, shows that by a slight majority, people support the green shift, which is amazing, given the results. This move isn't about the green shift, it's about perceived leadership, a flurry of ads and media coverage.


You would think, the media would sift through the polling, especially when they aren't commissioned, and report, based on PAST HISTORY. That's what journalists are supposed to do, use their heads. But alas, it's like nothing else was released today. NANOS should put his out in the morning I guess, because people are too busy to update their sites.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Well, according to Mike Duffy., who supposedly dropped by the Macleans blog and left a comment, he's promising an SC poll that in the person's words (if it was Mike Duffy) is a "doozy" and shows "1984" numbers, which I presume means it's going to show Harper and the Cons. at 50% or in the neighbourhood, since that's what Mulroney ended up with in 1984.

Steve V said...


That's fine, just read the link bailey provided. It details nicely how badly SC blew it last election.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Oh I know.. I'm just saying you're going to be dealing with that blaring of headlines at the GLobe and CTV showing "massive Harper majority" for a day or 2, and Duffy being even more insufferable then normal.

Steve V said...

Watch the grin on his face. I'm not going to bother :)

Gayle said...

Is that so bad? Do people really want a Harper majority?

As for the LPC, I have to believe they are going to change their strategy here. There is apparently a lot more support for the GS than the polls would suggest, and as the G and M suggested the other day, they should sell this as an economic plan.

Also, I am going to ask again - where is the team??? I hear Rae is running around Ontario supporting other candidates, but they need more visibility on the national scene. Hopefully this too will form a part of the ad campaign I hope is coming. (I understand not advertising in the first week, but they are going to have to put something out there soon).

By the way, did anyone notice the Bloc isnow talking about amending the constitution? If this takes hold that will NOT be a good thing for this country, though in the short term it should put Harper on the spot.

Anonymous said...

To answer Gayle's question, I don't think most people want a Harper majority . . . when they are being reminded of the scandals, his arrogance, his muzzling of MPs, etc, etc.

But here's the funny thing. We're a week into a campaign and no one is mentioning that. No one.

Think about that - no one. Hmmmm, are there other candidates? Yes, in fact there are four other candidates.

Harper has launched several broadsides against the Liberals - you know, the normal, break up the country, plunge us into recession, end life as we know it (all while getting kudos for cleaning up his act no less). And of course Layton has dismissed the Green Shift and pronounced himself the defender of working Canadians.

Danny Williams is being pretty aggressive on the stump too - except he isn't on the stump! He's already a Premier.

May does seem a little thrown off after winning the cry for Democracy battle of the week (kudos on that).

And, Dion, yes Dion. Swell guy. I understand he is attending a few meetings this week, talking to a few people, issuing a few press releases. All nice, all very sweet. All utterly forgettable when competing against people who are actively campaigning and appearing to try to win votes.

And as much as I believe people don't really want a conservative majority, they will get used to the idea if they are not reminded why. Every time another poll shows the conservatives in majority territory, the idea doesn't sound as bad when there is no backdrop.

If the liberals wait till things look "desperate" to remind them then they will just look "desperate" themselves.

Time is wasting. That's just how I see it.

There is holding your ammo, and there is just pissing around the edges. Liberals are closer to the latter than the former.

I want to be proven wrong. I really do. But I'm not seeing it at this point.

Anonymous said...

I'm giving big thumbs up to Curiosity Cat, who is advocating Dion finding an attack dog.

Task for weekend for Liberals. It is fine to keep making the nice announcements and having discussions across the country. Most of it sounds like good policy, except you may as well be shouting into the winds off Texas for as much as the message is getting out.

So Numero Uno task NOW is to identify the spokesperson (i.e., attack dog / press agent) who will be the face of the response / attack / message EVERY DAY to as many major news outlets as possible.

And Monday Morning - Or Sunday for the political shows if possible - present that person as the official spokesperson for the Party on media matters for the remainder of the campaign.

As Nike says, Just Do It (already ; ).

Proudpinko said...

Finally, the CBC (on Newsworld) is comparing the Harris/Decima, EKOS, and Nik Nanos polls, and explaining the relevance of rolling polls (which each of these are). As the Earnscliffe Strategy Group expert is presently explaining, rolling polls (as opposed to traditional polls) were invented by political parties to get daily snapshopts, and perhaps trends. However, as he also explains, these polls are virtually meaningless, compared to traditional(and more rigourous) polls and the media are, unfortunately latching onto these because they make for a good news story!

Steve V said...

Interesting, Ipsos has the Cons up 38% to 29%, but the Libs up by 7% in Ontario, the NDP at 13%. That's three polls that show the NDP fading in Ontario, all at 13%.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Well, early polls showing or warning (or in some cases being triumphal) of "Harper Majority" may send more of the NDP/Green vote to the Liberals early. I'm not totally unhappy if Duffy and SC and Globe & Mail/CTV start blaring that.

Anonymous said...

But then the EKOS and Angus Reid polls have the NDp at 19% and 21% respectively - so we have enough polls that all you have to do is look around and whatever party you support - you will be able to find a poll that you like.

If Tory support gets over 40% then tere simply aren't enough floating NDP, Green or BQ votes around to stop them from getting a majority. if anything, the Liberals could go into such a serious meltdown that we could end up in a 1984 like situation where people just resign themselves to a Conservative win and start thinking about who can provide strong opposition.

Of course if its any consolation - for the first three weeks of the 2005-2006 election campaign, the federal Liberals maintained a steady 12 point lead over the Tories - and then suddenly the worm turned between Xmas and New Years.

Steve V said...


True enough, but when you have the three staple polls saying the NDP is down to 13% in Ontario, I would suggest you watch that.

Gayle said...

"Of course if its any consolation - for the first three weeks of the 2005-2006 election campaign, the federal Liberals maintained a steady 12 point lead over the Tories - and then suddenly the worm turned between Xmas and New Years."

That is every consolation. I will start to be worried if the LPC do not start changing things up by next week. I know they are trying to build momentum, but they cannot let themselves get down too far.

Koby said...

No Steve what is bullshit is your rose coloured glasses view of the campaign. With the Liberals having punted away the Afghan issue all the Liberals have is the environment and there is not a single poll where the Liberals are identified as the party of the environment -- none. Most polls so far put the Liberals at or below 28%. These are some of the worst polling numbers in the party's history.

The Liberals have no more than week before everything they do will be played up as a sign of desperation.

Gayle said...

By the way, here is what the LPC "Insider" is purposrted to have told one of the Globe's columnists:

"The Source talks a bit about the polls, how he only pays attention to Nanos, how he senses that Harper might be stalling on the leadership question, how the Liberals will build momentum towards the week leading up to the debate and then “we'll roll out the team and Harper will be left up there alone. The only moderates he's got, Solberg and Emerson, are gone.”"

I really hope they do not plan to slide by the next week and wait until the week after to start ramping things up.

People - you may want to start considering topping up your donations...

Steve V said...


And, none of that is because of the Green Shift, unless of course Canadians have had an epiphany in the last week.

You don't even have a clue, do you? Every poll gives Dion a decided edge on the environment, so I don't know what the hell you're talking about. Get off the shit colored glasses, he runs strong on that issue. I can't even take you seriously.

Anonymous said...

Kody is just frustrated. People do respect Dion on the environment, but they are not going to respond (i.e. vote) on that alone. The reality is it still scares people. Explain it, of course, but if you run on that, it won't happen.

Regarding Gayle's find on the insider scoop, here is my take:

If the Liberals think bringing out the team AFTER the debate is a good idea, then I stand by my earlier comment that it will be too late and just look desperate. Plus the impression will be that Dion is floundering on his own so the Liberals are forced to try to save their brand with other faces. Count on it, given the press thus far - and not a good message for the final weeks of the campaign.

Here's a thought. Introduce "the team" say, tomorrow afternoon. Or Monday morning. Start sending them all the press releases for the day and talking points for each. Get them in front of cameras. Get them talking to journalists.

The announcement today was quite good, but it is so lost in the news it is not even funny.

We can bang our collective heads all day about how the media doesn't get it, but it does not change reality. The narrative of this election is being written without them.

Down south, poor Obama keeps thinking the media will eventually turn to the camera and say, "Last night's softy interview proves Palin doesn't have a clue what US international policy is. Clearly McCain has lost his marbles and integrity all in the same month." But they aren't going to hope as he might.

Sometimes you have to build the narrative yourself.

If you put people in a position to be interviewed saying forceful things, the media will show or print it. But they are not going to study your press releases and go on the air (or on the internet) with it as the lead story.

It just isn't going to happen. And unfortunately that is how most Canadians get their news.

Does anyone here watch MadMen? The whole backdrop of the first season was the Kennedy / Nixon election. And throughout it the story is how Kennedy "got" the new election, but Nixon didn't. In the end, he won - barely.

I don't think the Liberals are getting it.

Steve V said...

"People do respect Dion on the environment, but they are not going to respond (i.e. vote) on that alone. The reality is it still scares people. Explain it, of course, but if you run on that, it won't happen."

I agree completely, but if you want to cite one perceived strength, something that generally stands alone, it's that Dion is viewed relatively good on the environment. It has to be more, but Dion is running on that, it's the cornerstone, because it bleeds into so many other issues. What Dion needs to do, and this may come soon, is a concerted effort to rally voters leaning towards the NDP, and particularly the Greens, into the Liberal fold. There is enough support behind the Green Shift, the Liberals have to find a way to raise the stakes, people understand it will be one plan or another, forget the pretense and go hard, make it a cause. If we stop with the cookie cutter campaign, and mix it up, be provocative, than it may provide a match, it may focus attention. I think it important to realize what you've got, and instead of moving elsewhere, concentrate on solidifying.

Steve V said...


This is some evidence of potential:

"The survey also found that almost four in 10 Canadians would be prepared to vote strategically to prevent a Tory majority."

One thing about apathy, people aren't invested in the parties, you make a compelling case, there's opportunity.