Friday, September 05, 2008

Sort Of New Poll

I saw an "exclusive" Ipsos poll for Global Television, which seems to contradict the other polls released this week:
Conservatives 34%
Liberals 31%
NDP 14%
Greens 10%

But in Ontario, the Liberals lead with 39 per cent, compared with 30 per cent for the Conservatives. Some commentators have suggested the Tories could gain ground in the 905 area code around Toronto. But the poll shows the Liberals leading the Tories by 44 to 32 per cent.

"The myth is that they're supposed to be really strong in the 905, but the answer is not really," said Bricker. Increasing density and greater ethnic diversity are pushing 905 ridings toward the Liberals, he added.

I'm sure those Conservative internal polls reaffirm the "myth"(cough), but an eight point Liberal lead in the 905 is the conclusion of this pollster, that previously overstated Conservative support/understated Liberal support by 7% in 2006, 11% in 2004.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois leads with 38 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 25 per cent and the Tories at 20 per cent.

The regional numbers have a very low margin of error, the national ones a mere 1.7%. The reason for this fact, something Global failed to mention, this poll is actually an amalgation of Ipsos polling throughout the summer, and the polling ended last week. Therefore, it includes last week's numbers and there is nothing new, except it uses a larger sample, over a larger time frame.

What is noteworthy, and something I've argued a few times, are these comments from Bricker:
Recent polls have shown Conservative support running as high as 38 per cent nationally, prompting speculation the party could be on the cusp of forming a majority government. Traditionally, parties are believed to have a good chance of winning a majority once they cross the 40-per-cent threshold.

But a new Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by Canwest News Service and Global National indicates the magic number for the Tories might be several percentage points higher, because of the way their support is distributed across the country.

"It doesn't mean they won't form a majority. It just means that to say they're flirting with one right now is not true," said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.

Conventional wisdom assumes any party hovering near 40% is in majority terrority. However, when you drill down into the regionals, for almost every poll, you find that the Conservatives lack electoral balance, scoring 60-70% in Alberta, very high in other regions, inflates the national numbers, but it doesn't translate seat wise.

As Bricker says, the Liberals are more efficient:
It all comes down to concentrating your vote in regions that have a lot of seats. The Liberals have a very efficient vote. The Tories have an inefficient vote," said Bricker. In 1997, Jean Chretien won 51 per cent of seats for the Liberals with only 38 per cent of the vote, he noted.

To win a majority, the Conservatives must hope for a Liberal meltdown in Ontario or a Bloc collapse in Quebec, said Bricker.

One other comment, that may speak to the wisdom in going after Harper:
"people haven't really warmed to him personally"

Harper is the focal point for the Conservatives, and it's not like he really is an appealing or compelling figure, which translates to potential vulnerability.

This comment from a "senior" Conservative:
"The Liberal party is the most successful political brand in the world," said the source. "If we're not careful, this guy (Dion) could bumble his way into the big chair."

Bumble away Stephane!


Anonymous said...

That firm's polls are usually too "pushy" to be taken seriously.

bigcitylib said...

This must be what you're talking about.

Steve V said...

"That firm's polls are usually too "pushy" to be taken seriously."

And, the good news for the Liberals, that "firm" has a clear history of being off compared to actual results- by off meaning overstating Con support, understating Lib support.


Sorry, should have added that link. Global presented it as brand new, no mention of timeframe.

ottlib said...

WTF is happening over at Ipsos-Reid, who is that company spokesman and what has he done with the real Darrel Bricker?

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I expected this outfit to produce a poll tonight showing a huge leap in support for the Conservatives, to follow one from last week that showed tepid support. You know to give the impression of momentum. Not that they still will not do it say in week one of the election.

Now they produce this poll, which essentially shows that not much has changed over the last week. As well, although it is not gushing, Mr. Bricker is actually saying positive things about the Liberals.

Next thing you know Lorne Gunter will be endorsing the Liberals and the Green Shift Plan.

So now the question becomes who do you believe? The polls from earlier in the week that showed the Conservatives in the high 30s or this poll?

It is counter-intuitive for the Conservatives to have surged considering the current economic and other circumstances. However, stranger things have happened.

I agreed with you the other night Steve that something smelled fishy with those other polls. This poll, by this company for that news organization has me thinking that maybe our instincts are right.

Steve V said...


One caution, this poll stopped on August 28th, which means it has nothing new since Ipsos last release.

That said, my main reason for this post, were the surprising comments from Ipsos.

ottlib said...

Ya, I read the story in the Herald and saw that.

Still this is Ipsos so the poll and Mr. Bricker's comments are significant.

Anonymous said...

The CBC/Environics poll was done over Labor Day weekend. Wait for the polls next week, you'll get a better picture. Once people start to actually compare DION v HARPER, then the poll numbers will start to mean something.

Gayle said...

On Newman today they were saying the CPC do not want high polls coming into the election, because when the next poll shows them lower the media may say they are losing support.

It is funny because I saw at least one BT'er today claiming the CBC poll was faked in order to get the anti-CPC vote riled up and willing to vote liberal rather than NDP or Green. My immediate thought when I saw this poll (I am embarassed to say), was that IR may be trying to hide a CPC majority to avoid that phenomenon.

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Steve V said...


The last thing Harper wants is Canadians thinking he might get a majority. That explains why Harper is downplaying expectations, it wasn't by accident. Remember last election, when he was telling everyone not to worry, there were institutional checks that would reign him in? This is the same sort of message, because they know, people don't want them in power with no restraints. Have you noticed that everytime polls show Harper near majority terrority, they quickly retreat. There is a ceiling.

Steve V said...


Yes, it's the comments that are most telling.

liberazzi said...

Regardless of the ins and outs of this poll, some sanity seems to have returned. The Cons leading by 9 or 10 points in Ont, please. I feel a little bit better now. It's been said before but Ill take Nanos over every other poll.

The lesson for the media is to chill on making so much out of these polls and basically giving the victory to the Cons b4 the election has even begun.

Ok, enough of these silly polls, lets have at her now.

Anonymous said...

Yeah--we've seen how he deals with institutional checks.

Anonymous said...

They contradict the other polls released this week, because the other polls were also taken this week.

That poll's sample included July and August??????

This is actually bad news as it shows Harper's got some significant momentum, given where he is now compared to July, when this poll was taken.

Anthony said...

anybody who doesnt acknowledge the situation in rural Quebec right now (horse race between BQ and CPC) is just overlooking a very large playing field.

Rural Quebec has as many seats as Alberta and the Tories are within striking distance of a huge gain should the Bloc's campaign of "oh by the way we are here" falls flat on its face

Their slogan is "Present for Quebecers"

As little as 20 Tory seats in Quebec and as much as 40

Demosthenes said...

Oh, gad. Meta-analysis? Might as well toss chicken bones.

Anonymous said...

Mr Bricker is up to no good. He know if Canadian see Harper Majority, they will vote liberal. He is trying to stop that trend with his big headline. He is not to be trusted.

Steve V said...

"This is actually bad news as it shows Harper's got some significant momentum, given where he is now compared to July, when this poll was taken."

Actually, Ipsos had the Cons tied in Ontario in July, but nice feeble try...


Yes, the possibility exists, but it's not a given, and you should know better than anyone, Duceppe is a VERY effective campaigner. Not to mention the fact, he enjoys the benefit of focusing solely on one province, while others tour the country, Gilles can focus. Could happen, but I wouldn't bank on it- this is Harper we're talking about afterall. One word, fluid.

Steve V said...

Surprise, another poll:

And its results give the Conservatives a strong lead, with 36 per cent, compared with 29 per cent for the Liberals and 13 per cent for the NDP.

"The Conservatives are pulling away from the Liberal levels," said Innovative Research Group pollster Simon McDougall.

The big game-changer is Quebec, where the Bloc has fallen 10 percentage points, to 29 per cent, from a poll taken just before the 2006 election. The Conservatives have inched up to 25 per cent, the Liberals are at 20 and the NDP at 15.

Dion beats Harper on the environment, Cons have a big lead on the economy.

Gayle said...

"Mr Bricker is up to no good. He know if Canadian see Harper Majority, they will vote liberal. He is trying to stop that trend with his big headline. He is not to be trusted."

WHile I accept that polls appear to have bias because of their vast differences, I would suggest if there is any motivation to skew the results, that motivation would be to ensure another minority. After all, how often do pollsters get hired during majority governments?

DarrellBricker said...


Thanks for your interest in our research. A couple of comments in response:

- We did the rollup because things haven't changed much of late and we wanted to work with some larger samples in specific geographic areas. While things may have moved in some other polls of late, the basic political facts haven't changed since 2006;
- I'm a mercenary, not a missionary. I don't work for a political party, and neither does Ipsos Reid. So, the charge that we're "pushing" with our polls, or that my comments are advocating for a particular outcome are untrue and unfair;
- Finally, I have to admit that I find comments about the influence of my commentary mildly amusing. I often wish my friends and family would take me this seriously.

Anonymous said...

What's most concerning regarding the innovative research poll is the "who'd you prefer to be PM" question.

Harper's numbers are almost triple Dion's.

Has a Liberal leader ever been this low on the "prime ministerial" count before?

Does anyone have any comparisons, I'd really like to know, 'cuz I'm starting to get a bit freaked out.

Steve V said...

Mr. Bricker

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. I highlighted your quotes, because I think it speaks to the issue of regional disparity, and why national numbers may be slightly misleading.

I don't think you have an agenda, but it is fair to compare different polling outfits, how their sample relates to actual results. I think you would agree, when sifting through the deluge of polling, with different results, you are wise to fall back on one's with a track record. That's my view anyways, and it's factually based, so I think it fair analysis.