Thursday, February 12, 2009

Toss Up

Three polls this week, all show a statistical tie, NANO brings the latest numbers. The good news for the Liberals, further evidence that Ontario is trending back and Ignatieff is very well positioned, relative to Harper. The poll also supports other findings, showing that Layton has taken a hit, in the budget aftermath.

The horserace numbers are virtually identical to the last NANO poll:
Cons 34%
Libs 33%
NDP 16%
Bloc 10%
Greens 7%

The only change of note, a 3% drop for the NDP.

Although the national numbers are virtually the same, there is some variation in the regionals. Volatility in Quebec, with the Bloc gaining, the Libs coming back to earth, but still well ahead of the Conservatives:
Bloc 38% (plus 9%)
Libs 28% (minus 11%)
Cons 16% (minus 1%)
NDP 14% (unchanged)

I read the above as a combination of the budget and the Bloc convention, but it's also a statement to fluidity. However, it does appear the Conservatives have serious problems in Quebec, all the polls show very low numbers, which leaves room for Ignatieff to truly take the mantle of the federalist option. The Liberals may have taken a temporary hit, but if that still leaves us above our election total, it's a good sign. I'm not particularly worried about the Bloc bounce, Ignatieff has opportunity, and it will all demand on how he performs, what kind of coherent message he develops to "sell" the Liberals in Quebec.

The counter-balance to lower Quebec numbers, an uptick in Ontario. We are starting to see a trend, taking all the polls into consideration, wherein the Liberals are taking the lead, in some cases a sizeable one. NANOS has a tidy 9% lead now for the Liberals:
Libs 43% (up 4%)
Cons 34% (down 1%)
NDP 16% (down 1%)
Greens 11% (down 2%)

These numbers represent a 9% gain for the Liberals since the election, a 5% fall for the Conservatives. NANOS isn't the only one to show the Liberals now in the 40's, if these hold, it represents a big swing in seat totals.

Atlantic Canada always brings high margin of error, but given the universal agreement of all the polling, it's a pretty safe bet to say the Liberals are doing quite well.

In the "west", the only thing of note, the Liberals have opened up a considerable gap over the NDP for second place, which may be a reflection of the coalition fallout.

What is particularly encouraging for the Liberals, Ignatieff is doing very well. Harper still maintains a lead, but the name of the game for any opposition leader, just look a credible alternative. This poll, coupled with other findings, confirms that Ignatieff is a serious challenge to Harper. Some of this uptick for the Liberals is probably the "not-Dion" factor, but given the relatively positive coverage, with impressive volume to boot, part of it is probably a reflection of Ignatieff himself. Harper's numbers are largely static, slight erosion, but on all measures Ignatieff is credible.

NANOS also reinforces a clear trend, seen elsewhere, Layton is taking a hit. Particularly concerning for the NDP, Layton has always enjoyed personal popularity, the combination of a perceived weak Liberal leader gone, coupled with his own problems, have left Layton a distant third. For the Liberals, a lesser stature for Layton could be critical, because it means the predictable "in bed" with the Conservatives, the NDP the "real opposition" might not resonate as in the past, some evidence that Layton might be getting tuned out in the discussion.

It will be interesting to see, moving forward, if anyone can break out, or if stalemate is the new reality. These numbers probably translate to a slim Liberal minority, but really we seem to be in "too close to call" terrority, which I would submit is a good circumstance, considering where we were just a few months ago.


Anonymous said...

My take on the Nanos poll.

Stephane Dion was in statistical tie and had a five point lead in the polls against the Cons up to the week Harper decided to dissolve Parliament and call an election in 2008. Once the general public had to make a decision, Harper's number shot up as Dion blew the election readiness and the pre-writ aspect of the campaign.

So far Iggy has made a positive impact. Note however that the Grit party is much weaker now than last year, so Harper still has a few advantages that needs to be overcome.

Steve V said...


That's not true, if you look at all the polling in August and just prior to the election call, the Cons were either tied or ahead. The last two polls at the end of August both gave the Cons a 8% edge. The three polls done prior to the election call in September had an 11% lead, a 18% lead and a 8% lead.

There was no poll that gave the Libs a 5% lead, prior to the pre-writ campaign. And, the Grits are not lower than they were last year, on average hovered around 30%.

Anonymous said...

So the Grits did not reach 35-36 per cent during Dion's was leader? This was what I was referring to.

Steve V said...

For all of 2008, prior to the election call, the Liberals didn't hit 35% once, in any poll. One time we saw a 34%, but mostly it was anywhere from 26-32%.

The only time the Libs hit 35% under Dion was right after the convention, and it never happened again after Feb 07.

Anonymous said...

Its always hard to gauge the number of people who support the NDP, because of the Greens and Bloc. I would suspect that both of those two parties have drawn support almost entirely from NDP voters.

For eg., when one removes the Quebec nationalism from that party's platform, what's left is one that pretty much overlaps that of the NDP. Same with the Greens, lots of folks that support them once used to vote NDP.

An interesting poll would be one that tries to flesh out how many of the LPC voters would rather vote in either direction of the CPC or NDP, if they had no option of voting for LPC. In other words, how many in LPC are left/right of the "center"?

Steve V said...

That's a great question. We always here where NDP and Green support would move, but rarely do they do that with the Liberals.

I'd go:

Spoiled ballot
Don't vote


Anonymous said...

Steve I see little progress in the Nanos poll. We seems to be in a very similar position as under Dion, coalition pending excepted.
Hell even the Greens are 1st in Quebec, remember?

Steve V said...

"Steve I see little progress in the Nanos poll."

Ya, those Liberal leadership numbers resemble the one's we've seen the last two year. And, these numbers translate to a slim Liberal minority. Man, I'm bummed...

Anonymous said...

In fact, the most common place for Liberal votes to migrate to is to the Conservatives - in Canada at any given time there are more Liberal-Tory switchers than anything else.

Steve V said...

NANOS actually asked this question in the last election. Liberal voters asked their second choice preference: 33% NDP, 26% Green, 21% Con, 12% Bloc.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the graph the Liberal vote remains stable then falls apart on Eday. WTF?