Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Poll

The last Angus Reid poll had one of the larger gaps between the two principle parties. Today's release brings AR in line with other pollsters, many of the trends we've seen in other polls are largely replicated. Also, very good news for Ignatieff in the internals, the only leader to show a positive score. First, the horserace numbers, which show a 9% spread narrowing to 4%:
35 per cent of respondents (-3) say they would vote for the Tories in the next federal election, followed by the Grits with 31 per cent (+2), the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 16 per cent (-2), the Bloc Québécois with 10 per cent (+2), and the Green Party with seven per cent (+2).

Another polling trendline, that looks positive for the Liberals. AR has consistently shown the Conservatives on the cusp of majority, this is the closest gap since the last election, with the Conservatives at a low for this pollster.

In terms of the regionals, more evidence of an uptick for the Liberals, and a downward trend for the Conservatives in Quebec:
Bloc 38%
Libs 29%
Cons 16%
NDP 13%
Greens 3%

In Ontario, the last AR poll gave the Conservatives a healthy 8% lead. This latest offering shows a significant shift, the Liberals now statistically ahead. Also, another poll that shows the NDP falling off quite badly in Ontario:
Libs 39%(up 6%)
Cons 38%(down 3%)
NDP 12%(down 7%)
Greens 10%(up 4%

Again, we see evidence of a polarization in Ontario, with the NDP getting the squeeze. Last week, two other pollsters mirrored the same very poor trend for the NDP, to concerning levels. Interestingly, the pollster sees the NDP vote siphoning off to the Liberals:
Much of the Liberal increase from the last election seems to have come from the NDP. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) of people who voted NDP in 2008 are now supporting or leaning towards Ignatieff’s Liberals.

In terms of party leadership, we have two themes. One, Ignatieff is narrowing Harper's advantage, the only leader to show a positive trend. The other trend shows Layton suffering, a situation referred to as "dire" by the pollster.

Best PM, a virtual tie:
A tight race continues when Canadians asked which of the five federal party leaders would make the best head of government. Conservative leader and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (26%) is barely ahead of Ignatieff (24%). NDP leader Jack Layton is a distant third with 10 per cent

The Liberal leader posted a positive momentum score (+4), while the remaining four federal party leaders did not perform as well. One-in-four respondents (26%) say their opinion of Ignatieff improved over the course of the past month, while 22 per cent report a decline. A third of Canadians (34%) say their opinion of Harper has worsened. May holds a negative momentum score of -11.

For Layton, the situation is dire. The NDP leader posted the worst momentum score this month (-27) and half of Canadians (50%) disapprove of the performance of the party he commands.

The survey shows that the NDP—a few weeks removed from an electoral campaign that was designed to promote Layton as PM material—is facing a tough battle. There is marked increase in the proportion of Canadians who disapprove of the party's performance, and little positive momentum for its leader.

The fact that Ignatieff is tied on the best PM score is quite significant, because we rarely see an opposition leader in this position. Further good news, when we look at some of the individual measures:
Manage the economy:
Harper 31%(down 3%)
Ignatieff 24%(up 4%)

Strong and decisive leader:

Harper 43%(down 3%)
Ignatieff 31% (up 2%)

The two leaders are tied on "who understands complex issues", Ignatieff lead on "inspiring confidence", Harper on "vision". The key number that is encouraging, Ignatieff has cut the economy management gap in half. Obviously, an important measure, and Ignatieff is now well poised to look the credible alternative.

In terms of how the various parties are viewed by the public, the Liberals are the only ones to show an uptick (up 5%), while the Conservatives (down 2%) and NDP (down 3%) are viewed less favorably. These type of numbers show the Liberals are suffering no ill effects, or more rightly the attack lines are weak, because of their post-budget position. If anything, it suggest the official opposition is doing it's job, in the minds of Canadians.

All in all, another positive result for the Liberals, relatively speaking. Many of the internals leave room for optimism, and Ignatieff is performing well.


sjw said...

I just don't understand how the Conservatives are maintaining the numbers they are. Are Canadians really that obtuse? Sadly, I think the answer is 'yes'.

Gayle said...

"There is marked increase in the proportion of Canadians who disapprove of the party's performance, and little positive momentum for its leader."

I guess that is what happens when you oppose simply for the sake of opposing.

Steve V said...


It's important to keep individual pollsters in mind, and this is the lowest number from AR, for the Cons. They're trending down, we're trending up.


And, it makes the attacks less persuasive, when the messenger is wounded.

DL said...

AR was actually the pollster that came closest to the actual results in the last election. Its also interesting that their results are identical to the latest Strategic Counsel poll. Its also notable that 35/31/16 is exactly the same as the average of over 100 national polls conducted between January 2007 and August 2008. Its like a bottle of salad dressing - the norm seems to be this 35-31-16 level anytime there is no campaign. Then we have an election campaign and its like giving the bottle of salad dressing a good shake and the results all depend on where the globules of oil and vinegar are on election day!

Steve V said...


There is some truth in the "campaign" argument. However, you're missing a key ingredient. During the preamble to the last election, Layton was quite popular, the Liberal leader quite unpopular, Harper enjoyed a ridiculous advantage. That dynamic has changed considerably, Layton has NEVER been this low, Harper this unpopular and the Liberal leader so competitive. If you want to just fluff it all off, have at it, but just as I argued before the last election, leadership matters. I was right about that one, unfortunately.

This isn't the same, and in a campaign it's largely a question of leadership and/or ability to articulate. I like our chances much more than before. Also, the NDP put much of their focus on Layton, because he was quite popular. That theme seems to be evaporating, another indication that comparisons are misguided.

sjw said...

They're trending down, we're trending up.

I know, I know, but the latest demonstration of ineptitude courtesy of Gary Goodyear just leaves me to believe that
a)their numbers are severely skewed by the support they enjoy in the west.
b)Canadians are indifferent to who governs us, or
c)are clueless to see the absolute incompetence that is the Harper government.

I just don't get it and it is making me crazy.

DL said...

Once people see what a condescending prig Ignatieff is - his numbers will tumble - right now he is an unknown and you can be sure that the Tories will spend a few million over the summer demolishing him in pre-campaign advertising. If you want to see really low numbers for an opposition leader - take a look at Harper's approval ratings in the summer of '05 after he failed to defeat the Martin gov't as a result of the Stronach defection...and then he became PM. The world we are in is totally different place from last Fall and it will be an even more different place a further six months or so down the road.

Anonymous said...

The leadership numbers are where the focus should be. Layton at -27 and May at -11 are problematic if you are a supporter of these two parties. This shows that since the change in Grit leadership, the air war has been "Iggy, Iggy, Iggy". Not surprising for a man who lives for publicity.

How do we get the vision numbers up with regards to leadership? Inspiring confidence shows that Iggy knows how to win but Harpo still has the ideological hammer sewn up for the right. This is what the Grits need to work at.

Steve V said...

"Once people see what a condescending prig Ignatieff is - his numbers will tumble"

And this explains why your "analysis" is irrelevant. Maybe the above is what is happening to Jack right now ;)


"How do we get the vision numbers up with regards to leadership?"

Early days, once we get a platform out, if he can sell it, we're good. What is really relevant now, the economy numbers and best PM. Exceptional on the PM score, and part of that is Harper's inability, but the close gap on the economy is very encouraging (can't see Harper's numbers improving anytime soon either).


Their numbers are skewed, we really need to worry about BC. Canadians are indifferent, probably a logjam now, with some minor erosion, until the election.

DL said...

I like my salad dressing analogy!

Steve V said...

Me too, but you left out the Layton vinegar, the Harper lemon and the Ignatieff fresh romaine.

DL said...

I would have thought that you'd say that Ignatieff was the Extra Virgin Olive Oil that would rise to the top! You're disappointing me.

Anonymous said...

If Canadians were really soured by condescending prigs, they would have turfed the petty 3-year old long currently acting as PM long ago ; ).

DL said...

Joseph, there may be enough room in Canadian politics for one condescending prig. The question is, what happens when TWO party leaders are condescending prigs (actually three if you count the most condescendingly priggish of them all - Elizabeth May)? Layton and Duceppe have their faults too - but not of the condescendingly priggish variety.

RuralSandi said...

Boy, DL really adds to the discussion eh?

DL - you forgot to mention that Layton is a self-righteous and sanctimonious phony.

Opposition leaders usually don't do well in the polls, so I think it's encouraging about Ignatieff.

Steve V said...

I was actually going to, but I figured you'd have some crack about the oilsands ;)


You're right about opposition leaders, and Harper never did this well relative to Martin.

Northern PoV said...

Liberal poll #s:
as the very junior partner in a center-right coalition ... can't expect more.

Steve V said...


I guess you didn't read this part:

"Much of the Liberal increase from the last election seems to have come from the NDP. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) of people who voted NDP in 2008 are now supporting or leaning towards Ignatieff’s Liberals."


Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever considered the possibility that NDPs relative increase in the last election might have been Liberals who really did not warm to Dion but would never vote for Harper?

In that case, it didn't necessarily mean they were further left. Some of them might well be center right.

Once the Liberals had a leader with which they felt more comfortable with, they would then begin shifting back.

That would certainly be a reasonable explanation for why the NDP is losing ground even though Ignatieff is widely regarded as being more towards the center of the spectrum as compared to Dion.

Steve V said...

I've considered that Joseph. You can't discount the Dion factor, and given the NDP's share of the vote was essentially stagnant last election, it was hardly the great showing some argue (MP's tend to blur that reality).