Monday, March 09, 2009

New Polls

Two new polls today, from Ipsos and Strategic Counsel. The full details for the SC poll won't be released until later tonight, but the national numbers are as follows:
Cons 35%
Libs 31%
NDP 16%
Greens 10%
Bloc 9%

From the last SC poll, which had a statistical tie, the Conservatives are up 3%, Liberals down 2%, NDP down 1% (people might remember, it the last SC poll that had the Greens leading Quebec with 26%). The 4 point gap mirrors Ipsos latest:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have stalled at 37 per cent support among decided voters, according to the poll, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National from Feb. 24 to March 5. Meanwhile, the Liberals have edged up to 33 per cent, an increase of two percentage points from a month ago.

The NDP remained in third at 12 per cent(down 2 percent), followed by the Bloc Quebecois at 10 per cent and the Green party at eight.

The narrowing gap for Ipsos seems to be a result of improved Liberal fortunes in Ontario:
Libs 42%
Cons 37%

What's interesting here, the Liberals are up another 3% in Ontario, while the Conservatives haven't moved. In the last Ipsos poll, the NDP was down to a lowly 14% in Ontario, given the math here, the number is even lower now.

In Quebec, Liberals up 3%, Conservatives down another 2%, Bloc down 1%:
The situation is especially dire for the party in Quebec, where the Conservatives have dropped to 16 per cent in support, well behind the Bloc Quebecois, who stand at 41 per cent, and the Liberals at 27.

The biggest thing that sticks out, is the NDP appear to be losing support. Of note, the SC poll has shown a drop the last two offerings, although not as low as what Ipsos says. There has been a general trend with all the pollsters, showing some NDP erosion, and the real cause seems to a fall in Ontario, as voters seem to be moving to the Liberals as the sole alternative. I've argued in the past, that with the economy tanking, Ontario ground zero, the NDP might get pushed out of the conversation. We are now seeing some evidence that this is occuring, and it might explain why Layton was asked point blank today if the party strategists are trying to change gears, because they feel they aren't getting much traction in the post-budget world.

As for the Conservatives and the Liberals, it would appear the Conservatives have stopped the bleeding. I've sort of expected to see post-Obama polls help the Conservatives slightly, taking the focus off the economy and onto international matters, not to mention looking like a leader for a moment or two, surely didn't hurt the Conservatives cause. I also suspected some evidence of a firming up, when Harper started the tough guy routine, which he only seems to when the Conservatives internal polling is relatively improved.

For the Liberals, I honestly can't remember the last time an Ipsos poll had the Liberals at 33%. Ontario is quite encouraging, Atlantic Canada good, Quebec solid, particularly with the Conservatives falling as a credible federalist alternative. Both results point to a close race, which seems the general trend now, with all the polls. Given where the party was, even when you omit the coalition debacle, the Liberals are well positioned moving forward, very slight movement all that is required to defeat Harper.


Anonymous said...

Your response shows blind optimism, Steve :(

The real Iggy effect has been shown in these two polls. Doing better than the mid-20s under Dion, but nowhere past the 33% threshold. Iggy is still Dion Mark II with the potential of blowing big time in the election campaign.

I see positives for the NDP here. The party has weathered the storm and the expected blowback of the public's opposition to the coalition. With a more feistier NDP opposition in Queen's Park advocating worker's rights, anti-globalization, and a more ideological agenda, Layton would be where he is at Election Day
2008. Note also that the NDP is a much more effective in vote mobilization than the Grits.

My response does not mean that the Grits are wrong to ditch the coalition. But that Iggy is in danger of being punished for targeting the soft Red Tory vote.

Steve V said...

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about, and the "blind" comment is ironic. There are NO positives for the NDP here. That is a fair assessment.
As for the Liberals, I have to say, I laugh when people expect us to suddenly roar into the high 30's, as though the 26% four months ago wasn't real or anything. Simple fact of the matter, we're up nicely from the last election, particularly in regions where it counts. The "west" are holding our numbers down, but we're up everywhere else.

Steve V said...

As for the comment about us pushing too hard for the soft Tory vote, I don't disagree in principle. That said, there's really no evidence of it hurting yet, in fact the opposite, any further growth clearly has to come at the expense of the Cons. The only caveat, Quebec, but let's not forget, Harper the right wing guy was looking good, until he blew it with poorly conceived posturing.

bigcitylib said...

Relatively good news. But, really, a battle of inches isn't it? Nobody looks set for a majority any time soon.

Iggy, whatever his policy faults, is at least holding up his end as a leader. So now we can see that improved leadership buys the Libs maybe 2 or 3 points.

Steve V said...


It's probably going to look a lot like this until an election, don't you think?

bigcitylib said...

A downward drift in the economy means Tory bleeding. I think the gap could close naturally, to a point or two spread.

MSM's alot more skeptical of the Tories now, so I suspect any election call means many more Tory negative stories than last time out. Also, strategically they seem to be a bit aimless. So yeah, things are looking up.

A June call?

DL said...

so far these polls are almost identical to what the polls were showing exactly a year ago - keep in mind that right up until the writ was dropped - the Liberals were in the low 30s - then the bottom fell out of their support once the campaign began. Right now, one problem the Liberals will potentially face in the next election is that no one can think of a single solitary policy stance they have that is different from the Tories: Afghanistan - Liberal and Tory policies are identical, Tar sands - Liberal and Tory policies are identical, economic policy - Liberal and Tory policies are identical...when people start actually focusing on federal politics - this situation is going to get embarrassing.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I got the Strategic Counsel numbers and they show the Tories at 41% in Ontario, although considering the higher margin of error never mind Ontario is far from monolithic, I would be somewhat skeptical of the numbers. I would focus less on the polls and more the overall fundamentals. As others have mentioned Dion had similiar numbers, yet look how poorly he did. The main thing Ignatieff has going for him is caucus is behind him, fundraising is improving, and there is more focus on trying to build up stronger riding associations since we need a strong organization to win. If we have a weak organization, we won't deliver those votes. Also, Ignatieff is more centrist rather than centre-left and contrary to what some say we are really a centrist not left wing country so his more centrist stances should help him appeal to some moderate Tories and each Tory vote we pick up has twice the effect of each NDP or Bloc Quebecois vote we pick up. I wouldn't be surprised if we pull ahead in May after the convention which will likely give Ignatieff a bounce. At the same time how we will do after that is a big question mark. If the economy starts to recover in the Fall, I expect the Tories to rebound, but if it continues to decline, I suspect they will continue to decline. Considering the crisis is worse than pretty much everyone expected, it is really hard to predict how bad or how long it will last. A lot depends on consumer confidence as the crisis largely came about due to lack of consumer confidence. Few realized the credit crisis in the banking industry would have as large a ripple effect as it did. Ironically if we saved less and spent more, the economy would probably be in better shape, but because so many people are fearful of their income declining they are saving more out of fear rather than anything else and if we spend less, that means less jobs and less money for the economy.

Ian said...

Most of the movement in these polls is within MOE, so I wouldn't read too much into it on any party. The only real numbers that matter come on E-days.

RuralSandi said...

I know some NDP supporters that are fed up with Layton's strategy of being principled. They're worried about jobs and future and are angry at Layton's games and voting no to everything and anything. I know one of my friends that was an avid NDP supporter is going over to the Green Party.

If obama was a reason for a bump - not much of a bump.

Koby said...

The Liberals are better positioned than they were before; there is no doubt about that. For one, the Bloc vote is soft and in the last two election their share of the popular vote was less than what the polls were showing. The difference this time around is that the Liberals poised to pick up the spoils and not he Conservatives. That is the good news.

The bad news is that the Liberal party is still not worth supporting on its own merits. They remain my party of choice only because the other parties are worse, particularly the Conservatives. The Liberals party remains a horrid mix of identity politics, asymmetrical federalism and neo-conservative economics.

DL said...

How is it is "game" to vote against things you disagree with?

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Us Greenies went from 26% to 8%? Yeow! ;-)

I guess Iggy has given up on trying to woo Green voters over to the Libs. In fact, his recent comments on the tar sands (National Geographic thing) could chase small-g greens away from the Libs.

Bracko's enviro-econo policies are closer in line with the Green Party than with the Libs: green collar job creation, massive renewable energy investment, rejection of nuclear energy expansion. Iggy's startin' to look like just another oil salesman clinging to a fossil fuel economy that's goin' down the tubes.

Dion was seen as a green politician and a loser. Iggy's doin' everything he can to be different than Dion. I figger he's throwin' out the baby with the bathwater and his lack of regard for the planet will bite him in the ass as Bracko's green initiatives gather strength and Harper-Ignatieff's pro-dirty oil policies hold us back.


Steve V said...

"How is it is "game" to vote against things you disagree with?"

Oh, I don't know, maybe if you haven't even seen what you "disagree" with yet. Good grief.

Steve V said...

One curious thing about the Ipsos poll, it was done over a two week period, with a 2000 sample Usually, Ipsos does one week polling, so I'm not sure why nothing was released last week.

ottlib said...

An interesting pattern in Canadian federal politics is when Canadians get tired of Liberal governance the NDP benefits, although it is the Conservatives or the PCs who wind up governing.

Then as Canadians get tired of the Conservatives the vote coalesces around the Liberals again and the NDP are badly damaged.

The extreme example of this was 1993. The NDP hit a high water mark in 1984, were reduced significantly in 1988 and then lost party status in 1993 during a recession election.

I would say we are seeing something similar now. The NDP has hit another high water mark but they will fade again as Canadians increasingly turn away from the Conservatives and during an recession turn to the only other party Canadians believe can govern the country.

JG said...

Please review your electoral history, ottlib - 1988 was the NDP's most successful electoral result (43 seats @ 20 percent of the vote). As for 1993, that was far more than a recession election - Reform grabbed much of the western populist vote from the NDP, and the combined effects of unpopular NDP governments in BC and Ontario really didn't help either.

Since then, of course, the NDP has reconsolidated most of its traditional BC vote and has won more seats in Ontario than ever before (17) and won its first Quebec seat during a general election. Add that to seats in NL and Alberta, and continued strength in NS, and you have a very different picture than 1993 (or 1997 or 2000 or even 2004). I'm not sure Layton will be around that much longer, but I rather doubt that Canada's only unabashed left-wing opposition party will suffer during a severe downturn.