Thursday, January 14, 2010

R.I.P. Piano Man

The latest EKOS, supports yesterday's polls, the Conservative vote in freefall. Graves accurately points to the detainee issue as the beginning of the erosion, with the prorogue question supporting a worrying negative narrative. It's so bad, the Conservatives have entirely squandered their once impressive lead, and are now in trouble in Ontario. Worse still, on the question of country direction, the Conservatives have now managed to post worse numbers than they did during the height of the recession. Well done master strategists!:
National federal vote intention:
30.9% CPC
29.3% LPC
15.3% NDP
11.9% Green
10.2% BQ
2.3% Other

Direction of government:

40% Right Direction
47% Wrong Direction
13% DK/NR

As pointed out elsewhere, Liberals need to temper their enthusiasm. It is worth remembering, that the last time the Conservatives were this low in the polls, the Liberals were in the mid 30's. Now, we see the Liberals around 5% lower, so the question becomes- how can we bring those voters back into the fold? The biggest reason for this disparity, the Liberals no longer enjoy strong support in Quebec. The Ontario numbers are actually quite strong, not much different from one's seen when the Liberals had a decided edge nationally.

This poll doesn't show much advantage for the NDP. Yesterday, SC gave the party an impressive 22% in Ontario, which explained their national uptick. EKOS brings a much different 15.3%, so it's fair to see SC as an outlier at this point, particularly because of past reliability.

The fact that Canadians are relatively optimistic about the economy moving forward, makes the "wrong direction" numbers that much more alarming for the Conservatives. An objectively dreadful score, the Conservatives are paying a huge price for their recent decisions.

Here's why these polls are really important, beyond the obvious. Ottawa is entirely poll driven, it shapes storylines. Now armed with real world evidence of a "stunning turnaround", I now look to see if the Liberals get a reprieve, as the "pile on" cycle is broken. I've seen it happen a million times, here and down south, they tear you apart to the point of oblivion, something changes, and all of sudden a "rebirth" is possible. Columns such as this one "First Signs of a Rebound for Bruised Ignatieff" aren't coincidence. Harper is now the hunted, Ignatieff has some room to take advantage, the narrative is now- what happened to the Conservatives, all the old negative impressions of Harper re-digested.

I had a very strong, intuitive feeling, immediately when I first contemplated this prorogue idea. It is starting to look like "pundit" prophecy ;):
"Mark my words,if true this will be worst political move of Harper's career." Dec 14th


Omar said...

If I were Ignatieff I'd spend the rest of what's left of our Canadian winter traipsing around the areas of Quebec that no Liberal is apparently supposed to be seen traipsing, and meet some folk. Put on a big great coat, a big fur hat (like the one his grandfather probably wore for those cold Quebec winters) and go hopefully dazzle Le Québécois. We need more than the urban Montreal ridings to be onside for a return to power. The west may be lost to the Liberals, but I believe Quebec can be salvaged. Once his university speaking tour is over, Mike needs to go native. Starting in Quebec.

Steve V said...

I agree Quebec can be salvaged, and it will all come down to the election campaign.

Omar said...

So no pre-election winter traipsing around La Belle Province? Campaigns are awfully short. If the Quebec ground situation is as desolate for the Liberals as we're all led to believe it is, perhaps it needs to be tilled a bit prior to an election campaign?

Steve V said...

He did do one tour of the Eastern Townships. I would expect another tour of some sort is in order. The "thinkers conference" might play well in Quebec, given the location.

As an aside, I won't be shocked if the Cons rebound a little bit at some point. What is encouraging, the Libs are actually back in the mix, which looked like wishful thinking not to long ago.

Omar said...

When I think Eastern Townships I think Mordecai Richler and anglos in general not 'pure-laine' Quebecois. Ignatieff might want to skip the ET's next time out and head towards the Gaspe. He needs to win the hearts and minds in Rivière du-Loup, not Granby.

.."looked like wishful thinking not to long ago."

Really, eh? What was it Harold Macmillan said about "events"?

Omar said...

Now that I think about it, the Harold Macmillan reference isn't exactly an apt one considering Harper brought this particular event on himself. Master strategist indeed.

Cathie from Canada said...

Once again, we see Harper enjoying another "nelson moment" -- haha!
We often joke about "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" but Harper actually does this over and over, doesn't he.
Now he's demonstrating great compassionate leadership about Haiti, and good for him. But I also have confidence that he will find some way to screw this up for himself.

Cathie from Canada

marie said...

Now he's demonstrating great compassionate leadership about Haiti, and good for him. But I also have confidence that he will find some way to screw this up for himself.

I couldn't agree with you more. He has this uncanny evil streak in his makeup that he will use again to lie his way to hold his fragile job. As for Haiti, I am happy that he is doing everything possible for the country and I also remember the recent floods where he sat silent on sending no aid to help them then. I see he is on TV right now showing his whooly blue sweater character. Harper, what you have done to provide aid to Hatti is something 40 plus countries always do and and don't expect educated Canadians not to know that it only because it is Harper that is the Prime minister. Any elected prime minister would be doing just that and would have done it immediately without hitting the air waves at every opportunity with pho opts.

Steve V said...

I'm prepared to take it to the cynical level now, after watching Harper make a donation at the Red Cross. The press release to the media was tagged "urgent". Please, the only urgency is your growing transparency to change the channel.

Steve V said...

A little tidbit from Jane Taber, the Con vote apparently improved over the course of the poll.

Torian said...


I think EKOS' numbers are wrong.

Back in Nov they polled with an n of 5759 and had results as follows:

CPC: 37%
LPC: 27%
NDP: 15%
Bloc: 11%
Other: 9%

They claim 16% were with undecided or not eligible to vote.

Then we have this poll in Jan (n =3730)
CPC: 31%
LPC: 29%
NDP: 15%
Bloc: 10%
Other: 2%

With 14% of sample either undecided/ineligible to vote.

I guess my question is…where did that support go?

When you add up the numbers for the first poll, everything except for the undecideds add up to 100%.

For the second poll, you have to add the undecideds to get 100%.

This suggests that they've included the undecideds in the last poll.

You can't compare the two if the methos are different. They either have to re-calculate the Nov poll to include the undecideds, or re-calculate the latest poll and take out the undecideds.

I have no idea how this will affect the splits, as the numbers are weighted.

Steve V said...

Aren't you missing the GREEN vote?

Torian said...

I got this off the pdf from EKOS. I'm guessing Green falls into other

Steve V said...

Look at my post.

Torian said...

my point still remains


cpc 37
27 lpc
15 ndp
11 gree
9 bq

16% undecided


31 cpc
29 lpc
15 ndp
12 green
10 bq


Everything, including undecideds remain unchanged. The only thing that has changed is a drop in CPC.

I fully expected a reduced undecided % to explain the drop in CPC numbers, but there is not.

For a shift outside MOE, you would have to have subsequent upticks somewhere else.

Steve V said...

Actually, when you bring the Green number in, you really have no point. It's just decimal rounding. I see nothing here.