Monday, February 21, 2011

Maybe we should stop talking about elections...

Though I was hoping with some far-off hope that Nanos, one of the more accurate and reliable pollsters in Canada, would prove all of the recent polls by Ekos, Ipsos, and Harris wrong about the sad state of Liberal support in the past few days, it seems that we just can't get a break.

Topline numbers are:

39.7% Con, 26.6% Lib, 18.9% NDP, 9.9% BQ (37.3 in QC), 4.9% Green.

That 13% lead is on the high-end of what we've seen (the low-end being Harris-Decima's 10-point lead), but I'm really inclined to believe that Nanos, so if any of you wished to panic, now's not a bad time to do so.

Interestingly, Nanos' regionals are both similar and different from what we've seen in the sibling polls. Of note is a stronger position for the Libs in Quebec (24.4%, compared to the under-20% seen in other polls), though Nanos also ends up being the first non-Leger and CROP I've seen that gives the NDP over 15% in Quebec, namely 16.8%(!), which may or may not be an omen, I can't be too sure.

In Ontario, Nanos actually shows a drop for the Conservatives, who came down from 42.3% to 39%. The Liberals came down as well, from 35.4% to 32.8%, while the NDP are up big (again, !), 19.3% to 23.4%. This, along with the high numbers in Quebec, explains why unlike the other pollsters, Nanos has the NDP up at 18%.

But also of note is Nanos similar situation in the West. For example, in the Prairies (which is AB, SK, and MN in Nanos), the Conservatives hold a lead with 64.6%, followed (if you can call it that) by the Liberals at 18%, and the NDP at 12.7%. In BC, similar numbers show a Con lead with 44.6%, followed by the Libs at a strong 26.2%, and the NDP with 21.2%. So, for some reason, we suck in the East these days, but we're on a slight upswing in the West. Hm.

However, don't let that 13-point lead fool you - the Conservatives are still stuck below a majority. According to, they sit at 147 seats while the Liberals sit at 84. Canadian Election Watch's rolling average has them at 149 seats, compared to 74 for the Liberals - though that includes pretty much all polls over the last few weeks, heavily influencing the results. It's interesting, to say the least - though I disagree with some of the conclusions about Quebec.

Let me explain why: most people would consider "significant representation" to be representation that, at the very least, is above 10%. That is the bar I use, considering that most people consider the NDP to have "significant representation," though they only have 12% of the House of Common's seats.

Now, it may be on the low end of expectations of what "significant" may or may not be, but consider that, in the Election Watcher's projection or's poll round-up, the Conservatives get about 9 seats in la belle province - or 12% of Quebec's 75 ridings. They currently have 11 of Quebec's 75 seats.

So, I think in reality, if the Conservatives were to get a majority government, those 10ish seats in QC should be considered relatively significant relative to the province's expectations. He's right about having little representation in the greater Montreal area - but 10 seats are still better than nothing, which is what most people expect the Cons to get.

It's also worth considering that in 1979, the last Albertan Conservative leader, Joe Clark, nearly earned a majority government with only 2 seats in Quebec - he ended up only 6 seats short. Even if he had earned those six other seats in Quebec, he still would have only had 8 out of 75 seats. How's that as food for thought?



    Go for an election anyways!

  2. The Cat is, in my opinion, wrong in pursuing that sort of direction. We don't need a coalition to govern, especially one with the Bloc; and for someone who is so keen on "democratic rights" and this and that, there's not a lot of consideration for the people's clear choice in the matter, just a lot of fanciful interpretation.

  3. Well said. Anyone who didn't learn a lesson the last time this was tried deserves the political annihilation that would befall them...

  4. Actually 26% for the Liberals isn't all that bad given the pathetic job they've done in opposition. If you can't handle the post as Official Opposition you can't fault the public for not trusting your ability to govern. Get yourselves a leader, get yourselves some meaningful policies and come back when you collectively grow a pair.

  5. That's quite the attitude to have, given that no one else seems to have a better option to give. The fact is, the Opposition, no matter which party, is in somewhat of a bind right now against the Harper government; internal and external forces have created such a stagnant political scene that we're not going anywhere fast. Winning support isn't as easy as "growing a pair" - indeed such brash thinking is more than likely to lead you to quicker defeat. It takes time, it takes some backing down, some standing up, and a mix of luck and being able to take advantage of the right opportunties. So far, though, the Liberals don't have either of them.

  6. Volkov,

    I agree with you. The Nanos numbers are really the perfect storm for the LPC. Their polling is as low as it has historically been, their leader is even less popular than the party, with extremely low "trust" numbers, and they will be tagged with causing an election to happen because they have already given a thumbs down to the budget sight unseen.

    Further, their nemesis is on the edge of a majority, knows how to go for the jugular (Ignatieff's low numbers make it hard for him to create a credible message), and the CPC is chomping at the bit to be forced to go to the polls.

    There is no upside here at all for the Liberal's, unless some are so masochistic that they want Harper to get a majority, so they can go lick their wounds for 4 years.

    If the Conservative's don't get the majority, any attempt at an Ignatieff led coaliton will seem so power hungry and self-serving as to drive Canadian's into Harper's camp in even greater numbers. Some Liberal MPs would be literally forced to evacuate the coalition boat.

    If Harper and Layton play footsie until the budget vote and with one day before the vote Layton announces he can't support the budget, I don't even want to know the blood pressure levels in the Liberal camp.