Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nanos and Forum Ontario Polls

Two new polls have come out for Ontario's provincial scene, which has been getting slightly rocky as of late given the issues over teachers unions, doctors, scandals, and by-elections. Let's delve right into the one that I'm sure people are going to laugh at, Nanos:

Nanos Research (Ontario - Aug 11-16th):
Ont. Liberals: 34.0% (+3.0%) - 45 seats
Prog. Conservatives: 34.7% (+1.1%) - 42 seats
New Democrats: 22.1% (-6.4%) - 20 seats
Green Party: 6.8% (+1.2%)

Nanos, once again, has a habit of breaking the going trend in Ontario by showing a race between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, with the NDP either a far-back third place or a close third place, but third nevertheless.

The last two Nanos poll, which I didn't cover here, were pretty much the same thing, and you can see that from Nanos' own tracking chart on their poll. Except the NDP are fairly low down this time, though they still manage to pick up three seats.

Why does Nanos keep having these out-of-line numbers? It must be down to either the questions they've asked, or what they're doing to account for regions, demographics, and so on. It's not the fact that it is done through the telephone, because the other poll to be discussed, Forum, used IVR polling and I'm fairly sure also doesn't call cell phones, same as Nanos. I hate to call out Nik Nanos on this, but the fact remains that something is making his numbers this way, and he's yet to explain why. Note that Nanos is not an inaccurate pollster, and in fact rates as one of the best out there. Its just down to methodology.

Forum Research (Ontario - Aug 15th):
Prog. Conservatives: 38% (+2%) - 59 seats (+6)
New Democrats: 28% (-2%) - 27 seats (-4)
Ont. Liberals: 27% (-1%) - 21 seats (-2)
Green Party: 6% (+2%)

Forum shows the status quo, giving Tim "Whodat" Hudak's Progressive Conservatives a fairly respectable lead and a majority government, with the NDP as Official Opposition and the Liberals in third, though a respectable enough third. What still gets me is that the Liberals still lead in the 416 area code (37% to the PC's 29%, NDP 27%), while tying with the NDP for second in the 905. I honestly don't understand that, you'd think the New Democrats would do a lot better within Toronto, rather than the suburbs like where I live. That was how it was during the federal election, after all. But, we're getting into sub-regions with about 400 respondents, and that probably isn't the best idea.

Given the by-elections in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan, here's what they'd look like under both polls:

Nanos:  49% Lib, 31% PC, 11% NDP
Forum: 42% Lib, 37% PC, 15% NDP

Nanos: 43% PC, 33% Lib, 17% NDP
Forum: 47% PC, 26% Lib, 21% NDP

Of course the Nanos poll is the better one for the Ontario Liberals and the quest for the sacred Majority. I could see these results too, though Forum probably disagrees.

But it isn't all doom and gloom for the Ontario Liberals and Dear Leader McGuinty. For one, Tim Hudak is still more unpopular than McGuinty is, while Horwath is more popular than both, but can't seem to get her party that far above 30%, if at all. And while, yes, a majority wants Health Minister Deb Matthews to resign and this McGuinty is the devil (except for his party, go us!), that same majority wants public sector wage freezes, wants beer and wine in corner stores, and doesn't want another election to occur.

Its amazing how circumstances keep falling in line to keep McGuinty's government in place, and while I'm not complaining, I'm just not sure how long the luck will last.

Oh and yes, Forum does its federal numbers for Ontario at the same time, which were 37% Con, 29% NDP, and 24% Liberal, which is 60-26-20 in terms of seats.


  1. If I am correct, Nanos does not give the names of political parties when they ask those being polled questions. I think that it is Nanos's theory that if they do give options, people will be influenced by those options.

    Imagine a question like this: "Which party would you support? NDP, Conservative, Liberal, or other?"

    1. That was always the theory as to why Nanos always gives the Green Party such low numbers - because if not given the option, people won't choose the Greens as the "none of the above" option they often are.

      Maybe it could account for these discrepancies as well? It seems like it wouldn't break the trend THAT badly, I know federally Nanos boosts the Liberals but its never to the point where its becoming close to a 10% difference.