Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Abacus Federal Poll: 32% Con, 31% NDP, 24% Liberal

Abacus Data has released their March month report, the first federal poll to be released in a long time. For some reason, we've seen barely any polling done. Whereas we had four polls done by this date last February, in March we've only seen two. Its possible we could see something new from Nanos or AR before April comes, but if not, we won't see anything else until Forum's monthly poll, due around the 6th.

Abacus Data (Federal - March 19-21, 2013 - +/- 3.1%)
Conservative: 32% (-3%) - 135 seats (-21 seats)
New Democratic: 31% (=) - 120 seats (+10 seats)
Liberal Party: 24% (+3%) - 82 seats (+23 seats)
Green Party: 8% (+2%) - 1 seat
Bloc Québécois (QC Only): 19% (-7%) - 0 seats (-12 seats)

Compared to Abacus' February release, the Liberals and Greens have seen growth, seemingly at the expense of the Conservatives and the Bloc. While it doesn't give the Greens a boost in terms of seats, the Liberals jump up quite a bit in this poll, the highest Abacus has ever had them. Usually Abacus tends to lag the Liberals behind other pollsters, with no exception here (Forum had them at 30%) - but at least we're hitting the mid-20's now.

In terms of regions, the tightest race is in BC, where the NDP lead 33% to 32% for the Cons, 21% for the Liberals, and 13% for the Greens. The second closest race is in Ontario, where the Conservatives lead 36% to 29% for the NDP and 27% for the Liberals.

Everywhere else, the leading party has a big lead. This includes in Alberta and the Prairies, where the Cons dominate; in Quebec, where the NDP lead 40% to the Liberal's 21%; and Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals lead the NDP, 42% to 28%. However, the Greens are sitting at 12% in Atlantic Canada in this poll, so maybe we should be wary of small sample sizes.

Abacus also asked about approval for the Harper government, which is split 36% approval to 49% disapproval Canada-wide when you add things together. Unsurprisingly, Harper's biggest disapproval comes from Atlantic Canada at 43% strongly disapproving, which combined with somewhat disapproving is a whopping 68% disapproval. Explains why they're at only 17% in the region in this poll, though again beware of small sample sizes. In all-important Ontario, its a 39/45 split.

Though they have no numbers to go alone with it, I found this bit of exposition in the Abacus poll to be interesting:
Finally, one year after Tom Mulcair won the leadership of the federal NDP, the party is holding onto most of itssupporters from 2011 and is running neck and neck with the Conservatives. Like the Conservatives, NDP support is down compared to last autumn when it's support peaked at 35% and we know that much of its support is soft and could bolt to the Liberals under Justin Trudeau's leadership. Mulcair seems to have a three-part strategy: (1) maintain support in Quebec by uniting soft nationalists and progressives, (2) demonstrate steady and focused opposition to the Conservatives, (3) position himself as the only real and credible alternative Prime Minister. On all three strategic objectives, Justin Trudeau is a threat.
Whereas Trudeau is charismatic, youthful and energetic, Mulcair presents himself as stoic, serious, and thoughtful. The contrast between both men could not be more stark. After April 14, the NDP and Liberals will be fighting on two fronts: (1)Opposing the Harper Government and (2) jostling for position as the true alternative to Harper and the Conservatives.
Not to nitpick, but I've never thought of Mulcair as exactly "thoughtful." But it is food for thought, isn't it? Assuming Justin wins, that's definitely an interesting narrative to play out.


  1. I agree the green vote is a bit high and could be atributed to sample size. the other thing is Ontario. The drop of the conservatives will probebly mean more liberal seats coming from the GTA, but where will the 29% NDP vote show? any thoughts?

    1. I can tell you, actually. In my projection, the NDP win 27 seats out of 121 (Cons won 60, Libs 34). The NDP vote, with that small increase, win some of their low-hanging fruit throughout Ontario - Oshawa, Essex, Sault Ste. Marie. That 29% isn't really enough for them to go far, as they're far more spread out across the province than the Liberals, who tend to be concentrated in the GTA and small cities.

      Now, say you reversed the numbers in this poll, and give the NDP 36% support and the Cons 29%. At those levels, we see where the NDP strength comes in; they win wide swaths of southwestern Ontario, almost a dozen 905 Belt seats, and, erm, Peterborough, on top of the ridings they already own. Southwestern Ontario is the biggest growth region for them, though, at least based on the 2011 numbers - if we see Orange Crush 2.0, that's where it will be centered.

  2. All the NDP leaders (save Jack) have been "Boring" to some degree. That's just the kind of leader they pick.