Polls

Poll Soup: What the NDP surge means

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2011 Federal Election, Federal Politics, Polls, Seat Projections | Leave a comment

Trying to make sense of what the NDP’s Quebec surge means in terms of seats is a difficult game. For starters, most public polls lump all of Quebec together when, in reality, a voter in Montreal is very different from a voter in Abitibi. Just because the Liberals or Conservatives are down province-wide, it doesn’t mean their incumbents are in danger, because their vote is so concentrated.

Even more challenging is trying to understand how a surge like this will be spread across the province. Most seat projections use the 2008 election as their baseline – my model is based primarily on 2008, but it also factors in the previous 2 elections and a regression “prediction” based on riding demographics. I think that’s a key improvement since it includes information about the voters, not just how they’ve voted in the past, but even then, all that data is from the old reality. We’re living in a very new reality.

If the NDP doubles or triples their Quebec-wide vote, it’s impossible to predict what the impact will be in each individual riding. The simulation model I use factors this in to a certain extent, which is why I report the probability of a given seat going to each party, rather than boldly saying if they’ll will win or lose. But the end result of this is a 95% confidence interval for NDP seats in Quebec of 3 to 19 – that’s hardly a precise target, and there are a lot of seats they have between a 4% and 8% chance of winning…with a few more polls showing the Dippers in first, that range will creep up.

Pundits Guide has a good article on the danger of taking these projections as the gospel truth. It’s also important to remember that a lot can change in a week – just because something is projected today, it doesn’t mean it will come to pass on May 2nd.

So with all those caveats, here’s where we stand with 7 days to go (change since last week in brackets):

CPC 38.6% (+0.5)
Lib 25.7% (-1.3)
NDP 22.0% (+1.9)
BQ 7.6% (-0.7)
Green 5.1% (-0.4)

Keep in mind that with the exception of a turkey-dinner fueled Nanos poll, we haven’t seen data from any phone calls conducted since last Wednesday (NOTE – I ran this before today’s Innovative and Environics polls were released).

So the above vote and the following seat projections could very well change significantly in the coming days. As such, I’ll be back with updated projections later this week, a closer look at the seats to watch in each region over the weekend, and a final projection on Sunday night. Also, I’ll post daily seat projections on Twitter.


Not surprisingly, the largest NDP movement has come in Quebec, where they’ve gone from a 0-7 seat range last week, up to a 3-18 range this week. These gains have come almost exclusively at the Bloc’s expense, with Liberal and Conservative seat ranges in Quebec unchanged from last week:


To get a better sense of how well the model is handling the wacky world of Quebec politics, consider the following two riding polls, released today (and fielded last week):

Brome Mississquoi – Bloc 32%, Lib 26%, NDP 26%, CPC 11%
Chambly Borduas – Bloc 37%, NDP 24%, Lib 15%, CPC 7%

Comparatively speaking, my model has Brome as a 35% chance of going Bloc, 35% chance of going Liberal, and 28% chance of going NDP. Which makes a lot of sense given the riding survey findings. It also underscores why a probability model is so much better for these kind of ridings. A simple projection would just put it down as a Bloc victory, without recognizing there’s a very good chance the Liberals and NDP could very well win it.

In Chambly, I still show the Bloc with a 96% chance of winning, with the NDP at just 4% – once again, this is consistent with the riding poll that has the Bloc up by 13 points.

Poll Soup: And here comes the NDP?

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls, Seat Projections | Leave a comment


Tons of polls out today, with something for everyone.

If you’re a Liberal, you’re no doubt salivating at eating into the 8-point Tory lead in today’s Decima and yesterday’s Ekos polls. The NDP are surging in the latest from Leger and Angus Reid, with the latter showing them tied for second with the Liberals. The Tories, meanwhile, enjoy double-digit leads in Nanos and Forum polls.

Put it together and what have you got? Not a huge shift from last week, with the NDP up and the Tories down: (change since last week in brackets)

CPC 38.1% (-1.1)
Lib 27.0% (-0.3)
NDP 20.1% (+1.7)
BQ 8.3% (-0.4)
Green 5.5% (-0.9)

Translating this to seats, we see a similar shift, with the Dippers up and the Tories down:

Last week, the Conservative seat range was 141-168 seats, with a 46% chance at a majority. This week, their range is 138-162, with the majority odds down to 22%. For the Dippers, their pre-debate range of 22-35 seats has jumped to 28-42…and there are now 7 seats in Quebec they have at least a 5% chance of taking, with Outremont (89%), Gatineau (44%), and Hull-Aylmer (30%) the most promising.


As I’ve said before, I don’t want to post seat-by-seat numbers, since models like this work far better at the aggregate level and can’t possibly take into account all the riding-level dynamics. But I recognize the fun in this, so here are a few of the ridings to watch. Just please bear in mind that these projections are all based on regional shifts – just because the Tories are up in Ontario, it doesn’t mean they’re up in Ottawa, and a good (or bad) local campaign or candidate, can make a huge difference. And, of course, this is a reflection of current polls – this isn’t a prediction of where support levels will be on E-Day.

With all those disclaimers in place (also: do not use seat projections and operate heavy machinery), I’ll gladly take requests for others in the comments section:

-In PEI, the Liberals gace a 28% chance of taking back Egmont, but the Tories gace a 38% in Malpeque and 33% in Charlottetown.

-Justin Trudeau is at a 75% chance to hold in Papineau.

-Kingston and the Islands is the most vulnerable Liberal seat in Ontario (25% hold), with Sudbury, Mississauga-Erindale, Vaughan, Trinity-Spadina, Oak Ridges-Markham, and Kitchener-Waterloo all at between 20-30% chances of being picked up.

-Linda Duncan is at an 84% chance of holding Strathcona, with Edmonton East a 1-in-10 shot for the NDP and Edmonton Centre a 1-in-10 shot for the Liberals.

(click here for methodology)

The Not So Triumphant Return Of Poll Soup

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment

I haven’t provided a poll soup update since 2010, but with a campaign around the corner, it’s worth checking in. Before we get to that, I must meet Blogging Council standards and issue the following disclaimer:

Warning – The following post contains graphic information and poll numbers that may not be suitable for some Liberals. Reader discretion is advised.

With that out of the way, let’s recap the four March polls:

Ekos (Feb 24 to Mar 8, n = 2488 auto dial)

CPC 35%
Lib 28%
NDP 15%
Bloc 9%
Green 10%
Other 3%

Angus Reid (Mar 8 to Mar 9, n = 1021 online)

CPC 39%
Lib 23%
NDP 17%
Bloc 9%
Green 9%

Leger (Mar 7 to Mar 10, n = 2153 online)

CPC 36%
Lib 23%
NDP 18%
Bloc 10%
Green 10%
Other 3%

Ipsos (Mar 7 to Mar 9, n = 1002 phone)

CPC 40%
Lib 27%
NDP 16%
Bloc 11%
Green 5%

RUNNING AVERAGE (change since December in brackets)

CPC: 37.7% (+1.6%)
Lib: 25.8% (-2.7%)
NDP: 16.4% (+0.8%)
BQ: 9.7% (-0.1%)
Green: 8.1% (-0.4%)


As a programming note, the average above is based on all polls (not just those listed here), taking into account:
-sample size
-pollster accuracy (based on provincial and federal elections over the past 5 years)
-a 14 day half life (so a new poll is weighted twice as heavily as a 2-week old poll)

As the graph shows, we’ve definitely seen a widening of the Tory lead since January. To pinpoint it, I shrunk the poll halflife to 5 days and retroactively ran week-by-week averages:

As you can see, the gap really widens around early-to-mid February. Your guess is as good as mine as to the cause. The current theory I’m working on places most of the blame on Charlie Sheen.

So what does this all mean? Well, my seat projection formula gives the Tories an 85% chance at a majority, and projects the following seat ranges (at 95% confidence):

CPC: 148 to 178
LPC: 53 to 79
Bloc: 49 to 61
NDP: 17 to 31

Although the national vote numbers are largely in line with the last election result, the Tories get into majority territory because their support is up in Ontario (which means a dozen extra seats) and down in Quebec (which means a few less) and Alberta (which means zero less).

Now before anyone panics, keep in mind this is based on the polls we’re seeing right now. Polls of a relatively unengaged electorate. The vote numbers will move during a campaign. The last three times the government changed in Canada, the party taking power trailed at the start of the campaign.

A brief note on public opinion polls

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment

Three polls to look at today:

Lib 35%, CPC 30%, NDP 20%, BQ 11%
PC 36%, Lib 33%, NDP 8%, Ref 11%, BQ 10%
Lib 48%, PC 39%, NDP 11%

Those are the final pre-election polls for the three most recent times Canadians voted out an incumbent government (Jeff has more on the 2005/06 election here).

In all three instances – 2005/06, 1993, and 1984 – the incumbent party led when the writ was dropped. Twice, they fell by 20 percentage points during the campaign.

In fairness, the incumbent party has also led the past five times they were re-elected. Obviously, it’s better to be 10 points up than 10 points down.

But campaigns matter. Let’s not forget that.

Bonus TWIA – Polls!

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment

Two new polls to report in Alberta.

First up comes the latest from Janet Brown, who has earned a solid reputation for projecting Alberta elections:

PC 40%
WAP 33%
ALP 19%
NDP 8%
AP 0.1%

I feel badly for Brown on this one, since this poll was in field the week before Stelmach resigned. A 900 sample survey isn’t cheap, and with the oil hitting the fan right afterwards, the poll loses a lot of its value. But, hey, at least we know the PCs were doing fine, even with Ed at the helm.

Luckily, Environics was in field both before and after all the craziness. Their conclusion? It didn’t change a heck of a lot. They didn’t notice an immediate shift in support one way or the other.

PC 38%
WAP 26%
ALP 22%
NDP 10%

Numbers like this have a tendency to get spun as “bad news” for all parties involved, so let me play the optimist for a change. The PCs are comfortably in front, likely in majority territory. The Alliance are a solid second despite most Albertans knowing little about them or their charismatic leader. The Liberals are down, but if they can get their standard 25-30%, they’ll make major seat gains due to the right wing vote split. The NDP are holding their ground, and could make inroads against a weak Liberal Party.

This Week in Alberta: Polling Numbers

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment

A round up of recent news stories from Alberta:

1. The Wildrose Alliance have had their first semi-public internal party dust up, over the Little Bow nomination. While this certainly isn’t good news by any means, it does show that a Wildrose nomination is now worth fighting over. The airing of internal party dirty laundry on the Internet is really just a coming of age ritual for political parties.

2. Justin Archer pens a guest post over at Daveberta on an Alberta Liberal’s perspective of the Alberta Party. By and large, I tend to agree with Justin. Personally, I think the best bet would have been to blow up the ALP after the last election and start fresh – a new name, new members, an outsider in charge. If done correctly, the new party could very well have capitalized on a lot of the anti-Stelmach feelings Danielle Smith has instead lassoed. I’m a Liberal but that means I’m also a pragmatist, so I’m by no means one of these “we’ve lost as Liberals for 80 years and dammit, I’m ready to lose as Liberals for another 80” people.

But because I’m a pragmatist, I just don’t see the Alberta Party being able to suck up enough oxygen to survive, so long as the ALP lives. It’s always great to have more options, and I’m sure they’ll appeal to a lot of former Green voters, but the party is basically advocating Liberal policies, and I’m skeptical this movement will accomplish much more than wounding the ALP (more so in the form of lost volunteers than lost votes).

3. An Environics poll is out, with the Liberals down slightly and the Wildrose up slightly from May:

PC 34%
WRA 32%
ALP 19%
NDP 13%

Most notably, the poll shows the Wildrose on the rise in Edmonton which is probably the one consolation the Liberals can take from these numbers – after all, a split right wing vote in Calgary and Edmonton means they’ll pick up seats so long as they get their act together.

AlbertaVote has done up a seat projection which shows the PCs with a slim majority (45 seats), the Alliance a strong second (32 seats), and the ALP (5 seats) and NDP (3 seats) taking just a handful of seats.

Although I enjoy a good seat projection as much as the next statistical/political nerd, I’d be really cautious about extrapolating out these poll results into seats. And not just because we’re only talking about 200-300 decided voters in each region. The big problem is the emergence of the Wildrose Alliance is such a wild card that you can’t expect vote patterns to shift normally.

But hey, a little unpredictability in Alberta politics is a refreshing change.

Right Turn

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in 2010 Calgary Municipal Election, 2010 Toronto Muncipal Election, Calgary Municipal Politics, Polls, Toronto Municipal Politics | Leave a comment

Polls out today show fiscal conservatives ahead in Calgary and Toronto.

Calgary (Leger, n=500 phone)

Ric McIver 43% (profile)
Barb Higgins 28%
Naheed Nenshi 8% (profile)
Kent Hehr 4.1% (profile)
Bob Hawkesworth 3.9%
Craig Burrows 3.6%
Joe Connely 2.9%
Wayne Stewart 1.8%
Alnoor Kassam 1.4%
Oscar Fech 1.2%
Bonnie Devine 0.8%
Paul Hughes 0.8%
John Lord 0.4%

Kassam and Hughes are actually out of the race. Likely a wise move, because if you’re tied with Oscar Fech, it’s time to go (Oscar’s platform usually involves digging up gold buried under City Hall).

The results from this poll are hardly earth shattering. McIver has been the front runner for the past 5 years and Higgins is still finding her feet in this race. However, the news isn’t all bad for her – 15 points can be made up in month municipally, and she is clearly positioned as the “anybody but McIver” candidate. Nenshi is still far back, but can at least spin this as a sign he’s pulling away from the pack. For the rest of the field, there’s little joy in mudville.

Toronto (Nanos, n = 1221 phone)

Ford 45.8%
Smitherman 21.3%
Pantalone 16.8%
Rossi 9.7%
Thompson 6.4%

This poll will come as more of a shock for anyone living outside of Toronto. Yes, those “Liberal elites” John Baird rails against are lining up behind a man who could become Canada’s first Tea Party mayor.

For those in Toronto, it’s not as big a shock. Ford has become the torch bearer for every suburban voter fed up with waste at City Hall and has forged a Ralph Klein common man connection to voters, to the point where voters will forgive his many deficiencies.

Luckily, as is the case in Calgary, there’s still a lot of baseball to be played and many voters are just now tuning in this episode already in progress. Right now, the “Stop Ford” vote is being split – by Election Day it will congeal, presumably around Smitherman.

Still, the early returns are strikingly similar in both Calgary in Toronto – in both cities, voters have clicked their right turn signal, looking to the candidate who talks the loudest about cleaning up waste at City Hall.

August Poll Soup: Dog Days of August Edition

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment

I try not to get too worked up over summertime polls. Canadians aren’t thinking about politics, and even a barrage of Census news stories isn’t going to change their vote intent much. At least not right away.

After all, people are at their cottages and drinking lemonade. They have better things to do than talk to pollsters.

So there was really no need to panic when Ekos’ Canada Day weekend poll showed the Liberals at 23.9%. And the Tories probably don’t need to lose much sleep over an August long weekend poll which had them below 30%.

Still, with a barrage of polls released over the past week, there’s no harm in posting a poll soup update.

Ekos (July 21 – Aug 3, n = 3,444 auto dialled)
CPC 31.6%
Lib 26.8%
NDP 17.3%
BQ 10.4%
Green 11.0%
Other 2.9%

Angus Reid (Aug 10-11, n = 1,009 online)
CPC 33%
Lib 29%
NDP 19%
BQ 10%
Green 9%

Decima (July 29 – Aug 9, n = 2,009 phone)
CPC 34%
Lib 28%
NDP 15%
BQ 9%
Green 12%

Ipsos (Aug 4-9, n = 1,000)
CPC 34%
Lib 31%
NDP 15%
BQ 9%
Green 9%

AVERAGE (change since June in brackets)
CPC: 33.0% (-1.6%)
Lib: 28.5% (+0.6%)
NDP: 16.5% (-1.1%)
BQ: 9.8% (+0.3%)
Green: 10.4% (+1.7%)

NOTE: The overall numbers are weighted based on sample size and pollster accuracy, using the weights I devised for my seat projections. I’ll update the seat projections in September since, as I said, there’s no point getting too worked up over August horse race numbers.

Poll Soup: School’s out for the Summer Edition

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls | Leave a comment


What has been described as “the least productive session of parliament ever” is stumbling to a close. Looking at what little has been accomplished…well, maybe they should have just stayed prorogued.

But even if there’s been little legislative movement in the House, there has been movement in the polls since January. Despite abortion gaffes, a Jaffer side show, and a billion dollar boondogle, the Tories managed to regain much of what they lost from the grassroots fury over the holidays. A 1.7% lead in January has gradually widened to 6.7%.

And, you know what. That’s basically the mean Canadian politics has kept regressing to over the last 4 years. Sure, sometimes the Tories inch ahead and we speculate about a majority. Sometimes the Liberals creep up and we start speculating about a Liberal win. But, without fail, two or three months later, we get back to the 6 or 7 point lead.

Ekos (June 9 – 15, n = 2,013 robo called)
CPC 30.5%
Lib 26.3%
NDP 17.4%
BQ 10.5%
Green 12.3%
Other 3.0%

Nanos (May 29 – June 3, n = 1,008 phone)
CPC 35.6%
Lib 29.2%
NDP 20.7%
BQ 9.4%
Green 5.1%

Environics (May 18 – 26, n = 2,064 phone)
CPC 36%
Lib 30%
NDP 15%
BQ 10%
Green 7%
Other 2%

Angus Reid (May 25 – 27, n = 2,022 online)
CPC 35%
Lib 27%
NDP 19%
BQ 9%
Green 8%

Decima (May 13 – 23, n = 2,010 phone)
CPC 36%
Lib 27%
NDP 16%
BQ 8%
Green 11%

AVERAGE (change since April in brackets)
CPC: 34.6% (+1.3%)
Lib: 27.9% (+0.8%)
NDP: 17.6% (-0.9%)
BQ: 9.4% (-0.5%)
Green: 8.7% (-0.9%)

Monday Quick Hits

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Polls, Quebec Politics | Leave a comment

1. The Hill Times has released their annual MP survey. John Baird and Bob Rae do well in the more meaningful categories, while Rona Ambrose and Pablo Rodriguez continue their dominance in the “best hair” category. Rona is also on top for sexiest woman, with Helena and Ruby falling off the list after a difficult year. For the men, Peter McKay held off a challenge from the “hippest MP”, Justin Trudeau, to defend his crown.

2. In other polling news, the latest from Environics shows few changes in Alberta since March:

PC 34% (nc)
WAP 28% (-2%)
ALP 23% (nc)
NDP 12% (+2%)

They do some seat projections that show the PCs with a razor-thin majority but, for the life of me, I’m not sure how you can do a credible seat projection when a party rises from obscurity to second place.

3. In Quebec, the news is less rosy for the incumbent:

PQ 40%
Lib 31%
ADQ 8%
QS 8%
Green 7%

With the PQ up 48% to 22% among francophone voters, they’re squarely in majority territory. We’re still a ways off from an election but the federal parties should at least start thinking about the implications of having a separatist government in Quebec in a few years.

4. Speaking of which, a regular reader is looking to give away a pair of hardcover Rene Levesque biographies – Memories and My Quebec. If you’re in Calgary you can pick them up, otherwise you can send cash for postage. If you’re interest, drop me an e-mail and I’ll get you in touch.

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