Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Forgotten Poll?

I don't know why this effort from Angus Reid hasn't recieved more coverage, other than that the result is the same-old same-old:

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - The governing Conservative party remains ahead in Canada, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies released by the Toronto Star. 38 per cent of respondents would vote for the Tories in the next federal election, while 29 per cent would support the opposition Liberal party.

To me this just says that despite the fact that Liberal activists seem more comfortable with Iggy than Dion, the change in leadership hasn't moved the numbers much. Mind you, AR's analysis of the raw data indicates a somewhat rosier picture:

Exactly two months after the ill-advised economic statement that almost doomed the Conservative government, the political map finds the five federal parties—with the exception of the Liberals—very close to their level of support in the last federal election.

The Liberals have managed to sustain positive numbers in Quebec (where they are second to the Bloc) and British Columbia (where they trail the Tories). In these two provinces, the Grits are doing better than they did in the 2008 election. Ignatieff is clearly outperforming his predecessor in head-to-head match-ups against Harper, but many respondents remain unaware or uncertain.

AR's analysis of the Conservative Base and its response to last week's budget (they're "satisfied" with it) seems absurd given the response in the blogosphere, but on the other hand the poll does confirm a certain angst among NDP voters that appears evident on the anecdotal level.

The NDP, in stark contrast to Tories and Grits, is only holding on to 64 per cent of its 2008 voters. Three out of every ten NDP supporters are now backing either of the two main federal parties.

Anyway, I am sure Steve V will be along to explain things for us.

PS. This is another online survey, but since AR's recent results have fallen in line with all the other major Canadian pollsters, I guess the time has come to stop complaining about their methodology.


Reality Bites said...

Well if the Liberals are down in Alberta, but up in Quebec, that's good news for them, even if the national figures don't budge.

As for the Conservative blogosphere, there's a lot to be said for the notion that the idiots to be found among the Blogging Tories and FreeDominion are NOT in any way, shape or form the base. Conservative voters, for the most part, are just ordinary Canadians who identify with that party rather than one of the others.

Every election we see the blathering on FD how they're going to ditch the Conservatives (provincially or federally) and really show them what will happen to them for ignoring "the base." And every time they do it, the voting share of their preferred fringe party goes done.

bigcitylib said...

True enough, I suppose. But on the other hand I'm thinking of folks like Coyne. Maybe a bit more surprising if he is representative of nobody but himself.

MississaugaPeter said...

Watch out BCL,

Steve V called me a "Stephen LeDrew" for calling him out for recently becoming an "Ignatieff Cherniak".

I just hope he stops applying for a job with WK. I know of a few bloggers that fell into that trap and ended up with nothing. They failed to realize that WK wants connected folks who are also incredibly intuitive and smart and can cut and paste, NOT only those who can cut and paste.

MississaugaPeter said...

You are correct that there was no bounce, I mean IGNATIEFF BOUNCE, that usually accompanies a change in leadership.

I commented weeks ago, that even though I initially thought Vancouver was the right place for the Liberal Convention (since we need to gain more momentum in the West), I thought that the convention should be quickly moved back to Central Canada. The reason is, I just don't see too much enthusiasm for the Ignatieff coronation. Numbers like those that you refer to, will not help. I guess if they do get desperate, they could give away tickets for free.

Ti-Guy said...

This is another online survey.

Which probably accounts for the very low figures for "not sure/don't know." If this were an actual population survey, poll results for that option would be up around 99%.

I mean, seriously. If anyone has convictions firm enough to respond to the statement: "Stephen Harper/Micheal Ignatieff has a clear plan to deal with the economic slowdown," decisively, without any data on what he/she understands about the "economic plan" (which is likely nothing), the results are meaningless.

It's a measure of perception at best and while that is a useful guide for politicians and news media to decide how to shape public opinion (at least for a news cycle), this information has no value to the rest of us.

Steve V said...


Just a point of clarification, that poll also had the Libs at 22% a few weeks ago, so keep that in mind. And, the pollster also states the Libs are the only party who's numbers are above their election total, so, it's not a complete bust. I did comment on it, somebody else spoke too it. I think the gap is really an Ontario question, AR has us doing well in Quebec and BC. It seems, Ontario numbers are a bit all over the map, depending on the pollster, which probably says, as I'm sure you already now, that we're a fairly fluid province at the moment. It's a mixed bag poll, lots of bad internals for Harper, but their support is still up (one thing, their numbers have never been higher in Alberta and Sask, so it's helping the nationals).

One thing I've noticed, all the other pollsters are now doing online sampling, like AR. Strategic Counsel just did one, Ipsos does them and even NANOS is dabbling, so it would appear "online" is taking over. The good news, the accuracy seems to be better, overall.

Ti-Guy said...

The good news, the accuracy seems to be better, overall.

I despair.

Ted Betts said...

I suspect no one is paying attention to it because the poll was conducted before the budget and Ignatieff's statement and then released afterwards. So it is maybe a marker to compare against, but more recent polls have shown different results. Plus AR is never terribly accurate anyway, especially with online data.

bigcitylib said...

Good point, Ted, I hadn't noticed that.

Steve V said...

"Plus AR is never terribly accurate anyway, especially with online data."

Ted, that's simply not true. In the last election, easily the most accurate. AR online was also most accurate in the last Ontario and Manitoba elections, their record is better than NANOS, believe it or not. That's part of the reason you see other outfits doing more online polling, it's proven itself, very much in fact.

MississaugaPeter said...


I have to agree with Steve V, Angus Reid has been getting some good marks lately...

They got Quebec pretty much dead on.

Ti-Guy said...

Which poll predicted the lowest voter turn-out in history in the last election?

bigcitylib said...

Steve, Miss Pete,

Although these things change quickly, don't they? Remember when Zogby reigned supreme down in the States?

MississaugaPeter said...


Please don't consider me a big follower of polls. I do read the raw data once it comes out, but I know that the data is only close to right the day it was taken or the few days after. It's the trends that matter, and they themselves can change over circumstance. A good/poor campaign, a misstep, can affect the results quite considerably.

And then of course, there are push polls. During the recent federal election I saw the devastating/great results of one. Incumbent candidate A had a push poll done that showed they had a 10 point lead over Challenger B just 2 weeks prior to the election. Candidate A election team broadcast the result and as a result coasted. Challenger B knew it was a push poll, galvanized his team, and won by 7 points.

A 28-day, 35-day election is an eternity. And today's polls have very little to do with the next election's results, other than to give us an idea of where the candidates would be if the election started on the day of the poll.

Steve V said...

"Remember when Zogby reigned supreme down in the States?"

Yes, and then he cooked his numbers in the 2004 NH primary, and it all went down hill from there :)

My only point, enough with the "online" excuse.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Liberal brain trust should just come to the realization that the Conservatives are just not popular and even a head of lettuce as the chief Liberal would likely poll the same way... Iggy is no genius but if the troop want to rally let them.

Harper was in Quebec for the opening of the winter Carnival and was loudly booed...