Saturday, February 24, 2007

Two New Polls Indicate No Spring Election (And Maybe No 2007 Federal Election)

The New Ipsos-Reid puts Tories/Libs in a statistical dead heat:

The survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid for CanWest News Service and Global National, says the Conservatives have the support of 36% of the population, compared to 34% for the Liberals.


The survey said the NDP held at 13%, the Bloc held at 9% and the Green party grew to 8%, up three points from the January poll.

The Tories "appear" to have momentum, says Ipsos-Reid President Darrell Bricker, but they don't appear to have much and in any case the Ontario/Quebec numbers are still pretty much where they've been for several months:

In Quebec, the Bloc had 38% support, compared with 25% for the Liberals, and 21% for the Conservatives.

In Ontario, the Liberals were ahead of the Conservatives by 41% to 38%, but the margin shrank to three points from six points in January.

Meanwhile, from Paul Wells we have a CROP Poll of the federal parties in Quebec:

But enough about that crap. You want to hear about the new CROP poll, don't you. Philistines. All right, all right. It ain't pretty: Bloc stable at 36%, a few points below anything it's ever got in an election but still no longer falling. Conservatives at 22%, also fairly stable, 3 points below their 2006 election score in Quebec. Liberals at 26%, a measurable dip. We've surely put to rest any idea that Quebecers harbour any particular animosity toward St├ęphane Dion. But they need convincing just like anywhere else, and right now, they ain't convinced.

So everyone is where they've been but the Greens, who are on a definite upward trend. Therefore I think we can pretty much put aside the notion of a snap election called in late March. As Bricker says:

"The fundamentals, particularly on the issue of leadership, are definitely in the right direction for the Conservatives," Bricker said. "But they're not going to pull the plug in the midst of a Quebec election, and they are going to have a wait for at least a couple of months after that to see how things are going to shake out on a federal vote.

"So it's difficult for me to see how they end up calling an election this spring with any degree of certainty."

Furthermore, bill C-288 (the Kyoto Implementation Act), the obvious "trigger" of an election call, if you believe Conservative partisans, will not emerge from the Senate until April/May (according to Lib Leaders in the Senate), and could not therefore spark any kind of action until July/August at the earliest, which would mean a vote would come in September/October.

Of course, we will be having an Ontario election in October, and maybe an Alberta election also some time later this year.

So I am beginning to wonder if an '07 federal vote is at all likely.

In addition, it is difficult to see C-288 providing a plausible election trigger, in my opinion, for it does not seem to bind the government to unreachable targets, as so many have argued. Or at least, as Stephane Dion describes it in his Friday Star op-ed:

This bill requires the Conservatives to propose a plan to meet the challenge set by the Kyoto targets or to provide an accounting to the House on why those targets will not be met.

So, provide a plan or tell us why you've failed. It seems that, contrary to the CW, its the opposition parties who have trapped the Tories.


alfred said...

Given that the Libs were ten points up three months before the last election, Id say this looks pretty good for Harper.

RossK said...


You mean the StratCon's got it wrong - again?


JimBobby said...

Whooee! I been floatin' a little new math on this here stuff. The old math sez you need 40%+ popular support t' win a majority an' about 35% to win a minority. Usin' old math, yer right an' it wouldn't make sense fer Harpoon t' toss his spear right away.


We got a dumbass FPTP system an' we got my own fellers an' gals, the Greenies, drawin' votes mainly from offa the Grits. Now, if the Grits an' Cons stay at a dead heat, then yer right an' they'd be dumber than live bait t' drop a writ. If the Grits is losin' t' the Greens an' it's a trend like even yer sayin', it'd make sense fer the Cons t' call a vote an' they could get a majority.

Here's how --

As GPC support grows and takes votes from one of the "dead heat" frontrunners, that drop can put the LPC into second-place position. Second place, under FPTP, is the same as dead last.

When we had mostly 3-way races in TROC and 4-way races in the nation-in-a-nation, the 40% rule could be relied upon. Now, with a much stronger GPC, we're gonna have 4-way and 5-way races. In such races, the FPTP can be as low as 26% and 21%. Realistically, 30%-35% could easily be FPTP.

I'm arguin' that this puts the Conmen on a stronger footin' than the polls might suggest. I ain't rootin' fer Harpoon an' I know my Green vote might help the HarpoonTossers by splittin' yer Grit vote an' dang it, that's a shame but I'm votin' fer the party that best represents my philosophy. The more often we have elections where the popular vote and the MP tallies are way outta whack, the sooner everybuddy realizes we gotta dump FPTP if wanna live in a democracy.


RossK said...


Interesting hypothesis, and I don't think I can disagree with you that the 'final' bar has changed.


Is there not also the prospect, especially when it is viewed as a dead heat that a lot of the GPC support will evaporate (and maybe, not an insignificant amount of the stategic Dipper vote)?

And if so, where will it go?

That is the real question that the I'm sure the internal polls are asking ('tis kind of like those ol' Reagan Democrats I reckon).


Anonymous said...

Great analysis in the post and comments.

The public's uncertainty over the quality of our political leadership - regardless of party affiliation - is the overarching wild card and no one has the advantage yet as to trustworthy and competent leadership.

The spectacle of the MSM going into full fledge "rutting season" with declarations and conclusions of political "fates" based on the Strategic Counsel poll results last week was laughable.

The headlines giving Harper higher marks on decisiveness was the overshadowing the fact tht 25% were undecided and in a statistical tie on almost every other issue.

What is the benefit of Harper being seen as decisive if the population thinks he is wrong on the issues? He has also serioulsy undermined his trustworthiness factor this past week too.

I think the fall election is more likely now too - but because of C-288. The Conmen don't want to go through the required 60 day planning process anyway.

If we see C-288 emerge from the Senate in May/June expect a late summer election call and a September or October vote so Harper can avoid the consequences of this legislation.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when push comes to shove in an election, that in fear of a Harper majority some may switch their NDP or Green to the Liberals. Just a thought.

Gayle said...

"I wonder when push comes to shove in an election, that in fear of a Harper majority some may switch their NDP or Green to the Liberals. Just a thought.

It is a good thought, and I think right on the money. While some people are ambivalent towards Harper, I think a lot of people fear what he would do to this country if he had a majority. Doesn't he lose ground every time someone suggests he could win a majority?

That is why I think you are wrong JB - the greens will lose votes if the race is this close.

JimBobby said...

I think there will be soft johnny-come-lately support that will bleed from the GPC in some tight races. However, I don't think the average voter is as likely to vote strategically as us boogin' wonks.

The Cons are doing a hatchet job on Dion's green record and some new GPC supporters see little difference between the Cons and Grits in terms of effectiveness on the environmental file.

The GPC can pretty much count on retaining the 4.5% it got in 2004 and 2006. Environmental concerns are running high and account for the rise in GPC polling numbers. Some of the new Greens will vote Green - admittedly, strategic voters who are strongly against Harper will vote for whoever has a chance of beat the Con in their riding.

I voted Liberal in 2004 in a strategic move to keep Diane Finley from ousting Bob Speller. Bob lost and FPTP meant that my vote for him counted as much as my Green vote would have... except, if I'd voted Green, I would have voted my conscience and would have felt better about my relatively meaningless vote.