Thursday, November 16, 2006

SES poll: Libs and Cons in a statistical tie, Cons freefall in Quebec

Via Dave Akin comes word of a new poll from SES, everyone’s favourite pollsters. While I don’t generally pay much attention to polls (polls for dancing, as I’ve said before) SES polls are generally worth a quick look.

Here’s the national numbers:

Conservatives 34 per cent (-2)
Liberals 32 per cent (+2)

NDP 16 per cent (-2)

BQ 13 per cent (+2)

Green Party 5 per cent (-)

(Margin of error +/- 3.3 per cent)

Looking at the regional numbers the Cons went up five per cent to 48 per cent in the West, mainly at the NDP’s expense, but across the rest of the country they’ve dropped. It was a Conservative freefall in Quebec, dropping from 26 per cent to 12 per cent, boosting the BQ to 50 per cent in Quebec (+8) and the Liberals to 25 per cent (+3).

Elsewhere the Liberals made strong gains in Atlantic Canada, gaining six points to 37 per cent, taken equally from the Cons and NDP. In Ontario the Liberals have an eight point lead on the Cons, 44 to 36.

In his commentary, SAS’s Nik Nanos notes the national movement is within the margin of error.

“SES’ polling has shown that when the Conservatives focus on their five priorities their numbers move up but that the focus on Afghanistan, pulling out of Kyoto and warm relations with George Bush has noticeably eroded Conservative support in Quebec.”


So, what are we to take from these numbers? While, I’d say it’s a signal that Harper is vulnerable, and we still have a shot at this thing. I think it’s a signal that the new, tougher posture the Liberal caucus has taken since the summer recess is working. It also clearly points to the issues we need to keep the debate on in the months ahead, such as the environment and Afghanistan.

So, while these are encouraging figures, it’s also important that we keep working hard. The lesson to glean is we’re on the right track but we need to keep working hard as there is a long, long ways to go and it’s still anybody’s game.

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CuriosityCat said...

The West figures are not relevant given the high Tory vote in Alberta. The figures for BC are important: if the Dippers are down here, and Libs up, could mean we are nudging towards majority government ...

WestmountLiberal said...

No cheering in Quebec..yet.
The Conser drop is the BQ's gain.
We still have alot of work to do.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Cat, I think it's far to early to even consider that. You're right to want to separate Alberta from BC. If the Con gains are in Alberta or interior BC that's meaningless, if it's in coastal BC ridings that flipped Con to NDP in the last two votes (like VIN and Skeena) that's interesting. As for Lib gains in the West, again, unless it's outside the Lower Mainland it wont' mean too much.

The Libs are solidifying in Ontario and growing in the Maratimes, and the Cons are freefalling in Quebec in favour of the BQ.

What the poll would seem to indicate (and this is only if the trendlines were to continue, which is far from given) is a retrenching of the Con and Liberal votes to their traditional support bases, and a reemergence of the regionalism of the past.

The Con gains from January, mainly in Quebec, seem to be evaporating, and they don't have much room to make them up in the West. We're still in minority Con/Liberal territory. No one has the trends to a majority yet.

Westmount, I agree no cheering. I do take heart with the Quebec numbers though, as it affirms the belief I've held since Jan. 23 that Con support there was built on a house of cards, and trying to buyoff that soft nationalist support is a failing strategy, as it was for Martin and Lapierre. I believe more firmly than ever that the Dion approach to federalism is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

I think we'll have to wait a few days - Harper's on another spending spree in Quebec.

ottlib said...

Individual polls are meaningless but looking at the trends over time is when polls become really useful.

If you take a look at the polling done since the election, by all of the polling firms, one trend really stands out. That is Liberal support is solid. They have been sitting around 30% +/- 2%. (With the occasional outlier up and down.)

The Conservatives on the other hand have been very volatile. They have climbed to over 40% and have since been falling a couple a points a month since June.

Such a dynamic is bad news for the Conservatives. The Liberals experienced the same thing between 2004 and 2006 and we all know how that turned out.

Such a dynamic indicates that the electorate is not committed to supporting the government and the support they do offer is dependant on the "flavour of the week". That is not a very good basis for winning an election.

The next election is at least 4 months away and we all know that is a lifetime in politics so nothing is set in stone. However, the underlying trends within the electorate should be a cause for concern for the Conservatives.

Harrap said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Harrap said...

If Kennedy is elected Liberal leader, I think that could tip the numbers in Western Canada towards the Liberals. Also could give the Liberals a lead in Ontario where he was a successful Cabinet Minister.

I do agree with you that the polls are showing that the Liberals do have a shot at winning the next election. Harper is vulnerable.

A BCer in Toronto said...

The Liberals have a lead in Ontario. I'm sure Gerard could help build it, but I'm not sure if he's be able to build it more than the other top three. In the West there's potential, BC in particular is fertile ground for the Liberals. We had huge hopes for BC in 2004, were it not for sponsorship we'd have made huge gains. As it was, BC is the only region we grew our support in 04 and 06. Can Gerard build on some of that promise? I'm not sure, but it'd be nice.