Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Polling polarization

I'll leave the in depth polling analysis to Steve, but looking at these Ipsos numbers I have to say what strikes me most is the sharp polarization of the regional numbers, and between the Conservatives and the Liberals.

Regionally, the Conservatives have huge leads from Manitoba east, while in Atlantic Canada the Liberals have a strong lead, in Quebec the BQ a strong lead over the Liberals (with the Conservatives well back) and in Ontario, the Liberals are opening-up a five point lead.

Nationally, the numbers are very tight at Conservatives 37 to Liberals 33 (and NDP 12). But seeing the support so divided along regional lines is troubling. I know Michael Ignatieff has been working on reaching-out to the West, and I don't take these numbers as a failure of that effort at all -- it's going to be a long term project -- but they should emphasize that the Liberal Party absolutely needs to make breaking into Western Canada a top priority.

The other polarization is between the two viable contenders for government: the Conservatives and the Liberals. The NDP seems to be falling off the radar as a viable option for most Canadians. Their 12 per cent national figure is very low, and the regionals offer them little room for hope. I'm particularly surprised by their distant third place showing in BC, where the provincial dippers have a decent shot at government in May.

I certaintly have my theories on the NDP numbers. Far from me to give them advice, they've made clear they don't want it. And it's not that hard to figure out anyways.

Anyway-ho, here's the numbers:

Ignatieff Liberals (33%) Continue to Edge Closer to Harper Conservatives
Grits (42%) Open a 5-Point Lead in Ontario over Tories (37%)

Attention: News Editor

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwire - March 10, 2009) - Toronto, ON - As politicians in Ottawa focus on how best to spend budgeted stimulus funds to help steer Canada out of an economic recession by creating jobs, a new Ipsos Reid poll of over 2,000 Canadians conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television has revealed that Michael Ignatieff and his Liberal Party continue to make gains on Prime Minister Harper's Conservative Government.

If an election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives would receive support from 37% of decided voters (unchanged from early February), while the Liberals would receive 33% support, up 2 points nationally. While the Liberals continue to make steady gains since Mr. Ignatieff took over the helm of the party, Conservative support has flat-lined as they failed to receive a post Obama-visit gain in the polls just weeks after the American President's first official state-visit abroad.

The NDP would receive support from 12% of Canadians (down 2 points), while the Green Party would receive 8% of the vote (up 1 point). The Bloc is enjoying support from 10% of decided voters nationally (unchanged), or 41% in Quebec. Six percent (6%) remain undecided.

Support for the major parties varies by region, and it appears that gains in Ontario are driving the increase in support for the Liberals:

In seat-rich Ontario, the Liberals (42%) have opened up a 5-point lead over the Conservatives (37%), while the NDP (12%) and Greens (8%) are far behind.

In Quebec, the Bloc (41%) maintains a healthy lead over the Liberals (27%), while the Conservatives continue to trail off (16%). The NDP (10%) and Green Party (6%) lag.

In British Columbia, the Tories (50%) have a wide lead over the Grits (26%), NDP (14%), and Green Party (9%).

In Alberta, the Conservatives (70%) continue to paint the province blue, while the Liberals (15%), NDP (10%) and Green Party (6%) are well behind.

In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the Conservatives have 49% support, followed by the Liberals (28%), NDP (16%) and Green Party (6%).

In Atlantic Canada, the Liberals (41%) are on top, followed by the Tories (29%), the NDP (17%) and the Green Party (12%).

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted February 24 to March 5, 2009 for Canwest News Service and Global Television. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 2,002 adult Canadians was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population of Canada been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data.

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