Monday, June 01, 2009

Describe Stephen Harper? Secretive, arrogant, out of touch

A few polls out today that others will I'm sure offer plenty of analysis of, one from Ekos and one from Angus Reid. Both show tight races, but solid Liberal prospects.

The Angus Reid folks have posted a PDF breakdown with lots of interesting stuff, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on.

First, they offer some interesting insight on the impact of the Conservative ads:

After disclosing their voting intention, respondents to this survey were divided into three groups. The first group observed one of the television ads that the Conservative Party has launched targeting Ignatieff, the second group was shown the same ad and the response that Ignatieff posted on YouTube, and the third group was not exposed to any ads or videos.

The momentum score for Harper among respondents who saw the ad is -40 (10% improved, 50% worsened), and the prime minister posts similar numbers among those who saw the ad and the video (9% improved, 52% worsened) and those who were not exposed directly to either the ad or the video (7% improved, 49% worsened).

The momentum score for Ignatieff among respondents who saw the ad is -18 (24% improved, 42% worsened). However, the opposition leader bridges the gap with those who also saw his YouTube video (29% improved, 31% worsened) and is even among those who did not see the ad or the video (28% improved, 28% worsened).
As I've said before, I'm not ready to pass judgment on the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the Conservative ads yet. But there is one message I take from these results: The Liberal Party needs to get its response in front of more people than those who watch YouTube.

On another note, I found this amusing:
Respondents were also asked to select up to six words (out of a list of 17 traits and characteristics) that may be used to describe Canada's federal political leaders.

The words that were associated with Harper the most are secretive (54%), arrogant (53%), out of touch (38%), uncaring (37%), intelligent (35%), boring (34%) and dishonest (also 34%).

Ignatieff comes across as intelligent (53%), arrogant (42%) and strong (31%), and a quarter of respondents also see him as open, secretive end efficient.

And who says pollsters don't have a sense of humour?
Remarkably, the five federal party leaders post exceptionally low marks on being exciting (from 3% for Harper to 13% for Layton), and at least one-in-five Canadians regard them all as boring (from 21% for Ignatieff to 34% for Harper).

Remarkably? Surely that's sarcasm, Angus...

Finally, interesting regionals. I like those Quebec numbers (ouch, Cons) but those Atlantic numbers aren't pleasing.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Ted Betts said...

Check out the more detailed analysis that is starting to come out of the massive EKOS poll - over 10,000 Canadians polled:, check out this seat projection analysis of the regional breakdowns. While nationally the Liberals and Conservatives are neck and neck, the regional breakdowns convert into a tiny but clear Liberal minority government.

Barcs said...

Missed the ctv/Strategic Council poll.

The one where 1/2 of the phoned people are from Quebec where the liberals hold almost a 20 point lead on the tories.

The one where even with that slant into the liberal polling area Iggy cannot measure up to the "evil rightwing, secretive, arrogant, out of touch, uncaring, boring and dishonest conservative"

I didn't think Iggy was doing that bad.

But as far as the other 2 go. You are right about getting the counter ads out. It is important to do the defining yourself before your opponents do it. So where are those counter ads? I have heard all kinds of talk about how fund raising is better, and how the liberals are not going to just roll over for this kind of advertising. They are going to respond.

So why was Dion's response stronger then Iggys then? Where is the ad buy to define the man. He doesn't even have Dion's website, does he??

And one last thing, why has the media been touting all week about these polls and how well the liberals are doing compared to the tories?? For most of the last 2 months the liberals have had a 3-5 point lead. The liberals have been climbing, the tories trending down.

These 2 polls put it at 1-2 points. That is a victory?

I agree with Ted that it will be a slim liberal majority if the voting happened today. But a week ago? 2 weeks ago? might have been a 20-30 seat lead instead of a 10 seat lead.

Barcs said...

I think this data set is a good indicator. It is the monthly polling averages from

It amalgamates all the polls in the month and points out a trend much better than day to day fluctuating polling which really bounces alot depending on which company releases the results. Daily polls are fun tho :)

It basically shows a strong liberal trend up and a declining trend for the tories. Reading the polls for May I expect both trends to level off. possibly a tightening, but it won't be much.

Barcs said...

ya know.. i was reading the numbers from the story again.

With an attack ad you aren't expected to gain a positive image of the man sending it, you are only supposed to take away a negative message from the one who it is targeted against.

So 10, 7 or 9% improved for Harper means nothing.

You can however read into negative for the people sending.

Negative to Harper after:
Seeing the attack: 50%
Seeing both attack and iggys response: 52%
Seeing neither: 49%

+/- 3%

so when people didn't see it or just saw the attack ad... statistical tie. People who don't like Harper.... still don't like Harper.

And when they saw the response from the other side 52% to 49/50%. Still a statistical tie, but on the edge. But only on the edge. 1 more person didn't like Harper because they like what the other guy said after.

Did they really need a push poll to determine that a set number of people don't like a man? Why do they read anti conservative analysis into it when it clearly doesn't show?

I think what you can take from this poll is that ~50% of people don't like Harper and that should concern the tories who have limited their growth potential. But what we can also read into it is that in other polls Harper consistently out polls his party in the low 40% when the best leader question is asked.

Which means Iggy has little room to grow too until Harpers core support is eaten into. And it is core support with such a polarizing figure. 40% for and 50% against. People either love or hate him, and only 10% don't have a real opinion.

So what does it mean? Minority government one party or the other.... get used to it. And all the electioneering all the time by all the parties.