With election talk gearing up, it is worth taking a few moments to take a look at where the Canadian public opinion is at from an objective perspective (and since, unlike the partisan Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green Party hacks who cherry pick polls to suit their ends, I have no great love of any of these four parties, so therefore it seems like here is a good place for this objective analysis).
First: Starting with the big picture, the Paulitics Polling Resource’s rolling and weighted polling averages put the Liberals almost exactly where they were for the last election while the Conservatives are up very slightly, the Bloc and the New Democrats are down and the Greens are also up.
Here are the results:
Second: Looking at the Paulitics provincial/regional breakdown, one gets a clearer picture of how things are looking on the ground.
Firstly, contrary to some media reports I’ve heard, the largest drop of any party is not the NDP, although the are in very bad shape (as discussed below). The largest drop by far of any political party has been the drop for the Bloc.
In the rolling 5-poll average for Quebec, the Paulitics provincial/regional breakdown shows the Bloc down by a whopping 9.3% (and considering that the MOE for Quebec in this five poll average is approximately +/- 2.6%, this drop is statistically quite significant).
The prize for the second largest drop for any party in any region goes to the New Democrats and their drop of 7.6% in Atlantic Canada (based on an approximate MOE of +/- 3.4%).
In terms of the largest increases, we see the Greens’ impressive showing of 10.8% in the Prairies, up 7.2% from their 2006 showing. In second place in terms of increases, we see the Liberals up 6.5% in Alberta.
Third: Contrary to what some media outlets have been reporting the Conservatives are not at their highest levels of popularity, nor did they reach their highest level of popularity in the aftermath of the budget & surge of the ADQ in Quebec.
Using a rolling and weighted 5-poll average, the Conservatives are up to about 38% in support, but this is not their highest levels. The rolling averages for the 14 consecutive polls conducted between March 13th, 2006 and June 23rd, 2006, all had the Conservatives higher than their current levels.
Fourth: Taking a look at each party’s provincial and regional results yields some interesting information.
Quebec: After trailing the Liberals badly in Quebec for more than 3 months, the Conservatives have risen back to the same levels they were at in the 2006 election and are now tied with the Liberals. This, by far, is the single greatest reason for the Conservatives to be happy with polling results.
Ontario: After flirting with first place in Ontario and pushing past the Liberals in the key province in the month of March, the Conservatives are on the decline here and are now once again tied with the Liberals.
Atlantic Canada: rolling 5-poll averages put the Conservatives up significantly in Atlantic Canada, however this does not take account of Harper’s recent spat with the soon-to-be-crowned King of Newfoundland, Danny Williams.
Williams, in case you missed it, recently drew the old absolute monarchist image of the Leviathan in claiming that Harper attacking him is akin to an attack on the people of Newfoundland and Labrador (click here for source).
Ignoring the delusions of grandeur evidenced in Williams’s rhetoric as well as the prima facie looniness of the claim itself, Williams is nonetheless above 70% in the polls in his province, so any politician doing battle with him is likely to take a hit and the Paulitics rolling average has yet to take account of this fact.
Quebec: One of the only two places where the Liberals are up is Quebec. The Liberals are up in Quebec 3.3% from their 2006 dismal showing, however, considering that the MOE for Quebec is only +/- 2.6%, this increase isn’t exceptionally impressive.
Alberta: Where the Liberals have shown an impressive (and significant) increase is in the province of Alberta where, if they’re lucky, it may net them one seat. So, while their increase in this province is nothing to sneeze at (6.5%), this increase couldn’t have come in a more useless province for them.
The New Democrats:
First, the NDP are down everywhere except Alberta and Quebec, the two places where strength will do them the least good.
The Prairies: The NDP are down by a significant margin of 5.1% here. However, Manitoba, along with Atlantic Canada, is one of the more polarized regions of Canada where shifts in polls do not generally result in great shifts in seats. Most of the NDP seats in Manitoba are safe and thus, this decrease ought not to concern most New Democrats. Ditto for Atlantic Canada (although, their drop in Atlantic Canada is greater and thus there may be some reason for concern in that region).
Ontario & BC: The two provinces where the NDP needs to be strong in and the two provinces where the NDP can either make the greatest gains or the greatest losses are BC and Ontario and in both provinces, the NDP is down.
If the NDP wants to maintain a serious contingency in Parliament, its weakness in Atlantic Canada and the Prairies are not of too much concern, but it’s going to have to do something about its decline in Ontario and BC.
So this is where the state of Canadian of Canadian public opinion lies. There is very little reason for errogance on the part of the Liberals, New Democrats or the Bloc. The Conservatives have some mild justification, however this can be overstated and the media has been doing just that.
So, paradoxically, it seems as though, as things currently stand, every party has reasons to be unhappy with the state of Canadian public opinion. This includes even the Greens who once had demonstrably leapfrogged the Bloc, but are now down over 2% from their previous high in the Paulitics rolling averages and are in a dogfight for last place with the Bloc.