Tories not as popular as media would have you believe

The Sage of Baltimore — H.L. Mencken — once famously noted that “For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong“.  Mencken’s words seem as apt today as they were when he first penned them.

Peruse the Op/Eds of any of the major capitalist papers in Canada and you will find a common refrain:

From the Toronto Star:

Federal election: Who’s the man?

From the National Post:

Biggest Tory asset is Harper himself

Tories are well placed to win

The only problem with the deliciously simplistic media narrative, is that any attempt to paint the Tories as being well-positioned in terms of polls and popularity is simply not true.  Unfortunately for the purveyors of the media narrative, the numbers don’t lie.

Having just recently completed a massive and long-overdue update of the Paulitics Provincial/Regional Polling Resource, it is possible to lay bare with the most accurate detail possible, the errors of any claims that the Tories are doing well.

In every province/region (that’s right “every”) the conservatives are either within the margin of error of their 2006 election showing or worse.  Put another way, there is no part of the country, no corner of Canada, that has warmed to the Conservatives in over 2 years.

Provinces / Regions where the Tories are doing worse than 2006:

Statistically significant:

Ontario (down by 2.3% even despite a ridiculous poll released by Environics which put the Tories at a whopping 41% provincially.  If we factor out that one poll, they’re down by 4.4%.)

Alberta (down by 6.4%)

Statistically insignificant:

British Columbia (down by 2.5%)

Atlantic Canada (down by 2.3%)

Prairies [MB & SK] (down by 2.0%)

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s not particularly good news for the Tories in parts of Canada representing 75% of the population.

But, don’t expect to read about that in the media anytime soon.

Detailed breakdowns from the Paulitics Provincial/Regional Polling Resource:

5 Responses to “Tories not as popular as media would have you believe”


  1. 1 NDP Outsider 7 September, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Your graphics are really cool. What would make them just that little bit better for me, would be a comparison of the last five polls with the last five polls of the 2006 election. It would be nice to compare polls to polls to votes (e.g. apples to apples to oranges), rather than just polls to votes.

  2. 2 janfromthebruce 7 September, 2008 at 8:40 am

    excellent graphics. Another thing about the main stream media, is trying to make this a race between the duelling Stevens – Tweedle Dee or Dumb.

  3. 3 Nick J Boragina 7 September, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    You are dead on when you say the tories are not up anywhere. Fortunatly for Stephen Harper, all the other parties (Bloc, NDP, Liberals) have moved since the last election, they are down.

  4. 4 Geoff 7 September, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    What’s significant is that the Conservatives have still lost more popularity (since the last election) when compared to the Liberals. According to Wikipedia, the Conservatives won 5 seats by a 1% margin, and another 4 within a 2% margin. So these figures could mean a loss of close to a dozen seats for the Conservatives.
    What’s more, you are comparing the present polling number to the actual vote in 2006, not the polling numbers, which were around 38% before the last election.

  5. 5 Ken Furber 9 September, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Paul:
    Welcome back.
    This information sort of puts an exclamation point to something I’ve been saying for several years now. Contrary to popular belief (read: right-wing rhetoric) the media isn’t left-wing centric. Actually because it’s big business media companies tend to favor the Conservatives and unfortunately that’s reflected in their election coverage, including polls. I was on vacation in BC when the Environics poll came out and I almost broke my son’s TV is disgust.
    Do you think this sort of scewing of voters actual intentions will work in the long run? Even if it doesn’t it sure shows Harper’s backers have a poor opinion of voters.


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