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DAILY TRACKING – SEPTEMBER 19, 2008

Are the Greens Set to Break Through?

[OTTAWA – September 19, 2008] In our latest EKOS tracking poll, the Green Party has achieved its highest level of support ever, at 13% — very close to triple the level of support it garnered in the last election.

Even more important to the Greens, it seems they are on the threshold of transforming the contest in British Columbia into a four-way race. They are now just one percentage point behind the Liberals in B.C. according to our poll, and they are the strongest of all the parties in terms of “second-choice” options.

“The Green Party has always faced the challenge that, come election day, supporters might be inclined to think that a vote for the Greens was ‘wasted’ because they couldn’t win a seat,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “That could be about to change, particularly in British Columbia.”

In terms of the overall party dynamics, the Tories have now settled back into the mid-30s, while the Liberals have steadied themselves in the mid-20s and have somewhat narrowed the gap with the Conservatives. In fact, the regional analysis shows that the Liberals are now highly competitive East of Sault Ste Marie; they have managed to close the gap, and are now running neck and neck in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

The NDP seem stuck in the high teens in terms of support. So, the Greens are the party with momentum.

The NDP now faces a substantial challenge in its quest to displace the Liberals as the obvious alternative to the Conservative government. Not only is the gap with the Liberals no longer closing as it was in the first week of the campaign, the New Democrats may soon feel the Greens breathing down their necks nationally, and already should be feeling some of that pressure in B.C.

“Nationally, the NDP has sometimes been at or below the 13% level in the last five years, so the Greens have to be taken seriously now,” said Graves. “In fact, the old Canadian Alliance sometimes polled below the 13% level.”

On the other hand, NDP supporters will be encouraged to note that they now lead as the party of second choice.

Of course, the Green Party continues to suffer from the fact that their support is “less efficient”, in the sense that it is relatively evenly spread across the country. That’s why the Bloc Québécois, whose support is geographically concentrated, would win more seats than the NDP or the Greens if an election were held today, even though the BQ is now the fifth party in terms of national support.

Another challenge is that the Greens draw much of their support from younger voters, who traditionally have had low turn-out at election time. At the moment the Greens are close to leading among voters under-25. The Greens are not so much a party of the left as they a party of the frustrated younger generations that have felt left out of baby-boomer dominated politics.

“There are two crucial questions for the Greens,” said Graves. “Can they convince their supporters that a Green vote is not wasted; and can they motivate younger voters to get involved and turn out to vote in the way Barack Obama appears to have succeeded in doing south of the border.”

Detailed Tables:

National Federal Vote Intention

Q. If a federal election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?

BASE: Decided Voters

CANADA

BC

AB

SK/MB

ON

QC

ATL

n=

3992

686

257

209

1330

1219

291

Margin of error (+/-)=

1.6

3.7

6.1

6.8

2.7

2.8

5.7

Conservative

36

39

61

47

35

25

33

Liberal

25

19

14

18

32

21

33

NDP

18

24

12

26

19

13

21

Green

13

18

13

9

14

8

14

Bloc Québécois

8

0

0

0

0

33

0

Daily Tracking of Federal Vote Intention

BASE: Decided Voters

Sep. 14

Sep. 15

Sep. 16

Sep. 17

Sep. 18

Conservative

35

38

38

38

36

Liberal

25

23

23

24

25

NDP

19

19

18

18

18

Green

11

11

11

12

13

Bloc Québécois

9

9

10

8

8

National Federal Vote Intention

Q. If a federal election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?

BASE: Decided Voters

CANADA

Gender

Age

Income

M

F

<25

25-44

45-64

65

<$40K

$40-80K

$80K

n=

3992

1859

2133

260

1311

1617

804

1375

1439

1178

Margin of error (/-)=

1.6

2.3

2.1

6.1

2.7

2.4

3.5

2.6

2.6

2.7

Conservative

36

40

32

24

36

38

41

34

37

38

Liberal

25

24

25

26

21

25

33

23

25

27

NDP

18

15

21

21

19

18

14

19

19

17

Green

13

13

12

20

15

11

7

13

11

14

Bloc Québécois

8

8

9

9

10

8

4

11

9

4

Second Choice (by Current Vote Intention)

Q. Which Party would be your second choice?

Current Vote Intention

BASE: Decided Voters

CANADA

CPC

LPC

NDP

GP

BQ

Undecided

NDP

19

18

33

0

27

28

11

Liberal

17

21

0

31

28

11

9

Green

15

10

24

26

0

19

9

Conservative

10

0

16

13

16

16

11

Bloc Québécois

4

4

3

5

6

0

3

No second choice

34

47

23

24

24

26

57

Second Choice (by Demographics)

Q. Which Party would be your second choice?

BASE: Decided Voters

CANADA

Sex

Age

Income

M

F

<25

25-44

45-64

65+

<$40K

$40-80K

+$80K

NDP

19

21

18

19

18

21

18

18

20

20

Liberal

17

15

19

18

20

15

13

14

17

19

Green

15

15

15

17

14

16

16

12

16

19

Conservative

10

9

11

12

10

10

8

12

10

8

Bloc Québécois

4

5

4

6

5

4

3

6

4

3

No second choice

34

35

34

28

33

34

42

38

33

32

Methodology:

EKOS’ daily tracking polls are conducted using Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. Each weekday evening, a nationally representative sample of approximately 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age and older is surveyed.

The daily tracking number presented in this report is based on a three-day rolling average of surveys collected September 16, 17, and 18. The margin of error associated with this three-day rolling sample of 3,992 decided voters (including leaning) is /-1.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, income). All the data have been statistically weighted to ensure the samples composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Click to download PDF: election-08-daily-tracking-sept192

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