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SNAPSHOT OF METROPOLITAN CANADA

Liberals/NDP remain in the hunt in big cities

[OTTAWA – September 23, 2008] – Despite the substantial, and increasingly solid, Conservative lead over the other parties nationally, it is a very different story when it comes to Canada’s biggest cities: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Tories are not in the horserace in Montreal, lag badly in Toronto, and are in a dogfight with the NDP in Vancouver.

Even in the suburban and ex-urban areas around these big cities, where the Conservatives are more competitive, they are a less formidable presence than they appear on the national numbers.

Indeed, in Ontario and Quebec, distance from the metropolitan core is an excellent predictor of Tory strength.

This split between the cosmopolitan metropolis and the rest of the society is one that we have also witnessed in the United States in recent years. Urban voters have the strongest connections to the global economy and we know from other research that they tend to be more outward-looking.

The cities also have larger immigrant populations. Despite great efforts in recent years, the Tory gains among these immigrant populations are still too modest to allow them to penetrate effectively into our two largest cities.

Meanwhile, families with young children who are more commonly away from the urban core are likely more receptive to key Conservative messages: on taxes, law-and-order and moral values.

It is clear from the national numbers that the Tories’ current focus is yielding them a degree of success. Indeed, they seem set to win a second victory. This is particularly so because our electoral system under-represents city-dwellers, because urban constituencies are larger in terms of population.

This short-term strategy may come at a longer-term price, however. There is a serious issue that arises from this pattern of support, with the likely governing party being cut off from the most cosmopolitan elements in the society, who are best-equipped to interact with an increasingly globalized world.

Toronto:

In the Liberals’ traditional fortress of inner Toronto, they retain a large (nine percentage point) lead over the Conservatives. Unlike the rest of the country, where Conservative support is more committed than Liberal support, four-fifths of Liberal supporters in Toronto say they are unlikely to change their preference before election day.

It is the NDP and the Greens, who trail behind, and whose supporters are more likely to say they may still switch before casting their ballot, which would likely benefit the Liberals. If there is to be a recoil at the idea of a Tory majority, which has happened in the past, it is likely to be strongest in central Toronto.

In the suburban and ex-urban belt around Toronto, the Liberals also remain competitive, though they lag the Conservatives somewhat.

Where the Liberals are falling right out of contention is in the rest of the province, where they trail the Tories by a huge margin (13 percentage points).

Montreal:

In Montreal, the Liberals are also competitive, trailing the Bloc Québécois by just a few percentage points. The Conservatives, NDP and the Greens, are all quite far behind, though they each gather significant chunks of the electorate (17% each for the Conservatives and NDP; 10% for the Greens).

There is a possibility, at least, that the Liberals could benefit from “tactical” voting as election day approaches, with so many votes now residing with parties who will struggle to win seats on the island of Montreal.

In the ring of suburban and ex-urban seats around Montreal, the Liberals again trail the BQ, but remain within closing distance; the other parties, including the Conservatives, are not especially competitive at the moment.

As in Ontario, it is outside the big city, where the Liberals are slipping well behind: indeed in the rest of Quebec they no longer seem to be genuinely in contention in what is turning out to be a Conservative-BQ battle.

Vancouver:

In Vancouver, the New Democrats appear to have established a lead, with the Conservatives and Liberals trailing, but still competitive.

In the rest of the lower mainland – and indeed, the rest of the province – the Conservatives have a thumping lead over the other parties, tracking at well over 40% support.

Outside of central Vancouver, neither the Liberals nor the NDP can make a decisive claim to be the main opposition to the Tories, and the Greens are actually nipping at their heels — though it is worth saying that regional pockets of strength don’t show up in these numbers, and could play a big part in determining the winner in some seats.

Detailed Tables:

Roll-UP of Federal Vote Intention (Sep. 15-21)

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

BASE: Decided Voters

British Columbia

Ontario

Quebec

Van.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of BC

Tor.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of ON

Mtl.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of QC

n=

352

987

353

1181

421

1071

1043

278

996

Conservative

27

43

41

28

38

40

17

17

31

Liberal

25

22

19

37

32

27

26

26

15

NDP

37

19

24

21

16

18

17

13

12

Green

12

16

16

14

14

15

10

9

6

Bloc Québécois

30

35

35

Roll-Up of Federal Vote Intention in B.C. (Sep. 15-21)

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

Overall

Sex

Age

Income

BASE: Decided Voters in British Columbia (n=1702)

M

F

<25

25-44

45-64

65+

<$40K

$40-80K

+$80K

Conservative

39

42

36

28

34

38

54

36

38

42

Liberal

22

21

22

27

23

21

20

19

22

24

NDP

24

21

27

24

24

26

19

28

25

20

Green

15

16

15

21

19

15

8

18

15

15

Tracking Federal Vote Intention in British Columbia (Sep. 15-21)

September

BASE: Decided Voters in British Columbia

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

Conservative

40

39

39

39

39

40

42

Liberal

21

22

22

19

20

20

21

NDP

23

23

22

24

23

26

24

Green

14

16

17

18

18

14

13

Roll-Up of Federal Vote Intention in Ontario (Sep. 15-21)

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

Overall

Sex

Age

Income

BASE: Decided Voters in Ontario (n=2673)

M

F

<25

25-44

45-64

65+

<$40K

$40-80K

+$80K

Conservative

34

38

31

22

34

37

37

34

33

36

Liberal

32

32

32

28

28

33

41

30

29

36

NDP

19

16

22

25

22

18

13

23

22

14

Green

14

14

14

25

16

12

9

13

15

14

Tracking Federal Vote Intention in Ontario (Sep. 15-21)

September

BASE: Decided Voters in Ontario

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

Conservative

37

37

38

35

36

35

36

Liberal

30

30

29

32

31

32

31

NDP

18

19

19

19

18

18

18

Green

14

14

14

14

15

15

15

Roll-Up of Federal Vote Intention in Quebec (Sep. 15-21)

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

Overall

Sex

Age

Income

BASE: Decided Voters in Quebec (n=2317)

M

F

<25

25-44

45-64

65+

<$40K

$40-80K

+$80K

Bloc Québécois

33

31

35

28

35

37

24

32

35

30

Conservative

23

28

19

20

18

27

31

23

24

23

Liberal

21

19

23

20

21

19

28

21

22

19

NDP

14

13

15

15

19

11

10

14

13

18

Green

8

9

7

17

7

7

7

9

6

9

Tracking Federal Vote Intention in Quebec (Sep. 15-21)

September

BASE: Decided Voters in Quebec

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

Bloc Québécois

32

33

32

33

34

35

34

Conservative

25

24

25

25

24

23

24

Liberal

20

21

21

21

21

20

18

NDP

14

14

13

13

13

15

16

Green

8

8

9

8

8

7

7

Likelihood of Changing Vote Intention (Sep. 15-21)

Q. How likely is it that you will change your mind between now and the federal election on October 14?

BASE: Decided Voters

British Columbia

Ontario

Quebec

Van.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of BC

Tor.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of ON

Mtl.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of QC

Not likely (1-3)

74

73

74

76

74

76

72

73

68

Somewhat likely (4)

10

9

7

9

10

7

9

8

9

Likely (5-7)

16

18

20

16

16

17

20

20

23

Second Choice (Sep. 15-21)

Q. Which party would be your second choice?

BASE: Decided Voters

British Columbia

Ontario

Quebec

Van.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of BC

Tor.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of ON

Mtl.

Ex/Sub Urban

Rest of QC

Conservative

9

11

9

9

11

9

11

13

14

Liberal

22

21

17

21

22

17

15

15

12

NDP

20

18

16

19

16

20

20

19

18

Green

18

15

19

16

20

16

13

11

11

Bloc Québécois

13

14

13

No second choice

30

34

37

33

32

36

28

28

32

Methodology:

This poll was 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.

The field dates for the survey results presented in this analysis are September 15 to September 21, 2008. The margin of error associated with each of the regions discussed in this release is provided in the following table. Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided further (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as sex, age, income).

British Columbia

Ontario

Quebec

BASE: Decided Voters

Van.

Sub-Urban

Rest of BC

Tor.

Sub-Urban

Rest of ON

Mtl.

Sub-Urban

Rest of QC

Sample size

352

987

353

1181

421

1071

1043

278

996

Margin of error (+/-)

5.2

3.1

5.2

2.9

4.8

3.0

3.0

5.9

3.1

All the data were statistically weighted to ensure the samples composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Click here to download PDF: election-08-regional-roll-up-_sep-15-21_

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