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VOTER INTENTIONS APPEAR LOCKED INTO A CONFUSED PATTERN AS SUMMER RECESS BEGINS – June 24, 2010

[Ottawa – June 24, 2010] – There is little to distinguish the most recent poll from a pattern which appears to be increasingly locked in. With the summer now here, stingy voters have no clear choice as to who should rule if there were to be an election now.

The Conservatives are hanging on to a very narrow margin of advantage, which barely exceeds the margin of error of the poll. Worse, at 31 points, they are decisively down from the last election and well short of the majority territory they found themselves in last fall. The cumulative effects of a fractious parliament, punctuated with a highly controversial prorogation debacle and concluding with a fairly low grade scandal and wide concerns about the perceived profligacy of government security spending on the about-to-begin summit, have left the Conservatives reeling at 31 points.

Yet none of these opportunities have done much to vault the moribund Liberal party into an elevated position. At 28 points, they are showing some dim signs of life but still remain mired in what are next to historical lows of voter support.

The NDP are also down slightly while the GP continue to show surprising strength in this disaffected electorate. The BQ are running pretty stable but the continued malaise of all federalist options in Quebec augurs well for their future fortunes.

BC continues to be an interesting four-way race with the Green Party doing relatively well. Ontario remains the key race to watch with the Liberals maintaining a slight lead. The Liberals are seeing renewed competitiveness among seniors and lead the Conservatives in this group in terms of second choice.

Satisfaction with the federal government appears to have rebounded from last week’s all-time low, with 40% who now say that Canada is moving in the right direction.

The poll includes second choice questions which are revealing in a number of ways. Compared to a year ago, there has been a rising resistance to providing a second choice, which may reflect the general torpor and lack of enthusiasm in the voter population. It may also reflect the more “locked in” feel we referred to earlier.

The Conservative numbers on this question are the most interesting as they demonstrate an important irony of their support. Less than half as many Conservative supporters will give a second choice. This indicates a much more committed and engaged constituency and this remains a major advantage for the Conservatives. This will result in higher turnout, more donations, and more committed volunteer workers on the ground.

Yet the second choice numbers also show the Conservatives trailing all other parties, which suggests they may have the lowest ceiling of growth. This is a serious problem when they are stuck at 31 points. It may be the legacy of tactics which have served to reinforce the enthusiasm of their existing base while at the same time alienating future new supporters. Their positions on maternal abortion and gun registry are vivid examples of this problem.

Finally, the tracking question on enthusiasm for an Ignatieff-led coalition of the Liberals and NDP versus a Harper-led Conservative shows an interesting result. This approach would result in a dead heat with both options producing 38 points of support. Support for a coalition government has declined through time, as has Michael Ignatieff’s approval rating (which may be why the numbers are now lower). All in all, it appears that even coalitions are no sure remedy to the ongoing logjam and discontent which seems to have gripped the Canadian electorate.

Click here for the full report: full_report_june_24

4 comments to VOTER INTENTIONS APPEAR LOCKED INTO A CONFUSED PATTERN AS SUMMER RECESS BEGINS – June 24, 2010

  • Bill W James

    Bill W James:
    June 24th, 2010 at 4:51 pm
    Poll this.
    Federal vote intention if Paul Martin were to return as Liberal leader.

    I would venture to guess a good increase for the Liberals.
    May-be majority territory.
    Anyway it would be interesting to see.

  • Anonymous

    The liberals will not form goverment any time soon as they still suffer from the arrogance of Chretein

  • David Fox

    There is no one more paranoid or angry or arrogant than Stephen “prorogue” Harper.

    That’s why the electorate has not given him absolute power.

  • Tim Fitz

    Funny the neo conservatives continue to harp on about how corrupt the Liberals were while in power. . .
    Now that they have been feeding at the trough for four years now – breaking almost every parliamentary standard in the process; caving in totally on an elected senate; have a billion dollar boondoggle of their own with their corrupt spending on the G8 and G20; dragged Canada’s world renowned reputation of peace keeping; acceptance; tolerance; opportunity; civil rights; . . . to such low levels it could not even be comprehended just four short years ago.
    Yep I really see the difference in how high a standard they have set for Canadians to expect from their elected officials!