About EKOS Politics

We launched this website in order to showcase our election research, and our suite of polling technologies including Probit and IVR. We will be updating this site frequently with new polls, analysis and insight into Canadian politics. EKOS's experience, knowledge and sophisticated research designs have contributed positively to many previous elections.

Other EKOS Products

In addition to current political analysis, EKOS also makes available to the public general research of interest, including research in evaluation, general public domain research, as well as a full history of EKOS press releases.

Media Inquires

For media inquires, please contact: Frank Graves President EKOS Research Associates t: 613.235-7215 [email protected]


[Ottawa – September 2, 2010] – For the second time in a month, the Conservatives and the Liberals have moved into a statistical tie. While Michael Ignatieff’s travelling redemption show may have brought him and his party back from life support to fully fledged contenders for the next government, the demographic patterns suggest that the new parity is as much a product of Tory largesse to their competitors as any action on part of the Liberals. Indeed, in a frankly incomprehensible manner, Stephen Harper may very well have resuscitated the Leader of the Opposition with his decision to cancel the mandatory long form census.

The government’s ill-received decision to eliminate the mandatory long form census has set in motion a chain of responses which have managed to awaken the erstwhile dormant knowledge and professional classes. Virtually all of the shift in the political landscape has occurred with the movement of the highly educated. Moreover, the direct testing suggests that the census initiative has gone over with a massive thud. It is receiving near universal raspberries from a flummoxed electorate.

Even within the intensely loyal Conservative supporters, this move does not receive support and in the rest of the spectrum, it is seen as totally wrongheaded. The consolidated response in the educated class suggests that there is a new sense of threat which is reflected in concerns not only about federal direction but now the trajectory of the country itself. Obviously, the census itself isn’t a ballot booth issue but it has stoked concerns about the values and management style of the current government. It has also laid bare fundamental tensions in the values and interests of the older, middle educated “not so rich” cadre which is bedrock for the Conservatives and the more intellectual sensitivities of Canada’s unusually large class of university educated voters. Whether it is the role of census data, views on whether crime statistics are believable or not, or whether science can be trusted on the climate change file, this new divide across those who lean to knowledge and reason versus those who lean to conviction and belief has emerged as a crucial fault line in the new political landscape. This echoes some of the same conflicts that are raging in American politics but is a fairly novel feature in Canada.

The Conservatives have retreated into their core Western, older, and male bases. They now trail badly amongst the university educated and are faring very poorly with women and younger voters. Quebec is beginning to look like scorched earth for the Conservatives (the latest seat projections peg one survivor for the Tories on Quebec island). Meanwhile, an invigorated Bloc would get 60 seats which may increase their appetite for a sooner rather than later election. It is rather ironic that the Prime Minister would be finally talking explicitly about the need for a Conservative majority in the same week as his government fails to crack 30 points. One wonders how the strategic value of this ballot framing works when his government would be on the cusp of losing power altogether (if there was an election now).

There are, however, still some cards in Stephen Harper’s hands. Michael Ignatieff may have rehabilitated his image with the media but he has major work ahead of him in convincing a still skeptical public. Having the knowledge class on his side, a little wind in his sails and his new toe-to-toe status with the Prime Minister in the polls might well help tilt things more in his favour but the reality is that right now, he remains unconvincing to the general public. Despite being on a mild upward trend, the Liberals would be well advised to recall that they were also tied last fall before Mr. Harper left them in the dust with a 16-point lead in October. Perhaps the Prime Minister should consider rebooking the National Arts Centre for a return engagement.

Even with the broadly similar results to the end of last summer there is a quite different trajectory at work this time and the underlying forces appear to be more auspicious to Liberal cause then they were last year. All in all, it looks like we are in for a very exciting fall and that the outcomes are highly uncertain. A fall election, while still not the odds on bet, is looking far more plausible than it did in the early summer.

Comments are closed.