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[Ottawa – November 25, 2010] – In a familiar pattern, the Conservatives are once again establishing a significant lead over the faltering Liberal party who now appear to be chronically rebuffed by the electorate as they try to move past the Conservatives. Each time the Liberal Party appears to be moving to parity and threatening to crack the once humble 30-point ceiling, they are brought down to the historical low levels of the last election. The Conservatives are now very close to their moving average over the past year, which is still well short of their achievement in the last election.

The one in three voters who support the Conservatives have a very defined profile. In the rest of the spectrum, however, there is little clarity in the demographics and a sense that the non-Conservative vote is casting around among the various alternatives trying to find a home for their fairly significant discontent with the country and federal direction. In particular, women are a much more fluid vote and show a much lower level of certainty or connection with the various choices out there. This is also true of the voting groups which follow the boomers in age. Both the East and West Coasts are showing high volatility with more settled patterns now evident from Quebec to Alberta.

The Conservatives reveal very strong support among their familiar constituencies: seniors, men, those born in Canada, and those with middle levels of socioeconomic status. The Conservatives also have enough support in Alberta to win most of the seats twice. Liberal support, on the other hand, shows no clear patterns with the exception of the university educated, non-Canadian born, and Ontario. NDP support is now enormously concentrated in women and residents of BC and Saskatchewan/Manitoba. The Greens are off somewhat but doing very well among younger voters and better in BC. The Bloc are doing well in Quebec on the strength of younger voters and draw virtually all of their support from Francophones. In frustration, perhaps, we have seen a rise in support for the nebulous “other” category which, along with the casting among non-Conservative supporters, may reveal the lack of clarity and direction outside of the Conservative base.

The recent fluctuations in the electorate are interesting but hardly conclusive. Although the Conservatives are now in a much better position than in our last polling period, they were barely ahead of the margin of error in the first week of polling. The volatility in some regions (such as BC) renders the poll to poll comparisons almost meaningless statistically. Far more interesting is the broader societal and economic outlook underpinning this relatively perpetually gridlocked political landscape where the Conservatives remain dominant with the rather underwhelming support of just one in three voters.

Outlook on the country and the federal government remains tepid at best. Slightly less than half the public are happy with broad national direction and only two fifths are pleased with federal direction. Notably, Conservative supporters are very happy with both, but there is little cheer elsewhere. It is notable that the most extreme levels of discontent with direction occur outside of Liberal support (Green, NDP, Bloc and other supporters). The volatility in BC may reflect continued unhappiness with national and federal trajectory although the other most critical region is Quebec which seems to have settled on a fairly stable pattern of support for the Bloc, and a pretty sound rejection of the Conservatives.

Tracking on political ideology also presents some interesting results. There has been a sharp rise in the proportion of Canadians who say they are neither liberal nor conservative. Meanwhile, the proportion of small “l” liberals is down, it is still higher than the proportion of those who consider themselves small “c” conservatives.

Respondents from Alberta are most likely to identify themselves as conservative, while those from Ontario are most likely to see themselves as liberal. Residents of BC, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, meanwhile, are most likely to see themselves as neither. University graduates are more likely to be liberal, while the Generation X age group appears to be have rallied around the centre of the political spectrum, opting to define themselves as neither liberal nor conservative. Men appear to be more conservative, while women are adverse to either label, further evidence that this group lacks any clear identification with ideological camps.

Lastly, trust in government has fallen to its lowest level since the Conservatives took office, though it still remains relatively high compared to the early 1990s. Results are split largely along party lines, with Conservatives expressing the highest levels of trust, while NDP, Green, and Bloc supporters are the most distrustful. Youth, men, Albertans, and college graduates all expressed a moderate degree of trust in the government, while women and university graduates show a relatively stronger sense of scepticism.

Click here for the full report: full_report_november_25


  • As I have been saying for quite some time now, these polls can not be properly interpreted without taking into account the die-hard support (manifesting in 33%) for Harper and the Cons.

    This represents people who support Stephen Harper and the Conservative party in any kind of poll because of ideological reasons. It severely bias’s the polls, of course, and with many it can account for all answers favouring Harper in a particular question polled.

    I am glad to see that someone (Ekos) is starting to track this aspect – vis.: the “Ideology” heading – rock on Graves

    Last time the Ekos poll had Harper and the Cons at 29.4%

    At the time I suggested “But, until this downward trend is continued let’s just chalk it up to Harper having a few bad Con days (a review of the media can help in this)”. – see: Lloyd MacILquham cicblog.com/comments.html – 18 November, 2010, “Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you let me join the dance today? (comp.: Lewis Carroll)”

    As we can see Harper is back up to 33%.

    It is inaccurate to classify this as the Con’s “pulling away” from the Liberals. It is more gravitating back to the norm from a tempoary fluctuation the nature of which may be more due to statistic than actualities.

    I refer to this phenomenon as the ‘die-hard right-wing extremist, epi-centre in Alberta’ factor -vis.:

    ‘33% points of Harper and the Con’s support in a poll can be attributed to the die-hard right-wing extremist*, epi-centre in Alberta’

    For example, 38% feel Harper and the Con’s are going in the right direction. Keeping in mind that 33 point are made up of people who feel Harper is in the ‘Right’ direction (i.e. they are supporting Harper because of his right wing ideology, as opposed to consideration of doing good for Canada).

    That leaves only 5 points that are perhaps basing their answer on factors other than ideology. This number would have to be tracked for a while to get anything out of this since the margin of error is normally approx 3 points, in other words, the 5 points is statistically significant but barely.

    That 28% would answer small ‘c’ is actually interesting – for one thing is it a coincidence that this is the same as the Con support last Ekos poll. It would be very interesting to see what portion of this also gave Con as voter intent.

    One might be tempted to say all, but then compare the Liberal numbers. However, the die-hard effect is not, manifestly, in play with the Liberal and their numbers ought not be analyzed in the same fashion.

    * apparently there is some issue with my using ‘extremist’ – go figure, they are extremist, both in their views and their acting upon their views, and I would be surprised if you asked them, they would not be proud of it – that Stephen Harper and the Cons have views based on right wing ideology that lies at the extreme of Canadian social and political views is manifest. People who support Harper because of these ideological views, as opposed to whether Harper is good for Canada and all Canadians, can only, and Rightly, be described as ‘extremist’.

    Lloyd MacILquham cicblog.com/comments.html

  • Anonymous

    The taxpayer supported CBC has always been a very biased arm of the media for the Liberal party. I used to be involved in the media and under the Liberals we could spend money like drunken sailors like flying to honolulu and lie on the beach for several days prior to an event in vancouver on the weekend. The CBC will do anything it can to try and embarrass the Conservative Party at taxpayer expense. Wake up Canada!