July 2008 Archives

Race Tightens to Dead Heat, Volatility Increases

TORONTO, July 30 — One week into the election has seen a narrowing of Stephen Harper’s already tenuous lead. National polls have the Conservative Party essentially tied with the Liberals, holding a statistically insignificant lead of 30.5% to the Liberals’ 30%. The New Democratic Party is in third place with 20.9% of decided voters, followed by the Greens at 10.8% and the Bloc Quebecois at 7.8%

In Quebec, the Bloc’s 7.8% support translated into a substantial lead of 35.9%, with the Conservatives marginally ahead of the Liberals in the fight for second place, at 22.5 and 21.3% respectively. The NDP and the Greens are far behind, with 12.5% and 7.9% of decided voters respectively.

But pollster Allen Reid cautioned against taking these numbers as given, noting an exceptionally high number of undecided voters, ranging from 23.3% of respondents in Alberta to 40% of respondents in Quebec. “Voters are having a hard time choosing between Stephane Dion and Stephen Harper,” says Reid. “It seems that many voters are taking a wait-and-see attitude. I suspect we won’t see any major shifts in opinion until after the leaders’ debates.”

The results were essentially static across the country. In the Atlantic provinces, Conservative support dropped by a whole percentage point, from 23.4% last week to 22.1% today, while NDP support increased from 20.1% to 21.4%. Liberal and Green support stayed the same at 47.4 and 9.1% respectively. In Ontario, Conservative and Liberal support dropped marginally, while the NDP and the Greens posted modest gains.

Over 3000 Canadians across the country were polled and these results are considered accurate to within three percent, nineteen times out of twenty.

30/07/08      Atlantic  Quebec  Ontario  Man/Sask Alberta     BC    National          
Conservatives  22.08%   22.45%   32.93%   30.00%   46.96%   27.93%   30.51%   
Liberals       47.40%   21.30%   36.00%   27.69%   20.00%   27.24%   30.01%
New Democrats  21.43%   12.50%   20.67%   32.31%   20.43%   28.62%   20.85%
Greens          9.09%    7.87%   10.40%   10.00%   12.61%   16.21%   10.83%
Bloc Quebecois  0.00%   35.88%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    0.00%    7.80%

Sample Size      220      720     1200      200      300      400     3040

Polls Show Dead Heat, Volatility

TORONTO, July 23 — The first opinion polls of the general election show a dead heat between the Conservative and Liberal parties, with a highly volatile electorate. The Conservatives are marginally in the lead with 31.3% of decided voters nationwide, followed by the Liberals at 30.3%, the New Democrats at 20.2%, the Greens at 10.9% and the Bloc Quebecois at 7.4%.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois numbers translate into a substantial lead of 34.7% versus the Conservatives’ 22.9% and the Liberals 22.0%. The New Democrats and the Greens follow the pack with 11.3% and 9.0% respectively.

“The Conservatives and Liberals have so far failed to move the electorate during the past two years, and our numbers are showing a slight increase in popularity of the smaller parties,” says pollster Allan Reid. “At this time, this election is just too close to call.”

The three main parties each have centres of strength across the country. The Liberals lead Atlantic Canada with 47.4% of the vote to the Conservatives’ 23.4%, the NDP’s 20.1% and the Greens’ 9.1% while the Conservatives lead in Alberta with 47.9% of the vote, with the Liberals and the NDP far behind at 20% each. The NDP have a narrow lead in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, polling 32.3% of decided voters to the Conservatives’ 30% and the Liberals’ 27.7.

The dead heat continues in the battleground of Ontario, with the Conservatives’ just two points behind the Liberals at 34% and 36% respectively. The NDP and the Greens round out these numbers with 20% and 10%. The race is even tighter in BC, with the three main parties polling around 28%, and the Green Party placing strong at 16%.

But pollster Allan Reid warns that these numbers will likely move, pointing to a high number of undecideds as a sign of a very volatile electorate. “A third of all respondents refused to pick any party as their choice,” says Reid, “but they still described themselves as likely voters. That’s a huge pool of votes for any of the parties to pick up on.”

These numbers are based on a weighted sample of 3040 households across Canada and is considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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       Atlantic   Quebec    Ontario   Man/Sask   Alberta     BC     National    
Cons    23.38%    22.92%    33.97%     30.00%    47.92%    28.00%    31.34%
Libs    47.40%    21.99%    36.03%     27.69%    20.00%    27.67%    30.26%
NDP     20.13%    11.34%    20.00%     32.31%    20.00%    28.33%    20.19%
Grns     9.09%     9.03%    10.00%     10.00%    12.08%    16.00%    10.85%
Bloc     0.00%    34.72%     0.00%      0.00%    0.00%      0.00%     7.37%

Und     30.00%    40.00%    35.00%     35.00%    20.00%    25.00%    33.03%

39th Parliament Dissolved. Election Called for August 26

OTTAWA, July 22 - Prime Minister called a press conference after meeting with Governor General Michaelle Jean to confirm that the Governor General had dissolved parliament, and a general election has been set for Tuesday, August 26th.

“I am eager to go before the Canadian people, and place my record alongside that of my opponents, and let Canadians decide,” said Harper.

The government fell late last week when, frustrated by a year of fruitless negotiation, the Conservative Party brought forward a bill to abolish the Canadian Wheat Board and declared it a confidence issue. Despite last minute talks, the bill went to the floor for first reading and was soundly defeated by the opposition.

“This election is more than just about the future of the Canadian Wheat Board,” said Harper. “We have a campaign platform ready and we’ll go to the Canadian people with a sound plan to lower taxes, maintain a balanced budget, and reinvest in infrastructure. Canadians will have to decide what they want for the next four years: more gridlock in parliament, or a government with a strong mandate to get things done.”

Opposition leader Stephane Dion fired back in a press conference of his own. “Canadians are well aware of the record of this government. They are well aware that they handed this government tight restrictions in which to work, and now Stephen Harper is chastising them for their decision. Canadians will get to decide how to react to that.”

Jack Layton, after speaking to supporters at a campaign rally for Peter Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre, spoke to reporters and predicted a strong showing for the NDP. “Canadians are getting used to the idea of minority parliaments. Thanks to the NDP, we’ve kept the big, mainstream parties on the hook and responsive to the needs of their constituents, and I think voters everywhere will want to continue that.”

Opinion polls show a dead heat between the governing Conservatives and the opposition Liberals, with the NDP just over ten points behind. A representative for pollster Ipsos Angus cautioned, however, about a large number of undecideds in the most recent samples. “The mainstream parties have got to be careful,” he said. “The voters seem particularly volatile.”

Campaigning begins in earnest tomorrow.

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