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Polls Show Conservative Momentum, Continued Volatility

TORONTO, August 24 — Polls suggest the Conservatives have gained momentum as the polls draw near, but with an unusually high number of undecided voters, the election is still too close to call.

National numbers put the Conservatives in the lead with 33.6% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 26.9%, the NDP at 21.7%, the Greens at 10.1% and the Bloc Quebecois at 7.71%. The Bloc Quebecois continue to lead in Quebec with 32.4% of decided voters, followed by 25.2% for the Conservatives and 22.7% for the Liberals. The NDP and the Greens round out the list at 12.7% and 6.9% respectively.

The Conservatives are continuing their free-fall in Atlantic Canada, taking only 13.9% of the vote compared to the Liberals 49.2%, the NDP’s 23.9% and the Greens’ 13.1%. These fortunes are mirrored in Alberta where the Liberals find themselves at 12.6%, marginally ahead of the Greens at 12.1%. The Conservatives lead that province with 52.1% of decided voters with the NDP in second place at 23.2%.

The best news for the Conservatives comes in the battleground province of Ontario, where they have widened their lead to ten points. The Conservatives are now polling at 39%, compared to the Liberals 29.8%, the NDPs’ 21.1% and the Greens’ 10.1%. On the other hand, the NDP have widened their lead in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, polling at 35% compared to the Conservatives 30% and the Liberals’ 24%. A Tight race remains in British Columbia, where Green support has dropped, but no clear winner has emerged.

“The numbers are definitely polling the Conservatives’ way, outside of the Atlantic provinces,” says pollster Allen Reid. “If trends continue, they stand a good chance of increasing their seat totals, although they are nowhere near majority territory.”

Reid cautions, however, that the high number of undecided votes could lead to surprises on election night. “Forty percent of respondents have not decided. They could stay at home, or they could make their decision at the ballot box. If they all track one way, it could render all of our best polls completely obsolete.”

These numbers are considered accurate to within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

      Atlantic   Quebec   Ontario   Man/Sask  Alberta      BC     National
CON    13.85%    25.23%    39.01%    30.83%    52.11%    30.42%    33.63%
LIB    49.23%    22.69%    29.79%    24.17%    12.63%    26.67%    26.91%
NDP    23.85%    12.73%    21.13%    35.00%    23.16%    30.42%    21.68%
GRN    13.08%     6.94%    10.07%    10.00%    12.11%    12.50%    10.07%
BQ      0.00%    32.41%     0.00%    0.00%      0.00%     0.00%     7.71%


Sample   220       720      1200      200       300       400

Party Support Shifts as Regions Polarize

TORONTO, August 20 — After four weeks of campaigning, the opinion polls are finally showing movement. The Conservatives are benefitting the most from this, having now taken a four point lead in the National polls, although this good news is tempered by a cratering of support in the Atlantic provinces.

Nationally, the Conservatives sit at 32.1% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 28.4%, the NDP at 21%, the Greens at 10.2% and the Bloc Quebecois at 8.3%. In the Atlantic provinces, however, Conservative support has dropped sharply, from 19.3% to 16.2% in the space of a week. The Liberal lead has increased to 51.5% and the NDP maintain second spot with 21.5% of decided voters. Green Party support has also increased, to 10.8%.

“The Atlantic provinces seem to be turning away from the governing Conservatives,” said pollster Allen Reid. “Given the rise of the Green’s fortunes, I have to think that Peter MacKay might be a little worried right now.”

But the news was worse for the Liberals. The Tories have moved ahead in Ontario, with 36.2%, followed by the Liberals at 33.3%, the NDP at 20.6% and the Green Party at 9.9%. Further, Liberal support is cratering in Alberta, down to 14.7%, well behind the Conservatives at 51.6%, and within sight of the Green Party at 11%. The NDP remain in second place at 22.6%.

“With Liberal support is remaining stagnant elsewhere, it’s looking less and less likely that the party can overtake the Conservatives,” says Reid. “It would take a significant gaffe on the part of the Conservatives or a significant shift in Liberal strategy to turn things around, and given how the campaign is going, I don’t see that happening.”

The Liberals and the Conservatives did post modest gains in Quebec, however, where the Bloc Quebecois have slipped over a percentage point to 34.7% of decided voters. The Conservatives are in second place at 23.6% and the Liberals close behind them at 22%.

“What should be disturbing for the Bloc Quebecois is that Liberal and Conservative support are coming from different parts of the province,” says Reid. “Liberal support is concentrated in Montreal, whereas Conservative support is stronger elsewhere. They’re not competing against each other, but against the Bloc, and that means that their numbers are a lot stronger than the overall provincial numbers suggest. Bloc support is at the lowest level of the campaign.”

The NDP continues to post respectable numbers throughout the country, save for Quebec. They lead in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with 34.1% of the decided vote and are tied for first place in BC with 30% of the decided vote.

Over 3000 Canadians were sampled over a week. The numbers are considered accurate to within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

       Atlantic   Quebec   Ontario   Man/Sask  Alberta      BC     National     
CON     16.15%    23.61%    36.17%    30.00%    51.58%    30.00%    32.14% 
LIB     51.54%    21.99%    33.33%    25.00%    14.74%    25.42%    28.40%
NDP     21.54%    12.27%    20.57%    34.17%    22.63%    30.00%    21.02%
GRN     10.77%     7.41%     9.93%    10.83%    11.05%    14.58%    10.18%
BLQ      0.00%    34.72%     0.00%     0.00%     0.00%     0.00%     8.26%

Sample    220       720      1200       200       300       400      3040

Conservatives Gain Strength in Ontario, Lose Support in Atlantic

TORONTO, August 13 — The first opinion polls taken after the leaders’ debate suggest a slight improvement of Conservative fortunes outside of the Atlantic provinces. Nationally, the Conservatives command the support of 31.5% of decided voters, compared to 30.8% a week ago. The Liberals have 28.9% of popular support compared to 30% a week ago. The NDP are up slightly at 20.9% and the Greens are steady at 10.3%. Nationally, the Bloc Quebecois have upped their support from 8.1% to 8.5%.

In Quebec, the numbers translated into an increase in Bloc support from 35.7% to 36.1% while the Liberals and the Conservatives held steady at around 22-23%. In Ontario, however, the Conservatives have moved into a statistical tie with the Liberals, taking 34.5% of the popular vote compared to the Liberals’ 34.8%.

“There were no knockout punches during the leaders’ debates, as everyone ran a tight ship,” says pollster Allen Reid. “But this situation favours the government as the incumbent player. Nobody has been given much reason to pick someone else.”

The Conservatives good news was tempered by bad numbers coming out of the Atlantic provinces, where popular support dropped by another percent, from 20.7% last week to 19.3% this week. The Liberals crept ever higher to 49.6%. “The Green numbers are picking up as well,” says Reid, “and you have to wonder where that translates. Perhaps Peter MacKay’s seat is not as safe as he thinks it is after all. And the Conservatives seem to have been hurt by the Atlantic Accord.”

The Liberal fortunes in the Atlantic were counterbalanced by slippage in Alberta, where they now stand in third place at 16%, compared to 50% for the Conservatives and 22.5% for the NDP. The Greens aren’t far behind at 11.5%. “It’s clear that Albertans simply aren’t warming up to Stephane Dion,” says Reid.

The NDP continue to poll strong in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and BC, where they are in the lead or in second place, but their 20% support in Ontario could translate into more seats. “The risk for the Liberals is a two front assault, with the NDP focused on their Toronto stronghold, and the Tories making inroads in the 905 region,” says Reid.

Reid cautions that the percentage of undecideds is still rising. “It’s as high as I’ve ever seen it, pretty consistent at 40% across the country,” says Reid. “If the Undecideds were a party, they’d have they’d have the election in a walk.”

Over 3000 Canadians were polled across the country for the week. The numbers are considered accurate within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

     Atlantic  Quebec    Ontario    Man/Sask   Alberta       BC      National     
CON   19.26%   22.45%     34.47%     33.33%     50.00%     29.60%     31.49%
LIB   49.63%   21.76%     34.75%     24.17%     16.00%     26.40%     28.94%
NDP   21.48%   12.50%     20.43%     33.33%     22.50%     28.80%     20.85% 
GRN    9.63%    7.18%     10.35%      9.17%     11.50%     15.20%     10.26%
BLQ    0.00%   36.11%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      8.47%                                           
Sample  220      720       1200        200        300        400       3040

Liberals, Conservatives Slip as Campaign Progresses

TORONTO, August 6 — The latest opinion polls, on the eve of the first of a critical round of debates, finally show some movement for the major parties. Unfortunately for them, it’s downward. The Liberal party dipped below 30% for the first time in this campaign, largely due to slips in support in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The Conservatives held steady, with small gains in Alberta offsetting a drop in support in the Atlantic provinces.

Nationally, the Conservatives are still in the lead with 30.8% of decided voters, followed by the Liberals at 29.97%. The NDP are third, marginally higher at 21% of decided voters, followed by the Greens at 10.3$, and the Bloc Quebecois at 8.1%. In Quebec, the Bloc’s numbers translated to a lead of 35.7%, steady from last week, while the Conservatives and the Liberals rose slightly to 23.2% and 22% respectively.

“It has been a disciplined, tightly controlled campaign by all parties,” says pollster Allen Reid. “All the mainstream parties have stayed on message. In the absence of any gaffes, I think the advantage goes to the Conservative government, who are proving themselves to be far less frightening than the Liberals painted them in the past.”

Ontario numbers showed a tightening race, with Liberal support down marginally to 35.9% and Conservative support up marginally at 33.1%. The NDP continue to hold steady at 20.7%.

But again Reid cautioned that these numbers could prove illusionary. “The number of undecided voters is increasing in this election, ranging from 30% of respondents in Alberta to 40% in Quebec. People just haven’t made up their minds, or are frustrated with all of the alternatives.

The poll results are considered accurate within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

   Atlantic    Quebec    Ontario    Man/Sask    Alberta       BC      National

CON 20.69% 23.15% 33.10% 32.50% 47.62% 28.15% 30.76% LIB 48.28% 21.99% 35.86% 25.83% 19.05% 27.41% 29.97% NDP 22.07% 12.27% 20.69% 31.67% 22.38% 28.89% 20.93% GRN 8.97% 6.94% 10.34% 10.00% 10.95% 15.56% 10.25% BLQ 0.00% 35.65% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 8.10%

Sample 220 720 1200 200 300 400 3040

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.

—30—

       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%

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