Is there any chance April 25 EKOS poll is straw in the wind we’ve been waiting for (well some of us anyway)?

Apr 26th, 2011 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems to be seeing some vision of something here, at the College of Applied Arts and Technology in Sault Ste Marie, Ont, Monday April 25, 2011. But what is it? Does anyuone really know? Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

[UPDATED MAY 1]. Monday, April 25, 2011 was a strange day in the history of the Canadian federal election campaign that will end with the actual vote one week hence, on Monday, May 2.

The day began, like almost every other in this campaign (there was a time out for Good Friday) with the results of the daily Nanos poll.  The report in the Globe and Mail was headlined “Strength in Ontario puts ‘squeaker of a majority’ within Harper’s reach.”  It went on: “Jack Layton’s New Democrats continue to hold on to their new-found strength in Quebec — and as a result are showing strong numbers nationally. There is even some speculation they could overtake the Liberals and become the Official Opposition.” But “another story is emerging out of Ontario.” Canada-wide “ the Conservatives are 39.2 per cent support compared to 25.6 for the Liberals and 23.6 per cent for the NDP.” These numbers  put the Conservatives “on track to squeeze out a majority government” in the Canadian House of Commons.

NDP leader Jack Layton speaks in Saint John, N.B., on Monday morning, April 25. Maybe he actually will finally be Canada’s next prime minister, believe it mor not? Photograph by: Cindy Wilson, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.

Other reports seemed to flesh this story out: “Confident Harper says Tories would ‘hit the ground running’ May 3” (Canadian Press) ; “Size matters: History shows stronger NDP could accomplish more in a minority” (Calgary Herald) ; “Harper ‘confident’ of election victory” (Toronto Star) ; “Le NPD gagne du terrain au Québec; le Parti conservateur continue sa progression” (Le Devoir) ; and “Tories would ‘hit the ground running’ on May 3” (Halifax Chronicle Herald).

Then, around the dinner hour, we started hearing about the April 25 EKOS poll — based on a more than two-and-a-half times larger sample size than the Nanos poll, and presenting a radically different picture of evolving opinion trends among Canadian voters. (As the “Too Close To Call” polling website put it: “the latest Ekos numbers are crazy.” And, discussing seat projections derived from the same April 25 EKOS results, “Canadian Election Watch” reported: “These numbers leave me speechless, so I’ll let you do the commenting.”)

Canadian voter Sandra Liebman leaves an advanced polling station in Montreal Friday, April 22, 2011. Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

The April 25 EKOS report itself is provocatively entitled “ORANGE CRUSH: ARE JACK LAYTON AND THE NDP REDRAWING THE BOUNDARIES OF CANADA’S POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.” Canada-wide, it gives the Conservatives 33.7%, the New Democrats 28.0%, the Liberals 23.7%, the Greens 7.2%, the Bloc Quebecois 6.2%, and Other 1.2%.

The seat projections that EKOS President Frank Graves and his colleagues derive from these numbers are even more striking: “With the current splits, these levels of support would produce 131 Conservative seats but the NDP would have 100 seats while the Liberals would hold 62. Together, the NDP and Liberal Party would have a majority and 31 more seats than the Conservatives, as well as nearly 20 more points in popular vote. It is hard to imagine how these totals would not produce the once unimaginable outcome of a Jack Layton led coalition government deposing Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. Unless of course, Stephen Harper could convince Michael Ignatieff that the Conservatives were more appropriate political bedfellows for the Liberals.”

Michael Ignatieff is now “caught in a bruising two-front battle.” But he said: “I don’t feel squeezed; I feel I’ve got running room either way,” after touring a regional health centre in Thunder Bay, Ontyario. Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

Conservative uber-partisans have complained about Frank Graves and EKOS in the past.  And such current poll-averaging sites as “ThreeHundredEight.com” and “Canadian Election Watch” are continuing to report seat projections much closer to the April 25 Nanos poll.

At the same time, Mr. Graves did successfully predict Rob Ford’s victory in the Toronto mayoral election last fall. And his April 25 Canadian federal election poll is being reported across the country. See, eg: “NDP leapfrogs Liberals to land in second spot in ‘astonishing’ twist” (ipolitics.ca) ; “Poll: NDP moves ahead of Liberals in ‘astonishing shift‘” (Vancouver Sun) ; “Surging NDP has opponents scrambling” (Vancouver Sun) ; “Poll: NDP moves ahead of Liberals in ‘astonishing shift’” (Calgary Herald) ; and “‘Terra incognita’: Poll projects 100 seats for surging NDP” (Globe and Mail).

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff shakes hands ith NDP Leader Jack Layton at a Khalsa Day celebration in Toronto, Sunday, April 24, 2011. Could they co-operate in some kind of new EKOS-poll-type government after May 2, if the n umbers are right? The short answer ought to be of course. Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS.

Of course, no one should be jumping off any bridges just yet — in any part of the country or either official language. There is still a week to go. And who knows just what may happen next?  It may be that a “squeaker of a majority” for the Harper Conservatives is still the most likely card in a complex deck. It all seems to depend on a lot of tortuous political arithmetic in 308 somewhat unique constituencies (with three and sometimes four or more parties competing — and the Liberals and New Democrats competing much more equally than in the past). We certainly don’t have a handle on all this, and we wonder if anyone else does either, really?

It seems clear enough, however, that there have been some almost contradictory or at least rather diverse polling results over the more recent past. And that does suggest that no one should be too surprised if the results on May 2 are a little more surprising than many of us were thinking only a few weeks ago. Or something like that, etc, etc, etc!

UPDATE MAY 1: See the counterweights editors on “Nothing dead certain about end of surprising and unsettling Canadian federal election campaign of 2011.”

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9 comments
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  1. Harper had a 3x convicted felon working for him. He is in contempt of the House.

    He has wasted billions on two wars $18 billion, now more cost, as he extended our troops time in Afghanistan. Wasted billions on, fighter jets with no engines. A billion on a stupid fake lake. Harper gives billions of our tax dollars to, banks, mines, large corporations, gas and oil company’s. That motion passed in the House of Commons, which I watched on the House’s TV channel. Layton was right on that score.

    Harper ignores our Constitution. Our Civil Rights and Liberties, have been taken away from us. Democracy and Freedom, Harper does not believe in. Harper is a dictator, too stubborn and arrogant, to listen to the people. He forces his will on Canadians. When he is too stubborn to answer questions, from the opposition, he prorogued Parliament twice with in a year. He is nothing other, than a petty monster. Anyone voting for Harper, needs to give their heads a shake.

  2. Ira Basen has an interesting blog post on the CBC website about the variations in poll results.

    Basen quotes Allan Gregg in an interview with the CP: “[O]ur ability to yield results accurately… has probably never been worse in the 30 to 35 years that [polling] has been active in Canada.”

    Time to buy a dartboard?

  3. In response to G.J.W April 26, 2011 comments. You and I know Harper wants to be tough on crime more so than any other leadership candidate. There is no way that Harper would knowingly choose a convicted felon to work for him. Every party that has ever run the country has had to occasionally dismiss aides over unnacceptable issues that surface. Mistakes happen……we are human after all!
    With respect to the fighter jets they will be purchased sometime in the future so no money has been wasted! Do you propose that Canada’s air force fly around in obsolete planes if we should go to war again? As for war expenses it is necessary to bloody the nose of radical elements in the world and let them know that their actions will not go unpunished. Canada is part of a group of countries that have forces in Afganistan, we are not alone in the efforts being made there. Why do you think Canada has armed forces? Are they not supposed to help defend North America from terrorists or are we just supposed to train them and pay them to sit around?
    Harper, unlike the other leadership candidates, has an advanced degree in economics and better understands the economic consequences of spending tax payer money to keep businesses and the economy healthy. He is not an academic with a PHD in Political Science or an ex-Harvard professor who would like to spend taxpayer money with questional objectives. Who do you think pays for social programs in this country? The profitable businesses and people with high paying jobs pay the most. Approximately 70% of taxes are paid by only 30% of tax payers. The other 70% pay only 30% of the taxes and enjoy the benefits of having to pay much less. Overtax businesses and they will eventually move elsewhere and people will be laid off. Layton has long attacked our banks for being too profitable but he he got awfully quiet when hundreds of banks operating with thin profits went bankrupt in the United States. I for one was glad that our banks were stable and did not have to be bailed out with tax payer money. When GM and Chrysler needed help in Canada the LIberals and the NDP were upset that Harper was not spending stimulus money fast enough to help the unemployed. Then they turned around and accused Harper of spending that money to help corporations and running deficits!
    Harper is a leader of a minority government that has been in power for many years. Leaders, like Harper, do impose their will, take actions and time either proves he was right or wrong. The opposition has obviously supported him for many years and he has obtained an ever increasing number of seats in the Commons each time there has been an election. He obviously has answered questions, listened to people and is not a dictator. If you listen to the media rather than having an in depth knowledge of the facts from following potitics then you will have the opinions you have. Wake up…..give your head a shake.

  4. Hey R Holt gimme a break. You are getting your “in depth knowledge of the facts” from the Harper Con Party spin handbook. The present PM is getting away with all kinds of sleazy behaviour of the sort that he has criticized other parties for, and he needs to be held to account. His idea of leadership is bullying people and that’s why we’re having what he keeps on calling an unnecessary election (that he himself got us into by refusing to take any suggestions for his budget from the opposition majority in Parliament). He has yet to win a majority of seats in Parliament. And I for one am praying he does not luck into any “squeaker of a majority” of seats this time around either (thanks to our increasingly twisted electoral system that needs some kind of reform!). Even if he does he will still not win anything remotely like a majority of the cross-Canada popular vote. And that’s because the majority of the Canadian people are just too smart to vote for his party. Too bad we don’t have a political system that gives the majority of the people the government they want! (Or do you believe R Holt that democracy means the people who pay the most taxes get the biggest say in government — which I believe is more accurately called plutocracy?)

  5. Chris H……My family has been Liberal for decades and I have voted for the Liberals myself in two federal elections when Trudeau was PM. Not any more. Not any of my family.
    The Liberals are the masters of “spin”. Each election they would say that Harper had a hidden agenda to spook voters into believing their spin. They could not prove that there was an agenda nor could they define what was in it if there was one. In fact the Liberals had a hidden agenda called the Ad Scam involving hundreds of millions of dollars of which some money apparently ended up in Liberal party coffers!
    You say Harper is a bully….what about Trudeau ramming through the National Energy Program, setting the price of oil below world levels mostly for the benefit of eastern Canadians at the expense of the west. Also forcing tax payers to spend billions of dollars to set up PetroCanada . Lalond said that the real purpose behind Trudeau’s establishment of PetroCanada was to allow the Federal Government to share in the perceived wealth to be generated from oil. Also Layton talks of getting funds from “Cap and Trade” revenue to fund his programs. Going to bully the west again! I suggested that if “Cap and Trade” became a reality that each province should collect its own revenues from that program, put them into a clean energy fund and that industries could later withdraw their inputs to help pay to make their operations greener. If the revenues leave the province then they are gone and there is no assurance industries can afford the double whammy of buying green credits and then spending even more to make their operations greener. If green is what is wanted then leave the money where it can accumulate and be used to help industry green up! Liberals and NDP also bully their MP’s to vote the party line on many occasions even though members wanted a free vote on behalf of their constituents. There are many examples of “bullying” in all parties.
    The Liberals, the NDP and the Block wanted an election as they thought they had a chance to force Harper into another minority government and then seize power. Harper’s budget was well received by economists across the country and it was not the reason for a non-confidence vote.
    You say that the mojority of people are too smart to vote Conservative and yet the Liberals have been in power many times with about the same level of popularity that the Conservatives have now. I guess you are saying that the majority of people are in fact stupid to keep doing the same thing over and over albeit with different parties?
    Lets face it the Liberals and NDP want to control as many aspects of peoples lives as they can justify……make them dependent on government and thereby be assured of staying in power. My father who is 96 can not longer use his small boat with a 9.9 HP motor to fish as he needs to pass a boating exam! At his age they have taken away something he enjoyed because they could. Also he registered his firearms which he has had for decades only to be told by the RCMP that he had gone beyond a certain time period without getting a new permit or some such thing and that his guns could be seized. He sold them as a result. The Liberals and NDP want to eliminate child poverty and yet every child is born into poverty as their share of the federal debt is $40,000+ at birth. Now they talk of national daycare so that both mom and dad can work. It used to be that a mother could stay at home and not have to consider putting her children in government sponsored day care. We have too much government intrusion into our lives now, too many politcians, too many bureaucrats, too many programs, too many special status groups with special privilages, too many people becoming dependent on government and expecting more…….if you look at municiple, provincial and federal debt in this country we are out of control! With the exception of Alberta and Saskatchewan all the rest of the provinces are sinking in debt because of actions by their politicians and people wanting more and more from government!

  6. Methinks you are protesting a bit too much Mr (Ms?) Holt. Anyway we are each entitled to vote for whoever we think is best. And certainly more than a few (if far from a majority) of Canadians do think that is Mr. Harper. And I probably shouldn’t have implied that they are somehow less “smart” than the rest of us. (Just less sensible?)

    But it does seem to me that in fact the provincial governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan do at least as much as in other provinces : they are just lucky enough at the moment to be sitting on top of regional resource booms.

    There is no doubt too that Mr. Trudeau often said some very insensitive things (about the city I live in, eg), and frequently dismissed the views of too many people who were not like him. But he never did lie about the Canadian Constitution for narrow political gain the way Mr. Harper has.

    And on this last point see Jim Arthur in today’s Saskatoon Star Phoenix: “Process misrepresented … Stephen Harper claims that only the party winning the most seats can govern in Canada. Our Constitution does not support such a claim … Harper is deliberately misrepresenting the constitutional process to Canadians. Do not let him bully the Governor General.”
    http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/decision-canada/Process+misrepresented/4681057/story.html

  7. I would really like to respond to R. Holt’s comments point by point but I won’t. I’m an NDP supporter, and I am totally opposed to Canada being in Afganistan period. We got sucked into that by Bush (Jr). From that dirty little war, Canada has lost it’s moral high ground and respect from around the world as a peace-keeper and mediator. The UN Security Council no longer respects Canada’s independence – hence the most reccent vote.

    Frankly I Thank God, that Cretien kept us out of Iraq and told Bush strait out that there was no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

    Harper on the other hand, has no problem sulling Canada’s image again by sending a frigate and fighter jets over to Lybia, at great expense to the average Canadian, most of whom do not support our intervention.. How is that defending Canada?

    Stealth fighters!!! What an idiot Harper is. Tell me, why would Canada need fighter jets that are invisible to radar? Are we planning on taking out some country’s air defenses? On top of all that the news now it that it will be another program that is going to be way over budget. Yet he complains that it’s the NDP that are the spenders.

  8. Actually, I don’t know why I bothered putting my two bits in. Ever since the Magna Carta, the world (particularly the “West”) has been on a long steady march to the left. Royalty has been swept aside for both Republican and Parliamentary systems of government. Slavery abolished. From the industrial revolution onward, we’ve seen legislation after legislation for improving the general publics welfare. Child Labour Laws, Woman’s Sufferage, Universal Education, Unemploymenty Insurance, Old Age Pensions, Universal Health Care, Environmental Laws, etc. etc. And the long steady mark to the left goes on. Yet, we still have Neanderthals to contend with. You can recognize them by their steadfast insistance that the upper few have a god-given right to lord it over the vast majority who should be totally satisfied with any benefits that may trickle down.

  9. Benefits trickle down when you put your ass up and your head down and get to work. Set your goals to be self sufficient and do what it takes, I did! I grew up on a farm, had to borrow money for my education, found a job and eventually paid off my debt. Since then I have worked long 10 hour days plus many weekends and evenings at three different jobs. I have no pension other than Canada Pension (not a union man) and have had to succeed based on merit and hard work. Today I am 65 and am still working although I can finally retire if I choose. Many healthy physically capable people today are not inclined to work hard and do what it takes to succeed on their own. When they left Mommy and Daddy and the nest at home they then looked to government for support. When they see others getting ahead and finally succeeding they want to share in that success too and how do they get that? Vote for a government that promises to take from those that have been successful and give to people who are not prepared to put in the effort it takes to look after themselves! I am talking about people who are healthy but lazy…..it is easy to be lazy but it does not pay well. These people think that it is their god given right to depend on others for their social benefits!

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