Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Latest Strategic Counsel poll

You can find it here, if you're still intrigued after all the discussion yesterday. Basically, the focus was on the national number and the ominous portents of a 41-28 lead for the Conservatives. A few points on this one.

Steve, our resident polling analyst, says that,"I put SC, just above Ipsos on the reliability/accuracy scale." Something to keep in mind in light of all the breathless wowing of the past 24 hours. Being termed as just above Ipsos does not exactly place an outfit in the pantheon of Canadian pollsters.

Here's a shot of the Ontario numbers (click to enlarge). In the last six months or so, Liberal numbers in Ontario have been fairly stable, often giving a lead over the Conservatives, tightening up since July. In the last Strategic Counsel poll in early September, it was margin of error in Ontario. This is why it seems logical that the Ontario shift in yesterday's release, just as we saw in the Angus Reid poll on Friday, seems to be another reflection of volatility.

Discontent with the prospect of having an election seems to be the big force on the scene this month that's playing itself out here. And that may not be anything for Stephen Harper's crew to write home about. These numbers may just be a reaction to that no-election hue and cry, not a majority government endorsement for Conservatives.

I was tempted to buy the line that's being pushed about negative advertising on Ignatieff working. But if you look at those Ontario numbers, you can see that the Liberal numbers have pretty much held through the summer while that ad campaign was at its peak. It's just this past month where they diverge. So that's an unanswered question for me, whether it's a manifestation of a negative perception of Ignatieff or whether it's the election stuff in tandem with the government ad onslaught. I'm inclined to go with the latter.

Another point to note here, the Quebec numbers show a jump of 10 points for the Liberals to 33 percent to the Bloc's 40 with the Conservatives at 15. That's closer to the normal SC range of late in Quebec, proving Steve's point that the September Strategic Counsel on Liberal declining fortunes in Quebec (down to 23 in that September one) was indeed off. Also note that concurrent to this month's Liberal 10 point jump in Quebec is a 9 point drop for the Bloc. Which in and of itself might make you question the above Ontario swing. If Quebec swings like this in the SC numbers from month to month, it certainly doesn't give you a sense of trust in their other numbers.

One thing that seems pretty clear about Quebec though, total rejection of the Conservatives continues to show in the numbers. Politically astute Quebec leads the nation in that respect.

Overall, not great news but the breathless reception can always stand a bit of perspective, which some of the above may add.