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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics November 17, 2005
  Nov 17, 2005

A representative sample of 18,443 Canadians between November 11th and 16th, 2005. This survey features a margin of error of 2.15%, 19 times out of 20 @ 98% competency. This poll was paid for by a U.S. company doing business in Canada.

Question #1
At this moment which of the following federal political leaders and their parties are you supporting?
Jack Layton and NDP    22.30 %
Paul Martin and Liberals    32.10 %
Stephen Harper and Conservatives    32.21 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc    13.33 %
Question #2
A federal general election will be called in weeks or months. Knowing this, how important is the actual timing of the election to you?
Very Important    19 %
Important    16 %
Unimportant    34 %
Very Unimportant    31 %
Question #3
If you had to choose one which outcome would you prefer:
Paul Martin Liberal Majority government    32 %
Stephen Harper minority government    68 %
Question #4
In your opinion, which party will most likely form the next government?
Paul Martin’s Liberal Party    35 %
Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party    65 %
Commentary
Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have a very slim statistical lead over Paul Martin’s Liberals. Outside of Quebec the Conservatives hold nearly (39%) of the Canadian public’s support. More than one in four Canadians outside of Quebec supports the New Democrats. Two out of every three Canadians outside of Quebec do not support the present governing party. Slightly less than one out of three respondents in this poll of Canadians currently support the governing party.
Conservative support is highest in Alberta (59%), followed by Saskatchewan (44%), with (35%) of support coming from Ontario, marginally higher than support the Conservatives are currently receiving from British Columbians (34%).
Paul Martin and his Liberal Party receive their greatest support in the Maritime Provinces including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador (40%) followed by (37%) in Ontario. Liberals lowest support is in Alberta (21%) and Quebec (22%).
Jack Layton and the Federal New Democrats receive their greatest support in British Columbia and Saskatchewan (32%) with their lowest support in Quebec (13%).
Bloc Quebecois supporters are most concerned about election timing (Question #2) with the bulk of its supporters (92%) choosing “Very Important or “Important”. However those Bloc supporters who selected ‘Unimportant’ choices are confident they will beat the Liberals “whenever an election is called”. Liberal supporters tend to choose either “Very Important” or “Unimportant” in terms of the timing of a general federal election.
(1.5%) of total respondents in this poll, who ALSO support Jack Layton and the New Democrats prefer a Paul Martin majority to a Stephen Harper minority government. Over (98%) of Bloc supporters prefer a Stephen Harper minority government to a Paul Martin majority government. No Conservative party supporters select a Paul Martin majority government. Oddly, only (95%) of Liberal supporters in this poll want a Paul Martin majority government.
On the other hand (23%) of respondents who support the New Democrats believe Paul Martin’s Liberal Party will “most likely form the next government”, whereas (7.5%) of Liberal supporters believe Stephen Harper will. These numbers reflect voter fluidity between the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives.
Insight- Both Conservative and Bloc Quebecois party support is reasonably solid. It is likely that in the coming weeks Conservative support will range between (31%) and (34.5%). Bloc support will range between (13 and 14%); Paul Martin’s Liberal support will range between (29.5% and 34%). ROBBINS believes Jack Layton and the NDP will range between (17.5 and 23%) depending on his performance.
ROBBINS believes that considering this poll and current trends (particularly in Quebec) that it is doubtful that the Federal Liberals will achieve more than (35%) of public support in the next election. We believe the pressure is downward from there. ROBBINS forecasts that the Conservatives will NOT receive less than (31%) of public support in the next election with pressure upward to a higher total.
ROBBINS does not believe that the New Democrats will achieve less than (17%) of public support in the next general federal election, however ROBBINS believes that the New Democrats could win as much as (24%), however the pressure upward beyond (20%) is thin. Moreover, the impact on seat totals for the NDP is negligible between 20% and 23.5%. The additional 3.5% between 20% and 23.5% impacts more on Liberal seat losses and Conservative seat gains, although any gains the NDP makes generally helps the Conservative party.
Insight/Electoral Seat Forecasts/November 17, 2005 Pressure is being brought to bear against the federal Liberal of Party. This pressure is caused most overtly by Opposition parties who have promised to bring down the government exacerbate existing problems the governing party already had in Quebec where they stand to lose another 10-12 seats. The Opposition parties have taken this collective position in response to a number of issues, but certainly the initial Gomery Report is a major factor. The Liberals have responded to the pressure by announcing tax cuts, but this announcement may have created additional problems relating to ethics, most specifically “Why didn’t you announce this tax relief earlier?”
This pressure is creating a significant electoral shift in Canada’s largest province Ontario, where currently 30 Liberal seats are in jeopardy. ROBBINS believes that of these seats, 7 have already been lost to the Conservatives, and 3 to the NDP. The remainder is too close to call. Contrast this with 3 current Conservative seats and 1 current NDP seat which are both too close to call. Neither the Conservatives nor the NDP have lost seats in Ontario according to our findings.
In British Columbia another significant battleground province, of the total 36 available seats only 19 are decided, with 17 seats too close to call. Of the 19 decided 16 belong to the Conservative party, 1 to the Liberal party and 2 to the NDP.
Alberta has 28 total electoral seats and the Conservatives have 26 of these in their pocket, with 2 Liberal seats too close to call. Manitoba has 14 seats available with the Conservatives holding at least 5, the NDP 4, and the Liberals 1.
In Saskatchewan, a stronghold for the Conservatives in 2004, the trend continues. Conservatives are guaranteed at least 9 seats in 2006, with the balance, save for 1 Liberal seat up for grabs as well.
The Maritimes may be the only part of the country where the Liberals are still held in reasonably high esteem. In New Brunswick the Liberals will win at least 3 but will need to fight for another four. The Conservatives will hold 2 seats and the NDP 1. In Nova Scotia the Liberals will hold 4 seats for certain and be forced to fight for 2 more. Conservatives will hold 2 seats, and fight for 2 more, while the NDP will hold 1 and have to fight like mad for another 2 (Halifax). Prince Edward Island one-time Conservative bastion will retain 4 for the Liberals while Newfoundland and Labrador holds another 4 for that party with another 2 on the bubble.
This poll including strategic calling, and research assessments which follow provide us with the following conclusions: Currently the Liberals are relatively certain of 85 seats, the Conservatives 96 seats, the NDP 19 seats and the Bloc 60 seats, for a total of 260 ‘guaranteed seats’. The Bloc will compete in another 6, the NDP another 17, the Conservatives another 30, and the Liberals another 32.
Using averaging based on trends I would judiciously assess seats totals based on the results of this poll as follows: Conservatives (113), Liberals (108), Bloc (64), NDP (27).
With these numbers as our guide it appears that the next election is mostly about who will win government, the Conservatives or the Liberals. We are reasonably certain of two things, namely the Liberals will have fewer seats in the next parliament and the conservatives will have more.
The Bloc and NDP will also have more seats but the significant consideration is that no single party will be able to pass legislation without the help of the Bloc Quebecois, unless it is a combined Conservative-Liberal position, or combined Conservative-Liberal-NDP position. The only response to this likelihood is if Ontario decides to shift support to the Conservatives to a seat total of 45-50 and reduce Liberal seats by a corresponding amount of 8-10 (after factoring anticipated gains and losses) to a similar total. This appears to be the trend in Ontario beginning with ridings in London, Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto. The area of Scarborough refuses to budge. If this shift takes place than Conservative seats in Ontario and the Maritime provinces will match up more closely to Conservative seats in the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
One obvious trend line, which benefits the Conservatives and NDP, is for NDP gains to equal Liberals losses particularly in urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver. There are about 6 seats across the country where the Conservatives battle the NDP for seats, with at least 2 of these featuring a Liberal challenge as well. With Quebec set to steal at least 10 from the Liberals, it is clearly evident that the opportunity for a Liberal NDP combination being = > than 155 are quite slim. The opportunity for a Conservative Liberal combination being > than 155 are near absolute. The opportunity for a Conservative Bloc being > 155 are very high, as is the opportunity for a Liberal Bloc combination being > 155. The difficulty with this latter relationship is that the Bloc will increase its presence in the province of Quebec predicated primarily on being anti-Liberal. So a Liberal Bloc relationship is not likely to work without the federal Liberals getting a new leader.
Ontario will have to recognize the problem of a Liberal Bloc relationship and think seriously about shifting loyalties to the Conservatives in the area of another 25-30 seats. This would permit a Conservative government to work with the New Democrats, and act as a bulwark against Bloc demands. This type of shift (which we are beginning to see signs of) would push the Liberal seat totals to fewer than 100.
These outcomes can only be altered if Stephen Harper is able to convince Canadians that the Liberal party has lost moral authority that the Bloc ‘de facto’ will control Canada, and that the Conservatives ‘deserve an opportunity’. This argument can be underscored on the basis that the problem will once again come down to Quebec, and that it is the Liberals, which got us here in the first place.

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