It's the stupid leadership stupid (Nanos Poll) -

It’s the stupid leadership stupid (Nanos Poll)


From the Nanosphere, the latest poll has it 38-28.8-17.9-9.3-5.9.

The nine-point spread is in line with where the polls seem to have stabilized. A few interesting parts that I can see (haven’t looked at the tables yet):

– This is bad for the Greens. Their trend seems to be to poll around 10 and get around 5; to be polling this low is not good.

– the 19% undecided suggests an electorate that is shopping around

– the biggest number for the Cons is that Harper scores double Iggy’s numbers on “most prime ministerial”. For Ignatieff to be at 17.7% on leadership, with Layton at 14.9%, is really bad for the Liberals. Yes, the OLO is going through serious gyrations right now, but this speaks to a larger branding problem for the Liberal leader.


Nik on the Numbers

Our latest national poll shows that the Conservatives continue to hold a comfortable lead over the Liberals.

Looking at which of the party leaders Canadians believe would make the best Prime Minister, Stephen Harper now leads by a significant, 17 point, margin over over Michael Ignatieff. This represents the widest gap since Ignatieff was elected leader of the Liberal Party.

Factoring the advantage in the ballot box and on the best PM front, the Conservatives currently have the upper hand. The dilemma they face is that their numbers are strong but it is difficult to take advantage of it politically because of the Harper communications mantra that “this isn’t a good time for an election”.

Likewise, with a defeat in parliament at the hands of the opposition parties not imminent, it is hard for the Tories to plead the instability or unworkability of parliament.

To chat about this poll join the national political online chat at Nik on the Numbers. The detailed tables and methodology are posted on our website along with regional breakdowns. You can also register to receive automatic polling updates.

Nanos conducted a random telephone survey of 1,005 Canadians, 18 years of age and older, between November 7th and November 10th. A survey of 1,005 Canadians is accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20, for 814 committed voters, it is accurate to within 3.5 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. Margins may be larger for smaller samples.

Ballot Question: For those parties you would consider voting for federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences? (Committed voters only – First Preference)

The numbers in parenthesis denote the change from the last Nanos National Omnibus survey completed between October 10th and October 18th, 2009.

National (n=814)
Conservative 38.0% (-1.8)
Liberal 28.8% (-1.2)
NDP 17.9% (+1.3)
BQ 9.3% (+0.4)
Green 5.9% (+1.3)
Undecided 19.0% (+1.5)

Best PM Question: Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister? [Rotate]
Stephen Harper 34.8%
Michael Ignatieff 17.7%
Jack Layton 14.9%
Gilles Duceppe 6.5%
Elizabeth May 4.5%
None of them 9.0%
Unsure 12.6%

Feel free to forward this e-mail. Any use of the poll should identify the source as the latest “Nanos Poll.”

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It’s the stupid leadership stupid (Nanos Poll)

  1. "Conservative 38.0% (-1.8)
    Liberal 28.8% (-1.2)
    NDP 17.9% (+1.3)
    BQ 9.3% (+0.4)
    Green 5.9% (+1.3)
    Undecided 19.0% (+1.5)"

    This adds up to about 120%. I assume the numbers are hinky because they asked for the "two current local preferences" or just one if you are a partisan.

    It is Liberal supporters that interest me. They are not slavishly supporting their party like the use to. Bad news for Libs if they can't bewitch their base anymore and can no longer rely on their votes decade after decade.

    I wonder if the low Green numbers are reflection of how people think May is doing or is it something else.

    • The numbers for the parties refer to the percentage of decided voters. However, they also list the number of undecideds, because that is worth knowing.

      On the Green thing, what should be really depressing for some is that bad Green numbers haven't produced good Liberal/NDP ones. Greens are going undecided.

      • Green support has often been over-represented in polls in recent times, as a kind of none of the above pick by a lot of people who don't actually cast a ballot on Election Day.

        • Well there are two polling methodologies that I suspect produce lower green numbers. Firstly, when you have a stronger likely voter screen you tend to weed out Greens, who have less committed supporters. Secondly, when you give people the option of saying undecided, many who might say "Green" if forced instead say undecided (which is probably more reflective of how they will vote).

  2. the biggest number for the Cons is that Harper scores double Iggy's numbers on “most prime ministerial”.

    To put the significance of these numbers in perspective, in August of 2005 Nanos had Martin's leadership numbers at 31% and Harper's at 14%.

    • So if Harper incurs an RCMP investigation over leaked income trust info, decides not to campaign for the first half of the election campaign (while Ignatieff spends that time announcing new ideas every single day at 5 am to win the headlines), insults veterans with a terrible attack ad, insults parents by suggesting they will spend money for their kids on beer and popcorn, and banks his entire comeback strategy on eliminating the notwithstanding clause – if all that happens – Ignatieff can win the weakest minority government in Canadian history. So close, and yet so far away.

      • In September of 2003 Nanos had Eves' leadership numbers at 41% and McGuinty's at 24%. A month later McGuinty's Liberals swept Eves' Progressive Conservatives from power.

        • Yes, but you are ignoring the topline results for favour of the less important ones. Eves had generally lagged behind McGuinty in the polls (he had two spikes – one after he was initially selected, and one – briefly – after the power outage). Similarly, a number of polls in the run-up to the aborted 2005 election showed Harper with very competitive numbers (part of a general tendency for the Tories to rise in the polls when elections are imminent).

          Ignatieff is unlikely to roar ahead in the polls overnight. The economy is recovering, the Olympics are going to happen soon, and whereas both McGuinty and Harper had momentum behind them running into an election, Ignatieff does not (or at least lacks the sort of momentum he needs). This is not to mention the major reorganization his office is undergoing.

          • Nanos had the Ontario Liberals leading by only 2 points when that leadership poll was taken and the PCs were at their highest level of support in more than two years. The leadership numbers simply don't mean that much and more often than not, the guy who has the job is simply perceived as being the best guy for it.

  3. the stupidity of the canadian public never ceases to amaze me. what does harper have to do before the people wake up to how much of a diabolical villain he is?

    • Harper is the best Prime Minister in recent memory.

      Diabolical villain? What a drive by smear. Got any particular problems that you'd care to articulate? And don't give me the usual platitude nonsense of his being a neo-con. Bring up some reasonable criticism… and then we'll expose it to the events of history. Like, oh, I don't know… a Liberal party that was stealing from the people of Canada to fund its own party.

      Wanna know why the Conservatives lead the polls? Because they're running the country reasonably well!!!

      • hey goof, you're so full of $hlt i can smell you from last week. the polls are fixed and corrupt just like harper is. you're also just like harper because your is in the sand. or i should say, your head is up your a$$. you know nothing, just like harper.

        • Now, has a troll just outed himself, or is someone playing silly buggers?

          Then again, I suppose I shouldn't assume those are mutually exclusive.

      • way to go Ron : you are right of course but be careful the harper haters on this forum will flame you alive as supporting the gov't postion on anything is just so right wing.

        • As a Harper lover I'm sure you now love all Chretien lovers and never ever flamed them alive. Spread that love like H1N1.

    • He's gained seats every election he's lead the CPC.

      This is how the system works.

      Get yourself a Leader and a Party that can beat him.

  4. No one will ever accuse me of being a Green Party supporter, but I think one reason that the Greens are polling so poorly is that they are getting zero ink in the MSM. Out of sight out of mind…

    Lizzie May, who is normally a shameless self-promoter, has gone silent in recent months. Maybe she's gotten bored of polirical life?

    • Actually it runs a little deeper than that. A major poll done in the US showed that more people disbelieved rather than believed AGW theory. Just today the British press (that's right, the progressive British) reported a poll that showed the same thing. I'd venture to guess that if a similar poll was done in Canada we'd see the same thing.

      AGW predictions have simply failed to pan out. None predicted the levelling off/cooling, ten years ago they all predicted the start of calamity by now. The public is smart enough to know the sky hasn't fallen and are aware enough to read the stuff the MSM refuses to print (hockey stiff graph debunked etc.) The press will never highlight this, but they will slowly walk away from their green frenzy, which they are now doing.

      Combine that with the pragmatic economic factors overriding even the self-congradulatory benefits being green offers even the most ardent supporters,

      all point to the "Green" era moving past their high water mark (excuse the pun).

      • Other than paragraph two, I think you're dead on.

  5. harper is a useless, gutless, pathetic little weenie because he simply doesn't do anything. absolutely nothing. look at the H1N1 clinics situation as an example. and when harper does do something he screws up. his minister are corrupt just like he is. when i read that harpers polls are up, i shake my because i know the polls are B.S. i've never been polled so even the process is corrupt. an election right now would be great. get rid of useless harper. the sooner the better.

  6. The Liberals are floundering badly not knowing whether to turn left or right. Ignatieff is to the right of his party which is causing some conflict. When he's told to recite left-wing nostrums, you can see his heart isn't into it. He makes a lousy trained seal.

    Harper's made it all the more uncomfortable by hugging the center, center-right. That's where Iggy is most uncomfortable but the place is already taken.

  7. I meant to say that's where Iggy is the most comfortable.

  8. I'd be curious to know if Potter thinks Ignatieff's "stupid leadership" is worse than the prior leadership exhibited by Dion.

    Granted, it's a close call.

    • It is a close call, because I hardly see any difference. For the first couple of months Iffy acted differenly, but since then, he has been a Dion clone, which explains the Dion-like numbers.

      • Yes. Which is why I'm intrigued to see Potter criticizing the guy. Potter was a pretty big Dion fan as I recall.

      • Boy if you english people could watch and understand Dion's french interviews you'd see him in a completely different way. I'm not saying you'd like him, just that you wouldn't see him as a feeble embarrassment to humanity. On even ground Harper couldn't come to being a match for Dion.

        A lot you don't credit enough Harper's success to his long game. He's been trying to be Prime Minister since 2001, and likely had aspirations long before that.

        • Um, I have watched some of his French interviews? And what makes you think we're English people anyway?

  9. Dion never could get over the fact that he couldn't speak English well enough to appeal to the ROC. It may be unfair, and certainly is not politically correct, but it was a real factor in his lack of suppory. Iggy doesn't have that excuse.

    • "Dion could never get over the fact that he couldn't speak English well enough to appeal to the ROC"

      I don't think that's exactly right because Chretien spoke english, and also french I understand, much worse than Dion but for some reason we thought Chretien was charming while Dion was illiterate. Dion was aloof, or a bit odd maybe, but something kept him from connecting with regular Canadians.

      • No. I could understand Chretien a hell of a lot better than I could Dion.
        Liked what he had to say a lot less, but could understand him better.

      • Comparing Chretien to Dion is like comparing Sylvester Stalone to Woody Allen. Chretien's language level was bellow standard and his pronunciation in both languages was stunned by a broken mouth. Dion's French is extremely academic and even his written English was impeccable. He simply could not command the English pronunciation because until recently he never had to speak English.

        Although even if he could speak english fluently nobody would understand him still because his language level is just so far beyond anyone's understanding. That's why he also struggled to gain support from the French Canadians. Granted, Quebecers loathed him for his Clarity Act but Quebecers, being French, can quickly get over these kind of things… and they would've, if they didn't feel like he was being arrogant to them.

  10. Harper's lead is not the result of a favourable sentiment toward his leadership. It's a result of politically bleak times when everyone has lost interest and faith in our options. Sadly, the result is our country is seeing a gradual shift away from the ideals we've traditionally valued, such as social issues, culture, and peace. If Canada allows Harper to continue to lead by acquiescence they may not be able to reconcile who we think we are versus who we've become in a few years from now. Demand more from our politicians.

  11. Mr. Mclelland is correct indeed about those previous polling numbers.

    I say the scenarios are identical (and please ignore the trends and underlying factors, they are of no moment),

    so rest easy my liberal friends. Sit back, don't worry about policy or making hard choices on issues and leadership, and the government will be yours.

    Liberals are the natural governing party after all… just like years gone by.

  12. This is bad for the Greens. Their trend seems to be to poll around 10 and get around 5; to be polling this low is not good.

    Apples and oranges, Andrew. Nanos always polls Greens low, muchmoreso than other pollsters, and more in line with what they ultimately get.on election day. That's why most GPC boosters/bloggers/cheerleaders never quote his numbers, chosing the more favourable competitors.

  13. About the Green numbers, an important point to consider is that Nanos, alone amongst pollsters, doesn't list parties when asking for voter intentions. That's why, historically, Nanos has had the Greens polling way below the other pollsters, but also very close to their actual vote numbers on election day. If I were a Green, I'd be pretty happy at seeing that my numbers have maintained since the last election given the party's nigh-invisibility on the national stage.

  14. Has anyopne noticed how the harper haters just won't get it. They simply can not imagine in their tiny little furrowed minds that the polls mean exactly what they say and that indeed more people obviously support harper as PM .. which is a perfectly reasonable posion since it is obviously clear he is the better choice for PM at present .. the voters have, are and will continue to impart this message and the nay sayers and malcontents will continue to actually be surprised and in a state of disbelief – kind of sad when it is so obvious – but there you have it after all people still bet on the leafs for the cup – I admire their integrity

    • Why didn't you Martin haters get it that people thought he was was the better choice for PM in late 2005.

    • According to Nanos, 38% of the Canadian electorate support the Conservatives. In the 2008 election, 37.6% of voters who cast a ballot supported the Conservatives. In both cases, that's significantly less than half.

      Of course, Canada's first-past-the-post system means that the Conservative minority (of voters) could elect a Conservative majority (of seats).

    • What you Harper lovers don't get about Harper haters is that what they truly hate is how much people don't know about Harper. People don't know the ugly facts about Harper because he has pocketed some very interesting media lobbyists from Canwest, CTV, and Rogers. And then you shame the CBC as being biased? At least the CBC is biased on a moral grounds, not financial.

  15. The positive case for Harper:

    In four years of minority government, Harper averted a constitutional crisis, and has steered Canada through a recession that was far milder than anybody could have expected. Contrary to the warnings of many, there is nothing behind the claim that Harper is "the most right-wing Prime Minister in Canadian history" (that distinction goes to either Mackenzie King or Chretien). He has shown himself to be pragmatic – income trusts threaten to ruin the tax base? Tax them to oblivion. Economy teetering and interest rates already low? Run deficits to put people back to work (while investing in infrastructure projects that will be around for a long time to come). Bloc about to put forth a Quebec as a nation motion? Preempt them, and let vagueness eliminate the meaning of the action. Liberals at risk of ceasing their support for Canada's mission in Afghanistan? Appoint a Liberal, and accept clear exit dates.

    On most of the big questions facing Canada, Harper has been flexible and effective. Many of the primary criticisms against him are simply false. Canada's response to H1N1 was among the best in the world – okay, maybe Australia wins, but number 2 is not too shabby. Claims of favoritism over the stimulus are similarly a lot of hot air – in fact, all opposition ridings other than Bloc ridings got disproportionate shares of stimulus money. Even that may be a product of the lack of data on the Quebec part of the stimulus (much of which is not costed yet). Given that Montreal is run by the mob. Has Harper eviscerated the environment, artists and women's/minority rights? He has at worst continued the benign neglect policies of Chretien and Martin (who didn't face this kind of visceral reaction when they raised Canada's C02 emissions 25%), on the arts, Canada spends far more, and his government has made big steps toward apologizing for past misdeeds and no steps to inhibit a woman's right to choose or gay marriage (apart from a free vote everybody knew would lose).

    Is Harper Canada's best Prime Minister? No. But he is far from being the worst, and is most certainly not the narrow, parochial villain he is usually portrayed to be.

    • Wow. You can get that much out of a poll?

      Btw, I predict you will never have a twitter account.

    • "Is Harper Canada's best Prime Minister? No. But he is far from being the worst, and is most certainly not the narrow, parochial villain he is usually portrayed to be"

      Agreed. But you're forgetting that all of those compromises have taken place in a minority govt. Granted he's made efforts to convince Canadians he isn't extreme…and a lot seem to be buying that. But a lot aren't either, and have more than a few good reasons for holding that view. The apprehension lingers that we haven't seen the real Harper yet. And we wont until he gets a majority…if he gets one that is. However you did say it was the positive case, one could as easily build a negative one…hence the uncertainty. You'd have to concede that he isn't lighting up the polling numbers. They continue to slide, not necessarily his fault. But neither is he the remedy.

      • Polling numbers…i meant the voter turn out.

    • Harper "averted" the constitutional crisis that he himself created (by claiming that a coalition was equivalent to a coup).

      One could argue that Canada's relative strength coming out of the recession was due to the surplus built up by the Liberals, and due to a healthy banking system, thanks to banks not being allowed to merge.

      My biggest worry about Harper is that he and his Conservatives place politicking above governing. Legislation is introduced primarily to boost their standing in the polls, not to improve Canada as a country. (The GST cut, widely believed by even conservative economists to be a bad idea, is a prime example of this.) The impression I get is tthat the Tories have thoroughly examined the Canadian political system for weaknesses that they can exploit or loopholes that they can take advantage of. In other words, they are putting themselves first.

      (Before Harper's Conservatives came into being, who could have imagined a political party bombarding the airwaves with attack ads between elections?)

      I shudder to think of what would happen if Harper got his coveted majority. Cutting funding to political parties would be Job 1 on the list, I assume.

      • I think hoser and Out There both have good points. If you look at the black and white summary of what Harper has done in office its not bad. Not great, but not bad. Slightly conservative, mostly pragmatic.
        But he has a far worse appeal than his policies deserve. Because he runs the country like a jerk. Because the public faces of the Conservatives, by his design, ARE jerks. Because he DOES put politicking above governing, etc.
        If Harper didn't do all the things he thinks he NEEDS to do to stay in power, he'd be running away with a majority by now. Frankly, this group completely befuddles me. So smart, yet SO STUPID.

  16. It's a bit much to credit Harper for "diverting the recession". He had nothing to do with it, he was merely incidentally at the helm as it unfolded. Previously placed preventative measures in our banking system as well as the high fees we pay that help contributed to ongoing record profits are largely what avoided disaster here.

  17. Iffy's leadership numbers are lower than Lib polling numbers(21/28), while Harper's leadership numbers are slightly higher (44/38)

    Not good news for Iffy, over time he might drag down Lib numbers even lower.

  18. From Spector in yesterday's Globe. Here's Iggy's answer to questions about a local clean energy project – the province's power deal with Québec:

    "Shawn Graham doesn't get asked about Afghanistan, and I don't get asked about a provincial matter … That's how our system works and it is good that we respect provincial jurisdictions on this matter."

    This guy was supposed to be head and shoulders better than Dion?

    He's Dion political twin, with better english, that's all.

  19. Meanwhile Chantal Hebert and Lysiane Gagnon have all but given up on Iggy. Gagnon's artlicle in La Presse on Saturday is entitled:

    "Ignatieff ou le désastre"

    I'm assuming no translation is required.

  20. Michael Ignatieff: Just Vitiating.

    • LOL.

  21. I was reading today that their is no H1N1 furor in other countries as there is in Canada even though Canada is well ahead of those same countires as far as its vaccination program is concerned.

    Why the disconnect? Because of Liberal attempts at scandal-mongering, that's why. The Liberals will even play on the public's fear that they themselves are generating.

    I think it's time we had a majority government. We need a majority government. The Liberals are not acting as a responsible opposition party. No doubt the reason why they languish in the polls.

    • Perhaps what you were reading was scandal-mongering material from the Conservative Party of Canada?

  22. From what I've seen, the rush to get vaccinated for H1N1 started when it was reported that two previously healthy children, with no pre-existing medical conditions, died of H1N1. Understandably, every parent who read the news rushed to get their children vaccinated.

    I think that the media may have played some part: a headline from the Globe and Mail on Friday read "Second H1N1 wave takes a lethal toll on Canadians". Headlines like that can't help but be worrisome!

    While the Liberals have taken the Conservatives to task for their handling of the distribution of vaccine, I don't recall them putting undue emphasis on the severity of the virus.