Magic 17%


Stéphane Dion’s popularity is soaring in Quebec!!!! Here I use “soaring” in its Globe and Mail election-time headline meaning, which is to say, it is not soaring. The monthly CROP is out, providing an excellent opportunity for our LIberal-leaning readers from Toronto and points west to complain that, since they’ve never heard of CROP, it must be a bogus poll.

This month (here’s my post on last month’s for comparison) there is movement all over. Bloc’s up three points to 31%, Tories up one to 28%, the NDP down 2 to 18% and the Liberals — well, the Liberals are down 5 points to 15%. This is because Dion refuses to let himself get drawn into the tired old politics of “winning” and “attracting more support than your opponents.” The fate of the planet is at stake, and if the Dion Liberals need to send some of their support to the Bloc and the Tories for the sake of a Liberal victory, well, it’s just too bad for those narrow-minded, backwards types who don’t understand that kind of generosity.

The NDP’s slight decline, incidentally, will be preoccupying for Jack Layton, but may actually alleviate another larger source of concern that had so far escaped many commentators (i.e. me): if the NDP’s Quebec support is about double their 2006 score, then you should effectively knock a couple points off when considering their national results, because twice the 2006 support isn’t enough to win NDP seats in Quebec but it does suggest their support elsewhere is softer than in 2006. Which means they could lose seats.

Back to Dion. With numbers like this in Quebec, he’d better hope the NDP loses 40 or 50 seats in the rest of the country if he hopes to win the election. The really good news, however, is that 17% of Quebecers think Dion would make a good prime minister. This compares to “one third” (the story gives no numerical value) who think the same of Harper and 27% who think Layton would make the best prime minister. Why is this good news? Because Harper and Layton have nowhere to grow. This is precisely how Dion won the Liberal leadership. He started at 18% support on the first ballot. So if the next federal election goes to four ballots…Dion could win this thing!!!!

UPDATE: As if on cue, Katie Couric reaches her own new personal low. The competition between Kouric and Dion is now fierce.


Magic 17%

  1. If Dion is polling better than his party, why would people ask what Dion’s problem is? Not that Dion doesn’t have problems in Quebec – stemming from whatever bagage he has and his general un-leaderly performance thus far in his tenureship.

    But the issue is the Liberals — who are fundamentally against “reasonably accommodating” Quebec within a jursidictionally clear confederation. Period. And, Harper is sexy in Quebec. Not literally sexy, but as a leader, people admire him even when they disagree with him. He’s in the mold of Levesque, Bouchard, Bourassa.

  2. Ya, it’s more important to be personable, like say, George Bush…uh, huh.

  3. I never understand why when faced with information such as these polls, major parties do not make correctional changes to address the trend in this information.

    Dion’s response to this kind of stuff has been to hold a lame Quebec speech to claim that he “is the leader”. Liberals need to DO SOMETHING if they want to change these numbers.

    Paul, do you see any signs that Liberals are registering this data in their minds and are planning a course correction?

  4. No.

  5. I live in a ‘swing riding’, but a rural one. the ever-lovely Diane Finely is our current MP, but before that we had Bob Speller, the martin ministe rof agriculture, and he was our MP for all of the Chretien years, losing his seat when the liberals lost the government. Before that? Conservative. Because of the nature of my riding (very rural, farming community) the tendency is to elect more right-wing candidates. Yet, there has been a HUGE backlash against MS. Finley and the CPC in general. We actuall yhad a write-up in the Toronto Star about that very thing. WHich was cool. Anyways, I know plenty of people who don’t like Dion. (A few of the more, er, vocal, residents have called him a ‘damn frog’. Which is mean.) However, the people of my riding aren’t swarming Dion with donations and support: they are swarming our new Liberal candidate, Eric Hoskins. However, if you were to poll them ,. most of them wouldn’t say that they supported Dion or the Liberal Party, they would say that they supported Dr. Hoskins, a local boy. Things are not always as they appear in polls.

  6. What is CROP’s track record on provincial polling?

  7. “Ya, it’s more important to be personable, like say, George Bush…uh, huh.”

    I think this is trying to be snarky, so I apologize Sandi if I don’t understand the irony or something. Bush won two elections and now is getting set to retire to his ranch. I would rather be seen as personable, and win two elections, than be either Gore or Kerry who were ‘smarter’ according to some and be seen as a moaning minnie and a loser. But that’s just me.

  8. I assume this poll was done before the Bernier resignation. I wonder how that will affect opinion, in Quebec and elsewhere. From my perspective it’s something like the last straw: I no longer have any respect for this government. (I’m a centre-left guy who has voted NDP more often than not but also for Liberal and Green cindidates in recent elections; last voted Tory in 1984; felt the last election was about getting rid of Martin and giving the other guys a chance; live in David McGuinty’s constituency.)

  9. Can anyone imagine the effect if the Liberals keep braying and baying at the moon over the Bernier thing and then sit on their hands again next confidence motion what regular joe canuck voters will think! Am I ever glad that I am a Coservative nowadays (in a former life I was a Liberal – until the party pulled a putsch on Chretien after which I handed in the ol card)

  10. There are Liberal-leaning readers living west of Toronto? Who’d have thunk it?

  11. Has anyone checked out the Angus Reid web polling

    75% say Dion will not be next PM

    58% say Harper will win next election

  12. It is fascinating that the G&M would hold back printing Harper’s actual polling percentage while reporting Dion’s and Layton’s. This is what I mean when I talk about elitism. This writer believes that if he/she does not actually put the three percentages on paper for purposes of direct comparison, in the same form, then readers will not be able to make a relevant comparison(so clever!). Ask them to convert 1/3 into 33% and you have lost them. It is a weak effort to hide the “social evidence” that some people like Harper. In fact, alot more than like Dion or Layton, for what thats worth.

  13. It’s La Presse. One of the simple mechanical challenges in writing a poll story is that it’s a list of numbers. Reporters sometimes bend over backward to avoid using a number if they can avoid it.

  14. These polls should quit asking people who they support and start asking who they will never, ever vote for (or words to that effect).

    I’m curious what the maximum level of support is for these parties. The media keeps covering these polls as if it were a zero-sum game. Au contraire: if the Tory ceiling is 35%, the Liberal ceiling 30%, and the NDP ceiling 20%, and the Bloc ceiling 15%, it means *the polls will never change*. Translation: never, ever again will we have a majority government.

  15. For the three federal parties, the new Quebec CROP numbers can be articulated well by Montreal’s very own Leonard Cohen and his song ‘Everybody Knows’.

    Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
    Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed

    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied

    Everybody knows that the plague is coming
    Everybody knows that its moving fast

  16. Impressive, Blues Clair. Thats very good.

  17. “The NDP’s slight decline, incidentally, will be preoccupying for Jack Layton, but may actually alleviate another larger source of concern that had so far escaped many commentators (i.e. me): if the NDP’s Quebec support is about double their 2006 score, then you should effectively knock a couple points off when considering their national results, because twice the 2006 support isn’t enough to win NDP seats in Quebec but it does suggest their support elsewhere is softer than in 2006. Which means they could lose seats.”

    Except that none of the other national polls show the NDP that high in Quebec. Their national samples are as big as CROP’s Quebec-only sample. Typically the NDP’s vote is more concentrated, and also more influenced by incumbency. So, any difference could as easily be chalked up to sampling error.

    Oh, and to be a little picky, the NDP was down 2 points to 16% in CROP, not 18% as you wrote.

    I only point that out because if you look at the CROP numbers from March through May for each of the parties, there is not that much movement over the two month period, except for the Libs dropping 5 points and the Greens moving up (you have to infer this month’s number from the story, but it would have to be between 8% and 10% this month, so up anywhere between 4 and 6 points).

    Last month the NDP and Greens both moved up, while the Bloc and Conservatives moved down. This month the Bloc is back up to just above their March number, and the NDP moved down by slightly less than that. All within the margin of error.

    Anyways, it’s all a snapshot because the earth has moved quite a bit more since the sampling concluded. So, maybe you don’t need to worry about the NDP numbers too much, Paul.

  18. An addendum to the last post on the NDP:

    Not to overly dispute your conclusion, Mr. Wells, but it’s worth remembering that changes in NDP support in the province have already netted the party at least one new seat since 2006 (Outrement – exceptional by-election circumstances, I know, but still . . . ), I think it’s worth remembering that the question is not simply “how are they doing province-wide”, but also “how is that support divided regionally”. It’s like the Conservatives’ concentration of support in Quebec giving them 10 seats – the NDP may not have the support on average, but they’re counting on pushing out strongly in a few regions. The strategy worked well enough for Layton in the last election, netting him a 50% increase in seats on a less than 2% increase in popular vote.

    I take your point about Quebec being a vote-sink if they can’t translate votes into seats, but, well, what if those votes were centralized?

  19. A reader and Andrew: Keep hope alive. There’s nothing wrong with optimism.

  20. I am quite certain that Liberals would not take my advice but I’ll offer it up anyway due to my concern that there is no “meaningful” opposition in this country.

    1) Opposition is not effective in people’s eyes when it is constantly throwing mud.
    2) Your policies either such or are so nebulous that nobody understands them. I understand that money is tight but a policy convention HAS TO BE ORGANIZED. Begin by soliciting donations for a policy convention. I’m no Liberal but I’d kick in a few bucks just to see this train wreck cleared up.
    3) Start nominating some candidates in Quebec that aren’t left of centre.

  21. Follow-up to Paul’s comments – bravo, bravo. For better or worse (and I personally think better) we know what the CPC policies are. Same for the NDP (and in that case I think for worse), But for the LPC, what are their policies? Except for that carbon tax thing, which no one has explained, I don’t know what the LPC is suggesting that needs to be done for Canada (and not for the party). Would be nice to know before any election is called.

  22. If you believe this poll, then you would have to believe that non-Francophones comprise just 8.6% of the Quebec voting population. And if you believe last month’s CROP poll, then the federal Liberals will have had to have gone from 80-85% of the non-Francophone vote to around 33% in just ONE month. Or maybe a lot of non-Francophones suddenly left the province in the past month. Or maybe the pollster made an error.

Sign in to comment.