(Sorry, sorry; just couldn’t resist, given how he characterized the new Liberal ad campaign last month.)
Anyway, given all the excitement over the metropolitan breakdowns in the latest EKOS weekly, which seemed to show the Conservatives poised to paint both Bay Street and the Byward Market blue, ITQ asked EKOS pollster-in-chief Frank Graves if he could provide a little more detail on just what those numbers might mean. Obliging soul that he is, he did:
The Ottawa numbers are quite striking although , as in the case of Toronto, they are an amalgam of the CMA. This is how Statistics Canada defines metropolitan areas but it includes both the metropolitan core and the outer lying suburban and ex-urban areas. In the case of Ottawa this also includes a sizable rural area as the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA is a huge geographical area. Clearly there are major difference between those living in the downtown areas and those living in the dormitory communities on the fringes. In recent history, and this is still largely the case the Conservatives do very poorly in the downtown core. This echoes a similar finding in the United States where Republicans also fare very poorly in the largest metropolitan centers , The Conservatives are much more competitive in the outlying suburban neighbourhoods which include a greater concentration of young families . The Conservatives also do much better in the rural areas of these CMA districts.
Our data are aggregated to the CMA level and we don’t have sufficient cases to break them down reliably by say the 416/905 portions. It may be the case that nothing has changed in the down town metro areas but the CPC has really taken off in the 905 areas.
At some point we may aggregate our data over several reporting periods and take a look at this but at this point it is unclear where the progress is being made by the Conservatives.
One interesting note is that hasn’t been picked up is that the CPC vote is far more committed than the Liberal vote at this point and that should yield a significant advantage at the ballot box. It is also interesting to see that (despite the limited sample size) Ottawa is the hot bed of political commitment in Canada.
The fact that the CPC polled ahead of the LPC in the Toronto CMA is interesting but certainly the aggregated CMA data don’t tell us that downtown Toronto has become a Tory stronghold . It is entirely possible that nothing has changed in downtown Toronto . The coming weeks will tell us whether the rising Conservative fortunes are stable or based on continued public umbrage at the thought of being summoned to the polls yet again, and where those gains are being carved out.
In other words, Bob Rae’s seat is probably safe … for now. (Do the Conservatives have a candidate in that riding yet? I swear, if there’s one out of town all-candidate meeting that ITQ would gladly make the trek to cover, that would be the one.
UPDATE – Now that’s pollster service that goes above and beyond the call of duty: In response to a question that arose in the comments over the Ottawa/Gatineau numbers, Frank Graves checked with the researchers, and confirmed that the results refer only to the Ottawa side of the CMA.