Monday, June 1, 2009

Liberal Minority if the Election was Tomorrow

Ekos has released a very large sample poll of 11,000 Canadians. And, lo and behold, the result shows a minority Liberal government would prevail.

The poll also reveals a very large Liberal lead in Ontario and that Stephen Harper is ahead of Michael Ignatieff is popular support (although 44% surveyed prefer neither of the men).

One problem though. As almost all of my Liberal buddies know, since January I've been asking that burning question: "What incentive, if any, would the NDP or the BLOC have to support us in a non-confidence motion?" The answer is ZERO. Both are enjoying large seat counts. Both are pissed at the non-binding coalition agreement debacle. Hell, Jack is already not down with an election call.



Don't Tase Me, Bro! said...

Layton may also be sulking about the fact that Chantel Hebert is totally pwning him in her recent columns. She has no love for the NDP, especially Mulcair since she keeps talking about his impending defeat in Outremont.

Going into an election now would mean losing the NDP's sole Quebec MP.

James Curran said...

Perhaps she wants the next available senate seat.

Robert McClelland said...

"What incentive, if any, would the NDP or the BLOC have to support us in a non-confidence motion?" The answer is ZERO.What have the Liberals offered the NDP or Bloc for their support in a non-confidence motion" The answer is NOTHING.

Don't Tase Me, Bro! said...

Chantel Hebert in the Senate should be based on actual merits of hers as a journalist and author, not because she made nice with Iggy by attacking Layton.

Besides, I'm not keen on putting another journalist in the Upper Chamber after the way Mike Duffy was stuffed in there for apparently partisan reasons, not because he was a respected journalist. I'm not too keen on having those same accusations thrown against us if we appointed Hebert.

A reader said...

Actually, to be precise, Layton said that the NDP would not introduce any non-confidence motions themselves and that he didn't believe Canadians wanted an election this summer, not that they wouldn't vote against the government.

If the Liberals move a non-confidence motion, they should assume that the NDP will continue to vote non-confidence in Harper.

The real question is whether the Liberals are going to support the NDP's bill on EI changes this Wednesday, as that is the only concrete way that such changes could be implemented before the summer break. It's just too late for either the Liberals or the Conservatives to introduce their own legislation to make EI changes before the House rises at the end of June, so what do you say? ... yes or no to actually fixing EI now?

Ted said...

With a resurgent and increasingly confident Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc walk a very fine line.

While it is not in their self-interest to vote down Harper, and so they are willing to support Harper to avoid going into an election, there is just as much self-interest in making sure they don't support Harper, even if it means an election.

For the NDP, they would lose the ability to claim it is the Liberals who keep the Tories afloat, to say "Liberals Tory same old story". The NDP supporters would be furious with Jack! Layton if he voted against the Liberals on a confidence motion, especially if it related to EI.

For the Bloc, the situation is much more volatile since Harper is much more hated in Quebec and the Liberals much more of a threat as the non-Conservative option for soft nationalists. More likely that they would just stay at home than vote for the Liberals but if the Bloc are not opposing the government, Quebecers will ask more and more what are they for.

It is amazing though how quickly the table turns from play cat and mouse games with confidence votes.

A reader said...

Again, Ted, I think you have not picked up on exactly what I meant to say (although in re-reading I recognize it was not very well-written either, so I'll try again).

Layton said he would not INTRODUCE a non-confidence motion. He also said he believes that Canadians he has spoken with do not want a summer election.

He NEVER said that the NDP would vote to support Harper, or avoid voting non-confidence in Harper. And, in fact, he said that if the Liberals moved a non-confidence vote, the NDP would continue to vote non-confidence in Harper and are ready for a campaign if it comes to that.

If Harper chooses to support the NDP bill on fixing EI, well that is another thing altogether. The question is: will the Liberals? Or will they just continue to pay lip service to the changes they say they want, as per their normal modus operandi?

[One other picky point: last time I saw any results, the NDP was the top second choice of Bloc supporters.]

Anonymous said...

Chantel Hebert in the Senate should be based on actual merits of hers as a journalist and author, not because she made nice with Iggy by attacking Layton. She attacked Dion... mostly, I think, because she is a separatist...

James Curran said...

A couple of things.

1. Perhaps Jennifer Ditchburn should rename the title of her article.

2. I don't think EI is anywhere near being fixed with this NDP motion. I'm not sure EI will ever be fixed.

roblaw said...

James - I applaud your optomism, however, to be fair, while CBC's headline was "Minority Government Possible" - in fact, the poll suggests Liberals at 33.5%, Conservatives at 32.3%.

Two comments:

Firstly - the polls margin of error is plus or minus 1%, suggesting the results could be Liberals 32.5%, Conservatives 33.2%. Statistically, it's really a dead heat.

More interestingly, the poll was taken after the announcement of the potential $50 million deficit -hardly news inspiring support - so, all things considered, the polls aren't particularly discouraging for the Conservatives.

One might opine what polls would say today after the announcement in the U.S. that GMC is going bankrupt, but GMC Canada is not, and, currently, there are no plans to close Canadian GMC plants after the Canadian government purchased a stake in GMC to support the company.

Ignoring my own philosophical concerns over a government, particularly a Conservative government, buying part of a business - I would expect the Conservatives in southern Ontario may not be as unpopular as they were a week ago.

Old School Liberal said...

Very optimistic of you Rob. If it was anyone else, I'd say that was just bluster and spin, but that is not really your style so perhaps you don't realize how very different this poll is.

First of all, the national number is a 1% difference. However, when you break this down regionally, the gap between the Conservatives and Liberals is more stark. The gap being not in total number of supporters but in the location of those supporters. The Liberals are gaining in areas that will result in more MPs, mostly by taking support away from the Conservatives, while the Conservatives are staying even nationally because their support is strengthening where they already have seats and dropping where where they have seats.

Maclean's put up a seat projection (which, yes, is even wonkier social science than polling, but it illustrates the regional difference) that put the Liberals at 122, Cons at 113. The overall number even within a province can be fairly meaningless as shown by the Bloc who end up with 44 seats.

As for the poll being released just after we find out the Harper deficit is going to be more than $50B, that is made less relevant by one factor and more relevant by one factor.

On the one hand, the poll was conducted over the course of 3 weeks which mutes the impact of any single bit of news.

On the other hand, the polling shows a sizeable one week 5% jump in the last week because of the budget miscues of the Conservatives. So the polling may not be representative of where the country is right now or where it is going.

Still with such a massive number of people polled, with such deep numbers on the regionals, we haven't seen a poll like this before. Consider the fact that they put out just a 1% margin of error number.

While there is not a ton for the Libs to be overly joyous about, there is positive news for them because it shows they are weathering the ad blitz storm.

The better news for the Libs is that there is no good news for the Cons.

roblaw said...

OSL - well, I guess we need to support democratic reform, as clearly, there is an imbalance in the distribution of seats in Parliament in favor of the Liberal party.. lol..

I think the point - fairly stated -is that we're no where near an election - and it's a long road from here to there.

BTW - my investments grew 26% in the las 60 days.. so, fingers crossed.. perhaps things are looking up. Which wouldn't be a bad thing for anyone - but particularly for a government in power.

BTW again - good post and discussion on the Levant/Bialystok debate.