Conservatives Continue to Slide

An analysis of polls conducted by Environics and Ipsos Reid between March 6-18 on an aggregate sample of about 4600 respondents projects a drop in Conservative Party strength to 133 seats, a loss of 33 seats from its 2011 election victory, while the NDP's strength is projected to 97 seats. The Liberal Party's current standing projects to 57 seats, with 20 seats for the Bloc Quebecois. These two polls were conducted before the weekend's NDP leadership convention that selected Thomas Mulcair. It might be noted that the regional swing model employed by LISPOP uses regional data only, not national percentages. Of these two polls Environics found the NDP and Conservatives tied nationwide, but Ipsos showed an 8% Conservative lead. Nonetheless, the vote split in Quebec was virtually identical in the respective polls, and the Ontario survey results varied by only about two percentage points between them. It was particularly in western Canada that Ipsos showed the Conservatives well ahead. Compared to the 2011 federal election, the main change in seats was NDP slippage in Quebec, largely to the BQ, and a Conservative decline in Ontario mostly benefitting the Liberals. One other cautionary note, is that by necessity this projection makes use of the old constituency boundaries which will not be in effect for the 2015 election. 

Projected distribution of seats by party and region compared with actual election results (in brackets), released January 30, 2012

  conservative ndp liberal bq
Other
Canada
133(166)
97(103)
57(34)
20(4)
1(1)
Atlantic provinces
12(14)
8(6)
12(12)
--
--
Quebec
5(5)
41(59)
9(7)
20(4)
--
Ontario
52(73)
24(22)
30(11)
--
--
Prairies & North
20(26)
8(3)
3(2)
--
--
Alberta
27(27)
1(1)
--
--
--
British Columbia
17(21)
15(12)
3(2)
--
1(1)

 

Note: The "regional swing model" is more fully explained in a paper originally prepared and presented by Dr. Barry Kay to the 1990 annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, entitled "Improving Upon the Cube Law: A Regional Swing Model for Converting Canadian Popular Vote into Parliamentary Seats". It should be noted that the application of the model above does not make use of the "incumbency effect" described in that paper. In tests for past elections, using late campaign polls to project electoral outcomes, the model has proved to be accurate within an average of four seats per party since 1963. Readers interested in post-dictions for past federal elections dating back to 1963, for projections using pre-election polls dating back to the 1980 federal election and for three Ontario provincial elections, may contact me at bkay@wlu.ca.

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