Wednesday, August 5, 2009

EKOS: Tories Ahead by 3%

It's time for the weekly EKOS update! Just as last week's EKOS was good for the Liberals, this week's is favorable to the Tories, who are up 34.9%-31.9%. This is the largest lead in the EKOS poll for either party in the last 8 weeks. My projection, however, hasn't changed much as a result:

CON - 125
LIB - 106
BQ - 46
NDP - 31

This small movement is due first and foremost to the fact that I'm using the last 3 EKOS polls (though discounting the oldest), since only two firms are polling regularly over the summer. Thus the latest poll replaces not data from last week, but from mid-July, which wasn't that great for the Grits either. Also, although the Tories went from -1.6 to +3 in the national numbers from last week to this week, they only improved from -4 to -2.7 in all-important Ontario.

Other interesting regional snippets include the 19% result for the Tories in Québec (their best in a long time), and the 29% result for the Grits in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (confirming their strong showing in both of last week's polls).

The day-by-day numbers actually show the Liberals leading last Wednesday and Thursday, but falling behind on Friday, and trailing badly this Tuesday. I guess we'll have a better idea next week if this is a fluke or a trend, but can you think of anything drastic happening toward the end of last week or over the weekend?

The poll also asked Canadians to rate the economy. 74% say that it's still in a recession, and the rest are split almost evenly between depression (12%) and growth (14%). Quebecers are the most pessimistic (even though the downturn is likely quite a bit milder there than in Ontario), while Mabitobans/Saskatchewanians are the most optimistic. Bloc and NDP supporters are very downbeat, while Tories seem happier about the economy (still, only 19% of them see growth). My guess is that left-wingers tend to be more risk-averse, and thus more sensitive to small changes in income than right-wingers. This would explain both these sets of results.

Also, despite study after study from Statistics Canada, Canadians are almost twice as likely to believe that crime rate in Canada has increased rather than decreased over the past 10 years (48%-26%). Quebecers were most likely to be right, while residents of the Prairies and Atlantic Canada were most likely to be wrong. However, in all regions, more people believe that crime has increased than decreased. Unsurprisingly, more educated people were right more often, but even people with a bachelor's degree were slightly more likely to be wrong than right (37%-35%). The undecided voters were most paranoid, followed by (roughly tied) the Tories and the Greens (!), while Bloc voters had the most accurate perceptions, followed by (roughly tied again) the Grits and the Dippers.

When asked what to do about crime, Canadians favoured the Stick (more police, longer jail terms) over the Carrot (crime prevention, rehabilitation) by 53%-42%, though people with a university degree thought the opposite by 56%-40%. Regionally, BC, MB/SK (!) and ON voters were somewhat softer (roughly 50-45) than AB, QC (!) and Atlantic voters (about 57-38). In terms of vote intention, from toughest to softest, we get Conservative, undecided, Bloc, Liberal and NDP (basically tied), Green.

So I guess we learn from this that there's a silent hawkish majority on crime in Québec, especially within the Bloc. The latter might reflect the awkward fact that the Québec independence movement has been led by-and-large by intellectuals, even though it relies heavily on blue collar workers for support - it is not a grassroots/populist movement like the Conservative one, for better or for worse. (And, as a socially liberal Quebecer, I'd definitely say 'for better.')

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