Latest national poll median date: October 20
Projections reflect recent polling graciously made publicly available by pollsters and media organizations. I am not a pollster, and derive no income from this blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

EKOS: Tories Take 2.4-Point Lead

Today's EKOS poll is the first genuinely good one for the Tories in a while. They are just 12 points back of the Liberals in the Atlantic, just 3 points back of the NDP in Québec (with the Liberals in between), and 7 points ahead of the NDP in BC (where the Liberals are first, but where there are lots of Conservative/NDP races). Most importantly, this is the first poll in 9 days showing the Tories ahead in Ontario, albeit by an insignificant 0.5 points.

This is also a very bad poll for the NDP: just 19% nationally, 14.2% in ON and 22.2% in BC. This poll nudges the NDP to third place in the BC polling average (note that the weight on this poll is only about 8% - this third place in BC has been a long time coming). The only bright spot is Québec, where they are back in first place (though at a low 27.1%) and 13 points ahead of the Bloc.

This morning, we were wondering if EKOS would confirm or cast doubt on the continued Liberal surge that Nanos and Forum seemed to show. The latter has happened. This poll is not actually bad in an absolute sense for the Liberals (except in the Atlantic, where the sample is tiny) - just bad relative to the Tories that they need to beat.

The updated projection is:

CON - 143, +2 (34.2%, +0.2%)
LIB - 108, -1 (32.8%)
NDP - 80, -1 (22.7%, -0.2%)
BQ - 6 (4.7%, -0.1%)
GRN - 1 (4.6%, +0.1%)

This is the first day in a week where the Conservative projection has increased, and where the Liberal projection has failed to do so. The NDP has fallen in 7 consecutive days, and failed to increase in 20 consecutive days.

The unadjusted seat projection is actually unchanged:

CON - 129 (32.4%)
LIB - 117 (33.7%)
NDP - 83 (23.3%)
BQ - 8 (4.7%)
GRN - 1 (4.9%)

The gap between the adjusted and unadjusted projections has widened. Why? It just so happens that at the current regional numbers, there are inordinately many tight races. In my projection, 30 races are currently being decided by less than 2 points, and 70 by less than 5 points. That's 70 tossups! As the EKOS write-up suggests, turnout is going to be key.


Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering but are you assuming that in your uniform model that the conservative ground game is stronger and will always trump the other 2. Its just that Ekos seems to be all over the place and they seem to not have gotten momentum shifts correctly at least so far. I mean, even conservatives I personally know seem to have questions about Harper and while that is anecdotal(not sure about how motivated they will be, that's all), I would be unpleasantly surprised if progressives dont vote strategically and Ekos has greens at 7% while they often have averaged 4%. I'm just musing for the most part but wanted to know your thoughts on Ekos, versus Nanos versus Angus Reid on accuracy observed over the most recent past.

Gideon said...

Most people don't have the tools or refuse to use the necessary tools to vote strategically in my opinion. As this blog has noted, if you really want to vote strategically, you need to suck it up and vote on a riding-by-riding level. Voting for the Liberals just because the Liberals are likely to get the popular vote could very well be counterproductive. However, if you vote for the Liberals in areas where every other non-Reform candidate is uncompetitive, you might as well go for the Liberals. But I think it would take a real, concentrated grassroots effort to make this thing work, and I don't see the enthusiam here in Canada like in the States, where Bernie Sanders is surging from near no support to close to 30% support.

Election Watcher said...

I'm pretty sure EKOS really overestimates the Greens, so I agree with you on that. I highly doubt that the Greens will get more than 5%. EKOS is usually on the high side for the Conservatives, but we don't know if that's right or wrong. EKOS was the first pollster to pick up on the Tory rise in September.

Angus Reid has the Liberals way lower than everyone else, and tends to have the NDP quite high.

Nanos tends to have the Liberals high and the Tories low. Nanos is often the first pollster to pick up changes in favour of the Liberals.

All of the above is for this campaign. You can see how the different pollsters did in 2011 here:,_2011
Note that EKOS was low on the Tories last time. Did they overcorrect? We won't find out before Oct. 19.

I have no idea about the different parties' ground games, but we know that the Tories have a commanding lead among seniors, which will almost certainly help them. Will enthusiasm for change be enough to counter that? My adjustment splits the difference: I assume a Conservative advantage smaller than what they had last time.

Election Watcher said...

Gideon: I think you're right. I make no provision for riding-level strategic voting in my model. As you suggest, the "strategy" is probably a really rough one, whereby NDP voters are shifting to the Liberals wherever they're located - and that is adequately reflected in the overall numbers.

Gideon said...

Election Watcher, I also think the VoteTogether site might be misleading voters with 2-month old polling. What might have been the case two months could very well not apply. I am in the Griesbach area and am confident that I should vote for the NDP, but what applies to me now may not apply elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. CPC is now about where they were just before the 2011 election.

Election Watcher said...

@Gideon: At least all the places where they make an actual recommendation are pretty clear-cut cases. Hopefully they'll get another batch of polls this coming week.

@Jimmy: No, unless you cherry-pick polls. The current consensus for the CPC is much lower than in 2011.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link to the Opinion polling results from 2011 and one thing is for sure, Angus Reid and Nanos seem most accurate. Ekos seems quite off but am sure they've made changes to correct that. Personally, I'm just wondering if you and Bryan from tooclosetocall are underestimating the showing up power of the youth vote plus the visceral dislike for Harper. He's been there for 10 years.

Yes, in 2011, people did dislike Harper but there was nobody on whom people could necessarily project their aspirations. I'm just wondering if pollsters are vastly underestimating the liberals like pollsters greatly underestimated the impact of the Obama vote in 2012. All pollsters who were predicting a tight race were all wrong but the Obama campaign was certain they'd win but the Obama campaign was mostly quiet. I know Canada is not the US as social media played a larger role down south but I just think nobody really saw the liberal surge in early October and besides the debate performance of JT, I'm not exactly sure what is causing the surge. Btw, you were right, Ekos saw the Conservative surge in September while most didnt. Its just that most pollsters seem to be saying that they are underestimating the conservative vote. While they might be right based on 2011 results, dont you think they are all being held captive to recency bias. Honestly, I doubt anybody saw the thumping of the conservatives in Alberta until it actually happened. Many pollsters were saying, it was possible based on the surveys but they were not sure because of the unlikely nature of the more recent past.

I just think personally you and Bryan, while you do have every reason to be cautious, and conservative in your estimate for conservative being in a strong position seem a little too hard on the progressive side. Btw, I could be wrong but just wondering.

Election Watcher said...

Yup, it's very hard to tell what the turnout will be like. The dislike of Harper is certainly quite intense in a segment of the electorate, but I'm guessing that most people with a really strong opinion probably vote anyway. For me, the question is whether they can convince their less engaged family and friends - who might dislike Harper but not that intensely - to vote as well. We won't find out until Election Night.

I think if the Duffy trial were going on now, the Tory vote would have a greater chance of being depressed. But it seems to have faded from the campaign coverage.

Conservative underestimation is not a problem that has been corrected. Contrary to your impression, the Tories were severely underestimated by everyone but Léger in Alberta:,_2015

On the other hand, in Ontario in 2014, EKOS underestimated the OLP by 1.3 points and the NDP by 4.5 points. If you take today's EKOS poll, make these adjustments, and subtract 1.3 from all 3 parties, you get CON 34.2, LIB 33.1, NDP 22.2. That's awfully close to my current adjusted averages!

Especially since you seem to want Harper gone, I'd encourage you to assume that the Tories will have a turnout advantage. Then if they don't, you'll have a good Election Night!

Anonymous said...

You seem to have a point and u could be right. While I personally wish there was someone else besides Harper(Even within the conservative camp like a John Baird, or Peter Mackay), there may be a silver lining. Harper is way better than a Kenney so if he ends up winning a minority, there is always a silver lining. I was mostly considering an optimistic scenario of either the Liberals or the NDP.

I remember being surprised in AB, when people still showed up to vote for Prentice in spite of him raising taxes on everyone with everything else that was going on etc. Finally, when he rewarded them with a costly by-election, the conservative candidate still got 22% of the vote in the by-election which while slightly less than the 27% the Prentice conservatives got in May was impressive nonetheless. Plus there is a week left and things can change and its better to brace oneself or at least, accept what is/could be.

Unknown said...

Ekos numbers seem hard to believe. Way out of line with the other polling companies. I suspect Ekos is up to something. Just saying

Anonymous said...

Is the high turnout for the advanced poll being taken into consideration. Is it only in obvious anti-Harper areas such as Toronto and Montreal?

Election Watcher said...

@Francis: Given how ardently Frank Graves wants Harper gone, the only thing he'd be up to is boosting the CPC numbers now to show a plunge in the final week. But I really don't believe anything funny's going on. Angus Reid, Mainstreet and Abacus also have the Tories in front.

@Anonymous: I have no idea where the high turnout is coming from - I don't believe the data has been released. Let me know if you find it! Note that overall voter turnout has been mostly flat since 2000 despite advanced poll turnout having grown dramatically.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I'm not sure @Frank Graves wants Harper in power. I just think he's putting out there what he's observing. While its true that Ekos numbers seem quite off, I think in the UK, nobody had predicted a conservative majority so at the very least, while there is no doubt about a liberal surge, we dont know by how much to prevent a conservative minority. Having said that Ekos headlines seem a little strange because as someone who has been following their polls for a few years, it seems enthused about a conservative majority. Its just that if polls are all over the place, I think its better to be circumspect.

To the question of Angus Reid, Mainstreet and Abacus with the Tories in front, its by 1 point which dont you think is statistically insignificant ? Though to be fair to you, most polls in the UK did show a 1-2 point lead for David Cameron's conservatives which turned out to be a larger one. Of course, the differences in that case versus this is that, David Cameron had been there for only 4 years while Harper has been for close to 10 whole years. Also, the us versus them mentality works well in places like Britain and Australia but doesnt necessarily as well here or in the US, at least so far. Finally, people were spooked at the SNP referendum and/or Nigel Farage's rightwing rhetoric.

So while there are some differences, would have to wait and see what Oct 19th would tell us.

Election Watcher said...

Absolutely, even the 4-point Liberal lead in Léger just on the edge of statistical significance. So if you use statistical significance as your yardstick, my point stands: EKOS is not out of line.

Joline Dawn said...

Does it really matter the cons need 170 seats or they will not last 3 months.

Election Watcher said...

If they Conservatives win the most seats but not a majority and they try to hold on to power, we could get a constitutional crisis.

Joline Dawn said...

Does it really matter the cons need 170 seats or they will not last 3 months.