The Weekly Writ for Sept. 28
Pierre Poilievre's polls, the latest Quebec numbers and a milestone for Jagmeet Singh.
Welcome to the Weekly Writ, a round-up of the latest federal and provincial polls, election news and political history that lands in your inbox every Wednesday morning.
There’s lots to get to in today’s Weekly Writ, but first I wanted to take another look at the polls that have been published since Pierre Poilievre became leader of the Conservative Party.
Is he in the midst of a polling bump? It seems he might be — but the extent of it isn’t exactly clear.
In the ARI poll, the Conservatives led with 37%, followed by the Liberals at 30% and the NDP at 20%.
Mainstreet awarded the Conservatives 41% support, followed by the Liberals at 33%. The NDP was at 12%.
According to EKOS, the Conservatives lead with 34%, followed by the Liberals at 32% and the NDP at 20%.
Nanos gives the Conservatives 31%, followed by the Liberals at 28% and the NDP at 26%.
The Abacus and Léger surveys put the Conservatives ahead by five and six points, respectively. Looking at all these polls, the Liberals are in a narrower band of 28% to 33%. But the Conservatives have between 31% and 41% while the NDP is stretching out to between 12% and 26%. No biggie.
Yeah, it’s clear as mud. While we can say the Conservatives are ahead — they averaged 35% against 30% for the Liberals across these six surveys — this is a good reminder of how comparing polls from different pollsters isn’t always very useful. Thankfully, we can look at the trend line.
Except that isn’t much more helpful here, either.
The Angus Reid Institute last polled back in March. That’s ancient history in politics, so it would be a stretch to link any changes since then to Poilievre’s leadership win.
We have to go back to May and June to find a period where the other five pollsters all last published federal polling data. Comparing trend lines since that May-June period is confusing as heck:
There has been too much movement in the Mainstreet and Nanos polls over that time, and in opposite directions, to give us much of a clue about anything. Did the Conservatives pick up 15 points since the spring? Of course not. Have the New Democrats gained seven? Extremely unlikely.
The May-June period was also in the middle of the Ontario election, which might have skewed responses.
If we try to find a better point of comparison, we can go back to July and August. However, we now need to drop EKOS, as they weren’t in the field at that time. Being just before the Conservative leadership race came to a close, this is a better snapshot to look at and the results are a bit more helpful:
But we don’t really see a consistent trend. If we average these out, there has been a boost of about two points for the Conservatives coming equally from the Liberals and the NDP. However, there is no consensus about the trend line. The Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats have all recorded trend lines heading in opposite directions.
What can we say, then?
First, the Conservatives are almost certainly ahead of the Liberals nationwide.
Second, the Conservatives have probably experienced a bump from Poilievre’s leadership victory of a couple of points.
I wouldn’t go much further than that, though — and the Conservatives might have reason to be concerned that Poilievre is starting out with only slightly better favourability and significantly worse unfavourability ratings than either Andrew Scheer or Erin O’Toole had at this stage of their leaderships, according to ARI:
Now, let’s get to the Weekly Writ, starting with some leadership news from the federal Greens and the Ontario New Democrats, some byelection results out of Saskatchewan and a new name for the B.C. Liberals.
Then, I break down the latest poll numbers out of Quebec, as well as some numbers from provincial scenes in the rest of the country. We also have some new municipal numbers out of Toronto and Winnipeg.
Finally, I profile a key riding that could decide the official opposition title in Quebec, mark a milestone for Jagmeet Singh and profile a past P.E.I. election that was impacted by a tropical storm.