Thursday, April 24, 2014 - (47109 comments)

CPAC-Nanos Tracking CP 37, LP 32, NDP 13, BQ 9, GP 9 (ending September 10)

220 comments Latest by hollinm

Our first set of CPAC-Nanos nightly tracking indicates the Conservatives have entered the campaign with a five point lead over the Liberals among decided voters (CP 37%, Lib 32%, NDP 13%, BQ 9% GP 9%). Notably, the Conservatives are showing strength in central Canada where they are statistically tied with the Liberals in Ontario (Lib 41%, CP 39%) and close on the heels of the Bloc in Quebec (BQ 35%, CP 32%).

Asked which of the five party leaders would make the best Prime Minister, Stephen Harper enters the campaign with a solid 23 point lead over second place Jack Layton (Best PM - Harper 38%, Layton 15%, Dion 14%, May 5%, Duceppe 3%, None 8% and undecided 19%). Significantly, one in four Canadians (28%) answered None/Unsure.

The CPAC-Nanos Leadership Index shows Harper far ahead of the other party leaders with an Index score of 103 points compared to Jack Layton and Stephane Dion with 42 points each. Elizabeth May follows with an Index score of 17 points with Gilles Duceppe currently last among the five leaders at 10 points.

The numbers show that the Conservatives have entered the campaign from a definite position of strength over the opposition. But, with the Conservatives mounting a leadership driven campaign they need to be wary of how the 27% who answered None/Unsure on the best PM question break. Despite Harper’s strong leadership numbers, the Liberal brand remains strong trailing by only five points nationally. Any significant missteps by Harper could potentially push this block of voters over to the opposition.

Methodology and Results

A national random telephone survey is conducted nightly by Nanos Research throughout the campaign. Each evening a new group of 400 eligible voters are interviewed. The daily tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling sample comprised of 1,200 interviews. To update the tracking a new day of interviewing is added and the oldest day dropped. The margin of accuracy is ±2.9%, 19 times out of 20 for 200 random interviews.

The numbers in parenthesis denote the change from the previous Nanos Research Survey completed on August 27, 2008.

Question: If a FEDERAL election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences? (First ranked reported) Committed Voters - Canada (N=978, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)

  • Conservative Party 37% (+4)
  • Liberal Party 32% (-3)
  • NDP 13% (-4)
  • BQ 9% (+1)
  • Green Party 9% (+2)
  • Undecided 19% (+3)

Question: Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister? [Rotate] (N=1,200,MoE ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20)

  • Conservative leader Stephen Harper 38% (+2)
  • NDP leader Jack Layton 15% (-2)
  • Liberal leader Stephane Dion 14% (-1)
  • Green Party leader Elizabeth May 5% (+1)
  • Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe 3% (-2)
  • None of them 8% (-2)
  • Unsure 19% (+7)

Question: Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as: The most trustworthy leader The most competent leader The leader with the best vision for Canada’s future [Leadership Index Score] (N=1,200, MoE ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20)

  • Stephen Harper 103 (+10)
  • Stephane Dion 42 (-6)
  • Jack Layton 42 (+2)
  • Elizabeth May 17 (+3)
  • Gilles Duceppe 10 (-2)

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Nik, if you continue polling on this basis, you will have let the country and yo... more

rsharp (Québec) 11 Sep 20:12

This is excellent news and seems to be exactly in line with what I have been eco... more

psiclone (British Columbia) 11 Sep 14:40

Nik is the only numbers I ever look at, he's always dead on. I think Nik, you... more

tdot416 (Ontario) 11 Sep 16:35

This pole is closer than I thought it would be... wait until the fuss over the ... more

mathilda (New Brunswick) 11 Sep 17:29

Its not about big brother telling you anything, its about being able to control ... more

Luc VNO (Ontario) 11 Sep 20:51

I was hoping this would not resort to derogatory comments and we could have a ci... more

fortescue (Ontario) 11 Sep 22:09



This is excellent news and seems to be exactly in line with what I have been ecountering. I for one am definitely voting Conservative and speaking as a fromer Liberal I would suggest they investigate doing the same. I left the LPC after Martin and crew threw the Putsch on him. Despite much of the negative spin from the opposition I think more and more people will be giving the Conservatives their support as they are no longer buying into the old and tired Liberal Fear and Shmear tactics so when they go to the polls and look at the ballot and choose the new PM and rightly so it will more than likely be Harper as he is definitely and by far and away the more effective, efficient and capable leader than Dion. The only other leader I think that has earned the voters respect is Layton and in a way though I am Conservative I hope the NDP does well also! Lest people forget Dion had 44 opportunities to speak and actually vote against the gov't but sat on his hands for one main reason ' he was adfraid to lose ' well I have a feeling that his feeling was correct.

[updated Thu Sep 11 14:40:58 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 14:40

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Thank you for getting these numbers out Nik. You always have a good read on the pulse of the electorate.

[updated Thu Sep 11 14:45:56 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 14:45

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Fernando Minna

Given the changes since Aug 27 I'm guessing all the huff'n and puff'n about fixed election dates was ignored by the public as nothing more than inside baseball.

[updated Thu Sep 11 14:54:17 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 14:54

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Tom Good

Quite understandable projections in as much that Harper is known although his leadership may not suit all, he has more good points than bad. Harper is a mighty good tactician and I chuckle at his method for getting the indecisive Liberal opposition away from biting at his heels. If anyone doubted Harper's ability to manouvre, they should think back to Emmerson and his appointment of Fortin. Harper may be in striking distance of a majority and the Liberals will be in "leadership mode" again and a strong Liberal leader, who does not sit on his hands and does not propose new taxes, will be a a major concern for the next election four years down the road.

In my opinion, Harper has several issues to overcome that are not sitting too well with the electorate. If he chooses to govern from the far right rather than the centre right, then that will be a problem. Hospital wait times is still an issue as is the Afghanistan War and the uncertainty for future commitment that seems to be developing today around the conflict. In supporting the conflict, the Liberals and Conservatives at this time, are undifferentiated. Only the NDP nationally say NO to the Afghanistan War and they are likely to get my vote on this issue. Perhaps the NDP would be a better opposition than the Liberals at this juncture in our history. The only restraint I see is that the Official Opposition will eventually become government.

[updated Thu Sep 11 15:57:19 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 15:57

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Regina Beach Boy

Hey Nik,
I learned a long time ago that your numbers are by far the most accurate read of public opinion out there, I've seen it time and time again.

As far as the numbers go, my only reservation is how well the NDP is doing, I have a creeping suspicion that they will be the surprise of the election and the story which will have the pollsters scratching their heads.

[updated Thu Sep 11 16:00:26 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 16:00

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Nik is the only numbers I ever look at, he's always dead on.

I think Nik, you should compare these numbers to the results in 2006, everyone is jumping up and down that Harper is going to take a majority, but based on the 2006 results, that the Liberals are polling better then 2006, they should make some gains, and also the Conservatives, but it wont be enough to put Harper over the magic number for a majority.

I'm going to interested in seeing how the recent gaffes by the Conservatives (Puffin, Williams, and today's Afghan emails) hit the Conservative, if at all.

[updated Thu Sep 11 16:35:16 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 16:35

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Nik. Why not ask simple questions that would give a better indication of the voter's intent.
1. Have you decided who will get your vote?
2. Are you likely to change your mind?
3. If any party is on the verge of a majority would you vote strategically?
4. Would you prefer a majority to bring stability to parliament?
Asking questions about who they think would make a better P.M. does little to predict who they will actually vote for. K.I.S.S. might be a better forecaster of how the election will turn out if that is the reason for doing the poll in the first place.

[updated Thu Sep 11 17:37:33 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 17:37

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Richard_thumb rsharp

Nik, if you continue polling on this basis, you will have let the country and your profession down. Your questions turn this into a personality contest, when anyone who knows anything knows that Harper and his pit bull team's brutal, unfair and actually ridiculous attack ads on Dion have worked: bought lock, stock and barrel by media pundits and, through them, ordinary Canadians.

Best PM? What the hell does that mean? I am in a state of disbelief that your respondents considered Harper more trustworthy, competent and visionary. I'd have to see exactly your process to comprehend such a response because it is so undeserving.

But then, McCain is hanging tough down south despite immaculate flaws and failures. Imagine: McCain and Harper. Now, that would put the world on a most dangerous course.

So, for now, I can't imagine. And you have to fix your questions!

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:12:30 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:12

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Two things i would like your opinion on...

(1) Now im not sure if this is still a law..but i'm curious about your opinion on this. What do you think about the law that bans polls on election day.
(2) Should leaders go negative...or be aggressive to gain support.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:22:55 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:22

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I'm surprised your poll shows such a close race. Most other polls show the Conservatives have a much better lead. Canada needs a majority government.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:24:13 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:24

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Rosebud in BC

Nik - When you make your phone calls do you call any cell phone numbers or just lan lines? I think a lot of younger voters use only cell phones and it would be interesting to know if they are being surveyed as well.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:26:38 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:26

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Is there any details for the critical 905 area surrounding Toronto?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:29:10 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:29

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Greg Staples

Since Liberal support in Ontario tends be stronger in urban centres, especially in Toronto, what are the implications for suburban and rural ridings with the closeness in polling between the Liberals and Conservatives in Ontario? Do you have breakdowns in 905?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:33:46 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:33

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Moose_thumb Roedy

My puzzle is why have Liberals had such a precipitous drop? There is no new scandal.
Is it just the result of the Conservatives straw man ad blitz smearing the Liberals?

I would have expected the Conservatives to take a hit for calling the election breaking their own law.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:33:59 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:33

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I don't understand why people have such a hard time getting their heads around the Green shift. Reducing a tax you HAVE to pay, the income tax, & moving the burden to pollution, a tax you might not have to pay, allows one to control how much tax they pay. If you make the right choices, you pay less tax. The only way to control how much income tax you pay is to make less income. I have a grade 9 education & even I can get my head around that idea.

Luc Vienneau

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:38:38 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:38

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Did she get all the Liberal talking points in?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:39:11 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:39

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Thetrustytory_thumb The Trusty Tory

Hey Nik!

I have to say, your poll was the most accurate last election.

My question, specifically, has to do with the amount of individuals it takes to bump up a percentage point. Based on your poll, Harper is 3 percent short of majority territory. High many people have to vote in favour for that number to budge 3 percentage points? Approximately.

By the way, it's too bad other polls can't be as accurate as yours are. What would make their methodology different?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:40:59 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:40

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There is a prevailing assumption amongst political operatives that the Liberals typically need a 23-25 point spread with the NDP in order to secure left swinging ridings, Ottawa-Centre, Trinity-Spadina, Toronto-Danforth, London-Fanshawe, etc. What do the Ontario numbers reveal about the NDP - Liberal race in these types of ridings?

Thanks for keeping us up to date with the most reliable barometer.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:42:06 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:42

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Dean Billings

1. Are there any ethnic breakdowns showing any interesting changes?

2. Are the Liberals down primarily in cities or in rural (diesel dependent) areas?

3. Are the centre-left parties getting most of their votes in the same ridings?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:43:29 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:43

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With roughly a third of the voters undecided, the debates should be crucial in winnowing out the undecided and establishing a firm polling trend. The leader that makes a mistake or who does not perform up to par with the others will be toast.

As Mulroney said: the leaders may have no option but to roll the dice based on their individual debate performances!

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:43:49 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:43

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A couple of questions:

1) As part of your polling do you ask how the participant to rate themselves in terms of their political knowledge (eg. platforms, issues, etc)? What percentage of polles do you feel are truly informed?

2) What do you feel is the impact of the undecided vote? Does that percentage represent those who will not vote or will those votes be placed by the end of the campaign?


[updated Thu Sep 11 20:44:47 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:44

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John Roozendaal


It may come as a surprise to many in Toronto and other Liberal enclaves but the western half of the country and other areas such as the north have achieved full employment ie almost no one able to work is without opportunity to work. This helps Harper greatly and it looks like Quebec citizens and persons living in Ontario out side of Toronto seem to want the same economic prosperity.

The economy, common sense and a respect for individuals and families to decide their own affairs, may account for much of the success to date for Harper's party.

The green movement seems to represent envy versus some fake cause to save the universe from economic prosperity.

Peace and Love,

John R

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:48:48 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:48

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Is there a hunger among Canadians for debate on real substantive issues (climate crisis; canada in the world; poverty; economic competitiveness and productivity)? Why are the leaders talking so little about them? Why is the media so obsessed with the horse racing and latest gaffes?



[updated Thu Sep 11 20:50:09 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:50

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Nik, just wondering whether you see the Liberals making up any ground in Quebec, even part of the way back to 2004 numbers, and who that would come at the expense of? I don't see any way the Libs can form government getting ~20% in Quebec again, and Dion is likely not too popular with the voters the Cons and NDP are picking up from the BQ, so I'm not sure where his growth is.

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:55:16 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:55

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What about the non-voting 40% of Canadians, have you ever tried polling them on their views?

[updated Thu Sep 11 20:55:47 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 20:55

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Dear Nik,

I enjoyed your overview of the numbers. They are certainly thought provoking and I value your input in providing context to the bare numbers, especially given your indepth knowledge of what questions were asked and how the numbers seem to be breaking down by province/sub-region.

On the other hand, I do feel that you overstepped your explicative role by expounding on what the parties/leaders ought to do. In particular, your responses to 2 callers/bloggers on the topic of the Liberal Green Tax. How objective are you being when you (i) appear to tell one caller that he understands the numbers and (ii) provide an indepth response to one caller on what Stephan Dion needs to do to sell his Green Tax platform?

Maybe one famous expression should read... Lies, Statistics and Polls.

In all fairness to you I probably ought to mention that you did qualify the first comment by, in your next breath saying, "a man who thinks he understands the numbers ..."

Congratulations on having the most accurate polls last time around.

[updated Thu Sep 11 21:24:06 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 21:24

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Naci Sey

First, I'm delighted you're back doing election polling again. Each evening during the last election campaign, I made sure to check "Nik on the Numbers" and your appearance on CPAC. No other pollster can match your results.

Now to my point... I work with people on very low income. Their (and my) income is so low that having a phone, either landline or cell, is impossible. Instead, our communications link is via the Internet and email. A survey by Statistics Canada which was completed in December and made available April 2008 revealed that a growing number of people don't have phone service. While the number is still low, under 5%, the fact that it grew substantially from the previous survey reflects the increase in the depth of poverty in this country.

My question concerning your polling is this: Do you make attempts to reach voters who haven't a phone? We do vote and would like our opinions considered.

[updated Thu Sep 11 21:32:07 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 21:32

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Since most of us form our opinions of the leaders through the media, I would like to know if you ever ask which form of media they use: television, radio, newspaper or web, to inform themselves. I find it amazing that the highest percentage of respondents would choose Harper as the best PM, the most trustworthy,competent and having the best vision. Just what is his vision? Do the scandals and lies of the Tories have no impact on voters?
It is not hard to determine that this opinion is gleaned from watching television. For 2 1/2 years now CTV and to a lesser extent CBC, have been repeating Harper's attack ads on Dion, non stop. The MSM have had very little access to Harper and when they do, they do not hold him to account. Dion on the other hand, is asked the same humiliating questions, over and over. The playing field has not been even and the electorate are woefully uninformed, thus, Harper's high approval numbers.

[updated Thu Sep 11 22:04:36 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 22:04

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Well I must say I always look forward to your numbers but tonight I was definetly taken aback. What happened to NDP support exactly? I've heard many people tell me they were switching their votes from Liberal to NDP. Yet I don't see a rise in support in Ontario, instead I see a decline. As a person who supports to NDP myself, I know these voters are not going to the Conservatives, so where are they going? I can see some having gone to the Greens because of the May issue, and some possibly to the Liberals, but where did the rest of them go? Just yesterday a poll had them pegged at 13% in Ontario, now your poll is saying 10%. What's going on? Looking forward to seeing the numbers for each of the western provinces individually. I would like to know where the NDP stands in BC and Manitoba! Keep up the good work.

[updated Thu Sep 11 22:35:42 -0400 2008]

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11 Sep 22:35

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The Ontario numbers are startling. The 27th Conservative numbers were on the low side for polls in that period, and the new numbers are close to what others are seeing, but the new NDP numbers are either out of whack or showing some serious trouble for Mr. Layton in his home province. I think this is the first poll I've seen that was entirely done during or after the whole Elizabeth May brouhaha. I will be very interested to see what the Strategic Counsel battleground tracking polls report for Ontario in the same period.

It seems that Mr. Harper's leadership numbers are not pushing him into majority territory. I agree that other polls show that Mr. Layton has some mo going, so this poll is intriguing. If these numbers turn out to be a blip, he could be able to do something at the Liberals expense, if they don't get themselves in gear pdq.

So far this is a campaign in search of a hero. I suspect that if the debate putsch by the Greens had not knocked him off message and angered an as yet undetermined number of potential supporters, Mr. Layton would be the most likely candidate for the role. Life is what happens while you're making other plans, eh?

[updated Fri Sep 12 01:11:26 -0400 2008]

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12 Sep 01:11

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Non-aligned in Toronto

I would caution everyone that this is the first of a nightly rolling poll with a small sample size (400) and a large margin of error. I'd wait to see the first "roll" completed which would consist of three installments. the rolled in results would have a sample size of 1200 and a margin of error of less than 3%. Then as the poll rolls forward a trend will become evident. This method has been phenominal in identifying election night results over the past few years, and I'm a true believer (give or take 2.5%, LOL)

Any one segment is not a reliable indicator of the public pulse.

[updated Fri Sep 12 12:16:45 -0400 2008]

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12 Sep 12:16

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Wondering if you have any comment on the Harris Decima poll that shows the Conservatives at 41%, Liberals at 26%. Why is there such a big difference?

[updated Fri Sep 12 13:20:52 -0400 2008]

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12 Sep 13:20

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Bonjour Nik,

Comme tu le sais, il est difficile d'avoir de l'informations de qualités (400 personnes interviewé) sur les intentions de votes dans la région atlantique. La seule façon de se faire une idée sur les intentions de votes consiste à comparer les sondages qui sont proches dans le temps afin d'accepter les résultats s'ils sont similaires ou les rejeter s'ils sont trop différents (il est aussi utile de re-pondérer les résultats à l'aide de la méta-analyse et d'interpréter à nouveau la marge d'erreur). Voilà pourquoi j'aimerais que vous publiez la répartition régionale des intentions de vote pour l'Atlantique et le nombre de personnes interviewé, comme vous le fait si bien habituellement, dans votre bulletin : CPAC-Nanos nightly tracking. Merci !

[updated Fri Sep 12 13:50:02 -0400 2008]

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12 Sep 13:50

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Richard_thumb rsharp

So Nik is committed to a polling strategy that tracks nationally, when everyone knows regional tracking is all that matters. And to polling on three questions, two of which are essentially about "leadership," where the playing field is anything but level because of Mr. Harper's 2+ years of attacks on Mr. Dion's character, media complicity in same, etc.

Only in Canada? Pity.

[updated Fri Sep 12 17:47:06 -0400 2008]

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12 Sep 17:47

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