Poll: What do Canadians think about the anti-terror bill?

The House of Commons public safety committee has started hearings on Bill C-51. Despite a lot of concern from privacy advocates, an Angus Reid poll from February found support for the legislation.

Angus Reid poll

Question: All things considered, do you yourself support or oppose the proposed new anti-terrorism legislation?

SOURCE: Angus Reid

Learn more about Bill C-51 (the Anti-Terror Act) with our explainer.

One last horse-race number from Ontario’s election campaign

As you probably know if you spent much time around here during Ontario’s election campaign, we put a fair amount of time and effort into trying to understand the perspectives of voters.

The idea of the Listening Post project that Innovative Research Group did for us was to get beyond the usual horse-race polling that tends to dominate coverage, and get a better grasp on why people would vote the way they did. So we opted not to report the horse-race numbers from this research at all – because that really wasn’t the point, and we didn’t want those numbers to overshadow the more in-depth stuff, and because the idea was to produce information that would hold up regardless of who won.

That said, as we continue to roll out a bit more of the numbers-behind-the-numbers this week, we can have a little extra confidence in this research. Because if we had reported the horse-race figures that Innovative Research showed us the day before the election, that company would be getting to do a little crowing about now.

Here, for the record, are the final decided-voter numbers based on a weighted sample of 526 Listening Post respondents who participated in an online panel between June 8 and June 10.  Other than some modest upward movement by the NDP in the campaign’s final days, these were fairly consistent with what Innovative Research saw (often with larger samples) through the campaign’s final weeks – a strong Liberal lead over a PC Party with a lower share of the popular vote than most other polls were suggesting.

Decided-voter numbers

Based on a weighted sample of 526 Listening Post respondents.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

And here, in case you don’t have such things committed to memory, is what popular vote turned out to be once the ballots had been counted on June 12.

Popular vote

Again, the horse race really wasn’t the point here. But if nothing else, it’s nice to know that when it came to voting intentions, the people who were helping us get a better read on the electorate were apparently pretty reflective of that electorate at large.

Latest vote projection: Polls still clash on likely-voter question

Latest vote projection from ThreeHundredEight.com, as of June 9.

Latest vote projection from ThreeHundredEight.com, as of June 9.

The projection, based on the most recent public opinion surveys, has been updated with polls by Ipsos Reid (CTV/CP24), EKOS Research (iPolitics) and Forum Research (Toronto Star). The latest EKOS poll (June 6-8, 1331 surveyed via IVR, reported margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20) gave the Liberals 42.2 per cent support among likely voters, with the Tories at 35.4 per cent, the NDP at 13.9 per cent, and the Greens at 6.4 per cent. The Ipsos Reid poll (June 3-6, 2,140 surveyed online) put the PCs ahead among likely voters with 40 per cent to 32 per cent for the Liberals, 24 per cent for the NDP, and 3 per cent for the Greens and others. The Forum poll (June 5, 1,022 surveyed via IVR, reported margin of error of plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20) put the Liberals ahead with 39 per cent to 37 per cent for the Tories, 17 per cent for the NDP, and 6 per cent for the Greens.

Support among all eligible voters was 35.9 per cent for both the Liberals and Tories and 17.6 per cent for the NDP according to EKOS, and 35 per cent for both the Liberals and Tories and 26 per cent for the NDP according to Ipsos.

Visit ThreeHundredEight.com for more regional and methodological information.

Which Liberal pitch is most successful in wooing New Democrats?

In the past couple of days, the Ontario Liberals have been stepping up their efforts to win over people who usually vote NDP – including with this op-ed from Kathleen Wynne in the Toronto Star, and this new ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGSE-HgJp_4&list=PLD808265A188F72E5

These efforts aren’t new: Rallying the centre-left has been the Liberals’ strategy from the outset of this campaign. And as I wrote in my Saturday column, there are signs that it’s working. But it’s also worth looking at what seems to be working, which helps explain the current pitch.

At the outset of this campaign, part of the Liberals’ plan seemed to be to convince people who normally vote NDP that Ms. Wynne spoke to their values better than Andrea Horwath. There may be something to that, since the Liberal Leader seems to have more interest than her NDP counterparts in the sorts of ambitious government projects that traditionally set New Democratic hearts aflutter. But based on the findings of our Listening Post project with Innovative Research Group, it doesn’t look like that values claim has been a main driver behind New Democrats’ apparent willingness to switch their votes.

Here, for instance, is what survey respondents said when asked on June 4 and 5 which leader “stands for what I believe.” As you can see, Ms. Horwath did about as well with New Democrats as Ms. Wynne did with Liberals, and their crossover appeal to each other’s parties was about the same as well.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

On another question that related partly to values – which leader “cares about people like me” – Ms. Horwath actually outperforms the other leaders in how she plays to likely supporters, and has better crossover appeal. Here are the numbers:

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

It’s possible that if we had been doing a similar survey in past elections, when NDP leaders tried to position themselves more as the province’s conscience, their numbers would have been stronger on these sorts of questions. But Ms. Horwath made a conscious effort to broaden her appeal by presenting herself as someone who could seriously compete for power on the basis of a pragmatic and practical agenda.

The catch is that effort seems to be a bit of a bust. She still struggles, it appears, to be taken seriously even by some New Democrats as a candidate for the province’s top office. Have a look at the responses to the question of who would make the best premier, and note the share of habitual NDP voters who pick Ms. Wynne instead of Ms. Horwath.

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Her struggle on that question ties in to what is by all appearances her biggest problem, and the Liberals’ biggest success in this campaign: the perception that, however much one may like Ms. Horwath, a vote for her is wasted because she has no chance of winning.

Here are self-identified New Democrats’ responses to that very question. Or, as it was phrased in the survey with an agree/disagree choice: “I like Andrea Horwath and the NDP, but I’m worried that voting for them will only help Tim Hudak and the PCs get elected win the election.”

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Nearly half of people who usually vote for them agreeing with that statement is a really big problem for the NDP. To understand just how big a problem, consider that in a different question, 78 per cent of New Democrats agreed – and 64 per cent strongly agreed – they’re “afraid” of what the Tories would do in office.

All these factors would help to explain why, it would appear, a good number of New Democrats are willing to set aside their qualms with Ms Wynne’s party at least this once. Here, finally, is how each party’s usual supporters responded to the question: “The Liberals have their problems, but they are still the best party to form government.”

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

If 29 per cent of people who usually vote for you agree that another party is best to form government – and 14 per cent strongly agree – you’re almost certainly bleeding a lot of votes.

Conversely, if you’re the party benefiting from that, you’ve got your best shot at holding on to office. It may not be for quite the values-driven reasons Ms. Wynne might have hoped, but if it works out she probably won’t complain.

(Responses were drawn from a survey conducted on June 4 and 5 in which 1,100 eligible Ontario voters participated. Asked which party they usually support, 31 per cent of respondents said Liberal, 25 per cent Progressive Conservative, 16 per cent NDP, and 4 per cent Green or other; 15 per cent said they don’t identify with any party and 8 per cent didn’t know. 

As parties get more sophisticated in targeting messages to individual voters, we want to get as many people as possible involved in helping us keep track of those messages and how they’re delivering them. If you’d be willing to help us tell the story of this campaign by keeping a campaign diary to let us know who contacted you and uploading campaign material, or maybe giving your reaction to ads, issues and events, you can sign up for the Listening Post Network here.)

Yes, Tim Hudak won the Ontario leaders’ debate

As part of the ongoing Listening Post project to help us see this election through the eyes of voters, Innovative Research Group surveyed 1,100 Ontarians through its online panel on Wednesday and Thursday to get their impressions coming out of Tuesday evening’s debate.

As usual, the survey asked respondents to identify which party (if any) they normally support, to get an impression of how the leaders and their parties are playing with different vote groups. And it also asked off the top whether they had watched all of the debate, only some of it, had followed it only through subsequent coverage, or hadn’t paid attention to it at all.

We’ll start with a look at impressions of the debate itself, with a big caveat that –  as you’ll see in some other findings we’ll be rolling out over the next day or so –  “winning” or “losing” in that venue doesn’t necessarily translate into voters breaking in one direction or the other.

Having said that, the research seems to confirm what many would suspect: By most available measurements, Tim Hudak won.

To begin with, here’s how survey participants who said they watched some or all of the debate (42 per cent of the total group) responded when asked who they thought did best.

Best in debate, chosen by participants who watched all or some of it

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

And here’s how those who didn’t watch the debate, but did follow coverage of it (24 per cent of the panel, though possibly a somewhat higher share relative to those who actually watched among the broader electorate) responded to the same question.

Best in debate, chosen by participants who followed subsequent coverage

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

When we look at how self-identified supporters of each group reacted, it looks like – consistent with the rest of the campaign – Mr. Hudak did a really good job of exciting his own backers. And while most people who usually vote Liberal and New Democrat characteristically didn’t have much time for him, he did a little better than usual among people who don’t identify with any particular party. Meanwhile, even Liberals seemed reluctant to pronounce Kathleen Wynne the winner. Here’s how responses to “who did best” broke down by party affiliation, among those who watched and those who followed coverage.

Best in debate among watchers and followers, broken down by party affilation

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

When respondents were asked whether the leaders’ performances made them feel more or less favourable toward them, Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath both did much better with their own likely supporters than Ms. Wynne did. And while supporters of the other two major parties were as usual disinclined to see him in a positive light, he succeeded a little more than the other leaders in getting unaligned voters to view him favourably. Here’s what the results showed for each leader on this question, again among people who either watched the debate or followed coverage of it.

Opinion on PC Leader Tim Hudak after the debate

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Opinion on Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne after the debate

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Opinion on NDP Leader Andrea Horwath after the debate

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

One other set of debate-related data, for now, looks somewhat better for Ms. Wynne than the other numbers because she seems to have resonated with some New Democrats. But again, neither she nor Ms. Horwath were able to please their supporters the way Mr. Hudak did, and playing to his base didn’t seem to stop the PC Leader from connecting with some unaligned voters as well. Here’s how survey participants responded to the question: “During the debate, which leader came across as most capable of fixing the problems that you worry about?

Party leader who seemed most capable of fixing problems during the debate

SOURCE: Innovative Research Group

Again, just how the debate may have affected each party’s chances of winning this election is a little more complicated than these beauty-pageant measurements, and look for more to come on that. But focused solely on performance, it’s easy to see why Mr. Hudak was feeling pretty good on Wednesday morning.

(Responses were drawn from a survey conducted on June 4 and 5 in which 1,100 eligible Ontario voters participated. Asked which party they usually support, 31 per cent of respondents said Liberal, 25 per cent Progressive Conservative, 16 per cent NDP, and 4 per cent Green or other; 15 per cent said they don’t identify with any party and 8 per cent didn’t know. 

As parties get more sophisticated in targeting messages to individual voters, we want to get as many people as possible involved in helping us keep track of those messages and how they’re delivering them. If you’d be willing to help us tell the story of this campaign by keeping a campaign diary to let us know who contacted you and uploading campaign material, or maybe giving your reaction to ads, issues and events, you can sign up for the Listening Post Network here.)

Latest vote projection: Narrowing of Liberal lead in EKOS poll

Vote and seat projection from ThreeHundredEight.com as of June 6.

Vote and seat projection from ThreeHundredEight.com as of June 6.

The projection, based on recent public opinion surveys, has been updated with the latest rolling poll from EKOS Research for iPolitics. The survey (June 3-5, interviewing 1,690 Ontarians via IVR, reported margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20) gave the Liberals 39.5 per cent support among likely voters, against 35.6 per cent for the Tories and 16.7 per cent for the NDP. Among all eligible voters, the PCs narrowly led with 34.9 per cent to 33.9 per cent for the Liberals and 20.5 per cent for the NDP. Both of these results represent a narrowing of the gap from yesterday’s rolling poll from EKOS.

Visit ThreeHundredEight.com for more regional and methodological information.