Wednesday, July 18, 2012

EKOS on State of Play in Canadian politics: Massive Migrations and a Lack of Love

Just in time for discussion by political junkies at their latest BBQs, EKOS on July 13 released their findings on the below surface movements in Canadian political currents.

Their findings should reassure Harper (somewhat), caution Mulcair to reconsider his 'roll of the dice, winner takes all' approach to the next election, and enhearten candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party who intend to run on dramatic platforms that put the people first.

Here are the major results.

Conservative support is strong but static

Lastly, we turn to the issue of voter mobility, In this study, we asked
respondents how they voted on May 2nd and we compare their responses to their current vote intention. The patterns are very interesting. In particular, the vast majority of current Conservative supporters (82 per cent) say they voted Conservative in the last election. These patterns suggest that the party has failed to draw new supporters from other parties; instead, it has been whittled down to its most loyal constituencies.

NDP supporters are migrating to the Liberals

Looking at the center left parts of the political spectrum, however, we see a very different pattern. More than one-fifth of those who voted NDP in 2011 have defected to the Liberals and Greens.

Liberals are migrating to the NDP and Greens

One-third of Liberal voters, however, have shifted to the NDP and Green Party. The
Green Party has lost similar numbers of voters to the both the Liberals and the NDP.

Why? Because there's not enough love

These patterns suggest that while Conservative Party supporters are strongly committed to their party, there is a great deal of fluidity on the center left, where party supporters will more readily move to other parties. This churning is a probably a reflection of lower levels of emotional engagement and less firmly rooted connections and views of the center left options. It underscores a formidable and continued Conservative strength which produces higher levels of voter turnout, greater fundraising, greater loyalty and a better volunteer ground game.

Growth for NDP and LPC will be cannibalistic

A simple numeric analysis of current voter intention significantly understates true Conservative strength.
In short, Canada seems to have divided itself into two camps – Conservative supporters and non-Conservative supporters. This trend suggests that the NDP, Liberal Party, and Green Party supporters have more room to grow, but growth in one of these parties will come at the expense of cannibalising the other two.

My Summary:

Stephen Harper has a firm grip on older voters (who actually turn out to vote) but the tide is ebbing for the Conservatives, with further erosion possible.

Mulcair faces further losses in Quebec and cannibalization by the LPC (especially once a new leader is chosen), while the LPC has to look to the left for growth, as the right spectrum is solidly Tory.

For either of the NDP or LPC to gain traction, something dramatic has to happen to shatter the lack of emotional commitment by voters.

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