Below is cut n pasted from the Ekos polling web site
TIGHTER RACE AS BALLOT QUESTION COMES INTO SHARPER RELIEF - April 6, 2011A CHECK-UP AND PRELIMINARY DISCUSSION OF OUR TRACKING SYSTEM
[Ottawa – April 6, 2011] – While we are completing the calibration and analysis of our new election tracking system, we thought we would offer up a preliminary picture of how the campaign is evolving. Beginning very early Friday, we will be rolling out the results of our new tracking system with our partners at iPolitcs. There are some interesting findings which we will share today and we want to signal some of the more interesting diagnostic analysis that we are preparing for week end. We are also sharing a specific test we have been conducting on whether Elizabeth May should be included in the national election television debates, contrary to the current decision of the broadcast consortium.
The focus of our tracking system is to give readers the best possible understanding of how the parties stand, how things are evolving, and a sense of what this might mean in terms of the ultimate decision on May 2nd. In order to do so, we are going beyond the tracking of simple vote intention to look at how that looks among those voters who are most likely to actually vote. We are also looking at how fundamental confidence in the country and the current government are coalescing with the dominant issues of the day to produce shifting voting patterns. This will entail looking at things such as voter “loyalty” and mobility since the 2008 election as well as the firmness of one’s vote and the leaning tendencies in the case of those who would consider other choices. We also consider “certainty” of voting and the level of “enthusiasm” one has for one’s current choice. We will be releasing a first cut at this approach early Friday but today we will be offering up some initial ingredients and a sense of what we will be focusing on at the end of the week.
Contrary to the erratic impression from reading the welter of various polling reports out there, the race appears to be evolving in a relatively orderly pattern with a clear logic. Immediately after the government fell it saw a boost from its roughly 7-point advantage to a formidable 11-point advantage. This lead remained relatively flat throughout the first week of the campaign with the Conservative Party ending the week with a sizable advantage with important strengths in Ontario and more-likely-to-vote older voters. So where have things evolved since?
Currently, the Conservatives have a somewhat less decisive lead of around 9 points but a number of factors suggest that this is a much less comfortable position than at the end of last week. Notably, their fairly stable and significant lead in Ontario has largely dissipated with major implications for their overall seat outcome. While they haven’t changed much in Quebec, the Liberals may be seeing something of a spurt in Quebec (possibly at the expense of the Bloc). This bears careful watching as the federalist forces have been ineffectually scattered across federalist options in earlier polling. This leads to the other key preliminary finding.
Canadians are showing an almost paradoxical strengthening of confidence in the country (probably driven by economic confidence ) at precisely the same time as they are showing an erosion of confidence in the current federal government. This gap is particularly pronounced in Quebec.
We also see a dramatic shift in the dominant issues of Canadians as issues of ethics and accountability have leapt from a dormant last place position to most important issue. Putting these findings together with other trends, we may be seeing the master ballot question of this election coming into sharper relief. The country is fine, economy good (particularly for Conservative supporters): but the federal government is not and this rising concern with the managerial style of the current government is particularly acute outside of the Conservative base. So increasingly two powerful sentiments are clashing: “everything is fine and why risk the adventure of rocking the boat with a new government” versus “things may be fine but the government isn’t and it’s time for a change of management”. We need to look no further than the burgeoning concern with “ethics and accountability” to understand why this issue is becoming a central focus and why the Conservatives appear to be backing up from majority to what would now be a diminished minority, which, according to the Conservative Party’s own election gambit, would produce a change of government. In terms of the prospects of a majority it seems that is looking more elusive. Not only has the race narrowed somewhat but the Conservatives have fallen back badly on second choice, which the NDP lead on and the Liberals have risen as a second choice.
There is good news in the poll for the Conservatives as well. They have clear and formidable advantages on “commitment’. Their supporters are by far the most loyal from the last election, the most likely to have no other choice, the most like to be certain to vote, the least likely to change their mind and the most enthusiastic about their choice. All of these are important and clear advantages. It may, however, be that what makes the Conservatives so strong also makes them so limited in their ability to grow. Consequently, if Canadians take Stephen Harper at his word that anything short of a minority will mean a change in government, the current forces may well be coalescing to produce that very result. At this stage it appears that the ballot question is becoming increasingly clear to voters. The final result is extremely uncertain at this point but the majority outcome is looking increasingly unlikely
As predicted, the Federal Conservatives started at a high point in the polls and day by day their numbers faltered, here in BC Federal Conservatives are squirming on the HST...Michael Ignatief has been on fire, Harper`s cold dead eye messaging is falling on deaf ears.....Ah...Poor Harper, too bad about that majority thingy...Next time put people first and let corporations wait 5 years...You are done Harper, you will be lucky not to lose at least 20 seats...Time for you to resign Harper.
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