Thursday, March 31, 2011

Poll Tracker - March 31, 2011

Once again today there was only a single new poll released today to be incorporated into our poll tracker and that was the Nanos poll that showed the Liberals up to 32.7% and the NDP down to 15.9% with the Conservatives steady at 39.1%. That boosted both the Tories and the Liberals in my poll tracker, but since the poll doesn't take a straight average the Liberal gains were moderated.

Not to be a party pooper, or let my personal bias interfere with my analysis, I do have some concerns about the validity of the Nanos poll. The increase in the Liberal support is indeed startling, more so because it is a three day polling average, which means the difference between the Liberal support on Sunday and on Wednesday must be at least 12% in order to account for an increase of 4% over a single day. Similarly, the NDP support must have dropped by approximately 12% over the same time period to explain their sudden drop in support.

Because of the low NDP support initially, this means that at least 1 in 2 NDP supporters on Sunday decided to switch their votes and go with the Liberals instead by Wednesday, dropping the NDP support to around 10%. Does that sound realistic to you?

Mathematically the problem is very interesting since there is no way I can see to determine for certain what the actual daily values that were used to calculate the averages; there are 8 variables and only 4 equations available.

We know that the average of A, B and C must be 28.7, the average of X, Y and Z must be 19.6 while the averages of B,C and D and Y, Z and W must be 32.7 and 15.9 respectively. By arbitrarily choosing a few values for A, B, X and Y we can figure out from there what the remaining values must be.

Choosing initial Liberal support of 27 and 28 would mean that the third and fourth days would have Liberal support of 31 and 39 respectively, a shockingly high number for the fourth day. If the NDP support was 20 and 20 for the first two days, then it must be 19 and 9 on the third and fourth days, a shockingly low number. I tried another more reasonable possibility that wound up with Liberal support at 35% and NDP support at 12% but it still requires an unbelievable drop in NDP support.

Try it out for yourself, see if you can find some more reasonable numbers than I did.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Poll Tracker - March 30, 2011

With the beginning of the election, I'll be tracking the polls and reporting here on a daily basis or whenever there is something interesting to report. I'll post more details how I am compiling the data later.

There has only been one poll released that contains data from after the election call and that is the recent Nanos poll that showed the Tories in the lead with 38% and the Liberals trailing at 29%, little change from the previous poll taken before the election call. It also lines up well with the Angus Reid poll, the latest Harris-Decima poll and the Abacus poll all taken before the election. Which is to say, with few exceptions, the polling is pretty consistent, and boring.

In the absence of any really interesting polling data, some journalists are making mountains out of molehills. They rightly point out that in the latest Nanos poll on leadership, on the items of "Trust", "Competence" and "Vision for Canada", Ignatieff has increased from 43.4 to 46.7, a total of 3.3, and suggest that Canadians are 'warming' to him. Meanwhile, Green Party leader Elizabeth May increased from 6.4 to 10.2, a total of 3.8 and Harper increased from 84.8 to 89.5, a total of 4.7. Both of which are greater than the increase that Ignatieff saw.

The real story is the decline that Layton saw, dropping 17.8 points from 61.4 to 43.6. A significant decline for the time period, but only time will tell if this trend continues.