Author Archive: Felecia Lowe

Justin Trudeau’s marijuana use OK with most Canadians Justin Trudeau’s marijuana use OK with most Canadians

According to a new survey from Abacus Data, a majority of Canadians support relaxing Canada’s marijuana laws, a large majority (77%) were aware that Justin Trudeau had admitted to using marjiuana while an MP and a large majority (68%) believed that he did what many other Canadians do, smoke a little marijuana privately with friends and his honesty should be encouraged.

Although his admission has sparked debates across Canada on the topic of marijuana laws, the Abacus Data survey finds his honesty did little to change his public image in the eyes of many Canadians, with 66% saying their opinion remains unchanged while 12% said the admission improved their impression of the Liberal Leader while 15% said their impression got worse.

Views on the Status of Marijuana in Canada

Overall, a majority of Canadians supported either legalizing (30%) or decriminalizing (36%) the use of marijuana, while 17% felt the law should be left as-is, and 11% felt the penalties should be increased.

Although there were minimal differences across age groups, residents of British Columbia were most likely to support the legalization of marijuana (36%), while Albertans and Quebec residents were least likely (20% and 19%, respectively).

Politically, Conservative Party voters were least likely to support legalizing marijuana (22%), while Green Party voters were most likely to support legalization (54%).

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Justin Trudeau and Marijuana Use

Justin Trudeau’s recent admission surrounding his recreational use of marijuana has been a high profile story and topic of discussion across the country.  As a result, it is perhaps unsurprising that eight in ten Canadians (77%) were aware of his marijuana use.

Awareness was higher in Quebec (84%) and among those aged 45 and older.

Overall, Canadians’ opinion of Justin Trudeau remained relatively unchanged in the wake of his admission, with 66% of respondents stating that their opinion stayed the same.  Another 12% said their impression of Trudeau improved while 15% said it got worse.

Conservative Party supporters were the most likely to say their impression got worse (30%) while only 5% of Liberal Party supporters said their impression of Trudeau got worse.

Finally, respondents were asked to pick which of two statements best described their feelings towards Justin Trudeau’s recreational use of marijuana:

“He did what many other Canadians do:  smoke a little marijuana privately with friends and his honesty should be encouraged”

OR

“It was wrong of him to break the law he swore to uphold as a member of parliament”

Seven in ten Canadians (68%) felt their views aligned more closely with the first statement: that Trudeau did what many Canadians do and his honesty should be encouraged – a sentiment which seems to have been echoed by many other politicians since Trudeau came forward.

Strong regional differences were also observed across the statement test.  While residents of Quebec (77%), Central Canada (71%), and the Atlantic provinces (73%) were most likely to support Trudeau’s honesty, Conservative-leaning Alberta was evenly divided with 50% believing his honesty should be encouraged while 50% said it was wrong of him to break the law he swore to uphold as an MP.

The ideological divide amongst Tory voters is made even clearer through the results of the statement test.

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Bottom Line

Our research indicates that at least in the short-term, Trudeau’s admission that he smoked marijuana while an MP will have little negative impact on his popularity or the popularity of the Liberal Party.

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A majority of Canadians support legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, especially those who support the Liberals, NDP, or Green Party.

Most of those who said their impression of the Liberal leader got worse were Conservative Party supporters while large majorities of Liberal, NDP, and Green Party supporters said it had no impact on their views of Trudeau.

Even though Trudeau admitted to smoking marijuana while an MP, most Canadians are willing to give the Liberal leader a pass and believe he only did what many other Canadians do and value his openness in the matter.

While the admission will not likely hurt Trudeau’s reputation, it got him a lot of attention and raised the issue of marijuana policy to the top of the agenda.  Our research finds that most Canadians have heard about the admission demonstrating the breadth of coverage the admission received.

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 1,600 respondents in English and French using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a representative panel of Canadians.  The survey was completed from Aug 30 to Sept 4, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of  1,600 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus Data monthly Omnibus survey.  

Majority of Kingston Residents Oppose a Casino in Kingston

Most prefer a referendum on a new casino than City Council approval.

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A new random telephone survey of 505 Kingston residents commissioned by 1000 Islands Accommodation Partners  (TIAP) and conducted by independent polling firm Abacus Data finds that among residents with an opinion about a new casino in Kingston, a large majority (60%) are opposed to plans to build a new casino.  Only four in ten Kingston residents (40%) support a new casino in the city.

KingstonCasino_Feb2012_PPT

More significant, the percentage of respondents strongly opposed to a casino in Kingston is far greater than the number who strongly support a casino (40% strongly oppose vs. 16% strongly support).

“Although Kingston City Council is considering whether to approve a new OLG casino in the city, most of Kingston’s residents do not want one built in the city,” said David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data.  “Most Kingston residents are opposed to a new casino and there are almost three times as many residents who are strongly opposed as there are who strongly support a Kingston casino.”

After respondents were told that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said that she wants municipalities to have autonomy to decided whether they want a casino or not, respondents were asked who should have the final say in whether a casino is built in Kingston.

Overall, 78% of respondents said they thought Kingston residents should have the final say about a casino through a referendum while 18% believed that Kingston City Council should have the final say.

“Kingston residents want to have a say in whether the city approves a new casino,” said Coletto.  “This view is so important to residents that even two thirds of those who support a casino think there should be a referendum.”KingstonCasino_Feb2012_RELEASEPPT

“At this point, opposition to a casino is quite strong and is the majority view in Kingston,” said Coletto.  “If Kingston City Council approves a new casino and OLG obliges, they will both be going against the will of Kingston residents.”

Methodology

The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted February 13-15, 2013, among a random sample of 505 adults 18 years of age or older living in the City of Kingston.  The survey was conducted by live interviewers in Ottawa, Ontario.

The statistics of a random sample of 505 respondents are accurate to within 4.5 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

For more information about the poll’s methodology or the results, please contact David Coletto, CEO at david@abacusdata.ca or 613-232-2806.

 

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Big Changes Expected Among Top Rewards Programs in 2014 – Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers Big Changes Expected Among Top Rewards Programs in 2014 – Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers

This article is Part 3 of my series titled “Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers”. Please take a moment to read my previous articles in this series about Canadian rewards programs; Part 2 – “The Best Rewards Programs in Canada According to Millennials” and Part 1 “The Top 10 Rewards Programs in Canada“.

Over the past few years there has been a resurgence of corporate interest in building strong loyalty programs, specifically those with hard consumer rewards attached. This is in part because businesses have finally been able to realize the power of customer data to increase profits through targeted offers, but also because consumers continue to look for ways to make their dollar go further with discount sales, special offers, coupons and more.While this option is still considered one of the promising ways to grow one’s fortune or safeguard one’s money, more realistic solution can be obtained by only choosing such futuristic approaches like the cryptocurrency trading practice using the automated crypto robots, about which you can click here to find out more! Ok back to the talk about loyalty programs!

In this article I will highlight some of the big changes that have recently occurred and that will occur in the loyalty space among the top 10 Canadian rewards programs.

Loyalty is finally starting to be understood as a long-term win-win relationship between business and consumer.

An ongoing study conducted by Canadian research firm Abacus Data, found that while about 9 in 10 Canadian adults use loyalty programs to collect points or miles, they use an average of 3 different loyalty programs to collect those points or miles. “These statistics haven’t really shifted much throughout the 3 surveys we conducted in 2013. We consistently see most Canadians using three or more rewards programs on a regular basis to collect points or miles for future redemption”, says Sean Copeland, Director of Consumer Research at Abacus Data.

The one card that you will see coming out of most Canadian consumers’ wallets is the AIR MILES Rewards Program (about 7 in 10 Canadians), followed at a distance by the Shoppers Optimum Program (about 4 in 10 Canadians). While these programs won’t disappear from people’s hands anytime soon, there will be some big changes in the coming months as Canadian retailers begin to redefine the consumer loyalty space.

Take a look at the chart below to see the changes in usage of rewards programs since the beginning of the year. Differences between survey periods that are 4% or more should be considered as significant. It will be very interesting to look at this same chart when we have revised numbers from the holiday season this December.

Top Canadian Rewards Programs 2013

Air Miles LogoAIR MILES Canada is used under license by LoyaltyOne, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance Data, making it not only the largest program in Canada, but a powerhouse of consumer loyalty insights that is unmatched in North America. For this reason alone, expect this unique coalition program to stay at the top of the rewards program list for many years to come. Watch out for this company’s international growth as LoyaltyOne pushes for thought leadership in areas yet to be owned.

Shoppers Optimum LogoIn 2000, the launch of the Shoppers Optimum Program caused quite the stir for AIR MILES because this new program acquired members at a never-before-seen rate and quickly became the second largest rewards program in Canada. Much of its success is due in part to the rapid growth in popularity of the Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix retail stores with their improved BeautyBeautiques, which now span across every region of Canada. The Optimum program is well-known for offering large point duplicator incentives through their 10x and 20x the points sales events, higher than average points redemption events, and individualized points offers through email and standard mail. The Optimum program is once again setting up to shakeup the loyalty industry due to Loblaw Companies announcing its intended acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart for $12.4 billion, the largest takeover of a Canadian retailer. Since this announcement, there have been rumors about the merging the Shoppers Optimum program with Loblaw’s PC Plus or PC Points within the next 3 years after the sale closes. While the Optimum program has large market share and a strong brand that would benefit the PC Plus/Points program, it doesn’t offer a feasible revenue model for current Loblaw stores that lack the gross margin on products found at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Aeroplan logoAeroplan, a company owned by AIMIA, is based primarily around taking flights with AIR Canada to work your way up the new Air Canada Altitude status ladder of privileges. This program, like all programs it seems, is experiencing some major changes, including he cancellation of the publicly hated 7-year mileage redemption policy. The introduction of this policy pushed many avid Aeroplan collectors to leave over the past few years, which is likely why the policy is now being removed. They are also adding a new “distinction” program at the beginnign of 2014, likely to calm issues among members that arose from Air Canada’s incremental changes to reward levels from the Air Canada Top Tier Program to the Air Canada Altitude program. Another big change is that Aeroplan’s contract with CIBC is set to expire at the end of 2013, and Aimia has announced it intends to begin a new partnership with Toronto-Dominion Bank at the beginning of 2014.

Canadian Tire Money Advantage LogoA program that has been a staple of Canadian loyalty for over 50 years is now in need of clear direction and consistent messaging. In an attempt to rejuvenate it’s Canadian Tire Money program in 2012, Canadian Tire introduced the Canadian Tire Money Advantage program, which aims to replace the standard printed bills. This was a great concept program in Nova Scotia, but it is taking the retailer far too long to implement the program nation-wide. This delay is causing the retailer to quickly fall behind the competition in the loyalty space. The Canadian Tire program could also see some big benefits by removing the Canadian Tire branding to accommodate it’s other brands, including Mark’s Work Warehouse. Personally, I would suggest something simple like “Canadian Money Advantage”, which could then be sold as a larger coalition program across many verticals.

Petro-Points LogoI haven’t noticed any significant changes to Petro-Canada’s PETRO-POINTS program over the past year and I don’t expect much to change anytime soon. They did announce the closure of their online Points Shop, which seems to be more of a step back than a step forward. I’m honestly curious to hear what other people have to say about the future of this program as I can’t see how it will continue to compete on a level playing field with all of the others.

Scene LogoSince Cineplex owns about 85% of Canadian movie theatres it’s fair to say that the Scene program is here to stay. They have the unique ability to target youth at a rate unreachable by any other reward program and have seen substantial growth because of this. The partnership between Scotia Bank and Cineplex was a smart move for both companies, who likely both saw higher retention due to the Scene program. This program integrates standard earning opportunities through purchases as well as gamified in-theatre experiences on your smartphone. I would like to see this program start to reach out to other youth-focused retailers to expand its reach and further situate itself with this group.

Hudsons Bay Rewards LogoHudson’s Bay Rewards has seen a steep decline this year in the number of Canadians regularly using their program. However, I wouldn’t consider this a failure as much as a necessary and temporary decline due to changes with their program, changes in store, and the re-branding as a result of the closure of Zellers across Canada and the purchase of U.S. retailer Saks. Earlier this year, the HBC program was replaced by the new Hudson’s Bay Reward program, which is a far simplified program compared to what it was and should be a welcome change to consumers. The problem isn’t the program itself, but rather change itself as HBC evolves into something new. Many long-time members of the HBC Rewards program were likely of an older demographic of Zellers and old-school The Bay shoppers, meaning these changes seem inconvenient, difficult to understand and not applicable to their specific needs. Luckily there’s Walmart or Target for those shoppers.

PC Plus LogoA few months back, Loblaw launched its new PC Plus rewards program, which features a gamified smartphone app for use on almost every major mobile platform. David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, is well-documented advocate and avid user of the PC Plus app, which gives you access to personalized offers to earn rewards on food purchases. This is a program that will likely see unprecedented gains in usage if it is rolled out across all of the Loblaw brands. On the other side of Loblaw’s rewards, the original PC Points program hasn’t seen much growth since its early days in the late 1990′s, likely to due the requirement of members needing a bank account or credit card with PC Financial.

Sobeys LogoClub Sobeys, an aggressive entrant to the loyalty space, has been making leaps and bounds with the technology it uses to offer a more customer-friendly approach. Ways to earn now include a Membership card, Debit card, Credit card and Smartphone app. Now with Sobey’s recent acquisition of Safeway Canada’s 200+ predominant stores in Western Canada it has an opportunity to chew away at some of AIR MILES market share in the loyalty space if it ends its relationship with AIR MILES in favor of its own Club Sobeys program. Safeway is known for offering some of the best AIR MILES offers in Canada, and due to frequent shoppers it is likely the primary reason that we typically see higher AIR MILES participation in the Western region. This program is definitely one to watch over the next 12 months to see if the right leadership decisions come about to make it an industry leader or an industry flop.

With all of the changes happening across all of the top rewards programs in Canada I’m very curious to see which ones will be the loyalty industry leaders come this time next year. What are your predictions?

CANADIAN MILLENNIALS

Two weeks ago, the world’s most famous couple became the world’s most famous parents.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, AKA Will and Kate, announced that a new heir to the British, and Canadian, throne had been born: George Louis Alexander. His birth was one of the most anticipated events in recent memory.

Well, maybe as anticipated as Kate and William’s wedding, or their engagement, heck, every time Kate goes grocery shopping is an anticipated event. But Will and Kate are undoubtedly the world’s most famous and most watched parents in the Millennial generation.

What they do with their new son will be watched by millions of moms and dads around the world.

Around the world, mothers are going to be looking to see…

What brand of car seat Kate and Will use when they bring Prince George to the local market or what brand of stroller they use to walk Prince George around the grounds of Kensington Palace.

There is no doubt that these two parents are going to influence the purchasing behaviour of millions of Millennials who are or will become parents in the next few years.

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Canadian Millennial Parents – A HUGE Market

Consider these statistics.

There are about eight million Canadians in the Millennial Generation and according to the latest census, Canadians are having more babies than in the past.

According to the CBC story, “the number of children in Canada aged four and under jumped 11 per cent between 2006 and 2011 — the highest rate of growth for that age group since the five years between 1956 and 1961, the trailing edge of the baby boom.” By sheering mathematics alone this mini-baby boom makes sense.  Millennials, the children of Babyboomers, are having children.

So the post-war baby boom leads to an echo baby boom which leads to a mini baby boom today.  And this means we have entered a period when the number of Millennial parents is starting to grow big time as the majority of the generation is now over the age of 20.  Over the next five years, millions of young Canadians will become parents.

These new Millennial parents are unlike previous parents before them, and that matters for marketers.

What Makes Millennial Parents Different?

The most important factor that will effect how most Millennials will act as parents relates to our own upbringing and our use of technology.

1. Structure and Institutionalization = Feedback

Up until now, the Millennial Generation is the most institutionalized generation in history.

Most members of the generation have been in some form of structured, educational environment since we were 3 or 4 years old.

This means we crave feedback, order, and a clear set of directions. This is why Millennial employees always want to know how they’re doing and if they are on the right path and explains why my own students hate it when I leave all the course evaluations until later in the semester.

For marketers looking to sell products and services to parents, you can feed into this need for feedback by engaging with Millennial parents and helping them make the right decisions for their new families.

Huggies has been really successful at this with its Mommy Answers page.  Moms are invited to submit questions to their online community and get answers.  This colloborative parenting instinctively feeds the Millennial’s need for feedback – to feel comfortable that they are on the right track when it comes to parenting.

Nestlé also has a website with resources for new parents on everything from healthy pregnancy to healthy babies linking their products with the decisions parents have to make.

2. Technology = Digital Natives

Everyone knows that one of the distinguishing features of Millennials is their use of technology.

It’s not just that we use it a lot and are connected, but that we adapt quickly to it.  The friends within the social networks  we rely on for advice are online and therefore the brands we interact with need to become part of the conversation.  We can listen to this conversation happening in real time on Twitter and other social networks and learn from those conversations. Brands can also invite parents to have conversations in their space – like the Huggies Mom site.  Online engagement with influencers is the best way to get young parents aware of your products.

Word of mouth, online referrals, and sharing is what will move your brand from last to first – as long as the product or service you are offering is high quality and solves a problem that needs solving -or helps Millennial parents share their latest 100 cute photos of their baby!

The “Must DOs” for Marketing to Millennials Parents

Last week, Jaime wrote about Millennial moms being all grown up and ready to spend.

She had lots of good advice on marketing to them that I incorporate into a broader set of recommendations for engaging and connecting with this new cohort of parents.Millennialinfluencers

1. Find Our Influencers This step is critical when marketing to any Millennial, but especially when marketing to Millennial parents.  As mentioned earlier, Millennials crave feedback.  We need to know what we are doing is right.  We will research online, ask our own parents for advice, and seek out the opinion of those we trust. In the world of a Millennial parent, influencers take many forms but the most important are our friends (who have kids) and our parents.  Other important influencers are online resources such as blogs, websites, and other tools that young parents find to help them learn the ropes of parenthood. Engage those influencers and learn what they think about your brand, your products, and your services.  You will learn a lot about what Millennial parents think of you two or three months down the road.

2. Connect to Our Personal Brands A lot has been written about the relationship between Millennials and ethical consumerism.  Our own research finds that Millennials will spend more on ethical and locally sourced products. But the importance of ethical products is greater when it comes to our kids.  We want products that are safe, sustainable, and align our personal brands with our kids.  When I push my kid around in a stroller or have him play with certain types of toys, I’m sending a message about the kind of parent I am. All brand managers marketing towards Millennial parents need to ask: how does my brand align with the brand of Millennial parents?  The answer will not always been the same depending on which Millennial segments you’re marketing to.  Achiever parents will be very different from Simple Lifer parents.  Research helps understand how to connect your brand with the brand that individuals want to project.  Make a connection and you will create a loyal customer.

3. Make it Convenient

Everyone leads busy lives these days but no ones lives are busier than that of Millennial parents.  In trying to connect with our personal brands, tell us how your product or service will save us time and make our lives a little bit easier.  Whether its managing our work-life balance, other family commitments, and our need to stay healthy, adding on a new addition to the family eats up a lot of that time.  If you’re trying to sell me toys, food, baby clothes or other products, tell me how it will help make my life easier while still aligning with my own personal brand.

Some brands have been better than others at evolving to meet the new realities of Millennial parents.  Others still have a lot of work to do to understand Millennials and connect with them.  If you’re spending money marketing to Millennials through paper flyers and newspaper ads, its time to switch marketing and advertising agencies.

4. Engage Us and Feed our Need for Feedback

Call it feedback marketing.  Set up an online platform that helps Millennials get answers to questions, gives them feedback on how they are doing, and reassure them that they are headed on the right path.  The platform can also be used to show that your brand cares and wants them to be successful at whatever it is they are doing.  Feedback marketing builds trust.  It demonstrates that your brand is authentic and honest.  Build an online community who can become influencers for your brand, teach you things about their lives, and help you to serve their needs better.  Feedback marketing is for market-oriented brands and is a powerful tool for marketing to Millennials.

It is important for marketers to understand the intricacies of the incoming Gen Y Mom and to adapt to make the most of an engaged and active buying-force if they want to be successful over the long term.

Abacus Data Segment to Watch: The Achievers

Want to know more about this generation? Check out the Abacus Data Millennial Research Practice and our unique personality segmentation by checking out canadianmillennials.ca.

Sign up for the Abacus Insider newsletter and get the latest insights on the Millennial generation at Abacus Data.

Disclosure I’m 31 and not yet a Millennial parent, but that day will hopefully come soon.  The idea of raising one or two little kids is scary and I know I’ll be looking to others for help. If you do want to talk to a Millennial parent at Abacus Data, please reach out to Sean Copeland, our Director of Consumer Research.

Are You a Condo Super Hero or a Condo Insurance Zero? – Allstate Canada Condo Poll and Contest

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada has just released some interesting research results from their most recent Allstate Canada Condo Poll alongside the launch of their GTA Condo Hero Contest.

The Allstate release states, “many condo owners aren’t asking the right questions about their insurance liability when purchasing their condo”, putting them at serious financial risk. In fact, the research found that, “61 per cent of Canadian condo owners don’t know or incorrectly assume their building’s insurance will cover damage to another unit from water or fire that originated in their unit.”

Now, financial risk is one thing that we all ought to possibly stay away from! While being informed, as mentioned in this article, is important, you should also improve your financial solidity to gain the needed protection against possible financial risks in your life! If you are eager, find out the perfect ways for your financial solidity!

Allstate Canada’s research, conducted by Abacus Data, also revealed the following troubling statistics about what condo buyers forgot to ask about when purchasing their condo:

  • 66% of condo owners didn’t ask the condominium corporation if they had recently increased their requirement for what should be covered by a condo owner’s personal insurance.
  • 68% of condo owners didn’t ask whether the condo corporation had ever raised the deductible on their insurance.
  • 78% of condo owners didn’t ask if the cost of the condo corporation’s insurance premiums had ever gone down.

Responding to the lack of information surrounding what questions should be asked when buying a condo, Allstate Canada has pulled together some helpful tips for purchasing condo insurance at http://bit.ly/122sJWN. You can also find out more information about this poll, including additional findings, at the Allstate Canada Newsroom.

Allstate Canada knows that insurance isn’t the only thing that helps keep condo residents safe and sound. There are amazing condo staff members who have gone above and beyond by providing condo residents a place to turn to get help when they need it, emergency or not. To give thanks to these incredible condo staff members Allstate Canada is launching the GTA Condo Hero Contest to recognize the role a condo concierge, caretaker, security guard or property manager plays in giving condo owners a helping hand in times of trouble.

To nominate a Condo Hero, residents of the Greater Toronto Area should visit www.allstate.ca/CondoHero between August 12 and September 27 to explain why their condo concierge, caretaker, property manager or security guard deserves to be named the Condo Hero. The winning nominator and Condo Hero will each win $2,500 and have a chance to tell their story.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has recently been listed on the Best Employers in Canada, Best Employers in the GTA, and Best Employers in Quebec lists. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. To find out more about condo insurance and to get a quick and free online quote, visit www.allstate.ca.

About the Allstate Canada Condo Poll
Allstate commissioned Abacus Data (www.abacusdata.ca) to conduct an online survey of 518 condo owners and buyers. Using industry best practices, a random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from an online panel of over 300,000 Canadians. The total sample was weighted by age, gender and region to be proportionately representative of the Canadian population of condo owners and buyers. Responses were collected between May 21 – 25, 2013.

Since the online survey was not conducted using what is considered a random probability-based sample, a margin of error cannot be calculated or reported.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels. However, the margin of error for a random probability-based sample of 518 respondents would be +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20.

Ontario Politics: Horwath and Wynne are the most popular leaders in Ontario Ontario Politics: Horwath and Wynne are the most popular leaders in Ontario

According to a new Ontario provincial survey, more Ontarians have a positive impression of Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath than have a negative impression.

While Dalton McGuinty hurt Liberal fortunes and support, Kathleen Wynne’s personal popularity seems to be lifting support for the Liberals.  In a poll released last week, the Ontario Liberals were tied with the PCs at 34% among those who had a clear vote intention.

leaders

When asked to rate their personal impressions of the main leaders, Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath both have net positive impressions.  Thirty-four percent of respondents have a positive impression of Kathleen Wynne while 33% have the same view of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.  While the two female leaders are tied on positive impressions, Horwath has slightly better negative impressions.  But overall, both leaders are liked and are net benefits to their parties.

leaders2

The popularity of Kathleen Wynne with past NDP supporters should be a major concern for Andrea Horwath and the NDP.  Overall, 36% of past NDP voters have a positive impression of Wynne while 31% have a negative impression of the Premier.  Consider that only 8% of past NDP voters have a positive impression of former Premier Dalton McGuinty and you can see how Kathleen Wynne is a serious threat to NDP fortunes and why the Liberals are now tied with the PCs for the lead among decided voters.

Tim Hudak on the other hand is in an entirely different position.  Almost a majority of Ontarians have a negative impression of the Leader of the Opposition (46%) while only 22% view him positively. Those who view the PC Leader positively are almost exclusively those who voted PC in 2011 with only 9% and 11% of past Liberal and NDP Party supporters saying they have a positive impression of Hudak.  If leadership becomes a primary driver for voting behaviour, these numbers indicate why the PCs will have a difficult time expanding support beyond their 2011 level.

To contrast the popularity of the three current main party leaders, respondents were also asked to rate their impression of former Premier Dalton McGuinty.  Overall, only 12% of respondents had a positive impression of the former Premier while 67% had a negative impression of him.

Leadership Attributes

Survey respondents were also asked whether a number of attributes accurately described each of the three main party leaders in Ontario.

Overall, both Andrea Horwath and Kathleen Wynne have quite positive personal leadership brands.  A majority of respondents aware of each leader agreed that both are likeable, have sound judgment, and are honest.  A majority of respondents also believe that both leaders understand the problems facing Ontario.

honest

qualified

Tim Hudak’s personal numbers are not as positive with few respondents agreeing that he is likeable, has sound judgment, and is honest.

Leadership Attributes
(% Agreeing with Statement, Those with an Opinion Only)

Statements

Kathleen Wynne

Tim Hudak

Andrea Horwath

Advantage

Is qualified to be Premier

59%

48%

51%

Wynne

Has sound judgement

60%

41%

58%

Wynne/Horwath

Likeable

70%

39%

70%

Wynne/Horwath

Understands the problems facing Ontario

61%

48%

61%

Wynne/Horwath

More style than substance

43%

48%

42%

Wynne/Horwath

Has a clear vision for Ontario

50%

48%

54%

Horwath

Honest

61%

42%

69%

Horwath

These numbers might help to explain why the PCs have not been able to turn the gas plant cancellations into more support for the Tories, or at least weakening numbers for the Liberals.

likeable

When it comes to honesty and judgement, Kathleen Wynne has a significant lead over Tim Hudak.  When the Tories attack Premier Wynne on the file, it only energizes the Tory base who were never going to vote Liberal anyway.  The attacks do not seem to have impacted Wynne’s personal leadership attributes.

A large majority of Ontarians who know Kathleen Wynne think she’s honest and has sound judgment and fewer Ontarians think the same thing of Tim Hudak.  For an attack on integrity to be effective, the attacker has to have the high ground and be seen as having the qualities that those being attacked are perceived to lack.  That is not the case in a fight between Wynne and Hudak at the moment.

Bottom Line

“Most Ontarians like what they have seen from Kathleen Wynne so far.  A majority of Ontarians have either a positive or neutral impression of her and a majority would describe her as a leader who is honest, has sound judgment, and understands the problems facing Ontario,” said Abacus Data CEO David Coletto.

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“While Andrea Horwath’s personal numbers rival the Premier’s, she remains at a disadvantage because of the polarizing nature of the province’s electoral system.”

“While she has a lot of goodwill with Ontarians, Horwath can no longer easily contrast herself with the other two party leaders,” said Coletto.

“Kathleen Wynne’s authenticity and new approach to governing appeals to many Ontarians and Tim Hudak has clearly positioned himself as an agent for change.  Horwath needs to find a new contrast point if she is going to take advantage of her positive numbers.”

“Tim Hudak struggles weak personal numbers, particularly in and around Toronto,” said Coletto.  ”As we recently saw in British Columbia, it is hard to motivate voters for change when they dislike the alternative more than the status quo.”

 

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 1,185 Ontarians eligible to vote using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a representative online panel of over 150,000 Canadians.  The survey was completed from May 7to 9, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 1,185 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 2.9%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region. 

Is the British House of Lords model viable for Canada’s Senate?

In today’s Globe and Mail, former Clerk of the Privy Council Mel Cappe makes a spirited defence of the appointed Senate.

He argues that the Senate is a more thoughtful legislature than the House of Commons reviewing issues in more detail.  It goes beyond partisan wrangling that chokes off serious policy debate and development in the House of Commons.

“It is difficult to find a powerful, successful, free democratic constitution of a great sovereign state which has adopted the single Chamber government.” – Sir Winston Churchill

Cappe writes about the kinds of people who were appointed to the Senate, writing in the past tense as if many of those appointed now don’t fit with the description.

He writes, “the people appointed to the Senate were not usually professional politicians. They had actually done something with their lives. They were small business people, senior managers in big business, heads of NGOs or professionals with real-world experience. They were the kind of people who wanted to make a difference and contribute to Canada, without subjecting themselves to the contact sport of elected politics. How to attract such people to public life without making them run for office? Appoint them.”

He unabashedly supports appointment arguing that “an elected Senate competing for political place with the electorate would undermine the role of the Commons. It is the Commons that has to constrain the Crown.”

He goes on to recommend a review of the British House of Lords model for Canada “where the appointment process has been reformed with a commission examining the quality of appointments. And in the House of Lords debates, the so-called people’s peers came from walks of life that nourished and informed the public debate.”

Cappe raises a lot of interesting points worthy of consideration.

So let’s look at the British House of Lords…

There are currently 755 members of the British House of Lords

The upper chamber in the British Parliament has no fixed membership and currently has 755 members (yes, 755 members!).  It is made up of mainly appointed peers along with no more than 26 “Lords Spiritual” representing the Anglican Church and 92 hereditary peers.

Appointment to the House of Lords is not based on region (like in Canada) and by convention the Prime Minister allows other party leaders to recommend appointments to keep the partisan balance in the Chamber.  An independent commission also makes recommendations for appointments for non-partisan peers.

The current composition of the House of Lords includes:

  • Conservative – 210
  • Labour – 217
  • Liberal Democrat – 89
  • Other parties – 13
  • Crossbenchers (publicly non-partisan) – 180
  • Non-affiliated – 21
  • Lords Spiritual – 25

Interestingly, members of the House of Lords receive no annual salary but their expenses related to their duties are paid for.

Would the House of Lords Model Work in Canada?

The Canadian Senate was originally designed to be a check on the excesses of the House of Commons and to protect regional interests.

As the Library of Parliament notes,

“Of approximately 50 bicameral legislatures in the world, Canada’s was designed to serve the distinct needs of this unique federation. The preamble of the Constitution Act 1867 sets out the decision of the federating provinces to adopt a constitution “similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom.” Thus our two Houses of Parliament were patterned after those of Britain, with two intentional exceptions only: as a young country without an aristocracy, Canada’s upper chamber could not be occupied by hereditary peers, but rather would house mature men (and, some time later, women) of diverse experience summoned by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister; and secondly, the principal geographic regions of Canada would be represented equally. In the Commonwealth tradition, the Senate would primarily play a revising role, although its power was that of absolute veto. The lower chamber would be elected on the principle of representation by population.”

Regional equality in the Senate was a key part of the Confederation deal. It’s pretty much a deal breaker now.

It was part of the original bargain that brought the Maritime provinces and Quebec into Confederation.  It would ensure that the more populous regions (Ontario and Quebec) of the country couldn’t impose their will on the less populous Maritime provinces, and that the linguistic and religious minority interests (French and Catholic) would be protected with Quebec’s representation in the Senate.  The same principle held when Manitoba, BC, and Alberta and Saskatchewan joined Confederation later.

So regional representation is fundamental to the Senate’s original purpose and that is very different from the House of Lords.

But there are some features that could be imported from the British House of Lords.

  1. No salaries for Senators –  Senators should be appointed because of their expertise, experience, and service to Canada.  There should be no salary attached to the position.  That will encourage only those who want to serve the public from accepting a nomination and putting their name forward.
  2. Increase the number of Senators – Decreasing costs by eliminating salaries and decreasing staff will allow for more Senators.  There are currently 105 Senators but why not increase that to 200 or 300?  More Senators will dilute the influence of individual members and allow for more diversity and less partisanship.  The job wouldn’t be full time so members could sit on one committee and become policy experts on particular issues.  Also, we could get around the length of appointment since the number of Senators will be greater and we wouldn’t have the bulk of members sitting in the chamber for decades.  A major challenge with this proposal is that it would require an amendment to the Constitution.
  3. Independent Appointment Commission – This is a good idea but one that won’t likely happen.  Why would a sitting Prime Minister and his political party give up the power of appointing partisans into a legislature that has the power to stall or even block legislation coming out of the House of Commons?  Perhaps with enough public pressure such a body could be created but I don’t think the incentives are there for this to happen.

Rational Choice and Institutional Reform

The challenge with any institutional reform is the political incentives for change have to be clear and not hurt the party in power.

Since the Senate has almost as much power as the House of Commons to amend, stall, introduce, or block legislation (except for money bills), why would a governing party give up the ability to appoint individuals that will support its agenda and mandate?

The suggestions above don’t resolve the long standing regional questions – particularly as they pertain to Western Canada.  Some agreement would have to be made that would increase representation for Western Canadian provinces while maintaining higher than proportional representation for Atlantic Canada.

The same self-interest that would discourage a Prime Minister from giving up his/her prerogative over appointments would likely discourage provincial governments in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, and Ontario from supporting a decreasing in their proportional representation in the Senate.

I think the Senate can play a useful role.  I personally support many options for reform including election and abolition.  I think the current structure is outdated and not beneficial to the political and policy process.  But getting to a consensus will likely be impossible.

Looking to Britain and the longstanding debate it has had about its upper chamber could give us some insight into what we can do.

The least we can do is eliminate salaries, make Senators part-time positions, and increase the number of them.

If we can’t agree on how Senators get into the chamber, the least we can do is put the right people there, dilute the influence that each of them has on the political process, and take the financial incentives away from the appointment.

What do you think?

NSA and Snowden: Canadians, Terrorism and Online Privacy

Canadians Willing to Give Up Some Privacy to Prevent Terrorism; Few think Snowden should be prosecuted.

Download detailed tables

According to a new survey from Abacus Data, most Canadians would support giving up some personal privacy if it helped investigations into possible terrorist threats but most do not think the government should be able to monitor everyone’s online activities.

Specifically related to the events surrounding Edward Snowden’s leaking of information about the U.S. Government’s efforts at collecting information about telephone calls, e-mails and other online communications as part of efforts to monitor terrorist activity, most Canadians do not consider Snowden a traitor and only one in four believe he should be prosecuted for breaking U.S. laws.

Throughout this report, we reference results from a Pew Research Center study in which we replicated some of the questions asked in that survey.  The Pew survey was conducted from June 6 to 9, 2013[1].

In contrast to Americans, our survey finds that Canadians are less likely to be following the NSA/Snowden story closely and fewer Canadians support allowing government to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks.

Half of Canadians Following NSA News “Very Closely” or “Fairly Closely”

Almost half (49%) of all Canadians said that they were following news stories about the NSA collecting telephone records fairly or very closely. Just less than a third of respondents (29%) said that they had not been following the story too closely, where the remainder of respondents 22% said they were not following the story at all.

Those living in Ontario (58%) and those with a university degree or higher (61%) were more likely to say they are following news of the story very closely or fairly closely.

Not surprisingly, Americans are more likely to say they are following the story very closely than Canadians.

With most news stories, interest is higher among older Canadians, and lower among younger Canadians. In this case, news stories are being followed as closely by younger Canadians as older Canadians indicating this issue is of particular interest to younger Canadians who spend far more time online.  Throughout the report we report the difference in attitudes between age groups.

Snowden: A whistleblower, not a traitor, according to Canadians

Canadian respondents in the Abacus Data survey who followed at least some news on the NSA leak story were asked whether they considered Edward Snowden a traitor or a whistleblower.  Overall sixty per cent (60%) considered Edward Snowden a whistleblower whereas 15% consider him a traitor. Still another one in four respondents (26%) said that they would describe his as neither a traitor nor a whistleblower.

There was little variation across demographic, regional, or political groups on whether a respondent considered Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor.

Keeping this result in mind, it is not surprising that only one in four Canadians (23%) believed that Snowden should be prosecuted for breaking U.S. laws.  Forty-three percent believed that he should not be prosecuted while 34% were unsure.  Once again, there was little variation across subgroups.

Privacy vs. Online Security

The next set of questions  were meant to replicate the questions asked in the study of American attitudes towards the issue by the Pew Research  Center.

In Canada, six in ten Canadians (62%) who have been following the story to some extent (n=782) believed that it was more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy.  This is same result found by Pew in its study of U.S. public opinion.

In contrast, thirty-eight percent of respondents believed it was more important for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.

 

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There was a large generational difference in the Abacus Data survey.  Canadians aged 18 to 44 were far more split on what was more important with about half believing that government should not intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.  Younger Canadians are far more concerned about protecting their privacy than older Canadians who are more likely to support intrusions if it helps prevent terror attacks.

What do you think is more important now?

Response

All Respondents following the news story
(n=782)

CPC
Supporters
(n=165)

LPC
Supporters
(n=197)

NDP
Supporters
(n=175)

For the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy

62%

70%

65%

51%

For the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats

38%

30%

35%

49%

 

There was a similar relationship between views on privacy vis-a-vis terrorism and political party support in Canada.  Conservative Party and Liberal Party supporters were more likely to think it is important for the government to investigate terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy while NDP and BQ supporters were more likely to favour protecting personal privacy.

Should the Government Be Able to Monitor Everyone’s Email and Other Online Activities

Only one in three Canadians (33%) who followed the NSA story to some extent believed that the Canadian government should be able to monitor everyone’s email and other online activities if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks while 48% believed they should not be able to monitor people’s online activities.  Nineteen percent were unsure.

Once again, there was a significant relationship between age group and support for monitoring everyone’s online activity.  Only 15% of Canadians aged 18 to 29 believed that the Canadian government should monitor online activities if officials say it might prevent future terrorist attacks compared with 34% of those aged 30 to 44 and 43% for those aged 45 to 59.

Canadian Millennials would likely be the most opposed to a program that monitors all online activity in Canada.

According to the Pew Research study, Americans were more closely divided with 45% believing that the US government should be able to monitor online activities and 52% believing they should not be allowed to.

Bottom Line

The results of this survey are somewhat confounding.

On the one hand, a majority of Canadians believe that it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy than for the government to not intrude on personal privacy.

On the other hand, almost a majority oppose the idea mass monitoring of online activity even if officials say this might prevent future terrorist attacks.

In other words, Canadians would welcome targeted online surveillance of suspected terrorist threats but would oppose a broader program of online surveillance.  This is especially true of younger Canadians who spend far more time online.

When it comes to Edward Snowden and his leaking of classified information about the NSA’s surveillance program, most Canadians who have been following the story to some extent would describe him as a whistleblower, and not a traitor.  Moreover, only 23% believe he should be prosecuted for breaking U.S. laws.

 


[1] The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted June 6-9, 2013, among a national sample of 1,004 adults 18 years of age or older living in the continental United States (501 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 503 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 247 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. For detailed survey methodology see http://people-press.org/methodology/.

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 999 respondents in English and French using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a representative panel of Canadians.  The survey was completed from June 19 to 23, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.   The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 999 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus Data monthly Omnibus survey. 

Method Thoughts: Another Look at Federal Vote Intentions

On Monday, we released our latest federal political update that included vote intentions, evaluations of federal party leaders, and the job approval of the Harper government.

In the release, I noted that we were no longer going to report “decided voters” as a result of what happened during the BC election and the polling industry.  You can read my thoughts on what the election meant for our own polling.

My proposals for change in the way we report the vote intention have sparked a lot of necessary discussion.  Many people appreciated our new approach by including all respondents and focusing a little more on undecided voters.  Others, including some journalists were unsure what to make of it as they were used to seeing the standard “decided voters” number we have used in the past.This divisive state is only common everywhere and therefore, going with the one that benefits you abundantly is the key! For example, although few favor the cryptocurrency investment procedures, others remain skeptical but, if you belong to the category of the formers then, go ahead with your plan with the best means from this source to your rescue!

Significant change to the usual industry traditions will in all cases covet discussion and often opposition. Change takes time and a willingness for trial and error.

Since Abacus Data was founded in 2010, we have always asked whether we could do things different and challenge convention.  At the same time, I value the utility derived from consensus on industry standards.

It is a matter of balance.

Reporters, pundits, and the public are used to seeing vote intention numbers look like this: Liberal 29%, Conservative 27%, NDP 26% as opposed to this: Liberal 23%, Conservative 21%, NDP 21%.

To continue contributing to a public discussion on political polling numbers, we will  report both for the sake of transparency. Additionally, I will continue to work with our media partners to make sure that we don’t forget to focus on those undecided voters as we try to make sense of public opinion and where Canadians are in terms of their vote preference.

That being said, in the table below we have included five sets of data from our latest survey in relation to vote intention.

junepolitics

Column 1 = All respondents, main vote intention question (as reported yesterday)
Column 2 = Remove undecided voters
Column 3 = Results of follow up question to undecided voters
Column 4 = Vote intention with “leaners” added to “decided voters”
Column 5 = Traditional vote intention with “decided voters and leaners” only

Federal Politics: Tories down 7 points since April

According to a new national survey by public opinion firm Abacus Data, the federal Liberal Party, Conservative Party, and NDP are now in a three-way tie for the lead in federal vote intentions. Support for the federal Conservatives is down seven points since April 2013.

Among all Canadians, 23% said they vote for the Liberal Party (up one point since April) while 21% would vote Conservative (down seven points) and NDP (down two points). Green Party support is up to eight percent nationally (up three points since April) while the Bloc Quebecois is steady at 4% nationally.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they were undecided, up three points since April.

Slide3

This is the first time in our tracking since late 2011 that the Conservative Party has dropped below first place.

NOTE: Abacus Data no longer releases “decided voter” results due to the volatile nature of the electorate and the importance of understanding the motivations and size of undecided voters in Canada. In our view, voters are not decided until they cast a ballot in an election. See the lessons we learned from the BC election.

Subgroup Analysis

Regionally, the Conservative Party continues to dominate in Alberta (38%) and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (36%) while being statistically tied with the Liberals in Ontario (LPC 26%, CPC 24%).

The federal Conservatives are strongest among men (26% vs. 17% among women) and among those aged 60 and over (28% vs. 17% for those aged 18 to 44). They also do best in rural Canada (27% vs. 19% in urban communities).

The Liberal Party leads in Atlantic Canada (31% vs. 20% for the NDP), in Quebec (28% vs. 22% for the NDP) and is statistically tied with the Conservatives in Ontario (26% vs. 24% for the CPC). West of the Ontario border, the Liberals are weaker, getting only 14 to 15% of the vote in the four western provinces.

Demographically, the Liberals are strongest with middle aged Canadians aged 30 to 44 (26%) and among those with a university degree (32% vs. 19% with those who have high school or less).

The federal NDP is strongest in BC (30%), Quebec (22%), and Ontario (20%). They also do well among younger Canadians (aged 18 to 29 – 25%)

Women are much more likely to say they are undecided than men (women 25% vs. men 16%).Well, women might be indecisive when it comes to the election but, when it comes to the suitable financial solutions, the decisive state of the women is only evident, as they rightly favor more unconventional yet more profitable means like the Bitcoin Trader! If you are eager, discover this site that has more info on the mentioned solution!

Voter Turnout Model

When we statistically weight the data to match age distributions among the actual voting population in the 2011 election (age group), we find that the Conservative support increases slightly to 22% while the undecided percentage decreases by one point. If voter turnout in a hypothetical election was similar to the 2011, Conservative support would increase slightly, but only because of their advantage among older Canadians.

Slide1

Direction of the Country and Government Approval

Respondents were also asked to rate the direction of the country.

Overall, opinions have not changed significantly since March 2013. Currently, 36% of Canadians believe the country is generally headed in the right direction while 47% believe it is headed on the wrong track. Seventeen percent were unsure.

Respondents living in Quebec were more likely to believe the country was headed on the wrong track (60%) than those living in Ontario (47%) or the prairie provinces (MB/SK 38%, AB 34%).

When asked to rate the job performance of the federal government led by Stephen Harper, 31% of Canadians either strongly (7%) or somewhat (24%) approved while 50% either strongly (26%) or somewhat (24%) disapproved.

Approval was highest in Alberta (45%), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (45%) and in Ontario (38%) while lowest in Quebec (15%) and Atlantic Canada (23%).

Federal Party Leader Impressions

When asked for their overall impressions of the four main party leaders, there was little change in the overall impression of the leaders.

Justin Trudeau is the most popular leader in Canada with 40% of respondents saying they have a favourable impression of the Liberal Leader (down three points since April). Trudeau’s unfavourable numbers are up six points since April.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair also has a net favourable rating with 34% saying they have a favourable impression of the NDP leader (up five points since April) and 24% having an unfavourable impression (down one point).

Prime Minister Harper’s numbers have not moved much at all since April. Thirty percent of Canadians have a favourable impression of him while 49% have an unfavourable impression. Only 18% of Canadians say they have a neutral impression of the Prime Minister.

Slide2

Bottom Line

Since April, the political opinion landscape in Canada has shifted substantially.

Support for the federal Conservative Party is down seven points from 28% to 21% in two months. This is the first time in our tracking that the Conservative Party has not been either in the lead or tied in the lead.

But despite the drop in Conservative support, neither the Liberal Party nor the NDP has been able to gain much momentum with the Liberals only up a statistically insignificant one point and the NDP down two points since April.

Instead, the support for the Green Party and the number of undecided voters is up three points respectively.

“Conservative voters who might be upset with the Government over the Senate spending scandals and the Duffy-Wright affair have moved away from the Conservatives but they aren’t shifting in big numbers to either of the main opposition parties,” said Coletto.

“Instead, some may be parking their votes with the Green Party in protest while others are telling us they are now undecided.”

“The challenge for the Liberals and the NDP is that many former Conservative voters won’t vote Liberal or NDP,” said Coletto. “So their best hope is for them to stay home and protest the Harper Government by not casting a ballot.”

“We saw this happen in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2008. Upset with the Harper Government and motivated by Danny Williams’ ABC campaign, former Conservative supporters in Newfoundland and Labrador did not vote NDP or Liberal, they just stayed home. Voter turnout in the province in 2008 sank like a stone.”

“The fact that government approval is down six points since March tells me that some former Tory voters are becoming disillusioned with the government and its once rock solid core of support may be questionning that support in the future.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted online with 999 respondents in English and French using an internet survey programmed and collected by Abacus Data. A random sample of panelists was invited to participate in the survey from a representative panel of Canadians. The survey was completed from June 19 to 23, 2013.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated. The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.

The margin of error for a probability-based random sample of 999 respondents using a probability sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

The data was weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, education level, and region.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus Data monthly Omnibus survey.