Conservatives and Liberals almost even in the latest Ipsos-Reid poll

Ipsos has a new poll out. It shows no apparent change in the national numbers, although the pollster "analysis" seems to have missed the key shift. The numbers:

The poll, conducted from Sept. 8-12, found if an election occurred today, the Conservatives would receive 34 per cent of the vote from decided voters. That’s unchanged from a poll taken a month ago.

Meanwhile, the Liberals would garner 31 per cent, also unchanged. The NDP, under leader Jack Layton, has the support of 16 per cent of decided voters — up one point —while the Bloc would receive 10 per cent of the vote nationally. Support for Elizabeth May’s Green party holds steady at nine per cent.

Five per cent of voters are undecided.

Of note, in the last Ipsos poll, Bricker noted that the Conservative lead had been cut in half, Liberals up 2%, Conservatives down 1%. From that release:

Wright traces the Tories decline in popularity to the battering the government has taken over its decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census, and spending and security surrounding the G8 and G20s summits in Ontario.

The Ipsos-Reid poll said Tory support had slid one per cent since its last poll in early July. Liberal support was up two points over the same period, suggesting Ignetieff’s cross-country bus tour may be paying some dividends.

The above serves as a good example why you need to go back more than one poll, in order to see the full picture. In this release, Bricker sees little erosion, and yet over the summer, the Liberals did gain on the Conservatives, undercutting the argument.

What is a bit surprising (or maybe not), that the pollster fails to even mention a substantial shift in Ontario. Considering this long gun registry debate, other pollsters noting the Liberals benefiting in Ontario, one would think some digestion:

The survey found a high level of political volatility in Ontario, the electoral battleground with the most federal seats. In that province, at 41 per cent, the Liberals have opened up a healthy lead over the Conservatives, who sit at 33 per cent. The NDP (15 per cent) and Green party (10 per cent) lag behind in the province.

You would probably be surprised to learn that last month’s Ipsos poll actually had the Conservatives ahead 36% to the Liberals 35%. Quite a massive shift, 9 percentage points, Liberals up 6%, Conservatives down 3%. A curious mind might wonder why?? Ontario is very volatile, but this is the second pollster to peg the Liberals above the 40% mark in the last week.

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