Who is leading after the advance voting?

Election Canada published the number of people who cast a ballot during the advance voting: 4.7 mio. That's a 29% increase over the 3.7mio of 2015.

Given the fact that a bigger and bigger proportion of voters opt to vote during the advance voting period, I'm not sure the +29% guarantees an increased turnout. Just as a reminder, the increase between 2011 and 2015 was from 2.1 mio to 3.7mio, a 74% increase!

My guess is that the +29% will make it such that overall turnout will be similar or slightly lower.

Anyway, two polls have been published with data regarding people who declared they voted already. The first one, from Mainstreet, has a sample of 598. That's small and I'll therefore ignore the provincial numbers and focus on the country-wide ones.

According to Mainstreet, the Liberals received 35% of the ballots while the Tories were at 34%. The NDP was at only 13.9%, the Bloc at 6.8%, green at 6.4% and the People's Party at 2.9%.

Given that my projections put the Liberals around 30-31%, we can see a good turnout among Liberals. But this is to be expected, advance voting is for committed voters and the big parties have more of those.

David Akin for Global News had an interesting piece yesterday where he showed that the Liberals would have won way fewer seats based only on advance polls in 2015. Specifically, the Liberals would only have got 163 seats. While this can be interpreted as the Liberals didn't get their vote out during advance voting last time around, we also have to remember that the Liberals surged at the end of the campaign. Therefore, during the advance polls, this party wasn't as high as it was at the end. This is particularly true in Quebec. So having the Liberals at 163 seats during the advance polls is more of an indication that their turnout was actually good. My projections during that time had the Liberals actually in second position! And yes I know my projections in 2015 were fairly off, but with the correct vote percentages, my model wasn't that off. So even if we correct for the systematic mistake my model made, I'd have had the LPC at 140 seats around October 12th 2015, not 163. So to me, the 163 is a good indication the Liberals already got their vote out early last time around.

We thus shouldn't be surprised if we see the same pattern this year. At the very least, I wouldn't take the Mainstreet poll above as a clear indication that the polls are underestimating the Liberals. (Note: I asked David Akin if he could tell me what was the percentage of votes per party during the advance polls. This info is available but it's a ton of work to gather. I'll let you know and update this piece if he accepts to share). [Update: he shared, see at the end]

The other poll is from Angus-Reid. Among the 314 respondents who had already voted, they find that 34% voted CPC, 30% for the LPC, 19% for the NDP, 7% each for the Bloc and Green and 3% for the PPC.

We could average the two polls (keeping in mind that the Mainstreet one has a bigger sample size) and get:

CPC: 34.1%
LPC: 33.3%
NDP: 15.7%
Green: 6.6%
Bloc: 6.9%
PPC: 2.9%

Couple of remarks:

- It's close. The polls indicate a super close race and those two polls aren't changing that.

- Mainstreet (and IVR polls in general) have had the NDP lower than other polls (although it has mostly converged). It's interesting to see Mainstreet having the NDP lower among people who voted already too. My feeling is that there is a very strong house effect or mode effect.

- Both the CPC and LPC are doing better than their respective polling averages. That makes sense, as we discussed previously.

- Bloc is doing well. It seems the Bloc voters are committed and got out to vote. That's not always the case with the PQ in Quebec for instance.

- Green is not doing that great. We can clearly see that many Green voters are still unsure. With the NDP surging in the last week, my guess is many Green voters might want to keep their options open.

- I'm surprised by the PPC being so high. But maybe this is a different small parties. Its voters might well be few but super committed. Still, at 2.9% already, this is pretty good.

Mainstreet and Angus-Reid polls have not really agreed with each other during this election. The AR polls in particular have had a tendency to see the Tories more ahead. Alternatively, Mainstreet ahs been consistent in showing a large LPC lead in Ontario.

So instead of averaging the published numbers, let's compare the percentages among people who have voted to the polling numbers from each firm. For instance for Mainstreet, they had the Liberals around 30% last weekend. That means that the LPC would be at +5% (35%-30%) if we compare the polls and the advance voters. This is significant.

But using Angus-Reid, the Liberals are only beating their poll numbers by 1.6% (30%-28.4%), very similar to the 1.4% of the Conservatives.

So, who is right? Probably the average between the two, especially with such small samples. So here it is:

So the CPC and LPC are clearly getting their vote out. Is the LPC doing it better? In average it seems so, but it's entirely because Mainstreet found this to be true. Angus-Reid didn't. I really hope Akin will share the numbers so that we can compare the deltas here to the ones in 2015 (maybe the Liberals are just better at this game, always).

Smaller parties are doing worse. A clear indication that many of their voters are not fully decided yet (or that they don't have the machine to get the vote out).


So David Akin shared the numbers:

So let's see, the Liberals were around 35% in the polls back then, that means the Liberals performed at +2.6 during the advance poll. Conservative were at 31%, so that means +2 for advance polls, NDP at -2.7 and Green at -1.6%.

All in all, we see the same pattern as this year with the two big parties locking in more votes than the polls would indicate at this point.

So I see no reason to see the table above as any indication that the polls are off or the Liberals underestimated. Quite the contrary, the numbers are in line with CPC and LPC being very close to each other.

Now, let's see if there is a late momentum for any party.