The latest EKOS poll out today would have one believe Michael Ignatieff and his Liberals are surging ahead in the prairies.
The results for Saskatchewan and Manitoba suggest the Liberals jumped 13.8 points over the week before and the Conservatives plummeted 16.1 points. It has the Liberals ahead 35.2 to the Conservatives 32.8. This in the land where the Liberals currently have 2 out of 28 seats and the Conservatives have 22.
Unless I missed Stephen Harper announcing plans to sell off all of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to eliminate the deficit I’m pretty sure there is no way Harper and company would plummet 16.1 points in Manitoba in less than seven days.
As I have often said to anyone quoting regional breakout numbers from national polls, the margin of error is just too large to make them relevant. The margin of error on this EKOS poll for Manitoba and Saskatchewan is 11.71. It means theoretically the results could be Liberals 23.5 and Conservatives 44.5. Which is actually almost what the Probe Research poll conducted in Manitoba last month found – Conservatives 47, Liberals 23.
For the same reason I don’t give too much credence to the Probe poll numbers within the city of Winnipeg’s quadrants. The sample sizes are so small Probe doesn’t usually even give a margin of error. There are often wild fluctuations in the breakdowns.
Unless the national pollsters start asking more than 70 people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan who they want to vote for the results are simply not to be believed.