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Ekos poll: Liberals open up margin on Conservatives

Well now, this is the first poll I’ve seen since Ignatieff became leader that shows the Liberals have opened up a lead on the governing Conservatives outside of a poll’s margin of error:

Asked which party they would support if an election were held tomorrow, 36.7 opted for the Liberals while 30.2 per cent chose the Conservatives. About 15.5 per cent supported the NDP, while the Green party was the choice of 8.1 per cent and the Bloc Québécois was backed by 9.4 per cent. A similar poll question was asked just after the December prorogation crisis, when the minority Conservative government almost fell in the face of a challenge from a Liberal-NDP coalition headed by former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion. It suggested the Conservatives had 44 per cent approval among the Canadian public, with dips for the Liberals (at 24 per cent) and NDP (at 14.5 per cent)

It’s clear the change in Liberal leadership, as well as I’d argue the ineptness that the Harper government has shown on economic issues in general and dealing with the recession in particular, has combined to plunge the Harper Conservatives in a matter of 3 months. Regarding the specifics of the poll for certain regions, look at what we have for Ontario and Quebec (and I particularly like the terminology used by the pollster when describing Conservative fortunes in Quebec):

The province of Quebec in particular “almost looks like a wasteland for them,” the pollster said. Though the poll’s Quebec margin of error is relatively high at plus or minus 5.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20, the Conservatives register only 10.9 per cent support in the province, compared to 39.5 per cent for the Bloc Québécois, 33.0 per cent for the Liberals, 11.7 per cent for the NDP and 4.9 per cent for the Greens. In the Ontario breakdown, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20, the Conservatives enjoy 32.4 per cent, compared to 42.0 per cent for the Liberals

You can also see the lack of reality Conservative voters have – it’s very similar to the Republican base who still thought Bush was the greatest President ever at the end of his tenure:

“Harper’s approval rating is in the 90s for Conservative supporters,” Graves said. “There’s a vivid gap between the Conservative base, who are very happy with the general direction of the country, and everyone else.”

That type of disconnect between the Conservative base and “everyone else” plus the polling in the 2 largest provinces spells defeat for the Conservative government if that trend holds. (Do I smell a June election, anyone?). But, as someone else with more election experience can attest, Harper’s government ain’t over til it’s over, and he should not be underestimated. Still, the thought is there that removing this embarrassment of a government from power is within reach.

UPDATE @ 6:38 pm: Courtesy of KNB, the Leadership approval ratings are this: Harper is at a 38% job approval rating (which is helped by that aforementioned 90+% approval rate from Conservative supporters) vs 54% disapproval. Ignatieff in the meantime enjoys 50% approval of how he’s doing his job vs 28% who disapprove; a stunning disparity between the 2 leaders. I expect the Conservative War Room has gone into apoplexy over those numbers. Don’t be shocked if those threatened “attack ads” on Ignatieff’s leadership by anonymous Conservative sources a few weeks back show up on airtime a lot sooner then they’ve been letting on.

3 comments to Ekos poll: Liberals open up margin on Conservatives

  • 10.9% for the CPC in Québec. Amazing. That’s Rhino Party territory…

  • The fact that he’s been able to “coalesce” his base in the past few months, means a continuance of the right wing actions he’s carried on recently. This may alienate Ontario and Quebeckers, but in Harper’s “me first”, “conservative to the extreme”, “scorched-earth” world, his strategy fits. He NEEDS his base to maintain his grip on power WITHIN his party, and to try to solidify support in his Prairie heartland.

    Look for Harper to get more virulent in his attacks. Look for his MPs to be more outspoken on matters of guns, same-sex marriage, “foreigner-terrorists”, Canadian Wheat Board, etc., as they appeal for votes. Watch the attack ads on Ignatieff… They’re coming…

    • @WesternGrit, As I said in my update, I won’t be surprised if they come a lot sooner. I trust though that the Liberal response will be a lot more forceful this time around then when they besmirched and smeared Dion’s character.

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