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AMERICAN HEALTH CARE: NO WAY; U.S TWO-PARTY SYSTEM: MAYBE; U.S. PRESIDENT: YES! – August 13, 2009

CANADIAN POLITICAL LANDSCAPE CONTINUES TO FLAT LINE

[Ottawa – August 13, 2009] – Although the political landscape in Canada looks significantly different from the election last year, it has more or less flat lined since the spring.

“If our vote intention tracking chart was a national cardiogram, it might be time to pull the plug,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “The only really notable change is that the NDP are up slightly from recent weeks, which may reflect the discussion about a possible name change.”

There are some other revealing findings from this poll that may signal future prospects for the different parties.

“Surprisingly, there is considerable receptivity to a proposal to radically reform the parliamentary system into a two-party system akin to the American system,” said Graves. “This finding is reflective of several factors: growing fatigue with the gridlocked and fractious multi-party system, declining U.S. antipathy, and loose fealty to the current system of parliamentary democracy.”

“There are some interesting splits on this issue along party lines,” said Graves. “Liberal supporters are not very receptive to the idea – perhaps because they’ve enjoyed years of hegemony based on pluralities – whereas Conservative supporters are receptive to the idea – perhaps due to their frustration at being unable to secure a majority mandate. Bloc supporters are actually the most in favour of this change, which is somewhat ironic given that it is unlikely that the BQ would be one of the parties in a two-party system.”

“There is an alarming trend line emerging for Michael Ignatieff on the job approval front,” notes Graves. “When we first asked the question in January his scores amounted to a net positive of over 20 points; he now sits at a net negative of about nine points. Essentially, his negatives have doubled over the past 6 months.” Indeed, with an approval rating of just 29%, Ignatieff now trails both Stephen Harper (36% approve) and Jack Layton (34% approve). While Harper still has the highest negatives, his positive ratings have improved modestly over the same timeframe, whereas Ignatieff’s have fallen precipitously.

The poll also found, however, that none of the Canadian leaders even comes close to the approval ratings given to U.S. President Obama. “Disapproval of 11 per cent is insignificant, and approval of 73 per cent more than eclipses the other three,” said Graves. “It is difficult to imagine another period in Canadian history when the public looked so warmly on the American presidency, while summoning such tepid responses to their own leaders.”

While Canadians may envy the U.S. leadership, almost no one covets the American health care system. “Whatever pitfalls of Canada’s system, it is seen as dramatically better in serving the needs of its overall citizenry,” said Graves.

Click here for complete survey results: 0779-full-report-_august-13_

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