SPEAKER’S RULING MAY NOT TEMPT ANY PARTY TO FORCE AN ELECTION
[Ottawa – April 29, 2010] – There is again talk of a parliamentary showdown, following this week’s ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons on the release of documents relating to the Afghan detainees. But the last poll taken before the ruling suggests there are reasons for both the two major parties to be wary of any brinksmanship that might force an election.
While the Conservatives are in first place, they continue to track well below their performance in the last election with less that a third of Canadians saying they would vote for them if an election were held. That suggests that a majority would be difficult to achieve, a reduced minority would be quite possible, and even a defeat would be conceivable.
As for the Liberals, they continue to be mired below the 30% threshold as they were in the last election.
The news for the two major party leaders is hardly more encouraging: Stephen Harper has a decisively negative job-approval rating; Michael Ignatieff’s negative rating is even worse.
If Jack Layton seems somewhat feistier on the possibility of an election over the issue of the detainee documents that the Liberals do, it may be in part because he, alone among the three national party leaders, has a positive job-approval rating, and strongly so. In terms of
potential gains in an election, the NDP is the second-choice for just as many voters as theLiberals are, meaning his party has proportionately much more upside potential. (The Tories trail both the national opposition parties as a second choice, and are struggling to compete with the Greens in this category.)
It’s a measure of Canadians’ lack of enthusiasm for their political options that fewer of them are willing to express a second choice among the parties than in the past.
“In this fragmented political landscape, Canadians have no clear political champion at the moment,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “If there is a positive side to this, it may be to encourage the major parties to work out a compromise on the issue of the detainee documents, as the Speaker has encouraged them to do.”
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