CANADIANS LIKE DIRECTION OF THE COUNTRY BUT NOT OF THE GOVERNMENT
[Ottawa – May 13, 2010] – While the Conservative Party managed to attract just over a third of Canadians this week, the fact that no party has reached 34 points in over four months is a dramatic sign of the weakness of Canada’s main parties. Although the growth from last week was extremely small, it is apparent that the Conservatives have, over recent months, created a significant lead over the second-place Liberals.
“As recently as February, the two parties were in a virtual tie,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “Although the gap between the two parties has grown by tiny increments, it is quite clear from the perspective of the last few months that it is significant and growing. This trend has continued in recent weeks even though the headlines have been dominated by the Guergis-Jaffer affair and the dispute over documents relating to Afghan detainees.”
The poll is one of a series done by EKOS with extremely robust sample sizes for exclusive release by the CBC.
It may not be surprising that as the economy recovers, Canadians are generally positive about the direction of the country. A majority thinks it is moving in the right direction. What is surprising in this context is that the percentage of Canadians who say the government is moving in the right direction is dropping. There is now a ten-percentage point gap running against the government.
“This seems paradoxical on its face,” said Graves. “Why would the Conservatives be widening their gap over the Liberals when they are losing faith in the direction of the government? The explanation must be in the perceived weakness of the opposition parties, particularly the official opposition Liberals.”
Interestingly, Liberal supporters are about evenly divided on the direction of the country, though like other opposition party supporters they are negative about the direction of the government. Supporters of other opposition parties are sharply negative on both indicators.
“There are three identifiable camps among Canadian voters now: Conservative supporters who are enthusiastic about where the country is going, Liberals who are divided, and the supporters of the other opposition parties who are decisively unhappy about the direction of the country,” said Graves.
The two main parties are closely matched in Ontario. In Quebec, the Tories have faded from their 2008 election performance, but this has not helped the Liberals. The NDP and Greens are running surprisingly strongly in Quebec by historical standards.
Click here for the full report: full_report_may_13