A new poll confirms what Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the
Liberals already know from their own polling: support for their party
and their leader is soaring right across the country.
"The Liberals exert a stranglehold over the Canadian political landscape
today, and they appear poised to continue that for some time in the
future," said Frank Graves whose company, Ekos Research Associates,
conducted the survey for the CBC and Radio-Canada in partnership with
the Toronto Star and La Presse.
More than 3,000 Canadians were asked: If a federal election were held
tomorrow, which party would you vote for?
The majority, 52.6 per cent said they would choose the Liberals. That's
up from 40.9 per cent on election day last November.
The Conservatives are a distant second at 17.9 per cent. But that's up
from 12.2 per cent last year.
The Canadian Alliance is at 9.8 per cent. On election day the Alliance
was at 25.5 per cent.
The NDP is at 9.1 per cent compared to 8.5 per cent. And the Bloc
Québécois is at 8.2 per cent, down from 10.7 per cent.
Graves said the numbers show the Canadian Alliance party is slipping
into oblivion everywhere. Even in the former Alliance bastions of
Alberta and British Columbia the Liberals are in the lead.
Not only is the Alliance party suffering badly, so is the leader. The
poll suggests only 10 per cent of Canadians have a high level of trust
in Stockwell Day, compared with 26 per cent just before the last
Canadians' level of trust in party
Graves said the poll is Day's political obituary. "As a viable leader of
a national government, I think he's effectively dead."
By contrast, the poll suggests that Tory leader Joe Clark is enjoying a
"Joe Clark is our political Lazarus," said Graves. "He's managed to
rehabilitate himself." The poll shows 38 per cent have a high level of
trust in Clark now, compared with 19 per cent a year ago.
But Chrétien's trust level is ahead of everyone at 45 per cent.
And there's more good news for the federal Liberals. The poll indicates
that the sovereignty movement in Quebec is losing steam.
The poll, conducted between July 26 and August 29, finds that 58 per
cent of Quebecers would now vote "no" versus 42 per cent who support
sovereignty, or the "yes" side.
Federalists have not been stronger in the province in 20 years.
Compare that to the 1995 referendum result, a squeaker where the
federalist forces won 50.6 per cent, with the sovereigntists close
behind at 49.4 per cent.
The poll also shows for the first time that Chrétien is the most
popular leader on the political scene in Quebec.
Graves called this turnaround for Chrétien "breathtaking."
"He's almost doubled the sense of confidence, or trust in him today
compared to three or four years ago."
Graves said that if nothing changes, Chrétien could easily go for
and win a fourth term. But he added that much of the support across the
country is tied to confidence in the economy. If that should drop, so
too could Liberal fortunes.
The poll is accurate plus or minus 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out
of 20. The Quebec section of the poll has a larger margin of error of
3.7 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Written by CBC News Online staff