Jan. 20, 2003
Martin's coronation likely: Poll


OTTAWA—Most Canadians believe Paul Martin will be crowned leader of the Liberal party without a real contest now that Industry Minister Allan Rock has dropped out of the race, a new poll says.

And a majority of those who think a coronation is inevitable believe it would be a "good thing" for Canada, according to the survey by EKOS Research Associates Inc.

EKOS polled 1,001 adults across Canada on Jan. 14-16, just after Rock announced he would not run to replace Prime Minister Jean Chrétien as Liberal leader. The results are considered valid within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Martin, the former finance minister, is the frontrunner in the leadership race that culminates in a November convention in Toronto. Rock announced Tuesday he was quitting the race because he had no prospect of winning.

Asked if Rock's withdrawal means Martin will become Liberal leader "without a real contest," 58 per cent of respondents agreed. Eighteen per cent disagreed, while 23 per cent were undecided.

Among the people who said Martin would win within without a real race, 51 per cent said that would be a "good thing" for the country, while 31 per cent said it would a "bad thing" for Canada. The undecided totalled 18 per cent.

Asked how they would vote in a federal election, 52.1 per cent of decided voters opted for the Liberals, with the other national parties far behind.

The Progressive Conservatives notched 13.8 per cent of voter support and the New Democrats recorded 13.6 per cent. The Canadian Alliance wound up in fourth place, with 10.5 per cent, followed by the Bloc Québécois with 6.9 per cent. Of those surveyed, 25.8 per cent were undecided.

When people in Ontario were asked how they would vote in a federal election, 60 per cent said Liberal. Other stated preferences were: Progressive Conservatives (17 per cent), NDP (15 per cent), Canadian Alliance (8 per cent), another party (1 per cent).

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