Alliance drops to 10 per cent in poll
Liberals up to 51%, Tories at 16%, NDP stuck at 9%:
Tim Harper
· Alliance braintrust can't agree on expulsions (July 3)
· Text of letter to rebel Alliance MPs (July 3)
· Timeline: Stockwell Day's leadership
· The Star's view: Alliance a spent force (May 27)
· National affairs writer Chantal Hebert
· Columnist Dalton Camp
· The Canadian Alliance's official site
· Grassroots for the Canadian Alliance
· Grassroots for Day
OTTAWA - The Canadian Alliance, bleeding from caucus defections amid a public battle over leader Stockwell Day's future, has plunged to 10 per cent support among decided voters, a poll released today shows.

The Toronto Star/EKOS poll shows the federal Liberals continue to cruise along virtually unopposed, with the national support of 51.4 per cent of decided Canadian voters. That's up from 40.9 per cent in last November's election.

EKOS found the Liberals holding the majority support of decided voters in every region of the country except Alberta.

The Progressive Conservatives under Joe Clark have benefited only marginally from the Alliance free fall, now claiming 16.5 per cent of committed support, up from 15.1 per cent in a similar poll in May.

The Conservatives won 12.2 per cent of the popular vote in November.

The troubled Alliance, meanwhile, is at 10 per cent, meaning six of 10 Canadians who voted for the party seven months ago have now abandoned Day's party. It won 25.5 per cent in the federal election.

The poll results come amid mounting pressure on Day to resign as party leader. Yesterday, party stalwart Deborah Grey of Alberta became the 12th MP to leave caucus in protest against his leadership.

EKOS found the Alliance essentially at the same level of support it held in the spring of 2000. It received a pre-election bump in support - particularly in Ontario - during its leadership race, and the arrival on the national scene of a fresh face in Day.

The NDP remains stuck at 9.1 per cent nationally and the separatist Bloc Quˇbˇcois is at 7.3 per cent nationally - 30 per cent in Quebec, its lowest level of support there for many years.

The remainder of respondents were either undecided, do not vote or refused to give voting intentions.

``Unless there is a major disruption on the economic front or a flare-up on the unity file, there's not much out there which could disrupt the Liberal hold,'' said EKOS president Frank Graves.

He said numbers such as the ones released today may have led to some speculation from Jean Chrˇtien's inner circle about the possibility of the Prime Minister seeking a fourth term.

Although Graves doesn't believe that will happen, he said the temptation must be there when the Liberals survey the political field.

``These are continued bad times on both the right and left in Canada,'' he said.

EKOS polled 1,947 Canadians from June 13-22.

The national results are valid plus-or-minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, but the margin of error increases in the regional samples.

Sixteen per cent of Canadian voters were undecided and were not included in the poll results.

The voting preference numbers include those who are decided voters or ``leaning'' toward one of the parties.

Much of the Alliance attrition is going to Clark's Tories, Graves said, except in British Columbia, where the Liberals seem to be the beneficiary of Day's continued missteps.

In make-or-break Ontario, the Liberals hold 56 per cent support among decided voters with the Tories sitting at 20 per cent.

The NDP is now ahead of the Alliance in Ontario, holding 10 per cent of decided support, compared to the 9 per cent support for Day's party.

The Liberals' lowest support is 29 per cent in Alberta, where the party still trails the Alliance, which holds 32 per cent of committed support.

But Alberta, where the Liberals have vowed to shore up electoral support, is a three-way race.

This is because Clark's Tories have enjoyed a revival there and are supported by 25 per cent of decided voters.

Alberta is a province in electoral turmoil, Graves said.

Many voters there are in a state of flux, feeling ``humiliation and anger'' at the performance of native son Day, but unable to embrace the Tories and not ready to make the quantum leap over to the Liberals.

In Quebec, the Liberals have 50 per cent support, 20 percentage points ahead of the Bloc. In Atlantic Canada, they have 53 per cent support, 21 percentage points ahead of the Tories.

In both regions, the Alliance has 2 per cent support meaning that, given the margin of error, its support could be theoretically zero.

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