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[Ottawa – July 23, 2009] – When asked to choose among the most likely outcomes of the next election – Conservative majority, Conservative minority, Liberal majority or Liberal minority – most say they would like a majority government. The problem is that those people are almost evenly divided between favouring a Conservative majority and those who prefer a Liberal majority.

About a quarter of Canadians say they do not like any of these four options. Even fewer opt for either a Liberal or Conservative minority government.

“At the moment, there seems to be almost no way to get there from here,” said Frank Graves, President of EKOS Research, who conducted the poll exclusively for CBC News. “Canadians seem to have had their fill of minority governments and would like to return to the good old days of stable majorities. However, neither of the leading parties is anywhere near achieving that.”

After a winter and spring in which the Liberals closed the gap on the Conservatives, and then, for a time, created a small, if shaky lead, the two parties have both lapsed into a summer slump where neither can claim to be the front-runner – and neither looks like it has much of a shot at winning a majority.

“The Liberals certainly appear to have more potential to break out of this deadlock,” said Graves. “There are some structural elements that should favour the Liberals. The recession for one thing. Another is the fact that the Liberals easily outstrip the Tories as the voters’ second choice. However, the Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff, has failed so far to potentiate that secondary support, and the party has stalled.”

In fact the Conservatives lag not only the Liberals, but also the NDP and (very narrowly) the Greens as Canadians’ second choice. Almost every party apparently has more room to grow than the Conservatives do.

Another way of looking at the situation is that the Liberals would have to convert less than a third of their second-choice support to get into majority territory. The Conservatives would have to convert nearly half of theirs. Moreover, the Conservatives need to woo voters directly from the Liberals, while the Liberals can appeal to the supporters of smaller parties who might be willing to put aside their first choice in order to oust the Conservatives.

But at the moment, no party is growing, except the Greens, who may be benefitting from general dissatisfaction with the political options Canadians have. Their support is near the top of the range they have enjoyed in the polls historically, and much higher than their 2008 election result.

In fact, the Greens may have crossed a new threshold in that they are now in the lead by the narrowest of margins in one demographic cohort that will grow in influence in coming years: those currently under 25.

“It is hard to know whether this Green strength among the young is simply an expression of disenchantment with the existing political options, and whether the Greens can actually translate it into enduring political support,” said Graves. “But it does signal something very important: that a party which can capture this age-group, as Barack Obama did in the United States in 2008, and can get them out to vote, will have staked a significant claim on the political future in Canada.”

Click here for complete survey results: 0779-full-report-_july-23_

2 comments to CANADIANS WANT MAJORITY GOVERNMENT – July 23, 2009

  • I dont want a Majority Government, I prefer to have them on opposite sides of the post, to keep it equal, and to keep an eye on each other…… kinda like an older brother checking on his younger siblings…… keeps them all on their toes…. they work for the people??????

  • Gary Townshend

    Canadians might “want” a majority or minority government, BUT THAT’S NOT ON THE BALLOT!!! Don’t ask such stupid questions in your polls!