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TORY LEAD WANING – January 7, 2010


[Ottawa – January 7, 2010] – Canada’s ruling Conservatives, who surged into a commanding lead and comfortable majority territory in the wake of Liberal threats to trigger an election in the fall, have sunk back hard.

The Conservative lead over the Liberals, which was as high as 15 percentage points in mid-October, is now about five. Two-thirds of Canadians who express a preference are now choosing one of the opposition parties to support.

At 33 points – a low not seen since the summer – a majority is a fantasy for the Conservatives for the time being. Indeed, they are now closer to sitting in opposition than they are to presiding over a majority.

“There is no single issue that has dragged down Harper’s Conservatives,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “Certainly the Afghan detainee story got huge play in the media in the weeks before the holidays, and that appeared to put downward pressure on the Tories. However, the decline seemed to have stopped as Parliament headed into recess. The government’s decision to prorogue Parliament seems to have restarted the pattern of declining Conservative fortunes. Certainly, the prorogation manoeuvre is drawing near universal raspberries outside of the shrinking CPC base.”

It is notable that this decline over the past couple of months has occurred despite the continued strengthening of the economy.

The Conservatives soared into majority territory in sharp reaction to the Liberals’ push for an election in the late summer and early fall. At that time, the Liberals also dropped precipitously. Although the Liberals have recovered somewhat, the reason the gap between the two major parties is closing now is more due to a fall in support for the Conservatives than a rise in support for the Liberals, who remain below the 30% threshold.

“It may be that voters are still punishing the Liberals for their election threat – and their failure to explain why an election was necessary,” said Graves. “The NDP and the Greens, meanwhile, are
both up since October, so they may be capturing some of the Tory defections.”

The CPC is once again spiralling downward in Quebec. They are just under 15 points and while they have recovered a couple of times in Quebec in the past, they may be in danger of exhausting their shrinking political capital there. It seems from our past polling that three factors may be hurting them in Quebec: the detainee issue (as well as broader opposition to the Afghanistan mission), disappointment with the perceived tepid federal performance on the climate change file, and lingering fallout from the gun registry, which was given impetus following the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre. Furthermore, the Tories have lost their double digit lead in Ontario and the LPC is now (insignificantly) ahead in Ontario for the first time in several months.

The Conservatives have also lost ground with women where they now trail for the first time in many months, and they now clearly trail with the university educated. Harper’s remaining fortress is increasingly occupied by males and seniors – even the stalwart boomer support they have enjoyed is now less firmly siding with the CPC.

About a quarter of respondents to the EKOS poll supported the NDP in British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and the Atlantic provinces.

Meanwhile, the Greens may be at a high water mark at 13.4. It may have been boosted by Copenhagen, but if they can grow another point or two, they really will bear watching.

While this poll on its own is not a disaster for Harper, the overall trajectory, the forces at work, and the demographic shifts are all quite negative for the CPC.

Click here for the full report: full_report_january_7

6 comments to TORY LEAD WANING – January 7, 2010

  • mary

    Excellent analysis and truly a realistic reflection of Canadians at this crucial point in time where we have to face economic, foreign policy, climate, violence and an aging population issues. And what did we get from the Harper Dictatorship? Or, as some younger (even conservatives) citizens are calling it: “THE BANANA REPUBLIC OF THE NORTH”

    When you so blatantly try to silence the Parliamentary Process and Public Debate, in esssence Mr. Harper is saying: I don’t like Democracy. It’s much overrating.

    Harper is a man with no actual experience in business or any exeuctive experience beyond that of a backroom policy wonk for the Party. His views are narrow, parochial and socially myopic–and this is not MY Canada or anyone’s!

    Dief, Pearson, Tommy Douglas, Woodsworth, Trudeau, Stanfield…are now turning over in their graves at the incomprehensible metamorphosis of Canadian Democracy!

  • You can add our names to the growing anti harper horde!!!

  • Naveed Haque

    A very pleasing downward trend. I’m waiting for the day that Harper’s Conservatives are turfed from office, and Canada once again becomes a more respected country internationally and caring one domestically.

  • Dictator Harper’s government is racist, sexist and in some places just plain stupid. I refer to his cutting equity payments to women because he feels women do not deserve as much pay for the same work as men. He swooped in and “saved” a white woman in jail in Mexico, but a non-white Muslim was left to languish. the just plain stupid one is firing a female safety inspector for the chalk river site. She was right he was very wrong, but no one has held his feet to the fire over that. The list goes on with Peter and the detainee problem. Either he is guilty and should be tried or completely incompetent and must resign. Where will it end?

  • The PMO sent out some talking points about the history of prorogation. Conservative operatives have been posting them in comments all over the place and they have totally muddied the debate. There is nothing normal about this prorogation.

    Harper has NOT run standard or even acceptable sessions of parliament. He has made three controversial and questionable dissolutions of parliament since he took power less than four years ago, in February 2006:
    (1) September 2008 – Harper dissolved parliament and called an election (or rather, forced the Governor General to) despite his own law, passed in 2007, that created fixed election dates every four years. He did this because two months later Canadians would have known that he had created a structural budget deficit.
    (2) December 2008 – Harper prorogued parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote.
    (3) December 2009 – This prorogation.

    This prorogation was NOT done so that MPs can watch the Olympics or create a budget or have time to think. Parliament was prorogued because the special House of Commons committee focusing on the 2006-07 treatment of Afghan detainees had attained such overwhelming evidence that they held an emergency meeting on December 14 and then announced that they would widen the inquiry. On December 15, rumours started swirling that Harper would prorogue parliament.

    It is NOT the case that Harper’s use of prorogation is the same as the 104 other prorogations in Canada’s history. Other than incidents in 1873 and 1926, prorogation has not been used to avoid being accountable to parliament.

    It is NOT true that Chretien’s 2003 prorogation was the same as this one. In the 2003 incident, Chretien prorogued when Martin was voted in to replace him as PM, so the parliamentary agenda needed to be reset, which is the purpose of proroguing.

  • Jamie

    When the Prime Minister does as he wants to do with no regard for true democracy or finding the truth, trying to become an all controlling individual and silencing his MPS….well he and his party deserves to be out of office. This is Canada…and we will vote again and make a choice based on the CP actions.