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[Ottawa – February 18, 2010] – The dramatic movement in the fortunes of Canada’s two leading parties over the last four months seems to have come to an end, with neither able to muster even a third of Canadians in support. The Conservatives retain a narrow lead over the second-place Liberals who are too feeble at the moment to overtake a governing party that is mired at 31% support.

“It is extremely unusual for no party to command even a third of the electorate over many weeks, which is the situation we have now,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “Though the Conservatives have tumbled from the low forties four months ago to the low thirties now, the Liberals have made much less impressive gains.”

“If Liberals thought they could win power simply by getting out of the way and allowing the Tories to decline, they may be proven wrong. They simply are not getting a large enough share of the voters fleeing the Conservatives to displace them as the leading party.”

The poll, one of a series conducted by EKOS for exclusive release by the CBC, shows that Canadians continue to express dissatisfaction with the direction of the federal government by a significant margin. Their lack of enthusiasm, nonetheless, for an early election – seen in a recent EKOS poll – may be explained by their lack of enthusiasm for the obvious alternative, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals.

Only the Green Party is tracking above its performance in the 2008 election, though experience suggests the Greens may have difficulty converting their performance in opinion polls into actual ballots on election day. (The Greens also have great difficulty winning seats because their support is so evenly distributed nationwide.) Green supporters, who skew younger than the other parties, are less likely to vote, and some may be disaffected former Liberals who are “parking” their support as they search for a more appetizing alternative to the governing Conservatives.

In this poll, the Liberals no longer have a significant advantage over the Conservatives in Ontario, as they did just a few weeks ago. They retain an advantage in the Atlantic provinces and appear to be competitive in British Columbia.

Click here for the full report: full_report_february_18


  • G Nam

    This is why I was glad to see Mr. Dion being replaced by Mr. Ignatiff. He is more a fiscal conservative and fails to reinvigorate the left. As long as he is in power, there is no way the libs can win the election.

  • Donald Bruce Smith

    it is good to see Ekos is not measuring the drop in Liberal Numbers or commenting on the drop in voter intention and I will add that the comments from Mr. graves are now becoming so pro Liberal it is giving me cause to recondier how unbaised these polls are.

    Jan 20 – Jan 26; Conservatives 31.1% Liberals 31.6%
    Jan 27 – Feb 02; Conservatives 31.0% Liberals 31.9%
    Feb 10 – Feb 16; Conservatives 31.2% Liberals 29.0%

    That is a drop of 2.9% in the Liberals numbers in just 14 days and if you look at the daily numbers in the weekly tracking poll, you would find that the Liberals have been tracking below the 29.0% on three occasions in this reporting period

    That trend is reflected in their decreased weekly national Numbers and they have now tracked as low as 26.9%, which puts them back in the Dion numbers once again.

    1) Comparing Ontario from Jan 27 to Feb 2, the liberals have dropped from 40.6% to 35.0% and the Conservatives have moved up from 32.4% to 34.6%, which puts them within the MOE now.

    2) Comparing voters born outside of Canada from Jan 27 to Feb 2, the liberals have dropped from 45.0% to 35.3% and the Conservatives have moved up from 28.2% to 31.2%, which still puts them out side the MOE, but the Liberals have now lost 10.0% in two weeks.

    3) Comparing Quebec from Jan 27 to Feb 2, the liberals have dropped from 27.0 to 24.9 and this is one area that they felt they had to grow their base.

    4) Comparing female voters from Jan 27 to Feb 2, the liberals have dropped from 31.5% to 27.9% and the Conservatives are at 28.0 down from 28.3%, but this still puts them ahead of the Liberals, although it is still within the margin of error.

    Those were the four principle areas that the Liberals grew to close the gap with the Conservatives, which if one measures the trend – it would appear that the Liberal growth is now reversing itself.

    Therefore, no bounce for the Conservatives, but it appears to be down hill again for the Liberals.

  • Donald Bruce Smith

    These are the daily numbers for the Liberals since Feb 5th 30.8%, 29.0%, 27.3%, 29.0%, 28.4%, 26.9%, 28.5% 31.% and lastly Feb 16 at 30.4%. so when I read frozen in the headline and then I recall that the Liberals were at 31.9% just two weeks ago.

    I question that every tick upwards for the Liberals was marked, measured against the Conservatives as shown by comments made by Mr. Graves listed below and that there was a point where Ekos was so high on the Liberals that Mr. Graves was offering up the possibility of minority Government for the Liberals.

    The fact that Ekos is measuring every tick up for the Liberals and that there is not a mention of every tick down for the Liberals, while at the same time Ekos was measuring each drop in Conservative support and reporting on where that drop was.

    Comment By Graves, that I believe support my POV that there is an unbalance in the reporting.

    Why not report on the Liberals in the same manner as the Conservatives?

    1) “However, the fact that prorogation backfired on the government, and that its response to Haiti has been well-received but has not translated into support for the Conservative party, suggests there may be some sturdiness to these trends.”

    2) The Liberals are staging a comeback at the moment among many of their key regions and demographics.

    3) They are now clearly the strongest federalist party in Quebec.

    4) The Liberals now have a clear lead among younger voters, though they continue to lag the Conservatives among older voters who have a higher propensity to vote.

    5) They have reclaimed a solid lead among university educated voters and among New Canadians – groups they had lost to the Tories during what was a dismal political fall season for the Liberal Party.

    6) The Conservatives retain a narrow lead among men – a demographic group among whom they often lead by a larger margin.

    7) The two parties are virtually tied among women, though the Liberals have been on an upward trend in what is for them a traditional bulwark demographic.

    8) They have regained a modest lead in Ontario, and a larger one in the Atlantic provinces.