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[Ottawa – December 9, 2010] – It seems that little has changed over the last few weeks, with the Conservative Party retaining a modest five-point lead. Despite talks of a possible Conservative majority, the results suggest that the current trend to minority governments is not about to change. Indeed, at 33.7 points, the Conservatives are closer to losing power than they are to a majority, if there were to be a hypothetical election based on today’s numbers.

The elusiveness of a majority is also underlined by very low satisfaction levels with the direction of the federal government, which continues to sit just below the 40-point mark. Directional satisfaction is often serves as an indicator of future movement in the political landscape.

There is little of seasonal cheer for the Liberal who are stuck at 29.2 points. They can take some mild comfort in that they are faring relatively better than they were at this time last year, when the Conservative led by more than nine points. The more obvious problem, however, is the continued failure of Canada’s erstwhile natural governing party to crack the pretty humble 30-point ceiling they seem to be stuck under.

What may be most startling about this poll is how vividly it reveals the profound generational chasm in Canada. The Green Party now leads significantly among youth and would be close to the range of a majority government if voting were limited to those under 25. Seniors, meanwhile, stand firmly behind the Conservative Party, who would win a 200 plus seat majority if only those over 65 were to vote. Fortunately for the Conservatives, voting rates are much higher among seniors and the current reality of a strong Conservative minority government is much more in tune with the older voter lean than the hypothetical young Canada Parliament. This may in part explain the dismal voting rates among younger voters.

Regionally, Ontario (including the Greater Toronto Area), which will be the key battleground in the next election, is deadlocked, with the Conservatives and the Liberals in a statistical tie. There isn’t much else of note in the regional number for this poll.

This week, we also asked respondents what they considered to be the most important issue for the next election. For the first time in several years, social issues like health and education are eclipsing economic issues like jobs and growth by a slight but statistically significant margin. This shift could be seen as somewhat problematic for the Conservatives who, according to past research, are seen as better stewards of the economy while the Liberals and the NDP have traditionally been seen as better equipped to address Canada’s social issues. However, we have not yet seen any evidence to suggest that this shift in priorities has translated into gains in voter preference for opposition parties.

It is also noteworthy that while concerns with ethics are very low everywhere but Alberta, Quebeckers are showing much higher than normal concerns with ethics. In a more typical fashion, social issues are the dominant factors for Quebeckers and women voters.

Click here for the full report: full_report_december_9


  • Christopher Taylor

    Was it asked how likely a given voter was to vote in the next election? If the responses are not in line with the actual turn-out for the individual groups then I’d think the demographic breakdown of voters might be suspect, meaning not only are under 25 year old less likely to vote, but answer surveys to answer surveys as well. Perhaps this poll is capturing young people who are passionate about politics (specifically the environment) and not anything special about youth support for the Green party.

  • Other than re-enforcing what I have been saying for quite a while now, and I refer to my post of 25 Nov.’10

    As I have been saying for quite some time now, these polls can not be properly interpreted without taking into account the die-hard support (manifesting in 33%) for Harper and the Cons.

    I refer to this phenomenon as the ‘die-hard right-wing extremist, epi-centre in Alberta’ factor:

    33% points of Harper and the Con’s support in a poll can be attributed to the die-hard right-wing extremist*, epi-centre in Alberta factor.

    For example, 39.95% (last time: 38%) feel Harper and the Con’s are going in the right direction. Keeping in mind that 33.7% (last time: 33.3%) point are made up of people who feel Harper is in the ‘Right’ direction (i.e. they are supporting Harper because of his right wing ideology, as opposed to consideration of doing good for Canada).

    That leaves only 6 (5) points that are perhaps basing their answer on factors other than ideology. This number would have to be tracked for a while to get anything out of this since the margin of error is normally approx 3 points, in other words, the 6 (5) points is statistically significant but barely.

    Last time Graves starting to rack this aspect – vis.: the “Ideology” heading. However, it seems to have been omitted – Graves, you’ve dropped the ball a bit here.
    Graves suggests that the difference between youth (65) is significant. It would be nice to know what “social issues” means.

    It may well be that seniors are not thinking environment when they choose it.

    Presumably financial security, pensions, etc.,are tied up in economy – when you consider the $25 billion reduction in income trusts due to Con policies as well as the huge losses on the market during the Harper watch, you wonder why they consider it a big issue but support the Con’s. So what is left (or should I say ‘Right’).

    Then there is health care – which given Harper’s background one wonders why seniors would support the Con’s – education, support of the sciences and performing arts, etc., etc., etc..

    There is, of course, the long gun registry (???) and the long form census and what about Afghanistan and the detainee transfer issue.

    Then, don’t forget ‘tough on crime’ – could that be the ticket.

    Perhaps Graves could break down “social issues” more next time.

    It would be very interesting, and à propos, to know just exactly what it is about Harper and the Con’s that seniors like and youth’s don’t like and whether there is any co-relation.

    Lloyd MacILquham cicblog.com/comments.html