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[Ottawa – April 13, 2011] – In polling conducted early this week, voters appear to be backing away from a Conservative majority and are now looking more carefully at other options. In what is the tightest period of the race so far, the 11-point cushion that Conservatives had in the opening days of the campaign has been replaced with a scant 5-point lead.

Their comfortable and seat-efficient Ontario margin of 10 points has basically vanished and, at these numbers, the Conservatives would be looking at a significantly diminished minority.

The Conservatives are now at 33.8 points nationally – down from the outset of the early campaign where they were at 36.9 points. They are now more than three points shy of the last election and showing newfound weakness in the key regions of Ontario and British Columbia. Meanwhile, the Liberals are moving up steadily (if unspectacularly) and are now tied in the crucial Ontario market and newly competitive in a tight four-way race in British Columbia.

The other main story of this poll is that the claimed demise of the NDP is clearly premature. The New Democrats are showing important new strength, particularly in Quebec and British Columbia where they now lead. The NDP have risen steadily since the outset of the campaign (interestingly, not at the expense of the Liberal Party). Bloc support, meanwhile, continues to be off somewhat in Quebec but no real clear federalist champion has emerged. Elizabeth May’s Green Party has rebounded somewhat with Canadians and her party continues to do very well with voters under 25.

It is quite possible that the announcement of a draft Auditor General’s report suggesting inappropriate G8/G20 spending has accelerated a more placid tightening of the race that we observed at the conclusion of last week. There are also some very interesting insights evident in the shifting demographic constituencies for the parties. The Conservatives are displaying a highly divided generational split. Indeed, they have more than twice as much support among seniors as they do with youth while youth appear unable to find a party to rally behind. Women voters are defecting from the Conservative Party and there is now a very large gender gap. The NDP, meanwhile, is doing very well with women and has broadened its demographic constituency. The Liberals are doing best with the university educated and non-Canadian born and have made modest improvements among female voters.

Measures of enthusiasm and commitment still show the Conservatives with a major advantage but the gap seems to be eroding somewhat. The NDP, in particular, are showing more enthusiasm, perhaps in response to the NDP platform. Despite growing support and some modest gains, the Green Party vote is still plagued by a tendency by its supporters to defect to other parties or not vote. It appears now that Green Party support will be around or slightly higher than the levels of 2008.

All in all, the race is reaching a very interesting and dynamic midpoint which could still yield some major surprises on May 2nd.

Click here for the full report: full_report_april_13_2011

13 comments to RACE TIGHTENS ON EVE OF DEBATE – April 13, 2011

  • Michel Faure

    Very interesting. Maybe Canadians are finally waking up to the reality: Harper’s government is the worst the country has ever had. A conservative majority would be a disaster for our traditional values.

  • Money Man

    This seems to be a balanced analysis, it’s really unfortunate that only one candidate: Iggy is actually doing something about post-secondary students.

    So it’s crystal clear for a lot of students who to vote for, unfortunately for Layton he hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon whatsoever.

    I can tell you that Harper is not popular among students; moreover it seems to be the hard right-wing nutcases that he seems to have a backing from. They seem to believe every word he says, even if there was a paper which revealed he sent $1 Trillion tax paying dollars to Kim Jong Ill, the left-wing nut jobs would still vote for Harper; that’s how dedicated they are to bringing this country down.

    The whole Marijuana, illegaly drugged Green Party isn’t really what under 25 are crazy about. People need to move to Mexico or other scum-of-the-earth countries to get their high, not in Canada.

  • Keith D

    I’m a liberal & can’t stand Harper’s arrogance but would never vote for a guy that has no business being leader of the Liberal party. He was part of the old boys club with Martin and was pretty much given the leadership.

    Why is it that EKOS polling shows different numbers then the other pollsters….the cons seem to be close to a majority from other polls, but EKOS has them almost close to Liberal numbers??

  • Harper wants us automated. His divide and conquer election strategy is pure Neo Con – Rove and Cheney.

    Mindfulness only works if you Notice you’re Missing Something Important. Otherwise we stay partially asleep – on what I call Autopilot.

    This is now becoming crucial in Canada’s #elxn41. Stephen Harper is using this to hijack our lives and our country. Proclaiming his innocence and mildness through bland self presentation, he gives us over to Corporations and a Neo Conservative value system – that a majority of us decidedly reject.

    If my mother (who’d be just over 105 if alive) could’ve lived to see his antics she’d have called him “a smarmy creep” – and she was a nice, polite lady. For me – at only 63 – I am reminded of Dickens’ character in David Copperfield: Uriah Heep.

  • Kevin

    @Money Man

    Just how do you think Iggy will be able to afford this Family Pack of Lies? Have you read the entire platform? It’s a shell game where he will give $$$ for students but also cut back on $$$$$ for students by reducing the amount you can claim on your taxes. Basically taking it from one pocket and puting it into the other. Until you’ve completed your education most students are naive enough to fall for this. It’s his plan to mislead young vulnerable minds, it’s the liberal way. I was once a sucker of a student however once I began to earn my paycheck under the Cretien days I was shocked to see what was being stolen from me in taxes.

    BTW the conservatives are right of center not left as you stated and those who vote that way are not nutbars anymore than liberal supporters are commies.

  • Norman Chateau

    Keith D: “Why is it that EKOS polling shows different numbers then the other pollsters….the cons seem to be close to a majority from other polls, but EKOS has them almost close to Liberal numbers??”

    Here’s my theory. If you look at the results, you’ll see that 46% of the respondents have university or higher education. That’s about double the percentage in the general population. And since the Liberals get more of this vote than the Conservatives, it contributes to the EKOS numbers. I see that someone else pointed this out after the last EKOS poll a few days ago.

    It’s too bad but EKOS has become an outlier in the polls.

  • add

    So would someone explain why the Nanos polling shows Conservatives way ahead (three day rolling aside, it seems that there is significant differential)?

  • Mike McGuire

    I’d say add 4 points to the Ontario total until today, 6 after the Guelph fiasco. 75 Grit seats in Ont is going to be the low end.

  • Craig

    @Keith D

    Ignatieff isn’t my favourite Liberal leader either, but we still need to vote Liberal and support the party or there won’t be a Liberal party left for a better leader to take over. Ignatieff will be gone after this election and we can find a better leader, but in the meantime it’s still important to vote Liberal and keep Harper out.

  • John

    Typical, the Con-supporters have to resort to name calling. Maybe, rather then name calling you should read a book and learn something. Believing a marketing strategy used by the Conservatives to buy your vote for the umpteenth time sure does show your ignorance.

  • Gary

    I have been asking the same question myself about the range of numbers that are reported by the various polling groups. Most of us understand that polling is much like surveying so the questions you ask and how you ask it is a factor in the results you receive and then interpret. The last few evenings I spent time researching who was behind the different groups undertaking the various polls and it gives you a clearer understanding of the ideological makeup of those groups. So you put those pieces together and you can see where divergence in numbers can and frankly will be generated to support one side or the other. We would be foolish as voters to think that politics do not come into play.

    Having stated this I think the numbers are somewhere in the middle of all these groups. I don’t think Harper will get a majority I think it will be a similar seat breakdown as in the past parliament with a few swapping of seats. How this plays out will be the most interesting part of this election. I am not adverse to a coalition government in fact I think it would good to see a parliament that is forced to work more closely together along different party lines. After all cooperation and diversity is one of the things that has made Canada the country that it is.

  • I was a conservative follower until this election and have returned to the Liberal party where I believe my social values are better represented.Harper is touted as the good economist and he promised many things over the last five years, among them smaller more cost efficient government (govt is up 12.5%)and they spend money with a total lack of caution (1billian on G*/G20). Think of the services we could provide veterans, health care,education with that kind of money. I think Harper is a political tactitician with no respect for women in particular (Linda Keen, Helena Geurgis),or the polictical process. He is the Richard Nixon of Canada, win at any cost! Lie Lie Lie. I have lost total respect for this leader and the Conservative party of Canada.He has shown contempt for the individual and the parliamentary process and should not be rewarded with a majority.

  • Joan

    Many of the posts here follow the propaganda of the Liberal media, without examining other sides of the stories. Notice the mean-spiritedness, slurs, and fallacies of reasoning of those who follow Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe: “Birds of a feather flock together.” They are out to destroy, not build!

    Harper has brought us out of the recession on top and going upward. He has experience, and proof of great success. Anyone who thinks he is not democratic needs to look at the facts and all he has done for Canada, as opposed to the “promises” of those who wish to gain from forcing this election.

    For every slur on Harper there is a reasonable explanation. Google “Guergis,” for the truth on that slander, then “Prima Facie” (regarding the Liberal Speaker of the House’s decision on the oppositions’ contempt charge); then think about who voted for the “non-confidence” motion. People usually want change in a government – but they didn’t this time! We had no input – not to our M.P.s nor anyone. The opposition Leaders forced this election for what they saw as an opportunity to get more seats or be Prime Minister. Also, why did the R.C.M.P. appologize for turning the two students away from the Conservative rally? Harper knew nothing about it when it was happening. Take a look at the benefit to Canada of the fighter jet, economically and security wise. The Liberals started the quest – it went on for six years, and the top military brass decided what was best all around for this country. There’s a whole program on this on CPAC.
    Then there’s Iggy’s little story regarding the student polling site the Conservatives were never informed of that toted Liberal signs and an illegal ballot box (from which the votes were allowed). Iggy blames Harper for that! Come On!

    Iggy made lots of money writing Fiction, and twisting stories to what people wanted to hear. Anyone who looks into his new “little stories” he says he has “woven into a big story” about Harper, should investigate each of those before buying Iggy’s “Big Story”!

    Don’t go negative before you hear the positives!