The Election: Day 26

With the leaders having retired from the field of battle to buy presents and eat Xmas turkey, I had not intended to post on the election today. However, the conflicting headlines in national newpapers reporting on duelling polls prompted me to comment on these polls.

Here are the headlines:

Tories neck and neck with Liberals, poll says (Post)

Tory campaign failing to gain traction with voters, poll (Globe)

Liberals gain some ground (Globe)

Tories recover in polls; stage set for tight race (Citizen)

The National Post/Ottawa Citizen stories are reporting on a nationwide survey by Ipsos Reid conducted for CanWest newspapers and Global National this week. According to Ipsos Reid, the nearly month-old federal election campaign has tightened into a close race between the Liberals and Tories and would likely produce a minority Conservative government if the vote was held now. It shows that Stephen Harper's Tories, after dropping in public favour during the early days of the campaign, have recovered their footing and are now neck-and-neck with Paul Martin's Liberals nationally. Moreover, because the Tories have turned the vote-rich Ontario battleground into a draw with the Liberals, Ipsos Reid says a Tory victory "would be the probable outcome" if voters went to the polls today.

Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker cautioned yesterday that the electorate is very volatile and said:

"It's going to go right down to the wire, just like the last time," he said.

According to this poll, the Liberals have the support of 33 per cent of decided voters, while the Conservatives stand at 32 per cent -- a statistical tie. Among the other parties, Jack Layton's NDP is supported by 16 per cent of voters, Gilles Duceppe's Bloc Quebecois is at 13 per cent, and Jim Harris's Green party is at five per cent. Among all Canadians, 12 per cent are undecided or refused to say who they would vote for.

The rise in Tory fortunes has been most evident in Ontario, where they are supported by 38 per cent of voters (up from 28 per cent in mid-December). The Liberals have dropped from 47 per cent to 40 per cent in the province.

In B.C., however, the Liberals are gaining -- rising from 33 per cent to 40 per cent. They have won most of those intended votes from the Green party (down to five per cent from eight per cent) and from the Tories (down from 33 per cent to 30 per cent.)

Before drinking a toast to these results, however, Stephen Harper and his colleagues should take a look at the latest Strategic Counsel poll which accounts for the headline in the Globe and Mail. The survey found that 36 per cent of voters prefer the Liberals, up from 33 per cent Thursday, compared to 29 per cent for the Conservatives, who are down one point. The NDP is at 17 per cent -- down one -- while the Bloc Québécois has also dropped a point to 13 per cent. The Globe opined that Stephen Harper's policy-heavy election campaign is no better at capturing voters' imaginations than the Liberal effort.

According to The Strategic Counsel survey, 25 per cent of Canadians say the Liberals are running the best campaign, up six percentage points from Dec. 5-6. By contrast, 23 per cent think the Tories have the best campaign, down from 26 per cent, while 16 per cent of Canadians think the NDP is making the best effort, up two points.

The Ottawa Citizen story on the Ipsos Reid poll is available at the Citizen. The Globe story on the Strategic Counsel poll is available at the Globe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With polls as conflicting as this, the race is probably quite tight. Voters are probably quite volatile. The only poll that counts is the one on January 23.