Skip to comments.Conservatives surge ahead,Liberals in freefall after devastating Gomery testimony
Posted on 04/11/2005 6:05:20 AM PDT by Pikamax
Conservatives surge ahead Liberals in freefall after devastating Gomery testimony
SUSAN DELACOURT AND ROBERT BENZIE OTTAWA AND TORONTO
OTTAWA - Conservative Leader Stephen Harper would become prime minister if an election were held today, according to a new Toronto Star poll.
The poll, conducted by EKOS Research Associates, shows the federal Liberals are in a dramatic freefall, even in their usual Ontario stronghold.
EKOS surveyed Canadians immediately following the release of devastating testimony last Thursday by former Montreal ad executive Jean Brault at the inquiry looking into the federal government's sponsorship scandal. Brault alleged gross misconduct in the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party.
The pollster found that only 25 per cent of respondents nationwide would vote today for the Liberals, compared to 36.2 per cent for the Conservatives. The Liberals won a minority government with about 37 per cent of the vote in June 2004.
In Ontario, the Conservatives now lead with 40 per cent of the vote. The Liberals are at 33 per cent. Prime Minister Paul Martin escaped the indignity of losing the government last year when the party won 74 of the 106 seats in Ontario.
It's not just the sponsorship revelations dragging the federal Liberals down in Canada's biggest province, but also the so-called "fair-share" campaign that has pitted Premier Dalton McGuinty's provincial government against Martin's Liberals.
According to Frank Graves, president of EKOS, last week's scandal revelations only "lit the fuse, igniting resentment over fair-share treatment and ultimately producing a Liberal implosion in Ontario."
EKOS surveyed 1,125 Canadians, 18 years and older, between Thursday and Saturday.
Results from a survey of that size are considered accurate to within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The national results gave the NDP 20.5 per cent of the vote; the Bloc Québécois, running in Quebec only, 12.6 per cent and the Green party 5 per cent.
Standings in the 308-seat House of Commons today are Liberals 133, Conservatives 99, Bloc 54 and NDP 19. There are two independents and one vacancy.
The results suggest the possibility of a spring election, although the opposition parties likely do not want to defeat the government until after the British Columbia election on May 17 and the visit by the Queen to Canada in late May.
And testimony at the sponsorship inquiry, headed by Justice John Gomery, also ends in late May.
For the Liberals, 25 per cent nationally represents a significant drop 15 percentage points lower than they received in EKOS' last poll in February and 11 percentage points lower than the popular vote they gained in last June's federal election.
For the Tories, it's a 10-point climb since the February poll and seven percentage points higher than the 2004 popular vote nationwide.
Graves calls it "a breathtaking shift in what had been a stagnant and listless political landscape" a shift, which seems to have taken place since Brault rocked the political world late last week with tales of forced kickbacks and payoffs to the Liberal party.
Those revelations, coming in a flood after a publication ban was lifted by Gomery last Thursday, have created an almost perfect climate for the Conservatives to form a minority government, the poll shows.
Graves said "there is little sense of any huge affection for the Conservatives, with voters caught between anger at the Liberals and only tepid enthusiasm for the only serious contender to form a government."
Though Harper and his Tories have been saying they will take their time to assess the scandal fallout and not be pushed by an election-eager Bloc Québécois, this new poll shows that temptation will be running high for the opposition to seize upon the mood quickly and bring down the shaky Liberal minority government.
"In the current volatile landscape, if there is to be another federal election in the near future, voters will likely consider where the broader electorate is before deciding where to throw their support," Graves said.
"I suspect most still prefer a minority government, but this time of a different political stripe."
The only obstacle to a snap spring vote, however, is that the poll also shows a high number of Canadians opposed to calling an election on the integrity issue.
A full 62 per cent of those polled thought an election shouldn't take place until a report is issued from Gomery later this year and another 21 per cent said the integrity issue wasn't important enough to provoke an election.
Only 15 per cent said an election would be a good idea, "to clear the air."
Martin has not yet issued any public statements in reply to last week's developments at the sponsorship inquiry.
This morning, he makes a brief appearance on the subject of medical waiting times and then he will be in the Commons to face the opposition during Question Period.
In Rome for the Pope's funeral when the news hit the stands last week, Martin has pointedly avoided reporters' queries and remained huddled out of public view all weekend.
Harper too, also in Rome for Friday's papal funeral, has taken a similar tack, though he did show up at a rally on Parliament Hill against same-sex marriage over the weekend.
His advisers are presumably also seeing internal polling showing a surge in Ontario, which raises some questions about why the Conservative leader would choose this timing to underline a stand that has not traditionally been popular in urban Ontario, where the party needs the votes.
But there's more bad news for Liberals in the poll on this front. By a ratio of two-to-one, Canadians are more likely to see Martin as part of the problem than as part of the solution to the sponsorship mess, the EKOS/Star poll shows.
A full 60 per cent of respondents said they saw the Prime Minister as "an essential part of the Liberal government since 1993 and now, as leader of the Liberal party, should be held accountable for the sponsorship mess."
Less than half that amount 29 per cent said Martin "had little to do with the sponsorship mess and deserves credit for calling the inquiry."
Liberals are now trailing in every region of the country, especially in Quebec and British Columbia, where the poll shows the party under threat of obliteration.
In Quebec, the Liberals have just 15 per cent support; in Alberta, only 10 per cent.
These were the types of low, low numbers that former prime minister Brian Mulroney's Conservative government received in polls in the months before it was dumped from office in 1993 and reduced to just two seats in the Commons.
When EKOS asked respondents to characterize their view of this current sponsorship controversy, more than a third 34 per cent called it "the worst government scandal that I can recall."
Only slightly more, 37 per cent, called it "no worse than other government scandals," reflecting what could be widespread cynicism with politics overall.
Another 22 per cent said this current scandal is worse than other government scandals, but not the worst they could recall. Only 4 per cent called it "not a particularly bad problem."
Gomery is probing all aspects of the $250-million sponsorship program, which funnelled $100 million to Liberal-friendly ad agencies, who often did little or no work.
The poll also shows that Canadians believe social issues, not "ethics and accountability," are by far the most important things going into the next election.
Least important are "fiscal issues," the poll showed.
If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?
Such a shame.
It's hard to like someone who keeps spitting on you. Once Canada decides America is not so bad and treats us like a friend again, America will forgive and makeup.
Aren't "conservatives" in Canada basically our RINOs?
Depends on what Canadian conservatives do with their power. I'm betting most Canadians are nothing more than misplaced EU type Europeans who revel in their weakness and blame America for all their problems.
Regardless of who runs the country I think we are very different from Canadians and thats the real root problem.
"If Canada goes Conservative, will Freepers still dislike Canada?"
depends on Harpers view of the US
if he decided to sign up for Missile Defense and doesnt have any of his MPs squish a Bush voodoo doll on TV then obviously we will like Canada better silly ;)
I disagree. America really doesn't care about Canada. At all. Really.
I agree that what Canada says or thinks is not of much concern to most Americans, but the negative attitude some have towards Canada is more a reflection of what they say about us then anything else. America generally likes Canada except lately they keep pooping in our yard.
Canada is good for the United States in three areas:
- It grows big walleyes.
- It knows how to brew real beer.
- It manufactures flush toilets that work.
(Do the Indians up near Sioux Lookout still shoot arrows at locomotives?)
Pseudo "conservative" in Canada.
Not all of them. Many of them are equal to pure Republicans.
Most of those voters are not voting Conservative though. In Quebec (where anti-Americans are in the majority), they are voting Bloc en masse. Outside of Quebec (where they are in a sizable minority), they will either be sticking to the Fiberals, but more likely voting NDP or staying home.
http://www.thestar.com/static/PDF/050411_fed_vote.pdf - for poll details
Well maybe some of them from the Western Provinces.
If i may quote robin williams
"living in Canada is like living in the apartment above a really great party"
And some from the "east": Cheryl Gallant (possibly the most conservative member in the House), Scott Reid, Pierre Poilievre, Guy Lauzon, Gord Brown...all staunch conservatives from Ontario. (Not to mention many in the provincial legislature like Jim Flaherty, Frank Klees, John Baird and Tim Hudak)
Another interesting note: at the bottom it says "social issues", in other words "moral values", are the #1 voter concern.
Sounds like a repeat of the 2004 US election!
Speaking of the west, freepers should like this guy:
On the list of things Canada has that the US should care about:
- Alberta Oil Sands
- Unlimited supply of fresh water
- "The Canada-U.S. trade relationship is the largest ever to exist between two nations. Two-way trade in goods and services between Canada and the United States during 2000 was estimated at approximately C$700 billion, or almost C$2.0 billion per day."
- "Canada has been the leading foreign export market for U.S. goods since 1946."
- Alberta Oil Sands
- Unlimited supply of fresh water
Did I mention the Alberta oil sands?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.