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Nanos Federal Tracking: Tories and NDP statistically tied - Harper ahead, Mulcair scores well

29 comments Latest by RonaldODowd

The latest Nanos tracking suggests that the Conservatives are now statistically tied with the NDP in terms of ballot share, at 34.7% and 32.4% respectively. The Liberals are in third place at 23.3%, followed by the Greens at 4.2% and the Bloc Québécois at 3.9%. While support for the Tories remained steady at the national level, the NDP was the main beneficiary - a likely consequence of the election in late March of Thomas Mulcair as party leader. Regional support for the Liberals dropped in Quebec, the Prairies and BC. In Quebec, support for the Bloc Québécois has also dropped.

The post-NDP-election “Mulcair effect” was also felt on the Nanos Leadership Index. While Stephen Harper has retained the top spot on the Index despite a drop of 36.6 points, new NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has comfortably moved ahead of Liberal leader Bob Rae to take second place. Mulcair now sits twelve Index points behind Harper.

Of note, Stephen Harper’s Index score in April 2012 is the lowest score he has received since Nanos launched the Leadership Index.

With relatively stable Tory ballot support, the research suggests that recent controversies have likely had a negative impact on the Harper brand.

Overall, one data point a trend does not make. We will have to monitor the tracking on a go forward basis to see if this is the new normal or if the trend line readjusts.

Jobs/the economy and healthcare are statistically tied as the top issue of concern for Canadians, cited respectively by 21.9% and 21.6% of respondents. As the student protests over university tuition fees continue to dominate headlines in Quebec, the province has helped bring education into the spotlight, chosen by one in ten (10.1%) Canadians as their most pressing issue of concern.


Between April 13th and 18th, Nanos Research conducted a random telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians 18 years of age and older. A random telephone survey of 1,200 Canadians is accurate plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. For 975 committed voters, it is accurate plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Results for February 29th, 2012 are from a random telephone survey of 1,203 Canadians conducted between February 25th and 29th, 2012. A random telephone survey of 1,203 Canadians is accurate plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

National Ballot Question: For those parties you would consider voting for federally, could you please rank your top two current local preferences? (Committed voters only - First Preference)

The numbers in parentheses denote the change from February 29th, 2012 (n=1,005). *Undecided represents respondents who are not committed voters.

Canada (n=975 committed voters)

Conservative 34.7% (-1.0)
NDP 32.4% (+7.4)
Liberal 23.3% (-6.2)
Green 4.2% (+0.8)
Bloc Quebecois 3.9% (-1.0)
*Undecided 18.8% (+2.4)

Leadership Index Questions: As you may know, [Rotate] Bob Rae is the interim leader of the federal Liberal Party, Stephen Harper is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Thomas Mulcair is the leader of the federal NDP, Elizabeth May is the leader of the federal Green Party and Daniel Paillé is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois. Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as: the most trustworthy, the most competent, the leader with the best vision for Canada. (n=1,200)

Readers should note that Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff, Gilles Duceppe and Nycole Turmel are no longer on the Leadership Index tracking.

*The numbers in parentheses denote the change from February 29th, 2012 (n=1,203).

Leadership Index Score

Stephen Harper 65.8 (-36.6)
Thomas Mulcair 53.8 (+33.5)
Bob Rae 36.5 (-17.9)
Elizabeth May 19.6 (-5.0)
Daniel Paillé 5.3 (-6.4)

The Most Trustworthy Leader (n=1,200)

Stephen Harper 20.0% (-11.7)
Thomas Mulcair 19.5% (+12.7)
Bob Rae 13.6% (-5.9)
Elizabeth May 8.4% (-2.9)
Daniel Paillé 2.0% (-2.3)
Unsure 20.6% (+6.8)
None 15.8% (+3.3)

The Most Competent Leader (n=1,200)

Stephen Harper 24.2% (-13.9)
Thomas Mulcair 17.0% (+11.3)
Bob Rae 12.2% (-6.5)
Elizabeth May 5.1% (-0.1)
Daniel Paillé 1.3% (-2.7)
Unsure 24.4% (+5.5)
None 15.8% (+6.5)

The Leader with the Best Vision for Canada’s Future (n=1,200)

Stephen Harper 21.6% (-11.0)
Thomas Mulcair 17.3% (+9.5)
Bob Rae 10.7% (-5.5)
Elizabeth May 6.1% (-2.0)
Daniel Paillé 2.0% (-1.4)
Unsure 27.1% (+5.7)
None 15.2% (+4.7)

Top Issue Question: What is your most important NATIONAL issue of concern? [Unprompted] (n=1,200)

*The numbers in parentheses denote the change from February 29th, 2012 (n=1,203).

Jobs/economy 21.9% (-3.9)
Healthcare 21.6% (+5.7)
Education 10.1% (+4.7)
The environment 9.3% (+2.9)
High taxes 5.1% (+2.1)

Unsure 16.6% (-1.4)

Feel free to forward this e-mail. Any use of the poll should identify the source as the latest “Nanos Poll”.


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That Thud You Just Heard Is Called The Air Going Out Of The Rae Leadership Trial... more

RonaldODowd (Ontario) 27 Apr 10:58

As Nik says one poll does not a trend make particularly after the polling fiasco... more

hollinm (Saskatchewan) 27 Apr 19:55

Time For Canada To Quit Following From Way Behind On Afghanistan. Candidly, Afg... more

RonaldODowd (Ontario) 27 Apr 11:39

That Thud You Just Heard Is Called The Air Going Out Of The Rae Leadership Trial... more

RonaldODowd (Ontario) 27 Apr 10:58

Time For Canada To Quit Following From Way Behind On Afghanistan. Candidly, Afg... more

RonaldODowd (Ontario) 27 Apr 11:39

As Nik says one poll does not a trend make particularly after the polling fiasco... more

hollinm (Saskatchewan) 27 Apr 19:55



That Thud You Just Heard Is Called The Air Going Out Of The Rae Leadership Trial Balloon...

Well, that tears it. Forget about a Bob Rae leadership run. I don't know any politician who is big on personal political humiliation and I doubt that Bob is an exception to the general principle. Quite frankly, none of these results come as any news to most of us who happen to follow the course of federal politics. However, what is striking is the fact that Canadians have quickly become comfortable with the prospect of a possible NDP government under the leadership of Thomas Mulcair. Yes, I was expecting it but not quite this fast.

For Liberals, the options have narrowed and rebuilding will be far more difficult. But plainly speaking, moving forward with Rae at the helm simply becomes quite inconceivable. Bob Rae has done a good job as interim leader. The man has many good and loyal friends across the party and overall political spectrum. One hopes that he will come to conclusion that it is best for Liberals if he steps aside. If he doesn't, I'm confident that many of those same people will help him to see what future course has become a political necessity. I just hope that it doesn't come to that, both for Rae's personal sake and that of the party.

[updated Fri Apr 27 10:58:57 -0400 2012]

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27 Apr 10:58

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Time For Canada To Quit Following From Way Behind On Afghanistan.

Candidly, Afghanistan is not about:

finding a way for the Obama Administration, Harper government or any of the other NATO countries to come up with a face-saving mechanism. It's much too late for that, if it was ever even possible.

Nor is it about maintaining the military stalemate on the ground or freezing in the political status quo. Translation: Karzai cannot be saved no matter how long we elect to remain in Afghanistan.

The tea leaves have been read and they forecast nothing but abject failure going forward. Afghanistan is not a matter of preserving international security by means of a foreign military presence on Afghan soil, no matter how much this Prime Minister would like it to be so. Fig leafing is not a suitable endgame. Pretense does not auger well for a successful political outcome.

Foreign troops, international training -- even elite commandos are certainly not the answer. The sad thing is that in their heart or hearts, practically every NATO leader knows it.

What Afghanistan is about:

is Canadian leadership. It's a matter of this PM taking the lead -- pushing a third-way, à la Tony Blair, to get results and finally end the conflict even if that practically guarantees that the Taliban return to power.

It's called cutting or losses -- and that means only one course that is open to us, namely saving Karzai's personal bacon and that of the top leadership. Canada needs to push for a process that will allow NATO nations to accept these leaders and their families before that country goes to hell in a hand basket.

Western governments must bow to the inevitable, a return to Taliban rule. However, one point needs to be made and it must be crystal clear -- if, and only IF conditions return to Afghanistan that foster international terrorism, NATO will respond immediately with all its military might. There must be absolutely no doubt about our resolve to do so, should that become imperative.

[updated Fri Apr 27 11:39:16 -0400 2012]

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27 Apr 11:39

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As Nik says one poll does not a trend make particularly after the polling fiasco in Alberta recently.

However, while being a Conservative, I am becoming increasingly concerned with the direction of the government.

As always has been the case I have criticized the way the government communicates with Canadians since they were elected. Nothing has changed in this respect. In fact they are becoming more insular.

The performance on the F35 is outrageous. Having made the decision to commit by way of a memorandum of understanding to the purchase they should at the very least provide accurate numbers to parliament and the public and defend those numbers. This is not any way for a responsible government to operate.

On the extension of the OAS to 67. We get sound bites and not much else. No minister that I know of has talked about the subject in detail in order to overcome the fearmongering of some media and the opposition parties.

The Bev Oda situation is very concerning. There is no explanation of why she decided to change hotels and why she felt she had the right to stiff the taxpayers for the increased costs. She did the right thing by reimbursing the taxpayers. However, my concern is there is developing in this government a sense of entitlement.

I could go on but as you can see there is a sense of frustration developing with me and I suspect a lot of other Conservatives.

No wonder Canadians are reacting negatively and if the government does not make some changes in cabinet and become more transparent in its communications with the public Harper's numbers and the party's numbers are going to take a precipitous decline.

Having vented I am happy to see that Rae is back to where he should the bottom of the heap. He is an albatross around the neck of the party and if they rig the rules so that he can run that will be the death knell for the party in the next election.

As for Mulcair. He is enjoying a honeymoon. However, he has talked little about policy. When he begins supporting all things Quebec and takes some of his socialist views more public albeit in nicer words Canadians living outside of Quebec will react negatively.

[updated Fri Apr 27 19:55:32 -0400 2012]

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27 Apr 19:55

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Your recent poll indicates Harper going down. With his coveted majority, Stephen Harper has begun to expose the “hidden agenda” that so many Canadian’s feared of this man. This is particularly true of his unbridled and shameful attack on our science and environmental community. Facts, truth and numbers appear to be this man’s enemy. He would be wise to remember that his coveted majority was provided by a mere 39.6% of voters – with the remaining 60.4% voting for anyone but. Ohhh Canada!

[updated Sat Apr 28 19:34:58 -0400 2012]

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28 Apr 19:34

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On Ignatieff.

I've been known as an Ignatieff booster in the past and I don't intend to turn course here. But I will acknowledge that the OLO changes made were the beginning of the end for Michael's leadership. It smacked of opportunism and a seeming willingness to do whatever was necessary to reach the prime minister's chair. In retrospect, it was a colossal -- and for some -- unforgivable error. That aside, there remains much intellectual talent in that man. Michael possesses an ability to see the world and put it in perspective in a unique and invaluable manner that most of us can only dream of. I am reminded of another largely unsuccessful party leader when I think of Ignatieff -- namely, Joe Clark, who went on to earn the respect and admiration of so many Canadians thanks to his outstanding work in the Mulroney government. For my part, it will be a tremendous political waste if we do not hear more from Michael Ignatieff as it relates to foreign policy and the Liberal Party's approach thereto. I hope we have not seen the last of an elected Michael Ignatieff. Like Clark, he can be a very solid frontbench player -- in a future Liberal Party government.

[updated Sun Apr 29 04:56:11 -0400 2012]

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29 Apr 04:56

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Quebec Election - Monday, May 7, 2012?

Hot damn. That's what is baked into the speculation cake as various media outlets are reporting. What a wild ride it will be to see whether Jean Charest can work the student militancy over tuition hikes to his strategic advantage. So far, one poll says he could get a second minority government out of it. Another poll says Pauline Marois and the PQ are headed for a majority government.

Right now, I have to give Marois the edge but Charest is one hell of a campaigner. The fact that he's still Premier, since 2003, is proof enough of that. The PQ would be complete idiots to take anything for granted. Charest in one wily politician with a richness of experience on the hustings. This guy has been campaigning for so long both at the federal and provincial levels that it would not be an exaggeration to say that he may very well be the best campaigner in Quebec. Charest transforms once he gets into a good fight. Watch him go into action and see whether he can smash the PQ, bit by bit. It isn't likely at this juncture but yes, oh yes, it sure is within the realm of the possible.

[updated Sun Apr 29 20:36:07 -0400 2012]

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29 Apr 20:36

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Why Quebec's Student Associations Are No Match for Premier Jean Charest.

Quebec Liberals were all set to meet at their General Council this coming weekend. However, due to almost twelve weeks of students demonstrations, often taking place nightly on the streets of Montreal, it was felt that the meeting should be moved from that city to Victoriaville. (Just in case any of you have any doubts, that was the "Check" move made by the Premier.) And to no one's surprise, at least one of the student associations is about to fall for it and play right into Charest's hands -- not to mention his possible election plan. (This will be the "Checkmate" move.)

Picture the wonderful electoral optics: a Premier who goes out of his way to make new political arrangements to avoid confrontation and an escalation of tension between the government and the students -- only to have at least the most militant of student associations make a B-line for the meeting in order to further challenge the legitimacy of his duly elected government. (You couldn't ask for a nicer present from Santa!).

Where it gets dicey will be how Charest goes to the voters, if indeed that's what's up. He can pass special legislation which will force students back into the classroom or risk losing their school year and then move to an election to confirm that the population is behind him OR he can do the exact opposite. He can go to the people seeking a mandate to bring in legislation to get students back on campuses.

The former is risky because once The National Assembly passes a law, the police will only be too happy to enforce it -- and that means a high risk of overzealous conduct against the demonstrators. Conversely, if you go straight to an election -- that will act as a partial cork in a bottle to diffuse tensions with the students' reaction bound to be less volatile in the streets. Put another way, if all hell breaks loose under the first scenario, Charest is likely to lose if public sympathy evaporates for his government's hard-line position. Under the alternate scenario, he could very well win re-election if the Liberal government can properly explain both to students and public at large the advantages of his loan and bursary plan over the system that is presently in place. In short, a roll of the dice is inherently risky but the government's own conduct is bound to determine whether or not the Premier ultimately comes up with snake eyes.

[updated Mon Apr 30 01:22:28 -0400 2012]

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30 Apr 01:22

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