Friday, April 18, 2014 - (47109 comments)

SES Research Poll - Best PM - Harper 42%, Dion 17%, Layton 16%

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Although the Conservatives are short of the committed support necessary to form a majority government, Stephen Harper has a clear advantage over Liberal Leader Stephan Dion. Forty-two percent of Canadians choose Harper as the best PM followed by Dion at 17%, Layton at 16%, Duceppe at 7% and Elizabeth May at 4% (the rest chose none of the above or were unsure). At this point in time Stephen Harper personally may be in majority territory but his party is not.

What is emerging is a situation where one leader is ahead of his party (Harper) and another leader trails his party (Dion). Of note, Harper is the second choice as the best PM among committed Liberals, New Democrats and BQ voters and the first choice as Best PM in the province of Quebec.

As shown in the previous research conducted with CPAC, Harper does well on leadership factors. From a polling perspective, Liberal ballot box support is being maintained by entrenched party support. The Conservatives are more likely to be encumbered by residual concerns on social issues (code - abortion/same sex marriage etc.).

Even with these numbers, one should exercise caution. Perceptions of leaders can turn quickly. All it would take is for one attack ad on Dion to go too far to potentially turn the numbers and change the environment.

Here is the question - Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister? [Read and Rotate]

  • Stephen Harper 42%
  • Stephane Dion 17%
  • Jack Layton 16%
  • Gilles Duceppe 7%
  • Elizabeth May4%
  • None of them 7%
  • Unsure 6%

The detailed stats by region and party affiliation are in the Support Materials Box on the right.

Interesting times. I still think things are volatile. You have to remember, In our first past the post system, with 40% support winners take all. With numbers like these we may see more of a “Harper Government” and less of the “New Conservative Government”.

Cheers, NJN

Remember to rate the views of others - to allow us to recognize the opinion leaders in our national conversation.

Individuals with the top ratings make it to Nik’s Leaderboard.

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Yes, I would agree that Harper is in control, appears to know where he is going,... more

Tom Good (British Columbia) 10 Apr 00:43

Blah blah blah blah.... people have been saying the same or similar fear-mongeri... more

TorontoCrawler (Ontario) 10 Apr 09:16

These kind of questions are pretty meaningless. We do not have any idea what va... more

Ken Chapman (Alberta) 10 Apr 11:10

Yes Tom, the man is travelling...Have military will travel. Tom, I do not always... more

blossom (Qu├ębec) 12 Apr 01:00

Right on, Tom. I have been following that SPP deal but it's hard to get anythin... more

Bernie (Ontario) 10 Apr 08:37

"Libs.........shift back from the left" WHAT? Why do you think they were vot... more

Bernie (Ontario) 11 Apr 08:18


Tom Good

Yes, I would agree that Harper is in control, appears to know where he is going, is the picture of the Chairman of the Board and CEO rolled into one, a good tactician but I do not like the company he represents. If the general public gets wind of the Security- Prosperity- Partnership, (SPP), which is the North American Union by stealth and secrecy whereby Canada and Mexico become subserviant to the interests and laws of the United States if we wish to trade with our neighbour, then the electorate will become more distrustful of the "company" Harper represents. Our press is very quiet about these ongoing meetings attended by the CEOs of the largest companies and senior government officials. I do not believe ordinary Canadians wish to become a resource colony for the benefit of the US----do you?.

Another factor that may well change the minds of Canadians regarding their political leadership is the ongoing Afghanistan war------six more deaths of young Canadians in a war not of Canada's making-----surely Canada's role change from PEACE KEEPER to war maker, as a partner of the US, has to be in the cards for the upcoming election.

[updated Tue Apr 10 00:43:44 -0400 2007]

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10 Apr 00:43

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Polar_bear_endangered_thumb Ken Chapman

These kind of questions are pretty meaningless. We do not have any idea what values and issues are driving the choices and they are less than hypothetical in a non-election time. Answers are usually pretty most people say "fine" when asked how they are but that gives no iuseful nformation as to how they really feel.

Better to ask a set of questions on specific issues and rank the leaders in terms of trust, knowledge and capability to handle them. That is infomation worth having. This poll barely quaifies as providing any approaching useful data.

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10 Apr 11:10

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e guye

Nik I feel a lot more comfortable with this poll than the last one. It's a great cross-section of opinion and as a loyal Tory pleased to see Mr Harper rated as having the highest approval rating as prime minister with I think all participants other than other party members - obiviously the Liberals, NDP etc will choose their own leader.

Regardless of region, gender or age - and the results are not at all skimpy - good solid leads.

As Canadians come to know Stephen Harper they have come to trust him, and to respect his leadership qualities.

Now I hope that he is given the opportunity to govern in this minority parliament for at least another year - that the opposition will not be too quick to overturn his government. Mr Harper has been given a rocky ride by the opposition and the media - with the overwhelmingly negative media reporting it's a miracle he has achieved this level of support across Canada, from Coast to Coast.

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10 Apr 15:49

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I think this echoes the kind of conversations I hear and take part in. Harper has earned a fair bit of respect for two things: (1) doing what he promised to do, for the most part, and without a lot of delay [how many years did Liberal Governments promise child care?] and (2) standing his ground whether we like the message or not. You can respect both of these even if you disagree with the policies and the positions. This is what I am hearing and feeling on the streets.

Layton's an interesting character. He is also recognized for not giving up his positions (for the most part) but considered to be in the wrong party. So, for Harper, consistency and delivery coincide with the possibility of doing so again tomorrow.

As for the Liberals, their disarray hurts Dion. Sure, there are many things we could say about the man and how he has come across so far - but there's also an expectation that he's a sacrifical lamb, and that the real race comes next year. So why back a dead horse?

Duceppe and May represent special cases, no comment needed.

[updated Tue Apr 10 18:31:12 -0400 2007]

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10 Apr 18:31

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Regina Beach Boy

The entire opposition is yelling " The Conservatives wants an election", we know the reason, surprise, none of them want one, they're simply not ready at this time.
Now where I come from, when I see three opponents that don't want to get in the ring with me, I'm going to assume it's because they think I'm going to win.
The conservatives should not underestimate their ability to grow thier numbers on the campagn trail, maybe the opposition feels this as well.

The truth of the matter is the minority Government situation is not working well as some would have us beleive, you don't have to watch "Question Period" everyday to know this, its uniquely poisonous on parliament hill and everyone shares the blame, everyone.

You have the Liberal party who actually really do beleive in thier minds that they and they alone can govern the country, and the Conservatives who have finally got to the top of the mountain are absolutely and intensely protective of their new found fortunes. This hightened degree of desparation between the two parties is both amazing and pathetic to watch.

A majority Conservative government deserves the chance to govern in a majority enviornment, the overstated worries about Stephen Harper are nothing more than carefully crafted oppostion tactics. They can't afford to screw up, they're being watched closer than someone on death row.

[updated Tue Apr 10 18:32:24 -0400 2007]

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10 Apr 18:32

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It is great to see that PM Harper is being recognized for his decisive leadership. While the party still lags behind the prime minister I am certain should an election be called that the Conservatives will win a majority. When compared to Stephane Dion who has turned out to be a weak leader who really still wants to fight the last election by continuing to talk about daycare and the Kelowna Accord Mr. Harper is busy putting forward legislation in a number of areas including crime, environment, reforming the Senate, reforming the way judges are picked to name a few. Canadians, from this poll, in all groups including women are getting more comfortable with Mr. Harper as prime minister. Harper's speech at Vimy was truly inspiring and shows he is growing into the job each and everyday. In the meantime the Liberals are shooting themselves in the foot by continuing to harp on the environment. It is now to the point that everybody is saying is this guy a one trick pony? The answer is yes. Watch for their platform. There will be nothing new but a rehash of old policies. With these leadership numbers it won't be long before there is an outright rebellion in the Liberal ranks. It is alrighty happening with leaks to the press but it will come bursting out very soon particularly if no election is called this Spring.

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10 Apr 23:15

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Hello Nik,
You have said it all, and in an unbiased your last statement.
As far as I am concerned S. Harper has already gone too far in his attack ads on
S.Dion, and as his recent budget has caused so much reaction from 4-5 Premiers,
with retaliatory ads, and even going so far, as to discourage voters of those Provinces
not to vote for a PM who would renage on written commitments; S.Harper has big
problems, and is asking for them in his audacity, and obstinate misbehaviour, and
non-relenting assault on all, to win a majority, and at all cost. He knows that time
is running against him, and wants to run to the polls before his mesmorized
audience wakes-up, to what is really going on behind those closed doors.
Afghanistan is coming to a boiling issue, and navy general coming out with why,
if Harper doesn't change course, we are going to lose Afghanistan - it's getting worse.
At Vimy, Harper, din't make the link between the 1st, and 2nd world war soldiers,
with those of Afghanistan??? Why do you think? And why do Canadian tax payers have
to pay millions to malign a new opposition leader whom they do not yet know? Imagine
putting those millions on health-care, education, where it would be beneficial to all -
Canadians do NOT want another election. Why is Harper fussing so much? Why is
he trying to distract us so much?
Lots of questions, and I hope that some bring us honest answers.

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11 Apr 08:10

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I think the most interesting result in your poll is how exteremely unpopular Dion is in Quebec, much more so than anywhere else.

I think the second most interesting is how popular Duceppe is amongst young people.

Also interesting is that Harper is second choice for NDP voters, and first choice for Green voters!?, while Dion is the favourite for only 40% of Liberal voters.

I think this poll augurs well for Harper if he has the good sense to go to the polls sooner rather than later, because I know many people talk about voting for the leader rather than the party, saying things such as "I voted for Paul Martin" for example.

Perhaps you could do a poll on whether people's choice of vote is based primarily on the leader, the party, or the particular candidate ... ?

I think to get a good glimpse of an actual election result we would have to average out the polls for party preference and leader preference.

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18 Apr 03:20

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