Our first set of CPAC-Nanos nightly tracking indicates the Conservatives have entered the campaign with a five point lead over the Liberals among decided voters (CP 37%, Lib 32%, NDP 13%, BQ 9% GP 9%). Notably, the Conservatives are showing strength in central Canada where they are statistically tied with the Liberals in Ontario (Lib 41%, CP 39%) and close on the heels of the Bloc in Quebec (BQ 35%, CP 32%).
Asked which of the five party leaders would make the best Prime Minister, Stephen Harper enters the campaign with a solid 23 point lead over second place Jack Layton (Best PM - Harper 38%, Layton 15%, Dion 14%, May 5%, Duceppe 3%, None 8% and undecided 19%). Significantly, one in four Canadians (28%) answered None/Unsure.
The CPAC-Nanos Leadership Index shows Harper far ahead of the other party leaders with an Index score of 103 points compared to Jack Layton and Stephane Dion with 42 points each. Elizabeth May follows with an Index score of 17 points with Gilles Duceppe currently last among the five leaders at 10 points.
The numbers show that the Conservatives have entered the campaign from a definite position of strength over the opposition. But, with the Conservatives mounting a leadership driven campaign they need to be wary of how the 27% who answered None/Unsure on the best PM question break. Despite Harper’s strong leadership numbers, the Liberal brand remains strong trailing by only five points nationally. Any significant missteps by Harper could potentially push this block of voters over to the opposition.
Methodology and Results
A national random telephone survey is conducted nightly by Nanos Research throughout the campaign. Each evening a new group of 400 eligible voters are interviewed. The daily tracking figures are based on a three-day rolling sample comprised of 1,200 interviews. To update the tracking a new day of interviewing is added and the oldest day dropped. The margin of accuracy is ±2.9%, 19 times out of 20 for 200 random interviews.
The numbers in parenthesis denote the change from the previous Nanos Research Survey completed on August 27, 2008.
Question: If a FEDERAL election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences? (First ranked reported)
Committed Voters - Canada (N=978, MoE ± 3.1%, 19 times out of 20)
- Conservative Party 37% (+4)
- Liberal Party 32% (-3)
- NDP 13% (-4)
- BQ 9% (+1)
- Green Party 9% (+2)
- Undecided 19% (+3)
Question: Of the following individuals, who do you think would make the best Prime Minister? [Rotate] (N=1,200,MoE ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20)
- Conservative leader Stephen Harper 38% (+2)
- NDP leader Jack Layton 15% (-2)
- Liberal leader Stephane Dion 14% (-1)
- Green Party leader Elizabeth May 5% (+1)
- Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe 3% (-2)
- None of them 8% (-2)
- Unsure 19% (+7)
Question: Which of the federal leaders would you best describe as:
The most trustworthy leader
The most competent leader
The leader with the best vision for Canada’s future
[Leadership Index Score] (N=1,200, MoE ± 2.8%, 19 times out of 20)
- Stephen Harper 103 (+10)
- Stephane Dion 42 (-6)
- Jack Layton 42 (+2)
- Elizabeth May 17 (+3)
- Gilles Duceppe 10 (-2)