The post-budget bubble has burst for the federal Conservatives, ending a flirtation with popularity numbers that put them in majority government territory, a new national poll says.
The poll also suggests the Tories got virtually no bounce from Monday's Quebec election,
The Conservatives, after surging to the "magic" majority number of 40 per cent in the immediate aftermath of last week's budget, have dropped four points to 36 per cent - the same level of support they secured when they won a minority victory in the Jan. 23, 2006 election.
The Liberals were up two points to 31 per cent since last week's poll, the NDP was up one point to 15 per cent, the Green party was up two points to nine per cent, and the Bloc Quebecois dropped one point to eight per cent.
What is particularly relevant, Ipsos own polling proves the folly of conducting a survey right after a budget is released. There was another online poll released by Angus-Reid, showing the Conservatives well up, but I'm disregarding any finding that shows the Liberals fourth in Quebec, behind the NDP- let's keep it real people.
It would appear that the budget has actually cost the Conservatives when you do the regional breakdown. The Liberals are up 13% in Atlantic Canada, 7% in Saskatchewan, 5% in Ontario. The only regions the Grits lost ground were a 3% drop in Quebec and the always irrelevant 7% drop in Alberta.
Harper lost ground in British Columbia, with a sizable 7% drop and an 8% plunge in Ontario, despite "fixing" the fiscal imbalance. It would appear that the budget did the Conservatives no favors, a 1% rise in Quebec isn't quite what the payoff had in mind, and the backlash would appear to be pronounced.
If these numbers held on election day, the Tories would be wiped off the map in Atlantic Canada, lose seats in the Prairies and possibly B.C, with Ontario quite competitive, as well as Quebec. That doesn't translate to a majority scenario in my mind, the budget has alienated many, and any potential gains could be offset by the loss of incumbents.
It's hard to sift through all the contradictions in the various polling, but I think this Ipso-Reid poll has credibility, given the fact it was the one that Tory strategists probably kept under their pillow last week. Maybe Dion is right when he says "never has so much be done with so little". No bounce is a major failure, by any objective measure, given the favorable circumstance.