Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tories Fade

Decima's latest offering is nothing but bad news for the Conservatives:
A new poll suggests the federal Conservatives have squandered their sizeable lead and are now tied with the Liberals after a month of bad press.

The Decima poll, provided exclusively to The Canadian Press, indicates the Tories slipped to 30 per cent -- putting them in a statistical tie with the Liberals who rose to 31 per cent.

Just a month ago, the Tories were edging close to 40 per cent, the threshold needed to win a majority.

But they've since been hit by a controversies over their climate-change plan, the treatment of Afghan detainees, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's taxpayer-funded image adviser.

The NDP's support in the latest poll stood at 15 per cent and the Greens at 13 per cent.

In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois led with 34 per cent to the Liberals' 21 per cent and the Tories' 18 per cent.

Within the margin of error, but noteworthy, this is the first poll in quite some time that puts the Liberals ahead. The Decima poll is also the first one done in the aftermath of the Green Plan and the Afghanistan crisis.

Decima's last poll touted the NDP resurgence at 18%, which implied Conservative support was moving to the NDP. I didn't necessarily buy that co-relation, and this week helps dismiss that theory, with the NDP down 3, the Liberals up 2.

More detail:
In vote-rich Ontario, the Liberals led with 38 per cent to the Tories' 33 per cent, the NDP's 17 per cent and the Greens' 11 per cent.

Anderson said the poll may reflect "the new normal" for both the Liberals and Conservatives, which is "not whether they can get to 40 (per cent) but whether they can sustain a number that's higher than 30 or 35."
"And that obviously puts in question whether or not there's a majority government for anybody in the forseeable future."

Last week, Liberals 35%, Cons 33% in Ontario.


Scott Tribe said...

Greens up 2 as well, if I remember the last poll correctly.

Steve V said...

I should have mentioned that Scott, up 2 and 13% is a pretty impressive number.

JimBobby said...

I guess the Red Green deal wasn't so poisonous, after all.

Gayle said...

It is just a poll, and, again, I suggest not reading too much into it.

On Duffey last night they were discussing a poll that will be released tonight. It apparently says the liberals are in fourth in Quebec.

Steve V said...

"It is just a poll, and, again, I suggest not reading too much into it."

Duly noted :)

Miles Lunn said...

The Tories are definitely going down for sure, although how much is tough to tell since we seem to be getting wide variations in the polls. I suspect a lot of the variations has to do with the fact close to 10% are probably fence sitters and just a slight change in wording could change their answer.

The reality as I've said all along is both parties seem to have a base of 30% who will vote for them no matter what and a ceiling of 40%. That 10% swing vote may not be much in actual numbers, but they will play a very crucial role in determining the outcome of the next election and at this point they seem to be flipping back and forth too often to really gage which side they will go for.

Steve V said...


I agree, the election will come down to a small percentage of Canadians, that vacillate. What I do like about these polls, it cuts the Conservative bravado off at the knees :)

Gayle said...

I agree with you miles. If nothing else it tells us that things could change dramatically during an election campaign.

As a liberal supporter, I would like to see their numbers go up a bit more.

Steve - when the liberals hit 40% I promise I will not think it is just another poll, because those numbers will clearly mean the rest of the country has finally seen the light :).

Steve V said...


You have me intrigued about this looming Quebec poll, although I have a hard time envisioning any scenario where a native son finishes fourth in an election.

Gayle said...

It may have been simply among the Francophones too...

Scott Tribe said...

If it turns out the poll that has this result is the "online" Angus-Reid forum, may I go on the record now as immediately discounting it, so I dont have to repeat my objecitons to it when it does come out? :)

Steve V said...


That figures :)

ottlib said...

I would point out that this poll is not much different from the last poll. The change in the estimates are within the margin of error so any change is probably the result of error as opposed to real change in opinions.

However, taken with other polls that have shown a decrease in Conservative support we could be seeing the beginning of a trend. Ask me whether we are in about a month.

As for the Quebec poll I was watching a fellow from La Presse last evening, on Duffy, talking about a CROP poll that will be released today some time. Apparently, it will indicate the Liberals are in third and that they only have 15% support amongst Francophones.

I should point out that Duffy seemed to like those results and I would also point out that he was one of the biggest boosters for an election when the Conservatives were polling in the high 30s. I am certain the last couple of weeks have dampened his ardour.

Gayle said...

I thought it was fourth - I recall him saying the liberals are now trailing the NDP. I guess we will have to wait.

Oh the anticipation...

ottlib - I agree with your take on Duffy's reaction. I only caught that bit of the show but I was wondering why he was taking such delight in the results. I thought they would be discussing the detainees story, and surely that was more important than this poll, but clearly it was not...

Steve V said...


It's not really the week to week, but there is no question we see a nice downward trend.

Duffy was hilarious today, when speaking on formal apologizies to natives. Mike was surprised at the Liberal stance, given what Trudeau had said about formal apologizes 30 years ago. It was like Duffy missed the last half dozen elections.

knb said...

Gayle I think I heard the poll with the lib's down has something to do with La Presse. I can't find anything though.

Steve, I've said before that there are too many polls and while I'm glad that there appears to be evidence that people are listening re' the environment, I would have liked to have seen the Lib's up more.

Scott, here is an aspect of that on line poll.

I guess all I will say is that people who are on line are more environmentally sensitive than others? lol.

knb said...

Re' the Duffy comments, I can't watch him for very long, (I need to flip stations), so I end up missing things.

I wouldn't go so far as to say he's the Fox news of Cda., but he's kind of cross between the Enquirer and Sun media to me.

Steve V said...


Small doses indeed :)

knb said...

I just saw your update Steve. I think if you simply dissect the polls, what he says is true.

However, I suggest if this trend continues and the Lib's had their ducks in a row and an election was called, the differences would be very clear and those numbers would shift. The conservatives are becoming more nasty, not less and they are presenting ideas that do not have mass appeal.

During the last election, "time for a change" worked because of sponsorship and "dithering". This time around, it's specific issues that speak to Canada's reputation in the world, Kyoto and Afghanistan. The economy is fine but, the IT decision and the link to more multi-nationals buying up Canadian corporations, again speak to Canadian pride. The IT decision alone, is not in the news, but it's not dead.

Anyway, there are many issues that speak to pride and that's a quiet issue for us, imo. We don't wave the flag on a regular basis, but most Canadians are incredibly proud of our reputation in the world, except the BT's of course.

All of that to say, I'm not so sure that a majority at some point is out of the question. Frankly not much "good" is getting done, in spite of the gov't over using the phrase, "we're getting it done", so I'm not convinced that Canadians are happy with a minority.

Steve V said...

"The conservatives are becoming more nasty, not less and they are presenting ideas that do not have mass appeal."

Particularly in Quebec, where Harper is completely at odds with the vast majority. The Tories envision more seats in Quebec, and some of the polling does suggest that, but I would counter that a pointed election campaign, wherein others will clearly point to Tory weaknesses, could see them drop like a stone. Issues do matter, and Harper has no "mass appeal" in the province he covets.

Gazetteer said...

Very interesting.

And when push comes to shove where is most of that Green vote going to break?


bigcitylib said...

One thing: there is no reason as yet to think that 30% is the Tory bottom. There are some voices out of Alberta already crying out for a return to Reform.

Scotian said...

I have said for a while now that the one thing I am convinced about regarding the electorate is that it is very volatile right now where all parties are concerned. I find it fascinating to watch how Harper and Layton have been effectively rehabilitating the reputation of the Liberals for governing. Mainly Harper of course since it is his minority government, but Layton has contributed by spending so much of the past 18 months waging war first on the Libs and allying with the CPC where it enabled them both to attack the Libs since both leaders see the Libs as their primary threat/opponent for votes. Yet this is a time where for Canadian progressives of all stripes a great unease exists because of Harper in government and how he has operated it, so for them watching Layton appear to see little to no difference between the Libs and Harper's CPC does not sit well.

As for Duffy, I find his inability to stay non-partisan in his political work very disturbing. One of the reasons I love watching Don Newman is that even after all these years I could not tell you which party I think he votes for/favours, he does an excellent job of not letting that show in his work product. I also find Don's show is far more interested in substance behind issues as much as the flash/sizzle aspect, whereas it looks like Duffy is more fascinated in the gamesmanship itself and tends to leave a lot of the back-story off the table as it were. So I find overall Duffy's show to be significantly less meaty in terms of quality information as opposed to Don Newman's show, which given both men have similar lengths of history as political reporters on the federal stage does not speak well for Duffy IMHO.

Duffy seems to have his own issues with the Liberals and it is really showing up now that the Libs are not just in opposition but are also starting to mount credible opposition and compete for government next time out. That I am even getting such a sense from a major political reporter like this is more than a little uncomfortable, especially when you consider this is one of but two network (as in non-CPAC) daily political shows examining Canadian federal politics. So I rarely watch him outside of when I know something worth catching happened because of online commentary (having it repeat 3 hrs later is useful for that reason) or because the political events going on are so significant IMHO that I want to see how everyone is covering it as best/much as possible.

Overall though his show is of inferior quality for me regarding politics and my wife feels the same way. Which given she only really started getting into politics after she and I married is saying something, if anything she has a more profound dislike of Duffy's style and relatively light content levels than I do. So it appears that Mr. Duffy may not be appealing to as wide an audience over time as they might have wished. What I always have feared is the day when Don Newman is no longer reporting politics, as I have always found his knowledge and awareness of our political history a great comfort, especially in the past few years where such awareness seems to have gone by the wayside for so many in the political realm.

Miles Lunn said...

The Ontario numbers seem to suggest the parties have returned to the normal. For a while the Tories were ahead in Ontario, while if you take the average of the polls, the Liberals are slightly ahead in Ontario, although I wouldn't say they have a massive lead. It would be interesting to see a regional breakdown there as I cannot see the Tories losing too many seats in Rural Ontario, however about 10-15 of their seats are mid-sized cities and/or suburbs and these are the ones that could be vulnerable. Likewise any Liberal losses in Ontario if the Tories do gain seats (which right now at the moment looks unlikely, but who knows what will happen) will also be in the suburbs and mid-sized cities. The large cities proper will not go Conservative.

knb said...

Scotian, I suspect your wife and I would get along well.

I'm disturbed however at the exposure that Duffy gets, on what most people see as being an impartial network. I worry about who he is feeding.

As for Don, if I had to guess my friend, I'd say he's PC. I agree with you however, he challenges all equally. There was a period of time where I felt he played into the Liberal "disarray" a bit too much, but he seems much more balanced these days.

Scotian: Duffy seems to have his own issues with the Liberals and it is really showing up now that the Libs are not just in opposition but are also starting to mount credible opposition and compete for government next time out.

Indeed. He always refers to his blackberry and messages from viewers. He suggests that he gets complaints from both sides, so he must be doing it right. BS, imo. Like everyone else on the planet, the man is reading what he wants. He's not the one to write to btw.

What I find particularly galling, is how he is laughing about what is going on in Afghanistan. Laughing and joking about this.

If that doesn't show his stripes, I'm not sure what would. Oh, and dropping Trudeau into the Lib motion today was just an accident. Right...

Steve V said...

Is there worse television than the gong show that is Reid vs Powers? I can't bear to watch either of those two hacks, they're embarrassing.

knb said...

Agreed Steve. Those two are Canada's "Crossfire" wannabe's. (Powers is wearing the bow-tie.)

None of the rest impress me either though. Everyone is too damned shallow.

Steve V said...

It's like this childish game of gotcha, where both parties talk past each other, and substance is the victim. I always think of the casual voter, who happens on those two, and you know they watch for ten seconds and just shake their heads at politics in general. I honestly don't understand why CTV thinks it should be a regular segment. It's almost as bad as Question Period ;)

BTW, I missed it today, but I was curious how exactly Harper got the May angle into the discussion. I thought the opposition asked the questions?

knb said...

Steve: I thought the opposition asked the questions?

You would think so wouldn't you? But then we have Baird, who brought the accusations out of nowhere, when asked about his "plan". It's called changing the channel when you are in trouble.

The con's look more stupid each and every day.

Steve V said...

Explain this answer to me, and why the Speaker doesn't call Harper on this:

Jack Layton:

Mr. Speaker, incredibly, it seems as though the Prime Minister remains in full denial on the situation of detainees in Kandahar. I will ask him about some other detainees.

Since 2003, Canada has been sending warships to the Arabian Sea to participate in the American-led Operation Enduring Freedom. We learn now, due to documents that we have obtained, that the government signed, on October 12, an agreement regarding the transfer of prisoners taken during these operations. We tried to find out what the terms of the agreement are but the Department of National Defence has blackened out all the terms.

Where are the detainees going, Guantanamo?


Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I have anything to add to this subject at the moment, but I would hardly want today to pass without a rare chance for me to quote Buzz Hargrove on the good work that the Minister of the Environment is doing.

Buzz Hargrove said:

I believe [the minister] tried incredibly hard to find balance between the economy, the concern working people have for their jobs and the environmental concerns that concern every Canadian. I think he took a major step forward today that will deal with some of the environmental concerns that will not throw tens of thousands of Canadians out of work.

How can Harper ignore the question, then the topic, and just interject anything he wants. A question about Afghanistan gets answered with a quote from Hargrove on the Green Plan. Surely, somebody can do something about this crap.

Scotian said...

"BTW, I missed it today, but I was curious how exactly Harper got the May angle into the discussion. I thought the opposition asked the questions?" Steve V 11:00 PM, May 01, 2007

The very first question was a yes or no from Dion about whether Harper still had confidence in his defence minister. Harper said "It is this Opposition Leader I do not have confidence in and went on into the May business. He completely ignored the Liberal questions on Afghanistan, the detainees and his defence minister throughout the first round (I haven't yet watched the rest of it yet, I taped it but only caught the first ten minutes before the Daily Show started and I began taping it) always coming back to this May thing and the Nazi comparison.

Personally, until I see the full context of the comments (I haven't yet, just a snippet) I am reserving judgment. I do not agree with the premise that one can never use a comparison to the Nazi's, just that it should not be done lightly for frivolous comparisons, and have a genuine basis for the comparison. To claim one can never make such comparisons or point out the use of certain Nazi propaganda techniques is to effectively make it impossible to call out those folks actually using such tools. I also have more than a little problem listening to someone that has a long history of comparing those on the left to the Soviets who were not much better than Hitler and the Nazis when you get right down to it, and they certainly slaughtered more of their own than the Nazis just under Stalin. Yet those compassions are perfectly acceptable, so I have a hard time with the idea that Nazi ones are completely out of bounds/verboten, especially where the extreme right is concerned since the Nazi's were hard core rightists not leftists as anyone that actually paid attention in history class should already have known.

Sorry, this is a bit of a sore point with me. It is vile and unforgivable to compare to Hitler and the Nazis, but it perfectly all right to compare those on the left to the Soviets and Red China despite the histories of both for slaughter/butchery of their own citizens on a par with those of Hitler, if not in quite the gruesome manner of assembly line structure as we saw in the final solution approach. Listening to hit man Harper (I started calling him that tonight to my wife, after asking her if she could remember any other PM that was so willing nay eager to perform smear hits on his opposition in the constant manner Harper does. It is one thing periodically on a particularly hot issue/story, all PMs have done that but usually the repeated attack dogs are in Cabinet or Parl secretaries, not the PM themselves they are supposed to be a bit more dignified/reserved in deference to their high office.) today in his self righteousness on this while using it to deflect from the very serious questions surrounding his government’s potential exposure of our soldiers to Geneva Conventions violations/charges and an ongoing refusal to stop detainee transfers altogether until this is conclusively dealt with first.

The miasma of dishonour that is reeking from this PM over this issue the past week and a half is something truly foul indeed. Harper has managed to disgust me over this issue in ways no other PM or indeed even Premier of this nation has ever managed with his clear/naked contempt for respecting our Geneva commitments. It is also extremely offensive to be told one is believing trained Taliban liars about torture when they all claimed they were treated properly while in Canadian hands/control and that it was only when in Afghani hands after Canadian turnover that torture started. Under Geneva we are responsible for their protection even after turnover, so even though Canadian soldiers are themselves treating the prisoners properly in every respect while in their custody, when they turn them over to a government with clear accusations/concerns about torture of those prisoners they are risking being charged down the road under Geneva.

One would have thought that the PM and party that claims to be the only ones that respect and honour the military culture and code/credo of honour would recognize the impossible position they are placing our soldiers in. Do they follow the orders in the chain of command on turnover that originate in the PMO or do they refuse them on the grounds of concerns for Geneva violations and potentially be charged for disobeying orders, and even if not that being removed from active status for a time while this is looked into. Yep, that is a great choice to force on the soldiers already in a very dangerous combat theatre/environment with enough other concerns to have to worry about just because it is easier to do that than to take the political heat of mismanaging this file for the past 15 months. It was the CPC government that was responsible for implementing/executing the bad Liberal dealsigned in the last election by CDS Hillier, and they did nothing about it to fix it until it became a major hot potato politically for Harper and the CPC government. It is by their actions/inactions not words that one truly knows a person/party, and the way Harper and the CPC have acted in this manner exposess their so called love and respect for the military is as fraudulent as their sudden conversion to believing in Kyoto and manmade global warming once it became too expensive political for them not to.

What they are doing here is showing a high degree of indifference to the actual potential Geneva issues involved here and showing concern only for any political issues that may harm them, which demonstrates an inherent underlying level of contempt for the principles of Geneva and what that represents/demonstrates I believe is something inherently antithetical to the basic Canadian culture/identity/nature. Not to mention that this is also by definition the actions of those in power placing their narrow partisan political interests ahead of the national interest, and in this case the national honour of our military and our respect for our word where as important a treaty/law as the Geneva Conventions are concerned/involved.

That they would act so on something this fundamental to the way we Canadians think about/percieve ourselves and how our men and women in uniform treat those in their/our custody (no matter how vile they may or may not be) underscores just how disconnected from real Canadian values and cultural identity Harper and his party truly are. What is truly horrifying is that prior to Harper's CPC government these were non-partisan values shared by all preceding Canadian federal governments of both Liberal and Conservative nature. Until now that is, and this is yet another way in which Harper has corrupted/stained the name/reputation of Canadian Conservativism itself with his importation and adoration/agreement/resonance of GOP/movement conservative beliefs and methods of operating.

We care about things the rule of law, presumption of innocence (which is ALSO a part of our Geneva obligations it appears our CPC government has forgotten about as they brand these folks cold blooded murders and terrorists/Taliban, gee just like they were willing to paint/presume Arar as back in Nov 2002) and how we practice what we preach being a major part of our international credibility and soft power to have a positive impact in changing things for the better. We have contributed a great deal to the world by our honouring our beliefs on human rights and rule of law, including international law especially those like the Geneva Conventions and this is what Harper and the CPC are treating with such indifference to contempt. I think this underlying respect of Geneva is something rooted in the sense of self in most Canadians regardless of their political ideology/philosophy and I think this indifference/contempt and their playing these partisan games with it will come back to haunt Harper hard. As it most certain deserves to given just what kind of unprecedented stain he is placing on this nation's honour in this matter.