The Conservatives have gained public support but not enough to give them a majority government, despite a month of troubles for Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, a new poll shows.
The Prime Minister's Tories now have a five percentage-point lead over the Liberals, 34-29, according to a new poll conducted by the Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV News. The NDP has 15 per cent, the Bloc Québécois 10 per cent, and the Green Party, 12 per cent.
In August, the Tories and Liberals were tied, 33-33. Now, a new survey of 1,000 Canadians taken between Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 shows the Conservatives have opened up a five-point lead, largely by gaining in Quebec while the Liberals fell there.
In Quebec, the numbers mirror the Ipsos poll:
The best news for the Tories is in Quebec, where the Conservatives are now solidly in second place behind the Bloc. It has 37 per cent support in the province, the Conservatives have 26 per cent, the Liberals 17 per cent, the Green Party 12 and the NDP 9.
In Ontario, Ipsos had the Tories with a slight lead, which was an eye-opener, because most outfits usually show the Liberals with the lead. Strategic Counsel offers the Liberal some good news:
But in Ontario, the picture is more discouraging for Mr. Harper's Tories. There, the Liberals lead the Conservatives by a 40-33 margin...
ONTARIO POLL NUMBERS
Aug. 10-12 Oct. 11-14
Liberal 40% 40%
Cons 35% 33%
NDP 17% 14%
Green 8% 14%
The difference between these two polls seems to be in Ontario, which explains why one has majority flirtation, the other well short. I'm inclined to take the SC numbers, simply because they seem more in line with other polls, while the Ipsos finding looks the outlier. What is interesting, both firms find virtually the same results for Quebec, which is hardly surprising.
The last SC poll had a 33-33 tie, so while we have seen Liberal erosion, Harper has failed to capitalize, reaffirming the theory that many Canadians approach the Conservatives with great trepidation. SC lays out a telling timeline, that illustrates Harper's failure to move his numbers:
ELECT'06 POLLING 06 POLLING 07
Cons. 36%.... 39%.... 34%
Liberal 30%.... 28%.... 29%
NDP 16%.... 18%.... 19%
Bloc 11%.... 9%.... 10%
Green 5%.... 5%.... 12%
One other point on the Quebec numbers, while Harper has increased his support, relative to the last poll, and the Liberals have fallen, it is noteworthy that the Conservatives are basically (+1.4%) at the same level they were at in the election. For all the Liberal troubles, they are only down 3% from the election. The Greens are up 8% (12%), and where that vote moves, or if it holds, will be the big story come any election.
Conclusion, majority is still very elusive and the Liberal floor is firm.