Fuelled by unprecedented support in Quebec, the federal Conservative party has zoomed to 42 per cent support among decided voters, a high water mark that puts Prime Minister Stephen Harper closer to his goal of winning a majority government, a new national Ipsos-Reid poll says.
The survey said that while the Tories were up three points from last week, the Liberals remained stuck 14 points back with the support of 28 per cent of voters. The NDP rebounded two points to 15 per cent and the Green party held steady at seven per cent.
For the first time, the Tories were tied with the normally dominant Bloc Quebecois. Each party had the support of 31 per cent of the decided voters. The Liberals trailed at 23 per cent, although they were up six points from last week. The NDP had the support of 10 per cent, and the Green party five per cent.
Whoa, quite the change from last week's poll:
Ipsos- Bloc 50%...Cons 22%...Libs 17%...NDP 7%
If you eliminate last week's head scratcher, the poll from two weeks ago shows continuity:
In Quebec, the Bloc leads with the support of 34% of Quebecers (9% nationally), which represents a decrease of 2 points within Quebec since last week, while the Conservatives are not far behind at 30% support (an increase of 4 points in Quebec). The Liberals have the support of just 16% of Quebecers (decrease of 3 points), and the NDP trails at 13% support (increase of 1 point). The Green Party has the support of 7% of Quebecers (unchanged).
Ontario, still the only outfit that shows the Tories in the lead, but the gap has narrowed:
The poll is not void, however, of good news for the Liberals. They are running second to the Conservatives in Ontario, and are "still in the game" in that pivotal province, Bricker said. They climbed two points to 36 per cent, while the Tories dropped to 40 per cent from 43 per cent, the poll said. The NDP slipped one point to 13 per cent and the Green party moved up to 10 per cent from eight per cent.
British Columbia (high MOE):
In British Columbia, the Conservatives continued to hold a strong lead over their competition with 43 per cent support. The NDP climbed nine points to 27 per cent, while the Liberals dropped to 24 per cent from 28 per cent.
I'm actually prepared to buy the Quebec numbers as reasonable, primarily because they mirror the extensive CROP survey of the province. I'm less inclined to believe the national numbers, because they are completely out of whack, relative to all the other firms. Some would argue the ability to replicate, but I prefer to see another independent example to reaffirm the spread. Having said that, the trends within this poll are objectively positive for the Conservatives, so there is certainly room to crow.
One interesting comment:
"They are in majority territory, but it's not comfortable," Bricker said of the Conservatives. The Tories lopsided support in Alberta and rural Canada means its national support has to reach 45 per cent before the party can seriously consider itself in the running for a majority mandate.