The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey compared attitudes toward the Tories and Liberals in a head-to-head, two-party format. The telephone poll of just over 1,000 Canadians found that 44 per cent of respondents said they'd prefer a Liberal government after the next election, compared with 37 per cent who preferred the Conservatives.
Obviously, it is the Liberals who have growth potential, the only Conservative solace a divided center-left. The poll also finds that in a head to head matchup, the Liberals would carry Quebec, a surprising result. How the various parties would break:
NDP supporters told Harris-Decima they'd prefer a Liberal government by an almost four-to-one margin (69-18) compared with the Tory alternative, and Green supporters favoured the Liberals more than two to one (58-28).
Only Bloc Quebecois supporters were more favourable to a Conservative outcome, by a 41-32 margin.
I'm actually amazed that the Liberals would carry so many Bloc voters.
The other parties aren't going anywhere, so this is all theoretical of course, but it is relevant that the Liberals have potential for growth. This tells me, that should the Liberals develop attractive policies, they could siphon off soft support from other parties. The poll gives the Liberals 31% support nationally, which means if they could draw a third of the Greens 12% and poach a couple points off the NDP total, we are looking at a Liberal government. I don't think that presentation is outlandish in the least. Meanwhile, Harper is frozen, ideologically isolated from the vast majority of Canadians.
The most obvious calculation, could this tax shift idea be the drawing card? Common sense says some appeal to Green voters. Factor in elbowing in on the NDP's environmental turf, relying on heavyweights like Suzuki for support, and Dion's idea looks less risky. On the other hand, this assumes that the Liberal plan doesn't move some of their voters elsewhere, that they are able to hold their constituent with these controversial ideas. I wouldn't assume that.
The news for the Conservatives gets worse, other than leadership, and the gap isn't as bad as I would have thought, the Liberals have the advantage:
The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20, indicates Prime Minister Stephen Harper beats Liberal Stephane Dion on leadership attributes (35-26). The Tories trail the Grits on questions of front-bench strength (26-20), values (35-29), and ideas for the future (31-28).
You counteract leadership, with an emphasis on team, which the above shows to be a Liberal advantage. Keep it up Pierre, John and Jim, you're about as attractive as foot fungus.