Polls conducted late last year showed a high level of opposition, especially outside Quebec, to a proposed Liberal-NDP coalition in the event the minority Harper government is defeated in the House. The new poll suggests Canadians' feelings have evolved, with 50 per cent of respondents favouring a coalition government, while 43 per cent are happier with the current Conservative government.
“This is a huge change from the period right after the coalition agreement was struck in Stéphane Dion's last days as Liberal leader, when the Tories took an apparently unassailable 20-point lead,” Mr. Graves said. “Clearly much of the recoil against the idea of a coalition really had to do with alarm at the idea of Stéphane Dion becoming prime minister so quickly after having been rejected so decisively at the polls.”
This is the first time any pollster has provided a coalition number which starts to reflect voter intention. It's always troubled me that 62% of voters didn't want the Conservatives, but a full third or more of those opposed a coalition. This result is good news for coalition supporters, the first time a majority has supported the concept. One caveat:
In addition, the poll suggests that 49 per cent of Canadians want to see Governor-General Michaëlle Jean send the country to the polls if the Harper government is defeated on its budget, instead of allowing a coalition government.
Canadians don't want an election, in fact they loathe the very suggestion. The fact they prefer one over a coalition is still reason for concern. That said, overall, it does appear that resistence to the coalition is lessening.
On party support, EKOS shows a tight race, Liberals on the rise, Conservatives down:
Conservative Party continues to lead in overall voting intentions in Canada, with the support of 36.2 per cent of respondents, compared with the Liberals at 32.6 per cent and the NDP at 14.3 per cent.
Even worse for the Conservatives, the pollster actually compares Harper to Bush, as his popularity wanes badly:
The Ekos/Globe and Mail poll suggests the Liberal Party is gaining momentum as economic concerns grow, with a majority of Canadians now holding a negative view of Conservative Leader and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Of the 1,000 respondents, 55 per cent disapproved of Mr. Harper's handling of his responsibilities, while 35 per cent offered their approval.
“That is a very bad number,” Ekos president Frank Graves said of the disapproval rating. “That is getting up into [former U.S. president] George W. Bush numbers. Not quite, but 10 more points, and you're up to as bad as it gets for elected leaders.”
Opinions of Ignatieff were quite favorable, although people have a limited opinion at this point.
These are the type of findings which speak to a sense of "legitimacy" for a coalition, imperative in my mind. A positive result, no question.