Friday, January 02, 2009

Ignatieff Boosts Liberal Fortunes

An Ipsos-Reid poll that compares the various party leaders. I'll leave what I would describe as "silly" downplaying by the pollster until later, but Ignatieff at the Liberal helm clearly bolsters our prospects:
Michael Ignatieff scores significantly better than his predecessor Stephane Dion on a range of leadership questions but still trails Prime Minister Stephen Harper on almost all fronts, according to the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll.

Results of the poll, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National in late December, show 43 per cent of Canadians said they believe Harper would make the best prime minister, compared with 33 per cent who picked Ignatieff and 23 per cent who sided with Layton.

Harper's score was down seven points from the last survey, which was conducted when Dion was still leader and Ignatieff, who was selected Liberal leader on Dec. 17, was up 13 points from Dion's last tally.

On the economy:
On managing the economy in challenging times, Harper was the No. 1 choice for 44 per cent of those surveyed, down six points from the last survey, but still well ahead of Ignatieff at 32 per cent, Layton 20 at per cent and Duceppe at three per cent.

At 32 per cent, Ignatieff scored 10 points higher than Dion on the same question. Bricker described the gain as significant, but not enough to threaten Harper at this time.

There was a AR poll, a couple weeks ago that Ignatieff one point ahead of Harper for Prime Minister. I would describe these results as entirely encouraging, particularly when you compare Ignatieff to his predecessor. The fact Harper is down in all categories, except on a "hidden agenda" (another alarming finding for the Cons) furthers the view that he has been hurt from his recent actions, which should surprise no one, apart from the Conservative kool aid crowd.

Historically, one never sees an opposition leader best a sitting Prime Minister on most measures, so with that in mind, the results are good. Ignatieff is in the game on all fronts, which is pretty much the best case scenario for an opposition leader. Harper does lead, so I'm not overstating, but his trendline is poor and the rival Liberals are back in the hunt. Leadership was our achilles heel in the last election, the gap is not that pronounced now, far more managable, something to build off.

Bricker concludes Ignatieff is not a "game changer", based on these results, which I find a pretty curious "analysis". I would call a 16% swing on the economy very significant. And, if I'm not mistaken a 20% swing on best PM constitutes a different playing field, if you'll allow me Darryl. Are you kidding me? As a pollster, to categorize such a HUGE shift, by any objective measure, as a "little bit more positive", is more pre-disposition, than letting the numbers lead you. Silliness, this is a seismic shift by polling standards. Look to the client methinks.

From the Liberal perspective, I would describe these numbers as "pleasing", and I find little in the trends for Conservative bravado.


bigcitylib said...

No horse race numbers?

Steve V said...

Doesn't look like it, but then again this poll was done "Dec. 18 through Dec. 21". Strange to see such a delay, and I think you may have commented on this fact before, when we saw numbers that weren't necessarily Conservative friendly. Do you remember that BCL? Maybe it just took Bricker a while to come with a good frame :)

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Don't get me started on framing in the media...ugh my biggest peeve. Why don't they do their job and leave the framing to the blogger's? And if they are going to frame based on partisanship..which they do...state it and be clear (e.g. Duffy). I didn't see the word Duffy the Conservative media talking head labeled anywhere next to him..yet he totally was. People would trust them more...might even buy papers again.

knb said...

The entire article is written with a 'don't worry Conservatives' tone, so your comments about Bricker are generous, imo.

I thought the delay was weird too, but BCL's past comment makes sense as it relates to that.

Another Friday night story, at the end of the holidays when no one is paying attention? I sure would like to see the internals on this poll.

Steve V said...

Well the story of this poll is clearly Harper's diminished stature, relative to Ignatieff. The move is extremely significant, not sure what more a pollster needs to declare somewhat of a "game change". I wonder if the pollster can show me one finding, where an opposition leader was ahead or tied with a sitting PM. Between these results, and the AR leadership poll, it's good news. I said this a million times under Dion, you don't have to beat Harper, you just have to get in the same neighborhood to have a reasonable shot.

Antonio said...

taking two weeks to release poll numbers?

makes you wonder what Canadians would think now.

Steve V said...


Normally, Ipsos releases on a Friday, for results done earlier in the week. Why the delay is interesting, and why it hasn't made to the NP is, well...

knb said...

I'm not sure that the numbers would be much different now, except of course for the Senate appointments, but that is a good thing in my view.

Ignatieff has yet to have any exposure and what little he had for this poll was positive.

I see good news.

Mushroom said...

I see Brad Lavigne shaking his head now.

All of Jack's recent gains being eroded since there is no Stephane Dion to sucker punch. What is the NDP going to do now -- Iggy is Harper lite?

Steve V said...

One of the Harper highlights for me, all that effort to calm Canadians about the "hidden agenda", alterior motives, and we see in this poll a full 10% surge in Canadians suspicion. That's noteworthy for sure, and it means this whole affair has hurt his image considerably.

Anonymous said...

This is an online poll conducted a week before Christmas.

That would probably explain the delay - maybe Bricker was on vacation?

RuralSandi said...

I believe, if you look back, Harper has always done better when parliament is not in session, which has been quite often under his tenure.

We're talking a period of Xmas messages from the leaders and nicey interviews.

Steve V said...


We should be wary of the first post-holiday poll. I remember last year, Decima did a poll right after new year that showed a sudden surge for the government. It evaporated in their next offering, which again showed the folly of polling through the holidays.

Acid Reflux ( said...

while speaking of Duffy, was it just my inattentiveness of listening to Question Period last week, or did Duffy not get congratulated by his colleagues for his new partisan position?

If I am correct and didn't miss it, that says a lot write there on how comfortable they all are with all of this.

RuralSandi said... it this coming week that the policial shows return? And if so, is Duffy's show going to continue with some one new?

They probably didn't say anything because CTV didn't want to stir their partisan pot.

Steve V said...

Interesting difference, between the headline on the pollster's site:

"Ignatieff Closes Gap on Harper as Choice for Best Prime Minister
Harper (43%) Still Leads but Tumbles after Parliament Debacle with Ignatieff (33%), Layton (23%) "

Harper "tumbles", Ignatieff "closes gap".

Compare that to the NP headline:

"'Ignatieff-mania' fails to sweep nation: poll"