The Conservatives now command 39% in support among decided voters, compared with 28% for the Liberals, according to the survey, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National by Ipsos Reid. Since the last Ipsos poll two months ago, the Tories have climbed five percentage points, while the Grits have slumped seven points.
The NDP stand in third at 14% of the vote, up one point; followed by the Green party at 10%, up two points.
That's right, suddenly the Conservatives have opened up an astonishing 11% lead. Two months without a Canwest poll, the first time I can remember since I started blogging, then coincidentally in the field just as Harper does his most high profile photo op of the summer. The timing aside, interesting that we get this PREDICTED thesis from NP:
a trend that could dampen speculation of a fall election.
How convenient for the Conservatives.
It will be fascinating to see how the media reacts to this poll, if they have the basic sense to look with a critical eye. All you have to do is look at these Ontario results:
the Conservatives now lead the Liberals in vote-rich Ontario by 43% to 31%.
If you average out the last batch of polling, generally the Liberals have had the lead, consistently hovering around 40%, Conservatives mid 30's. As a matter of fact, there hasn't been one poll since the coalition that has given the Conservatives anywhere near this kind of lead. If there was ever a "19 times out of 20" proposition, this polling is the posterchild for that statistical anomaly. Averaging the last batch of polls, this result is 16% offside, staggering by any measure.
Ipsos also pegs Conservative support in Quebec at 20%, the first pollster to do so since a one off poll in January.
Ipsos also asks a series of questions, comparing the two leaders. While Harper leads on these questions, the gap really isn't that pronounced, or noticeably different from other findings. An opposition leader rarely outpaces a sitting PM, so I actually see these numbers as a decent base for Ignatieff prior a campaign:
The poll suggests Ignatieff is having trouble gaining traction on key issues. Asked which leader is best qualified to "improve the national economy," 48% chose Harper, compared with 40% for Ignatieff. The prime minister also leads Ignatieff on "managing Canada's finances" (49% to 37%), and "representing Canada's interests in world affairs" (48% to 41%). The only issue on which Ignatieff leads is "protecting the environment" (45% to 41%).
Not a herculian gap by any means, and given the party support numbers, almost surprising that the gap isn't large.
Conclusion. Don't draw any conclusions from this dud.