Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bad News

Two seperate polls, both of which are bad news for the Conservatives. Party standings:
A new poll suggests Alberta is the only remaining bastion of federal Conservative party support, with the leaderless Liberals leading in every other region of the country.
The Conservatives still lead nationally, with 31 per cent support among decided and leaning voters, according to the Decima poll. The Liberals were next with 28 per cent, followed by the NDP at 18, the Bloc Quebecois at 10 and the Green party at nine per cent.

Pollster Bruce Anderson said in an interview Wednesday "the Alberta numbers for the Conservative party can give people a misimpression about how they're doing in the rest of the country."

Tory support in Alberta remains sky high around 65 per cent, he said. But the Liberals lead the Tories by an average of three percentage points in the rest of Canada, including positive margins in every region, including British Columbia.

That's a big reversal for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's party, which enjoyed a 10-point lead over the Liberals outside Alberta at the time of the Jan. 23 election.

This poll was taken in the aftermath of the income trust controversy, so the Conservative fall might be overstated in the long term. However, these numbers are pure death for Harper, given the regional breakdown. The Alberta firewall masks the electoral problems, on balance the Conservatives would likely lose seats. Important to remember, we are now in the end phase of the positive Conservative calendar. Hard to imagine how fortunes improve in the aftermath of the Liberal leadership.

The Conservatives consistently score poorly on their environmental approach. With this sentiment in mind, this impressive finding should give further pause:
While health care continues to be the most important issue facing Canadians, concerns about the environment have shot up to rank a close second, according to a CBC News survey.

But of the 2,005 Canadians surveyed by Environics Research Group between Nov. 2 and 6, 71 per cent said the federal Conservatives' proposed clean air plan is not tough enough in dealing with environmental issues.

"A majority of Canadians of every political stripe think the approach is not enough," Donna Dasko, the senior vice-president of Environics, said Wednesday. "So this is cutting through party lines."

The survey found that 16 per cent of Canadians said health care is the most important issue facing the country today.

That figures is down from 22 per cent in an Environics poll conducted during the last election.

But 13 per cent said the environment was the top issue, up from just four per cent during the election.

Afghanistan scored third with 10% (also potentially problematic), but the environment is the real story. Health care will always be the default number one, a combination of demographics and universal relevance. The Conservatives have completely misread the mood of the country on this issue. The lack of a real plan (trashing Kyoto isn't a platform), competent leadership and any urgency have left the environment an achilles heel at the exact moment it becomes the central issue.

I don't see how the Tories turn around the negative environmental impression, given the fact that their legislation is dead in the water, and any potential improvements will be credited to other parties. The Conservative plan is firmly framed as a domestic failure and an international embarrassment. Ambrose is clearly the biggest ministerial flop, who's credibility is mortally wounded. Bad news all around today, not to mention the fact Harper has tied his destiny to the sinking ship south of the border. I smell another GST cut to distract.


Orchard said...

Good, I look forward to a Dion government.

Steve V said...

He looked good on CTV today.

Larry Gambone said...

I think we can look forward - (well not really!) to a steep rise in Alberta separatism when the Harpocrit and his gang of Republicans are reduced to a rump in that province.

Steve V said...

"to a steep rise in Alberta separatism"

Only in Canada.

Miles Lunn said...

I am always reluctant to make any predictions based on any given poll since a ten point swing during an election is not uncommon. What one can say is a Harper majority is becoming increasingly unlikely while a Liberal majority although not likely is at least possible whereas I think six months ago most thought it was impossible.

I think it will be during the election that will ultimately determine the results since we still don't know what the ballot question will be and often those are based on recent issues than many of us might not anticipate.

As for what happened south of the border, I don't think Americans rejected conservatism so much as they rejected extreme conservatism and wanted a more moderate brand of conservatism. Considering Canada is more liberal than the United States, I think Harper needs to realize if he doesn't stop his rightward trajectory it will eventually come back and bite him.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

What's most interesting to me about this poll is that the Liberals seem to be up significantly without taking any votes away from the NDP. That's quite impressive, and very bad news for Stephen Harper.