"Don't let the neck-and-neck party standings fool you. After a year and a half in office, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has built up some impressive political capital.
Or, after a year and a half Harper is below his election totals, which resulted in a fragile minority. Or, for the first time since the convention bump, the Liberals are polling at 33%. Don't let voter intention fool you? Hello, where you mark the X is the bottomline, isn't it?
On the right track:
"Nearly six out of 10 Canadians think the country is on the right track."
What the article fails to mention, the 57% right track number is down 4% nationally since last year, 6% in Ontario, 9% in the West. Hardly a trend to suggest Conservative momentum.
Breaking out in Quebec:
Conservatives continue to have the potential to make more gains in Quebec outside Montreal. At this point, the Federal Conservatives are now the federalist party of choice outside Montreal.
A clear example of painting a picture, by playing with the variables. Liberal support is actually up in Montreal since the election, Conservative support down to a concerning 14%. Outside of Montreal, the Liberals are up 3% since the election, Conservatives DOWN 3%.
Some internals might suggest hope, but the simple reality there has been no translation into actual support. In Quebec, the Liberals scored 21% in the election, they now score 24%, while the Cons have dropped to 21% from the 25% in 2006. The poll concludes that the Cons are now the second-choice outside Montreal. In reality, the Cons were the second choice in the election, but that gap has eroded since then- 17% gap with the Liberals in 2006, now down to 11%.
The best part of the poll, the conclusion that Harper is getting traction with Canadians. You may be surprised to learn that the internals show Harper with a higher negative impression, than positive:
Harper's negatives are higher than his positives, which is the best indicator of the leader's support. Harper's negatives are higher everywhere, except the west, with the caveat that the Conservative's support is down significantly in B.C. since the election (-6%). How Strategic Counsel concludes that Harper is making inroads, or the inference that the horserace numbers don't tell the whole story, is absolutely beyond me. If you look at the poll itself, I see very little to crow about for the Conservatives. I wonder if Strategic Counsel is currently bidding for another government polling contract?