Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liberals Open Solid Lead

The other day, I reacted cautiously to the Ipsos-Reid poll of Ontario that showed a narrowing gap, mostly because the sample dates masked the fallout from Tory's "creationism" gaffe. Today, Decima has a new poll (h/t Scott), that shows that Tory is indeed paying a political price:
The survey of 721 residents, gathered over the last four days of last week, put Liberal support at 41 per cent, compared with 33 per cent for the Conservatives, 13 per cent for the New Democrats and 11 per cent for the Greens.

While the poll's margin of error was 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, Anderson called the result "remarkable" and "statistically significant."

"We had been looking at gaps between the two parties of three to five percentage points," Anderson said in an interview.

"What we're really seeing (now) is a gap that is more like nine percentage points."

Anderson said the Conservatives appeared to have lost steam as a consequence of their showcase commitment - bringing private religious schools under the public funding umbrella.

As Scott already pointed out, the NDP and Greens are statistically tied, which is a new dynamic in Ontario politics. It will be interesting to see if the numbers hold, or if the Green support erodes, but the impact of this vote splitting is hard to gauge.

What is easily understood, the faith-based school issue looks like an albatross around Tory's neck, and the Liberals are well placed to retain a majority. It's still early, but clearly some voters are spooked and Tory will have a hard time moving past this gaffe, particularly when others will be happy to keep it front and center. Why any strategist would conclude this issue should be the "showcase" commitment is beyond me, the land mines seem obvious, for a party desperate to shed its past and look moderate.


Anonymous said...

Seems like a strange debate going on about fatih based schools getting funding in Ontario. We have been funding them for 20 years in Alberta and they have mostly re-entered the public school system.

It is not that big a deal

Anonymous said...

As much as they say negativity works - some friends of mine of different political stripes are disgusted with Tory's total negativity and that of the NDP - they are saying that neither have anything meaningful in their package (well, the NDP hasn't even got one yet) and therefore, are resorting to this. It's hurting Tory amongst my friends (some staunch conservatives). Actually, a couple of them feel that John Tory could hurt the Conservative Party for many years and they don't want to risk that and are ready to wait for one more election with a new Conservative leader...hmmm....