First the numbers:
The latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey had support for both the major federal parties flatlining at 32 per cent.
The NDP was at 17 per cent, the Bloc Québécois 9 per cent and the Green party was at 8 per cent.
Tories had the support of 38 per cent of the electorate, down only one point from last month. The Stéphane Dion-led Liberals remained static at 27 per cent, while the NDP jumped two points to 14 per cent and the Greens stayed the same at 12.
Decima actually has the Liberals up 32-30 in there last week of polling. Of note, the Conservatives were as high as 35% four weeks ago, Liberals unchanged.
Where is the good news in the Strategic Counsel poll? National results can tend to skew seat totals, and in this poll, we see that the Conservatives ridiculous support in Alberta, and other parts of the west, are skewing the national results, leaving a false impression. Last month, SC basically had the same national results, but in the regionals we saw the Conservatives ahead 42-34 in Ontario, beating the Liberals 22-19 in Quebec. Things have changed, and when you factor these results, any perceived Conservative "lead" is less impressive:
In Ontario, the Tories are marginally ahead of the Liberals, 37-34...
In Quebec, the Tories enjoy the support of 20 per cent of voters, compared with the Liberals, at 23 per cent.
Trending down in Ontario, now in third in Quebec. Certainly not the majority numbers the national presentation entertains. One caveat for Conservative supporters, Strategic Counsel, while it recognizes erosion in Ontario, it is the only pollster to still give them a lead. In fact, Ipsos, Nanos and Decima all give the Liberals large leads, so SC would appear an outlier.
In Ontario, Liberals lead with 43 per cent, followed by the Conservatives at 32, the NDP at 14 and the Greens at nine....
In Quebec, the survey put the Bloc on top with 37 per cent support, followed by the Liberals at 27, the Tories at 19, NDP at 12 and Greens with four.
One month ago, Decima had the Tories and Liberals tied in Ontario at 40%, Tories tied in Quebec 23-22%. There has been erosion every since, to the point now, supported by other polls, where the numbers actually suggest a Liberal government.
Strategic Counsel overstates the Conservative support in Ontario, and this may explain part of the national lead. However, watching the trends with a particular outfit, you see that SC isn't much different from Decima, both show the Conservatives falling in Ontario and the Liberals rebounding somewhat in Quebec. In fact, every single national pollster has shown the same trends, making the prospects good that this is real movement.
Decima's Anderson was on Newman's show today, talking about his poll. He mentioned Cadman, and said he thought that had cost the Conservatives "a couple points". Interestingly, while SC tries to downplay Cadman, we get this admission:
The pollsters said the Liberals should not give up on the Cadman issue, as there may be some underlying weakness to exploit.
Overall, these are good numbers for the Liberals, and nobody should be afraid of the Strategic Counsel results, once you break it down. Two polls, both with encouraging signs, relative to their past findings.