But in Ontario, the Liberals lead with 39 per cent, compared with 30 per cent for the Conservatives. Some commentators have suggested the Tories could gain ground in the 905 area code around Toronto. But the poll shows the Liberals leading the Tories by 44 to 32 per cent.
"The myth is that they're supposed to be really strong in the 905, but the answer is not really," said Bricker. Increasing density and greater ethnic diversity are pushing 905 ridings toward the Liberals, he added.
I'm sure those Conservative internal polls reaffirm the "myth"(cough), but an eight point Liberal lead in the 905 is the conclusion of this pollster, that previously overstated Conservative support/understated Liberal support by 7% in 2006, 11% in 2004.
In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois leads with 38 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 25 per cent and the Tories at 20 per cent.
The regional numbers have a very low margin of error, the national ones a mere 1.7%. The reason for this fact, something Global failed to mention, this poll is actually an amalgation of Ipsos polling throughout the summer, and the polling ended last week. Therefore, it includes last week's numbers and there is nothing new, except it uses a larger sample, over a larger time frame.
What is noteworthy, and something I've argued a few times, are these comments from Bricker:
Recent polls have shown Conservative support running as high as 38 per cent nationally, prompting speculation the party could be on the cusp of forming a majority government. Traditionally, parties are believed to have a good chance of winning a majority once they cross the 40-per-cent threshold.
But a new Ipsos Reid poll commissioned by Canwest News Service and Global National indicates the magic number for the Tories might be several percentage points higher, because of the way their support is distributed across the country.
"It doesn't mean they won't form a majority. It just means that to say they're flirting with one right now is not true," said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.
Conventional wisdom assumes any party hovering near 40% is in majority terrority. However, when you drill down into the regionals, for almost every poll, you find that the Conservatives lack electoral balance, scoring 60-70% in Alberta, very high in other regions, inflates the national numbers, but it doesn't translate seat wise.
As Bricker says, the Liberals are more efficient:
It all comes down to concentrating your vote in regions that have a lot of seats. The Liberals have a very efficient vote. The Tories have an inefficient vote," said Bricker. In 1997, Jean Chretien won 51 per cent of seats for the Liberals with only 38 per cent of the vote, he noted.
To win a majority, the Conservatives must hope for a Liberal meltdown in Ontario or a Bloc collapse in Quebec, said Bricker.
One other comment, that may speak to the wisdom in going after Harper:
"people haven't really warmed to him personally"
Harper is the focal point for the Conservatives, and it's not like he really is an appealing or compelling figure, which translates to potential vulnerability.
This comment from a "senior" Conservative:
"The Liberal party is the most successful political brand in the world," said the source. "If we're not careful, this guy (Dion) could bumble his way into the big chair."
Bumble away Stephane!