The SC poll provides the best of all worlds for the Liberals. Canadians believe the opposition deserves credit for the stimulus, Harper's conversion pure politics, and the Liberals right to let the budget pass:
72 per cent of Canadians say the government would not have introduced the stimulative budget of this week had it not been for the pressure of opposition parties.
69 per cent say they still blame Mr. Harper for causing an unnecessary political crisis late last year when he should have been focusing on the economy.
Asked whether they believe Mr. Harper has changed since the fall and is taking the country's economic troubles more seriously, 63 per cent said they perceived no change and that the budget is all about politics.
On the budget itself, overall support:
62 per cent saying they have a positive impression, compared with 38 per cent who feel the opposite
The Liberal decision:
The poll also shows that the decision of new Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to avoid bringing down the Tories may have been the right one. Thirty-eight per cent of respondents say they would be less likely to vote Liberal should the Grits defeat the budget.
“If they had done the opposite, it would have come at a political cost to them,” Mr. Donolo said.
More bad news for the NDP:
Canadians are also urging the opposition parties to back the budget, with a full two-thirds saying they should support it. Even 47 per cent of New Democratic voters feel that way. The NDP has said it will vote against the budget.Conclusion, Harper has damaged itself, and the Liberals clearly made the right political decision, to let the budget pass.
The Ipsos poll finds Canadians largely "indifferent" to the budget. The strong majority see the budget as "neither good, nor bad." On the question of budget support, again Ignatieff's decision appears a good one:
only 39 per cent of those polled agreed with the statement "the opposition coalition would have presented a better budget for these tough economic times than the Harper government has."
That suggests Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff was probably correct to kill the coalition with Jack Layton's NDP, but to have done so in a way he can be perceived as forcing the Conservatives to bend to the will of Parliament.
"I think his moves this past week were incredibly astute," Mr. Wright said. "It was a very smart strategy but what the poll, however, shows is that people really don't believe that any political party or anybody really has the answer to this," he said, referring to the economic downturn.
"Astute", "very smart strategy", from the pollster, seems to reflect the general mood we've heard elsewhere, rabid partisans aside.
It's very evident now, that Ignatieff made the right political choice, in allowing this budget to pass, while others misread the mood of the public at large. It's also abundantly clear that Harper is damaged goods, a fact which will be particularly noteworthy when we do have an election.