Liberals lead Tories 36% to 33%
Toronto, ON — As Liberals from across the country gather in Vancouver to rally around Michael Ignatieff to officially crown him as Leader of the Party, a new Ipsos Reid poll reveals that the Liberals have a slight lead over Prime Minister Harper and his governing Conservatives.
If an election were to be held tomorrow, 36% of decided voters would vote for the Liberals (up 3 points), while 33% would support the Conservatives (down 4 points). This is the first time since the October election that the Liberals have been ahead of the Conservatives, turning what was a 23-point gap in December into a 3-point lead just five months later. A ten-point gap in seat-rich Ontario (44% Liberals vs. 34% Conservatives) and a struggling Conservative Party in Quebec suggests that the Liberals would be ahead in the seat count if an election were to be held tomorrow.
The NDP would receive 13% support nationally (up 1 point), while the Green Party holds steady at 8% of the vote. Support for the Bloc is at 9% nationally, 34% within the province of Quebec. Six percent (6%) of Canadians remain undecided.
Despite the dramatic rise in support for the Liberal Party over the last few months, some Canadians remain tentative about the prospects of a Liberal government. A majority (55%) ‘disagrees’ (28% strongly/27% somewhat) that ‘the Liberal Party is ready again to govern Canada’. However, 45% ‘agree’ (12% strongly/33% somewhat) that they are in fact ready to take over, a number if translated into vote support would yield the Liberals a healthy majority in Parliament. Still, most (72%) do not believe (41% strongly/31% somewhat) that ‘the Liberals should bring down the Conservative government and force an election as soon as they can’. Just three in ten (28%) ‘agree’ (8% strongly/20% somewhat) that they should defeat the Tories.
Moreover, Canadians generally still have a favourable impression of the Prime Minister when compared to the leaders of the other major parties. In fact, more (43%) believe that Stephen Harper would make the best Prime Minister than think that Michael Ignatieff (33%) or Jack Layton would be the best man for the job (23%). These proportions are unchanged since December.
When asked which of the party leaders best resemble the following attributes, this is how Canadians weighted in:
- Someone you can trust: Harper (40%, up 2 points), Ignatieff (28%, up 1 point), Layton (25%, down 4 points), Duceppe (7%, up 1 point).
- Someone who will get things done: Harper (43%, up 1 point), Ignatieff (28%, up 1 point), Layton (22%, down 3 points), Duceppe (7%, up 1 point).
- Someone who has what it takes to lead Canada: Harper (43%, up 1 point), Ignatieff (35%, up 1 point), Layton (19%, down 3 points), Duceppe (3%, unchanged).
- Someone who has a vision of Canada that you can support: Harper (42%, up 2 points), Ignatieff (30%, unchanged), Layton (24%, down 3 points), Duceppe (4%, up 1 point).
- Someone who knows when to compromise for the greater good: Harper (38%, up 4 points), Ignatieff (32%, up 1 point), Layton (25%, down 4 point), Duceppe (6%, unchanged).
- Someone who is best to manage during tough economic times: Harper (46%, up 2 points), Ignatieff (32%, unchanged), Layton (17%, down 3 points), Duceppe (5%, up 2 points).
- Despite trying to shake the opposition branding him as someone who has a hidden agenda, Harper (48%, down 3 points) also leads Layton (25%, down 1 point), Ignatieff (21%, up 2 points) and Duceppe (6%, up 2 points).
- Finally, Ignatieff (34%, up 1 point) leads Harper (32%, up 2 points), Layton (29%, down 3 points), and Duceppe (6%, up 1 point) when it comes to being someone who is open to the ideas of others.
Much attention has been paid to the fact that Michael Ignatieff’s lived outside of Canada for many years. To this end, six in ten (59%) Canadians ‘agree’ (23% strongly/37% somewhat) that ‘that doesn’t make him less qualified to be Prime Minister than any of the other federal party leaders’. Still, four in ten (41%) ‘disagree’ (16% strongly/24% somewhat) with this assessment, suggesting that it is an issue for them.
Further, it looks like he’ll have his work cut out for him in establishing Liberal policy, as fewer than one half (45%) ‘agree’ that they have a ‘clear idea of what policies the Liberals would bring in’ if they were to win the next election’.
For now, it appears that the Conservatives have a leg up on the Liberals when it comes to economic policy, as only 43% think (12% strongly/31% somewhat) that ‘if the Liberals were in power they would do a better job of managing the economic crisis than the Conservatives are’. A majority (57%) ‘disagrees’ (28% strongly/29% somewhat) with this notion.
All in all, Canadians are split on whether Michael Ignatieff will win the next federal election whenever it comes. One half (47%) thinks he will (12% strongly/35% somewhat), while the other half (53%) thinks he won’t (24% strongly/29% somewhat).
These are the findings of two Ipsos Reid polls conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television: