September 16, 2009

Conservatives hold sizable lead over Liberals, poll reveals, By Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News, Sep 15, 2009

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Tories have the support of 39 per cent of decided voters, compared to 30 per cent for the Liberals.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives continue to hold a commanding lead over their political rivals, while Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff risks taking the blame if there's fall election that Canadians clearly do not want, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll.

At the same time, the NDP has slid to its lowest level of support since the last election, suggesting leader Jack Layton has an incentive to at least temporarily prop up the Harper government.

The Conservatives have the support of 39 per cent of decided voters, according to the Ipsos Reid survey, commissioned by Canwest News Service and Global National. The Tory support level is unchanged from the last Ipsos national poll on Aug. 21.

The Liberals have 30 per cent support, up two percentage points from Aug. 21.The NDP dropped two points to 12 per cent, while the Green party fell two points to eight per cent. The NDP received 18 per cent support in the last federal election in October 2008, but has fallen to 12 per cent in four Ipsos polls since then.

The Bloc Quebecois has nine per cent on a national basis. Seven per cent of respondents were undecided.

Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker said strong polling numbers give the Tories a strategic advantage as Parliament returns from its summer break.

"He's probably thinking he's going to proceed with his legislative agenda, and dare the Liberals and the NDP and Bloc to defeat him," Bricker said of the prime minister.

The odds appeared to grow Monday that the government could stave off defeat. The Conservatives served notice they will introduce legislation to expand employment insurance benefits for long-tenured workers, which Layton called a "step in the right direction." To keep their minority government alive, the Tories need the support of one opposition party.

Meanwhile, it appears Ignatieff, who announced this month his party would no longer support the government, would suffer the most from any backlash. If there's an election this fall, 54 per cent of Canadians would blame Ignatieff and the Liberals, while 35 per cent would blame Harper and the Conservatives. Of those who blame Ignatieff, 51 per cent said they would vote against the party as a result.

The poll shows the Conservatives have a sizable lead in Ontario--46 per cent, compared with 36 per cent for the Liberals. In Quebec, the Bloc leads with 36 per cent, followed by the Liberals at 28 per cent. In the Prairie provinces, the Tories lead the Liberals, 50 per cent to 23 per cent. The Tories dominate in Alberta with 72 per cent.

The telephone poll of 1,001 randomly selected Canadians was taken Sept. 10-13.A poll of that size is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, although the margin of error on regional figures can be considerably larger.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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