Canadian Liberals show strong lead, says poll

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Liberal Party of Canada, the official opposition party of Canada, is currently ahead of the Conservatives according to a poll by Ekos Research Associates published in the Toronto Star and Montreal's La Presse Saturday.

The Liberals lead with 40% and the Conservatives, who were elected in January, with 34%. Trailing both is the New Democratic Party NDP with 10% and Bloc Québécois and the Green party each with 8%.

Support for the Liberals increased by eight points since October. This is the highest Liberal support in the 40 percent mark since former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien stepped down as prime minister and party leader three years ago.

The Tories dropped down two points. The Conservative party, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, received 36.3 per cent of the vote and 124 seats in the House of Commons when they were elected in January. This election ended 12 years of the Liberal government.

The Conservatives have 124 seats in the House of Commons, Liberals 102, Bloc Québécois 51, and NDP 29. There are now also two independent MPs in the House.

"What is troubling for the Conservatives is an underlying trend over many months of rising dissatisfaction with the direction of government, combined with utter disappointment with its efforts on the environment," Frank Graves, the polling firm's president said. "At the same time, the preoccupation with ethics and accountability that drove the Tories' success in January (when Prime Minister Stephen Harper won an election) has largely dissipated."

Four per cent of those surveyed said the Conservatives are the best party to deal with environment issues. The Green party were the most trusted with 35% and the Liberals in third with 31%.

"There is a shock result here for the NDP," Graves said. "Nationally, the Greens are within sight of the NDP...These are the first clear indications we have that the New Democrats could find themselves squeezed into irrelevance in a painful grind between the Liberals and the Greens."

When asked which leader who makes the best PM the poll found people preferred Harper over newly elected Liberal leader Stéphane Dion. When asked "Who best understands the concerns of people like you?" residents in the Conservative Western Canada preferred Harper. Dion rated higher in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Outside Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Harper is seen by Canadians as the leader with the "best vision for the future of the country."

In Ontario, the Liberals lead stands at a strong 46.9%. Conservatives at 37.4%, the NDP at 9.1% and the greens 6.6%.

The Liberals lead in every province except oil-producing Alberta, which is led by the Conservatives, and Quebec at 26.1%, where the separatist Bloc Quebecois is leading with 34.7%. The Conservatives have 18.3% in Quebec, the Greens have 12.1%, and the NDP 8.8%.

It is expected that the next federal election will be held in 2007.

Poll results

Source: Ekos Research Associates / Toronto Star
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,022 Canadian adults, conducted on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, 2006. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

If a federal election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for? December 2006 October 2006 September 2006
Liberal Party of Canada 40% 32% 29%
Conservative Party of Canada 34% 36% 39%
New Democratic Party 10% 16% 17%
Bloc Québécois 8% 10% 8%
Green Party of Canada 8% 6% 7%