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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics June 23, 2008
  Jun 23, 2008

Question #1
Which federal political party do you currently support?
Conservatives    33.45 %
Liberals    30.21 %
New Democrats    19.55 %
Bloc Quebecois    9.45 %
Green    7.61 %
Undecided    16 %
Question #2
Which of these two political leaders do you support more? (Rotated)
Stephane Dion    29.76 %
Stephen Harper    46.54 %
Neither    23.56 %
Undecided    08 %
Question #3
Should the Canadian government impose a new National Energy Policy to ensure Canada’s strategic energy interests are in place, and to ensure fairness with consumers?
Yes    45 %
No    55 %
Undecided    21 %
Question #4
Do you support the increased development of safe nuclear energy in Canada?
Yes    51 %
No    48 %
Undecided    24 %
Question #5
Which side in the Middle East should the Canadian government most support?
Israel    18 %
Arab nations    15 %
Both equally    34 %
Neither    33 %
Undecided/Can’t Answer    07 %
Question #6
Whose position on Canada’s national energy policy do you most support? (Harper/Dion rotated)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper who is against the carbon tax    40 %
Opposition Leader Stephane Dion who is for the carbon tax    30 %
I do not support either position offered    30 %
Undecided    14 %
Commentary
Observations/Commentary:
Conservative support has dropped since our last ROBBINS poll of April 07, 2008 by about (10%), while support for the Opposition Liberals has declined by (5%).
The federal New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois are realizing increases in their national support totals, although readers should remember that the Bloc Quebecois are a party particular to Quebec only. The New Democrats are up (15%) from previous April totals, while the Bloc is up (35%) to support levels which mirror the last federal general election in 2006. The Bloc has retrieved support taken from it by the Conservative Party. Stephane Dion is not moving (YET) in Quebec—but this region of the country should be polling weekly and providing outcomes to national media. Very high undecided rate also supports this.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s numbers for support are down (15%), while Stephane Dion’s leadership support is up (23%) from April totals. Compared to the Prime Minister, Opposition leader Dion’s totals have increased approximately (11%)-with the PM being more popular on a 3/2 basis—where this lead has been 3/1 in the past.
Without attempting to sound like too much of an apologist for the Prime Minister, his support numbers have always been way too high for my liking. (50%) of real support is exceptional—but because of the PM’s performance to date, and Mr. Dion’s popularity problems—Mr. Harper has had a good time of it---but events change, and politics is the LSD of all professions. (Being referred to as a political junkie at least proves you pay attention). As a longtime pollster now---I am always leery of the context of ‘support’ when provided as choices (responses) in a poll.
A good pollster will do everything possible to find out how solid the good support is. I think it was Ed Rollins (former Republican strategist—I love this guy//Barack-- hire this man)-who said ‘a party is only ever as good as its base is solid’. Think about what that means for Republican nominee John McCain who challenges well against the powerful Democrats—without a solid base. I mean is the fox in the henhouse or what?
Both the Liberals and Conservatives are having trouble in Quebec, this despite tremendous efforts to bring Quebec into the Conservative fold. The heavy number of undecided’s in Quebec skew this poll somewhat, however the numbers are so close to history and recent other polls—to tell me the trends are the same---there are a big chunk of Quebecers on the table ‘for sale” and we know where they likely lean at present. The Bloc retains its regular totals however the New Democrats remain in contention as a viable third choice to the Liberals and Conservatives in that province-and the Green’s keep a presence. Although the Green party has increased its totals from our last national election, I don’t have a good sense of any rise in recent support as the conversation regarding carbon tax and the environment gets louder.
Essentially, the Greens are going to make quite a few elections closer, but they aren’t likely to win any seats. British Columbia will have an opportunity to vote on proportional representation during its next general provincial election—and this conversation will rise in Canada as Presidential elections in the United States take place. Every person in the world with a television set or computer will be watching this U.S. Presidential election, many world leaders may even begin to reveal who their preferences are contrary to traditional non-involvement. McCain will pray that Chavez openly endorses Obama—while Obama hopes Putin will argue with Iran—and a lot of governments hope that China pulls off the Olympics this summer-in the midst of this incredibly intense political year. The media politics of this Presidential election could go anywhere. The possibilities are endless.
Difficulties with credibility are stinging Conservative and Liberal support in Quebec and the rest of Canada is feeling the pain. With rising gas prices and increased gnashing of teeth by Canadians everywhere all is not necessarily well. I would never want to have to ask Canadians for a tax for anything in this economy, but Dion believes it---can he explain it though? Explaining is one thing, while communicating to a broad section of Canadians who are willing to hear his pleas at all is quite another.
NDP MP Thomas Mulcair despite not being known to many Canadians is a strong element of the NDP’s increases support in the Province of Quebec and the influence it has on national opinion. This and leader Jack Layton’s ability to rise with the increased strength and maturity of his party. This shows that Jack Layton is growing as a leader and this, as well as ‘more doubters in areas with more population’—coupled with other numbers in support from this ROBBINS poll suggest that the New Democrats may be in better shape right now than many pundits and others have been previously suggesting.
High petroleum prices, and charges of gas price fixing, coupled with an increasing sense of protectionism ‘lite’ in Canada-- has produced rather high numbers of support for a national energy program. (28%) of respondents in the province of Alberta, while (22%) support it in Newfoundland. However, British Columbians and Ontario support it 46%, while Quebec surprised us with 42% support-and PEI and Nova Scotia well over 50% in support.
Nuclear energy is on the table with Canadians. Desperate for solutions other than those provided to date, Canadians have one hand on their wallets/ while they feel their way on matters of the country with the other. Only the wealthier Canadians are not going to feel this discussion. Most voters will be voting through their experiences and not just a sense of idealism. The debate on climate change in this country, particularly with high gas prices revealing that perhaps the market can handle change in the new economy has people reeling, has some New Democrats cynically suggesting that the Liberals new manifesto is not just about gathering up Green votes, its also about putting a Reform Liberal’s stamp on any movement in new markets, particularly where the environment is concerned.
That is why this subject matter is so bold at this time, because it brings proponents of the market (as the pure arbiter of economies), into direct clash with those who see government as the main player. With the decline of the United States economy, and relative to the rise (of former Communist) China, now a successful mixed economy, as well as powerhouse India—the discussion of climate change provides an opening which is no longer esoteric, it involves the direct discussion of all policy matter Internationally, Nationally, and in relation to civic matters—there is no longer one government more important than the other—in terms of power absolute—yes, but in terms of the absolute value of what is required to be successful—it’s a shared interest at all levels of the government with the citizenry heartily engaged. How this is accomplished I leave to better minds than I in that field, but this is without question the reddest of journalistic meat.
We always here a lot about Muslim and Jewish interests in Canada. Why not? We are a tolerant country—and because of our proximity to the United States and our involvement in Afghanistan—the issues involving these well known adversaries matter. Unfortunately to most Canadians it really doesn’t. Polite as we are one third of respondents simply aren’t interested in politics in the Middle East. These respondents are more than eager to hear a Made in Canada solution to Green problems. This may give a leg up to Conservatives and New Democrats.
Prime Minister Harper has a 60/40 lead over Stephane Dion, leader of the Opposition. He has 57/43 lead over him on the carbon tax question. Naturally, Dion has to pounce.
A random telephone sample of 1,043 Canadians between June 15 and 21st, 2008. This poll features a margin of error of 3.4%, 19 times out of 20 @95% competency. This poll was paid for in part by Jim Van Rassel, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Glen P. Robbins -30-

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