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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics October 22, 2010
  Oct 22, 2010

Question #1
In an election were held tomorrow for which leader and party would you caste your ballot (vote)
Michael Ignatieff and federal Liberal Party of Canada    30.5 %
Stephen Harper and federal Conservative Party of Canada    30.5 %
Jack Layton and federal New Democratic Party of Canada    19.5 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    10 %
Elizabeth May and federal Green Party of Canada    7.5 %
Undecided    3 %
Commentary
Commentary by Peter Kelly (Islander)
This ZEUS ROBBINS poll, like many others, reflects a stalemate of the Liberals and the Conservatives. NDP support is holding from 2008, even slightly increasing with national totals supported by a dramatic increase in popularity in British Columbia.
The Federal Liberals have gained ground nationally from a bottom of voter support in 2008, to a solid performance in this poll reflective of support left by former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin. This is most evidenced by Liberal supporting shooting up in seat rich Ontario. What the poll doesn’t reflect are the regional and local politics that are clearly affecting the federal scene.
British Columbia
Everything in BC was going the federal Conservatives way, until now. British Columbia has provided Stephen Harper with his third largest provincial caucus behind Ontario and Alberta, the latter province providing a historical near clean sweep of Conservative MP’s.
Now, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, owing to unfolding political circumstances in BC is dramatically losing public support in that province, with voters sliding away to all other parties and undecided. The federal Conservative party’s marriage to BC Liberal premier Gordon Campbell and in particular, the HST hoisted onto the back of consumers with no proper Notice and no consultation has BC voters seething with anger at both the provincial and federal parties.
British Columbia voters tend to side federally with the party that is seen as anti-establishment. For many years the federal NDP fit the bill well, until they began to have success by winning elections in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and BC.
Thus the outsider party became the insider party and BC voters abandoned them for the Reform Party – which became the Canadian Alliance Party – which amalgamated with the federal Progressive Conservative Party – to become the Conservative Party of Canada. This once western protest movement claiming Reform principles came to power under Stephen Harper’s Conservative brand and began making the same mistakes that BC voters have historically punished others for. With a desperately unpopular provincial Liberal government and a federal Conservative government drifting to the right – news forecasting mid-term Conservative successes in the United States, progressive thinking British Columbians are poised to hurt the Tories to the benefit of the federal New Democrats, and to a lesser extent the federal Liberals.
Quebec
Quebec is also a progressive thinking province like BC. However, the prevailing two pillars of political thought in that province are separatist and federalist. Currently, if a federal election were called, the BQ separatists would take almost 60 seats with federalists reduced to a rump of seats in and around more populous urban Montreal with some fence-sitters and other federalists continuing to support Conservatives in Quebec City where the Prime Minister has been reduced to offering gifts like hockey arenas to maintain regional support with dwindling provincial success.
Quebec’s separatist ambitions could flower. Their own provincial Liberal government is mired in scandal and corruption, but unlike the BC Liberals, the Quebec Liberals are federally affiliated and the provincial disgust is transferred onto the federal Liberal cousins, creating a mill stone around the political neck of Michael Ignatieff as he attempts to bring back the federal Liberal reputation to a province with more impetus toward separation than any federal deal making.
The provincial Parti Quebecois is set to replace the Quebec provincial Liberals and they are certainly as zealous in their federal objectives as the federal Bloc Quebecois are as evidenced by Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe’s recent political engagement in Washington DC.
Federalists in Quebec still hold the majority of voters and won’t likely vote BQ, but are sufficiently induced by the four federal parties’ offerings in the province: Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Green – creating a political environment where marginalized federal support for the Conservatives and Liberals could create a BQ landslide. Watch out, there is trouble coming in La Belle province.
Ontario
Ontario holds the mother lode of federal seats in Canada with over one third of total federal seats up for grabs in that province. Ontario voters took a chance with Stephen Harper in 2008 but support for the governing party is waning and looking more like Canadian Alliance support at the turn of the century than the federal Chretien support of the 1990’s required for majority government.
Despite odd political occurrences in the run for mayor in Canada’s largest metropolitan area of Toronto – this oddity has not rubbed off on good fortune for the federal Conservatives desperate to make a dent in that seat rich urban area. The 905 dialing region outside Toronto and the Golden Triangle where suburbanites dwell were once attracted to Stephen Harper’s calm, cool and deliberate ways, but this support appears to be slipping from his grasp as suburban voters go searching for something else if not something better.
Peter Kelly’s Summary of Canadian politics – Snapshot in Time
This snapshot of national politics in Canada informs us that swing and suburban voters are moving off the Conservative government, but they are not yet gathering under the federal Liberals “big red tent”. These ZEUS ROBBINS numbers would produce an election outcome of another minority government in Canada with Conservative seats in the 115-125 range, Liberals close to 100 seats or better, the BQ with 55-60 seats, and the New Democrats around 40 seats.
These numbers suggest that Stephen Harper would lose to Michael Ignatieff in Ontario and battle with the New Democrats in British Columbia. Michael Ignatieff would re-establish Liberal supremacy in Ontario, and grab an extra seat or two in nearly every other province in the country.
Overall, no events in federal Canadian politics have galvanized voters toward one leader or party. It remains Prime Minister Harper’s to lose and this poll may be the first bit of evidence of his intention to do just that, though future efforts will tell us if this sagging support for his Conservative party is a blip or a trend. He may like being Prime Minister but he has never really been challenged, and it appears that Michael Ignatieff is going to change that condition on the federal political scene.
Conservatives (October 2008/October 2010) Quebec (21.5% - 16%); Ontario (39% - 31%); British Columbia (44.5% - 28%); Alberta (64.5% - 53%); Saskatchewan (54% - 50%); Manitoba (49% - 39%); Atlantic Provinces (32.5% - 30%).
Liberals Quebec (23.5% - 22%); Ontario (34% - 41%) British Columbia (19.5% - 24%); Alberta (11.5% - 19%); Saskatchewan (15% - 20%); Manitoba (19% - 24%); Atlantic Provinces (39.5% - 42%).
New Democrats Quebec (12% - 10%); Ontario (18% - 18.5%); British Columbia (26% - 34%); Alberta (12.5% - 17%); Saskatchewan (25.5% - 26%); Manitoba (24% - 24%); Atlantic Provinces (27% - 21%)
Greens Quebec (3.5% - 7%); Ontario (8% - 8%); British Columbia (9.5% - 11%); Alberta (9% - 6%); Saskatchewan (5.5% - 4%); Manitoba (7% - 8%); Atlantic Provinces (5%)
NB – numbers shown provincially reflect decided voters – shortfalls to 100% made up by “Other Party” – Quebec (1%); Ontario (1.5%); British Columbia (3%); Alberta (5%); Saskatchewan (0%); Manitoba (5%); Atlantic Provinces (2%).
Regional contacts from voter lists (net of discard - moe): Grand Total – 2,475 ‘voters’ interviewed between October 9 and 19, 2010. Margin of error is (1%), 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence.
BC (1,252 – 2%); Ontario (734 – 3.5%); Quebec (321 – 5.5%); Alberta (65 – no moe); Atlantic Provinces (40 – no moe); Saskatchewan (32 – no moe); Manitoba (31 – no more).
Data collection British Columbia/Alberta/Saskatchewan – from Vancouver, BC, Manitoba/Ontario/Quebec (U.S.) – Atlantic Provinces (Quebec).

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