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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics January 8, 2007
  Jan 08, 2007

A random telephone sample representing 11,011 Canadians from Canadian coast to coast between December 27th 2006, and January 6th, 2007. THIS definitive ROBBINS ASK poll features a margin of error of 2.76%, 19 times out of 20 @99% competency/confidence. This poll has been sponsored by Glen P. Robbins, Glen P. Robbins and Associates, and Jim Van Rassel, owner NewTrend Optical (604) 942-9300. ROBBINS ASK and ROBBINS Sce Research (1998) are 100% owned and operated by Glen P. Robbins-All Rights reserved.

Question #1
If a federal election were held tomorrow for which leader and political party would you caste your ballot?
Elizabeth May and Green    7.5 %
Stephane Dion and Liberals    31.2 %
Jack Layton and New Democrats    11.5 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc    10 %
Stephen Harper and Conservatives    37.5 %
Other    2.3 %
Question #2
Which of the following political issues is most important to you at this time?
Global warming and the environment    18 %
Canada’s role in Afghanistan    17 %
Crime and Justice    10.5 %
Government’s management of taxpayer dollars and accountability    20.5 %
Federal provincial relations    09 %
Quebec and national unity    5.5 %
Changing the government in Ottawa    08 %
Ending poverty in Canada    6.5 %
None of these    4.5 %
Question #3
We want to ask a number of questions relating to the subject of the conflict in Afghanistan. These questions are designed in part to query your level of support for or against different perspectives of the war. Please respond as honestly as you can. Do you support Canada’s troops presently in Afghanistan?
Yes    63 %
No    37 %
Question #4
Do you support Parliament’s decision to extend the mission in Afghanistan until 2009?
Yes    57 %
No    43 %
Question #5
Do you agree or disagree with NDP leader Jack Layton’s position that resources In Afghanistan should be reconstituted and redirected so that more resources are allocated for reconstruction and less on conflict?
Agree    47 %
Disagree    53 %
Question #6
The United States is considering more troops to Iraq, should Canada send more troops to Afghanistan?
Yes    26 %
No    74 %
Question #7
Why in your opinion has the conflict in Afghanistan not been won yet?
These victories are not secured overnight    27 %
The Soviets were not successful in Afghanistan; this war can’t be won    42 %
Canada’s allies in Afghanistan are not helping enough    31 %
Question #8
We want to ask you some questions about Global warming: Is Global warming as serious a problem as the environmentalists and press make it out to be?
Yes    66 %
No    34 %
Question #9
Is Global warming without any doubt the single most important issue facing the Government of Canada?
Yes    23 %
No    77 %
Question #10
Is it your opinion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper intends to do something positive about Canada’s responsibility with respect to damaging the environment and solving global warming?
Yes    47 %
No    53 %
Question #11
Do you expect that global warming will be solved in your lifetime?
Yes    51 %
No    49 %
Question #12
Who in your opinion is most trustworthy?
Stephane Dion    44 %
Stephen Harper    49 %
Neither    05 %
The big stories through this polling period occurred near the end of ‘calling’. These were: The Conservative Cabinet shuffle, which brought Treasury Board Minister John Baird to the Environment Ministry replacing Rona Ambrose, and the defection of Liberal MP Wajid Khan to Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. The Conservatives have a statistical lead over the Opposition Liberals of 7.1%. The Conservative lead over the Liberals when Canada’s two largest provinces are considered is approximately 43,000 votes. The Conservative Party is far more popular then the Liberal Party in all other regions of the country except for the Atlantic Provinces. The Conservative Party’s noteworthy lead is predicated significantly on its ever growing strength in Ontario. The Ontario Provincial Liberals probably did not help their federal counterparts with their minimum wage increase. It would not hurt the Federal Conservatives to at least initiate a debate on a Federal standard for minimum wage.
The Conservatives are in a good position on Afghanistan given that a high number of respondents who believe Afghanistan is the number 1 issue also support the Conservative Party, and over one-half of respondents in the country generally can tolerate the casualty cost in that country relative to the geo political importance of that region of the world.
The Prime Minister is reported to be excited about reconstituting the environmental file with one of his finest Ministers John Baird. There are rumblings about the possibility of a Global Environmental Accord, the brainchild of Prime Minister Stephen Harper being developed in the coming weeks in Vancouver British Columbia, which it is hoped would ultimately replace the horribly outdated Kyoto Accord. This Accord would bring environmental activists and government Ministers from all over the world in a comprehensive discussion designed to bring about a blueprint for success on the environmental front and in particular solutions to the problems of global warming. Top U.S. Democratic hopeful Barrack Obama who has some very novel ideas regarding environmental sustainability is said to be interested in such an Accord, along with well known environmentalist and former Presidential candidate Al Gore, and political icon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife Senator Hillary Clinton. Federal New Democrat leader Jack Layton is rumoured to be a Co-Chair of the Conference which may ultimately lead to a Global Accord on environmental sustainability and real solutions to the problem of global warming.
British Columbia Liberal Member of the Provincial Legislative Assembly Lorne Mayencourt, an openly gay person has indicated that he might run for the Federal Conservatives in Vancouver against longtime Liberal MP Hedy Fry. This is not an insignificant consideration. Not only would it open the door further to the Conservatives in Vancouver City proper, but would also signal a moderate approach to social issues for other moderate Conservatives to run in Toronto and Montreal, and would ensure that same sex marriage would be off the table in the event of a Conservative majority.
Otherwise, the most obvious result of the political news is that the combined Conservative New Democrat seat total is sufficient to pass legislation without the cooperation or consent of the other Opposition parties in Parliament.
Many news articles reported how this present situation is similar to the one which former Liberal PM Paul Martin confronted with NDP leader Jack Layton during his minority government. This poll suggests that this may not be the case, as Jack Layton’s New Democrats are presently in trouble, being absorbed by the federal Green Party and Liberal Party on the left, and vulnerable to Conservatives in rural areas in the middle and on the immediate right.
Consequently, the Conservatives who appear to be marching close to a majority will be in a position to leverage the New Democrats to support their environmental package or the latter will face a sharp reduction in seats in an election. This will interrupt the modest momentum experienced by new federal leader Stephane Dion who may have over invested his political capital on the environmental file, which helped him win the political leadership but will cost him the next federal election, as he doesn’t have the credibility to sell the environment to the extent he would otherwise need to, to take away from the Green Party and the NDP, and to pass judgement on the Conservatives who are coming out with their new and improved environmental package and have invested one of their best MP’s on the file.
Stephane Dion does have an opportunity to enjoy reasonable success but it won’t likely be against the front-runner Conservatives, but rather the Bloc Party. Both the federal Liberals and Bloc supporters are about to lock horns on the matter of federal provincial relations. The outcome could make a difference of 10-15 seats in Quebec alone and if the Liberals are the benefactors of this debate, it should make up for the seats this poll (and other ROBBINS polls) suggest they will lose in the province of Ontario to the Conservatives. However, the intensity of this debate and the French Canadienne background of both party leaders could cause some attention deficit problems for Stephen Harper in the Province of Quebec over the course of the election, where he needs an additional five to ten seats to achieve a national majority, at least according to this ROBBINS ASK poll.
This poll also provides some fresh leverage for the Bloc Party. Their supporters appear more inclined to support more traditional social issues like poverty then more ‘in vogue’ issues like the environment and specifically the threat to mankind from Global Warming. If Gilles Duceppe can bring illumination to the ever present problem of poverty/human trafficking and such, he will bring the focus of federal provincial relations down to the street level where he will have more success, as he shines as a man of the people. Also, Quebec’s youth have problems with drugs, alcohol and tobacco (not dissimilar to other Canadian Provinces), however Quebec has a unique problem with youth and underage gambling. This is another form of poverty, the poverty of spirit which like alcohol and drug abuse often results in financial poverty.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in a very good position. His core support (predicated on the overwhelming number of Conservative Party supporters who remain focused on Canada’s strategic interests abroad, crime and justice, and pocket book issues and government accountability), provides him with almost 33% base support nationally. His remaining support is scattered throughout other issues save for changing the government. The religious right can no longer remain transfixed on the same sex marriage issue, but can properly devote their time where it is most valuable, namely helping others who don’t have enough to eat or a place to live or alternatively on matters of the environment.
Also, Environment Minister John Baird is arguably the most talented (or one of the most talented) MP’s in the House of Commons. His experience on Treasury Board will help him to articulate the realities of cost associated with a comprehensive environmental policy which will surely be as impressive as Mr. Harper’s decision to place Minister Baird in this extremely important role in the first place.
Jack Layton is in a difficult position; he has a reputation as an honest and sincere man so he will probably manage. Mr. Layton needs to understand that he is being squeezed, yet he still has ‘cards to play’. He must understand that he needs the Conservatives more then the Conservatives need him. He can manage this by not demanding meetings with the Prime Minister, and be willing to ‘work with’ Minister Baird on the environmental file. His negotiation could include joint press conferences with Mr. Baird relating to the environment, which will enable the Conservatives environmental policy, and reinvigorate Jack Layton’s position as a statesman and a valuable person on Canada’s political stage, thus returning support currently lost to the Greens and Liberals, back to his party. Most importantly however, is that Mr. Layton must put party principles first without succumbing to the fragile emotion of ideology. If the Conservatives use their considerable leverage over him in an oppressive manner, he must be prepared to stage a political exit as leader, which would deny the Conservatives the timing of a spring election which they will most certainly win. Again, whether It is a majority or not is what remains outstanding.
This poll reveals that although the Green Party of Canada is moving ahead under the new leadership of Elizabeth May, (another extremely impressive federal political leader), this will be no easy ride to double digits in public support from an election. Ms. May’s Green Party has persevered for so many years in support of the environment and has been ignored and even mocked by the mainstream over that period of time. The world has changed and not always for the better. Canadians trust Elizabeth May, it remains to be seen whether or not Green support will take off as it did in the London by-election in late 2006, or whether or not she will grind her way to 7-8 per cent. The Greens under May have to be prepared to give everything they’ve got in this election, because this is make or break for the party making it into Parliament.
Valid Respondents (margin of error in brackets): Total: 1,709. Ontario: 750; (3.95%) Quebec: 250; (7.5%) BC: 352; (5.25%) Alberta: 120; (NA); Atlantic Provinces: 120; (NA); Manitoba: 65; (NA) Saskatchewan: 52 (NA)
Conservatives: Ontario (42%) (2,386,593.72); Quebec (21%) (784,948.29); BC (40%) (733,022.80); Alberta (51%) (732,694.05); Atlantic Provinces (38%) (455,349.44); Manitoba (48%) (248,427.36); Saskatchewan (50%) (231,894)=37.3%
Liberals: Ontario (36%) (2,045,651.76); Quebec (29%) (1,083,976.21); BC (28%) (513,115.96); Alberta (23%) (330,430.65); Atlantic Provinces (39%) (455,349.44); Manitoba (24%) (124,213.61); Saskatchewan (23%) (106,671.24)=31.2%

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