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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics May 5, 2007
  May 05, 2007

Methodology-This is an random sample of 1,000 Canadian 'voter's in the last general federal election who are also decided in their decisions herein. This is a fair depiction of a representative sample of approximately 47,000 Canadians in total, featuring a margin of error of 2.25%, 19 times out of 20@99% competency/confidence. This ROBBINS poll was conducted between April 26-May 3, 2007. Interivews were conducted throughout all provinces in the following (numbers)(margin of error where applicable): Ontario (350)/(4.75%); Quebec (120), BC (300)/(5.15%), Prairie Provinces (150)/(4.5%), Atlantic Provinces (92)-12 'ballots' were eventually dropped, with 9 of those from Quebec. This poll was paid for by Glen P. Robbins and Associates; ROBBINS MediaWorks, and Jim Van Rassel, owner/proprietor NewTrend Optical stores (604) 942-9300.
Glen P. Robbins
(604) 942-3757

Question #1
For which leader and political party did you vote in the last general federal election?
Jack Layton and NDP    16.14 %
Paul Martin and Liberal    31.21 %
Stephen Harper and Conservatives    34.63 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    11.86 %
Jim Harris and Green    6.16 %
Question #2
If an election were held tomorrow for which leader and party would you vote?
Stephane Dion and Liberal    29.76 %
Stephen Harper and Conservative    37.32 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    8.68 %
Jack Layton and NDP    18.19 %
Elizabeth May and Green    6.65 %
Question #3
Would you be pleased to see Queen Elizabeth II visit Canada to celebrate her eightieth birthday?
Yes    52 %
No    27 %
I would be somewhat pleased    16 %
I would not necessarily be pleased    05 %
Question #4
Have you followed political news in the newspaper, magazines, television or radio this past week?
Yes    24 %
No    76 %
Question #5
Which of the following political subjects is most important to you at this time?
Situation involving Taliban prisoners and human rights    12.28 %
Global Warming, Climate change and Canada's Green Plan    18.42 %
The national Economy/Taxes    23.68 %
Matters relating to crime    24.56 %
Other issues    25.43 %
Question #6
What is your impression of Environment Minister John Baird and his Conservative Party's approach to combat climate change, global warming and pollution of the environment?
In my opinion it's a positive step in the right direction    21.50 %
It's better then nothing which is what the Liberal Party did    27.00 %
It's a loser proposition    17.50 %
Let's wait and see    21.00 %
I haven't followed it    12.50 %
Question #7
Do you expect a general federal election will be called within the next six months?
Yes    54 %
No    46 %
Question #8
Which of the following political party's have directly made a connection with you in the past six months, other than through media?
Conservative Party    52 %
Liberal Party    15 %
NDP    26 %
Green    00 %
Bloc    01 %
More than one    02 %
Unsure    04 %
Question #9
If you only had to select the leader of a political party which one would you say in your decided opinion is the most 'competent' in Ottawa?
Stephen Harper    50 %
Gilles Duceppe    10 %
Jack Layton    18 %
Stephane Dion    17 %
Elizabeth May    05 %
Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party have increased public support from the last general federal election, while the Liberals are down. The NDP is up (13%), the Bloc is down, and the Green Party is up.
Queen Elizabeth received some favourable numbers, as a clear majority of Canadians would be pleased to help her celebrate her 80th birthday this spring.
Less than one out of four Canadians who responded followed political news closely in the past week.
Other issues, Matters relating to Crime, and the National Economy/Taxes dominated the selections by respondents relative to which political subjects were most important to them.
With respect to which statement(s) provided the impression respondents had of Conservative Environmental Minister John Baird's approach to climate change, global warming etc., the highest number of respondents determined that it's better than nothing which is what the Liberals did.
More than one half of Canadian voters expect an election to be called within the next six months. A previous ROBBINS poll revealed that a clear majority of respondents would accept an election being called soon.
The Conservatives are backing their re-election by establishing their own media room, a significant war chest, and through a myriad of other communications and public relations with clients. This is an intelligent move, as the Conservatives are not part of the Canada's history as the Progressive Conservative and Liberal Party's are, and the mainstream Liberal press is concerned that the conditions might be right for the Conservatives winning two elections, one in 2007 (more about this later), and perhaps another in 2009.
Stephen Harper is heads and tails above all other leaders and his own party. Jack Layton is finally getting some respect, Gilles Duceppe may be the main reason his Bloc Quebecois Party remains viable, while Stephane Dion and Elizabeth May are less popular than their party.
Conservative support continues to grow from baseline support reflected from the last general federal direction. Overall, after factoring data from the last federal election the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party have (adjusted) support ranging between (37-39%). This range has been consistent over the past few months with one ROBBINS poll featuring support for the Conservatives over (40%). To ROBBINS, this means the Conservatives can reach a majority of support, it simply has to continue to re-tool its presentation of positive policy to the people to install a sense of confidence in the total party that Canadians obviously have in the Prime Minister. It is as if the people have already decided Prime Minister and will let everyone else debate along, almost disconnected. I believe I heard Chantal Hebert say something along these lines a couple of weeks ago on CBC, and this ROBBINS poll suggests that it is likely the case. It's very odd, but it's also very real. It is important to note that it is our impression (historically) that a 38% support level is a good expectation for the governing Conservative Party, while the Liberal 'top end' support in good times in likely in the range of (42-43%).
Accordingly, if (40%) is the standard by which majority governments are determined in this parliamentary democracy, than it is likely that the Conservatives might never achieve a majority. The current climate of a 'stronger' (as opposed to strong) Green Party, and corresponding 'weaker (as opposed to weak) Liberal Party changes this 'standard' downward to around the (38.64%) level according to ROBBINS calculations. For instance, in the seat rich province of Ontario, if the Conservatives achieve (38.64%) of public support, while the Liberals achieve (<33.23%), and the NDP (=> 19.47%) and Green plus "other" vote is (>8.11%), all things being relatively equal to the last federal general election, than the Conservatives will gain 14 seats from the Liberals, and the NDP will gain 2-4. We have not produced a poll in the last three months where the Conservatives have been under 35%, while mainstream pollsters have not produced ONE poll over the same period where the Conservatives are (= > 40%). One contradiction between ROBBINS and the mainstream polling is Toronto and outlying areas where we see between (30%) and (32%) for the Conservatives compared with much lower scores from the mainstream.
A similar type of 'difference' between ROBBINS and mainstream exists in Quebec.
Quebec appears from our polling to be a work well in progress for the Conservatives. The party is contacting respondents vigorously, while competitors are not. The higher undecided rate in Quebec relative to other provinces, particularly where past voters of the Bloc and the Liberals are concerned, particularly in light of modest NDP and Green gains, ALSO means that the standard of voter support first past the post may be lower than the (40%). We have the Conservatives at or about (28-30%) in Quebec, while the mainstream has shown the Conservatives (< 20%). We don't believe the lower numbers suggested.
The Queen is popular right now. We suspect she has always been, but there have been a few rough patches. As the world grows increasingly uneasy, institutions like the British Monarchy and in particular Queen Elizabeth II grow more popular in Canada. The Queen has also represented herself and the British Monarchy with stoic dedication, determination and consistency, and has done so through many turbulent times, and rightfully has earned the respect she is obviously receiving from Canadians in this ROBBINS poll. The scandalous abuse of British citizens which continues from Canada through telemarketing of lottery tickets, (for which there has been little diplomatic complaint), reflects the kind of patience that the British have had for Canada. A stroll through Canadian streets and sites with the Prime Minister should bring 'EFL' voter support to over (43%) for the Conservative Party.
Of those respondents who said they followed the news, (33%) supported Conservative(s), (30%) supported Liberals, (22%) supported the NDP; (5%) supported the Bloc, and (10%) supported the Green Party. The margin of error attributable to this 'poll within a poll' is approximately (6-7%), considering the qualifying of respondents.
For the majority of respondents who did not follow the political news, over (39.5%) supported the Conservatives, (29%) supported the Liberals (16.5%) supported the NDP, and (9%) followed by Bloc. Green Party supporters who did not follow the news provided approximately (06%).
(The Green Party data may be somewhat dubious owing to the fact that Green support was 'apparently' falling off after comments made by leader Elizabeth May comparing Neville Chamberlain and Nazi Germany to the Harper government on Kyoto-while Conservative numbers rose slightly at the same time in sympathy with the PM and his government).
However the number of respondents gleaned after the news of Ms. May's comments, was not substantial enough to draw a complete correlation. It is likely fair to say that if people watching political news give the Greens a '10' and those who don't a '6' when the news is 'better' for Greens, than this most recent faux pas (and it is just that)/news could compel an equally significant decline (relatively speaking) in Green support.)
Of the political subjects offered in question #5, the good news for the Liberal media is that those respondents who were paying attention chose the 'Taliban prisoners-Human Rights' and 'Canada's Green Plan' in higher numbers, but even still, these numbers were not higher than (c), (d) or (e).
Although Canadians do not want to see their military as callous in any regard, there are many more who are far more concerned with the well being of the troops. Ironically, Canadians appear to believe that the Afghanistan war is progressing well (relative to what they have witnessed in Iraq), if our attention is now being applied to Taliban prisoners. The Charter of Rights application to the Supreme Court of Canada seems a trifle embarrassing to the average person who mentioned it. I think the whole matter caught some Canadians off guard, which is not to suggest that there is widespread sympathy here. This behaviour by the Opposition humiliated troops, just as the Shane Doan matter rankled most Canadians (including many in Quebec).
The Prime Minister could make a change in the Minister of Defense so long as the change appeared to be part of a 'pre-election' shuffle, because the Taliban prisoner problem will not hurt the Conservatives, the ongoing siren of the Opposition, Amnesty International, and the BC Civil Liberties Union will become enough of a nuisance to grate on potential voters, giving the secondary appearance that the government is not necessarily well in charge. A change at Defense could reflect a change from military oversight (Gordon O'Connor) to more elected civilian oversight bringing with it an end to the abrasive gnashing of teeth.
(This is the same BC Civil Liberties by the way who I asked for 'help' when my lawyer was disbarred at the last minute and I had my business stolen-they didn't even give Whitey here a second thought. No lawyer, no trial, it's a shame if it's a visible minority or other 'victim' but if it's Whitey, that's okay. The BC Civil Liberties only helps their own special kind of 'victims'-what a bunch of phony assholes).
Contrary to much of the mainstream news, the 'actual' impression that 'voter/respondents' have of Environment Minister John Baird's approach to Canada's solution to global warming is pretty good 'relatively speaking'. This is based on two fundamental reasons. The first is that the Conservative Party is seen to be doing something, where the Liberals are affirmed by over one quarter of all respondents to have done 'nothing'. Action in response to a problem will always trump 'perceived' inaction, unless the action is so egregious to the majority of the public that it is deemed worse than nothing. One need only look at the problems emerging from the Air India disaster. The general context of the Opposition party's response to Mr. Baird�s plan is that it isn't Kyoto, which contradicts the inaction of the Liberals to Kyoto, which undermines the Liberal Party support for the plan with a large number of Canadians.
Secondly, Canadians are not as receptive to an International arrangement on climate change, when they are not comfortable with what is happening in the world to begin with. I fundamentally do not believe that Kyoto is something that a majority of Canadians are overly concerned about. It is our distinct impression that at one time Kyoto had about 50% 'support', but support is nebulous at the best of times, and as more illumination was shed upon the Kyoto Protocol relative to the time limits, Canadians simply don't believe we can be that successful so soon. The more the Greens and the NDP call for Kyoto, as much damage is done to the Liberals as to the Conservatives, because the Conservative 'base' for NO Kyoto is enough to give them comfort on this file. As well there are many supporters of other parties who are not ready to hit the streets over Kyoto.
I know how hard it hurts to take a setback in something as important as climate change is to people, but when you smash it down people's throats every day for six months, they are going to need a rest.
With one in five (or more) Canadians on a wait and see basis, the Conservatives can literally 'win their own ball game', by showing Canadians they are taking action, they are doing work. Over the springtime, if I were the government I would treat its Green Plan as they did the 'front end' of the previous federal general election, and roll out one action of another. In fact, Environment Minister John Baird is a pit bull (a very bright pit bull), but he isn't perceived as one in our estimation, because he doesn't look like one. Mr. Baird's slight speech impediment and general manner makes him look 'folksy' like a Conservative who is Green because he 'conserves'. A series of public service announcements featuring the Minister (without getting into hot water for taxpayer monies) satisfies the convention for moral suasion on a subject matter, which most Canadians believe, is important.
Nearly one out of two respondents (who made a selection) which either determined that the Conservative Plan was (a) a step in the right direction, or (b) let's wait and see. Using the same criteria only one out of five 'decided' respondents are of the 'impression' that the Conservative Green Plan is a 'loser'.
Notwithstanding whether or not Canadians actually want an election, the number of Canadians who (a) expect an election (this ROBBINS poll), and (b) who accept an election (previous ROBBINS poll) is in the majority numbers. This provides initial evidence into a general theme of this commentary relating to whether or not the Conservative government ought to call an election.
I liked what broadcaster Don Newman (easily the best journalist for discovering politicos) on his Politics show on CBC elicited from Opposition party representatives when he essentially asked 'if the Conservatives are so low in popularity why not force an election', to which the general reply from OPPOSITION seems to be: 'the people don't want an election'.
On its face this is a pretty thin explanation, based on the assumption that unless the government is loathed (and the Conservatives if loathed are only loathed by a minority), people are never eager to have an election, and measured against the aforementioned ROBBINS evidence that they 'accept' and 'expect' an election, in the majority, provides at a minimum a 'basis' for suggesting that there are forces at play in the Opposition who do not want an election, which would presume that they expect to lose and the government to gain. The contra assertion would be that if the government were as weak as the Opposition pollsters and mainstream might suggest, than why wouldn't they force an election, or in the case of the NDP, force the Liberal Party (generally acknowledged to be weaker) to vote with the government, weakening them further, and strengthening the government as a related co-efficient.
The political science and journalism supporting this contention (hypothesis) is pretty obvious. The government is not running smoothly because there is so much attention being placed on subjects like global warming. Canadians are saying 'shut up all ready we get it, there is a problem'. As a consequence of the over attention to this subject in a relatively short period of time, there are many ordinary Canadians who are now going the other way and listening to those who challenge the existence of global warming. This is what happens when the news and the media machinery including mainstream polling 'over promote' a subject. Kyoto is a non-starter in the country as far as the majority of the public is concerned, in part because they are (frankly) sick of the subject. The matter of climate change and the government's Bill related to it, has been bogged down in amendments, committees and debate. This isn't to suggest that any of these aren't necessary, it is to say that the public perception within the context of minority government, suggests that each time government business gets bogged down, many voters will blame either the government or the Opposition. Hypothetically, if I have the levers of power, I DO NOT want the final cumulative impression of my watch to appear to be bureaucratic and that is what the Conservatives will ultimately be risking if they cannot produce overall relief to voters in terms of getting the people's business done. At a minimum this provides a foundation for an election sooner than later, with 2009 the latest. What happens after a few of these Opposition muggings is, the public becomes a little unsure or uneasy about what is going on, even if they are not fully in support of transgressions alleged of the government.
This doesn't mean there isn't a climate change or Global Warming problem, what it does mean is a significant minority of Canadians are tuning it out, because they have heard enough.
There has been a lot of talk about elections. We know there is a fixed election in 2009, so there is no need to speculate about that. No political party will force (through a confidence motion) an election in 2008. That leaves 20 months for an election before the next fixed election date. The Prime Minister doesn't want to use the McKenzie King history for more than the astrology he might already be using, so he isn't going to wait until 2009. One should attempt to consider the more recent history of Canada since the rise of the separatists, as the Bloc impact on Quebec, and even Trudeau's win over Joe Clark's minority was 'Made in Quebec'. The Liberals will not be making that comeback anytime soon, and the recent Shane Doan thing helped the NDP, Bloc, and Conservatives (and not the Liberals) in Quebec. I am not sure why Jack Layton went there for Quebec, but there are a very large percentage of French language Canadians living outside that province, and although most right thinking Canadians thought the situation was disgraceful, it was a smart move by Layton. It leads me to speculate that the Greens and Liberals are on their own, and something is up with the Conservatives, NDP and Bloc.
Incidentally, the whole make-up, dresser, astrology thing (whether Canadians are OK with quirky leaders, and this incident totally removed Stephen Harper from the 'dry Reform' look to the 'new and improved' Stephen Harper who the whole country feels an investment with.
So, PM Harper has the rest of 2007 to hold an election, the first of two that will be held by 2009. This means the Conservatives don't HAVE TO win a majority, they simply have to come close in the next election, which would permit them to more dominate a stronger minority government through to the fixed election date in 2009, where they can attemmpt a move at 200 seats. When is the best time to hold this election?
Currently, I am fairly certain that the Liberals are set to lose 14 seats to the Conservatives in Ontario, and 2-4 to the New Democrats. I am very confident the Conservatives will win an additional 10-12 seats in Quebec. I suspect another 2-5 will come from the rest of the country, so as soon as they are able the Conservatives should begin to move in this direction. Harper is old school Conservative and won't jinx himself with bad karma, so he will avoid holding an election prior to the 18 months from the last general federal election. Accordingly, the end of June is 18 months. Once summer arrives everyone will get a good rest, start school and the House of Commons sits with the Harper minority government in power 'for nearly two years. The public will take the opportunity to vote in slightly higher numbers for the Conservatives, and slightly lower numbers for the Liberals. The Conservatives will get more seats, the Liberals fewer. The Conservatives will either (a) come very close to a majority, (b) barely get a majority, or (c) blow the doors off everyone and get a significant majority. Ideally for the Conservatives they would achieve a bare majority, so that they can continue to 'build' for 2009.
Were it me, I would turn the engine on, rev up the machine and move to drop the Writ the first week of June, 2007 for an election in early July, 2007. The Liberals won't show up to the same extent they did last time, while the NDP, Bloc and Conservatives will. When you remain the underdog, and you have your opponents at a disadvantage, it is a prudent Prince that does what he ought to and finishes the job-without hesitation.

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