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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics December 27, 2008
  Dec 27, 2008

First published-1:55 P.M. Pacific Standard Time.
This ROBBINS poll produced through Glen P. Robbins and Associates--with a personal honourarium from Jim Van Rassel (604) 328-5398.

Question #1
For which leader and political party did you personally caste your ballot in the last federal general election-October 2008?
Stephen Harper and Conservative Party of Canada    38 %
Stephane Dion and Liberal Party of Canada    27 %
Jack Layton and New Democratic Party of Canada    17 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois Party    09 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party    07 %
Undisclosed (21)     %
Question #2
If an election were held tomorrow for which leader and party would you caste your ballot?
Stephen Harper and Conservative Party of Canada    39 %
Michael Ignatieff and Liberal Party of Canada    33 %
Jack Layton and New Democratic Party of Canada    16 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    7.5 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party of Canada    4.5 %
Other/Undecided    11 %
Question #3
Do you have confidence in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ability to lead Canada?
Yes    42.5 %
No    49.5 %
Undecided    08 %
Question #4
Do you support a coalition government led by new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to replace the current Conservative government of Canada?
Yes    50 %
No    46 %
Undecided    04 %
Question #5
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has long been a detractor of Canada’s Senate —historically stating that it should either be abolished or elected. Now PM Harper made a surprise decision to appoint 18 Senators. His rationale for doing so is based on his concern that a Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition taking power would make these appointments themselves-- to stack the Senate in their favour. Our ROBBINS question is this: Based on the following limited choices which best describes in your personal opinion, Stephen Harper’s motivation on the matter of these Conservative Senate appointments?
It is my personal opinion that Stephen Harper needed to make the appointments as a guard against the Liberal/NDP/Bloc coalition taking power and stacking the Senate themselves    40 %
It is my opinion that Stephen Harper is making the Senate appointments to stay in power and is being politically hypocritical for making these appointments    53 %
Can't Answer/Undecided    07% %
Question #6
Of the following choices representing sources of capital who BEST to provide loans to automakers and/or other industries currently experiencing cash flow and capital shortage problems?
Banks and other lending institutions    67 %
Canadian Taxpayers through the Government of Canada    28 %
Undecided    05 %
Conservatives are up (2.6%) from the last federal general election in October 2008. Over the same period the federal Liberals are up (22.2%), the New Democrats are down (5.9%), the Bloc down (16.7%), and the federal Greens are down (36.7%). The federal Liberals are back in the thick of it.
Based on Decided totals from question #2-compared to voting totals from question #1—Stephen Harper and Conservatives are down (8.5%), Michael Ignatieff and Liberals are up (09%), Jack Layton and New Democrats are down (16%), Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois are down (25.5%), and Elizabeth May and Green Party are down (43%).
Based on two sets of averages—measured by simple arithmetic—I would estimate that the Conservatives are even or down (5.5%) from their electoral totals in the October general federal election for a net of >(36%) or < (40%) Decided support; -- the federal Liberals are up (10%) to (30%), New Democrats are down (11%) or (16%), Bloc is down (21) for (7.5%) and Green is down (40%) for (4.5%). These numbers may not properly reflect the impact of the leaders, most particularly the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition Michael Ignatieff.
Conservatives (36%), Liberals (30%), New Democrats (16%), Bloc (7.5%), Green (4.5%) --------allocating (06%) Undecided.
Averaging question #2 Decided totals and these ROBBINS estimates—I would argue that Stephen Harper and Conservatives are (37.5-40%);- Michael Ignatieff and Liberals are (31.5-34%);- Jack Layton and New Democrats are (16-17.25%);- Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois are (7.5-9.5%);- and Elizabeth May and Green are (4.5-5.5%)--- allocating an estimated/averaged (3.0-5.0%) Undecided.
In question #1 support for Stephane Dion and the federal Liberal Party is (71%) of support for Stephen Harper and the federal Conservative Party. This is similar to the outcome of the most recent federal general election. In question #2—a reflection of current support among Canadians voters—new Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff and his party have (84.6%) of the support Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party which currently possesses’ ‘a real nice’ loyalty in western Canada, Ontario—and a handsome following in the Atlantic Provinces.
With highs of (55%) in Alberta, easy (40’s) in BC in Ontario-Ontario, mid and high fourties in Saskatchewan and Manitoba-better than one-third in the Atlantic Provinces—the Prime Minister has likely bottomed out in Quebec (21%) {Never mind Avery--Penguins and Habs—this contest--this is the hot sex button in the NHL right now}.
Michael Ignatieff has pulled up the Liberals in British Columbia (26.5%) with the prairies low to mid high twenties---but hovering around (30%) in Manitoba. (27.5%) in Quebec (42%) in Atlantic Canada and (36.5%) in Ontario for Michael Ignatieff’s federal Liberal Party suggests to me—Canadian federal politics are going to be “a really big shoe”---(my Ed Sullivan impression may be my best).
One gets the impression from communication with Federal Liberal Party powerhouse—Vancouver MP Joyce Murray—that it is possible for the Liberal Party of Canada “to be the next government for all Canadians.” With a surprise by-election win and a regular election win—Joyce Murray holds the key to west coast//Vancouver federal power. She is a major player on the federal scene—deserves what she has attained—and should have greater voice in west coast politic discourse.
Stephen Harper invested huge political capital in Quebec---at some level all good people come to understand the truth---and as a consequence—he could—and may yet have better fortune in Canada’s second largest province---home to a massive French, English bi-lingual community. How much hotter can you get than the Quebec City—Montreal, Quebec connection? Why do I care if there is talk of separation—people should believe what they achieve-and vica versa---. Everyone knows that Quebec is part of Canada—even if we seemed apart—there has always been—even in 1995 a sense that this was not possible—politically or economically—or for that matter culturally—the culture of being different—diverse. Canada is one and although this is a different era—though not by so long—I once went along with scripted criticism of Quebec---but now in the easy read of hindsight—I like the way the politics shakes out. The Bloc will disappear only when the public in Quebec say they must go—but separatist parties—or sovereign associations’ relationships (the first level of bridge to a more proximate relationship—than a --more xenophobic separatist party) are part of the traditional political landscape in Canada.
Wouldn’t you like to see Barack Obama hanging out with Canada’s political Fox de la menthe---Governor General Michaelle Jean? Yikes---sorry Michelle—Yikes! (Biting down on fingers—resisting further temptation to imagery).
The new realism ought to include the sufficient intellectual capacity to over indulge in proper communications of the life real—the work—the suffering—the people-along with the ability to use proper moral suasion to affect a more happy culture and not decry the savage but absolutely necessary efforts of capitalism—to work in concert—in a more communitarian (Bill Clinton) sense.
Welcome Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I’ve always had a little thing for Hillary---she’s such a real woman—it’s hot as hell. Watch out you male dominated politicos—‘{a} broad’---Hillary Clinton understands castration theory better than Sigmund Freud.
Cities and communities should properly have community organizations of charity, institutions of faith—and psycho-therapists committed to the best interests of the patient---yes, when authorized by a physician—(without shackles) I would commit the government to cover these costs. The place it takes to be—to make the decision to seek mental health therapy—is sufficient cause for government to assist. No matter if it is insight—in order to develop as a civilized human being---or if is part of a necessary intervention to correct indirection in one’s life—all of these ingredients are not just important-they are essential for the development of societies in which enlightened political leaders can engage honestly---(progress not perfection).
Teachers alone should not be given the inappropriate signals that they are the ones who influence children’s lives. They don’t—the parents—the family in their lives is the true driver. However, a specific teacher, and/ or a specific school—can make a great difference in a child’s life.
----Testing of children is acceptable feedback---but there are better ways—to reasonably scientifically measure progress than this grotesque monument to political suasion. Locally, I would like to see the Fraser Institute annual numbers published in the local Province newspaper each year amended to factor other valuable considerations---for a better more relative scoring system including child per classroom and other factors. (My other brother Barry who taught for 35 years in Victoria says he can just as easily teach 30 as 20 kids---(although truth be told he might have said 35}. However in the absence of accountability at the highest levels of political endeavour—something which in tough economic times is of manifest importance to all citizens of Canada---when will Canadians become more engaged to an interesting and more intense political drama shortly.
What do teachers think---not their leadership—or an organization—but teachers themselves—think about this testing—accountability issue? What do the parents think?
The press doesn’t need to run interference for Stephen Harper—he’s good at Prime Minister—he doesn’t need anyone’s help---Michael Ignatieff is an incredible speaker. I’ve had associates (Conservatives) who aren’t buying—but there is no doubt in my mind---Michael Ignatieff is hot political stuff. Bet-- what’s left of the farm -on this.
I would like to see Canadians get an ‘equitable’ share in common shares in any of the capitalization of the automobile companies—who—if and when they receive taxpayer dollars----with conditions that the stock is held in trust in the family name for a period of five years before release. All classes of equity—including those with preferential status-should be converted to common—except where those shares are explicitly supported by bona fide assets. The Banks—if they are to be allocated public resource—should only receive monies within the context of overall government policy supporting new business start-ups—lower rates of interest—in terms of development—the large developers become smaller—take partners---. I can’t see how in the long run—it would hurt to make investing in Canada easier—from offshore legitimate sources—and with that in mind—and within the good sense of national interest---also providing greater latitude for investment in our banks—so long as the existing law is understood—however it is—but effective policy overlapping these laws—with a view to economic development particularly in the north of Canada—without denigrating in way Canada’s national interests and the banks importance----or depreciation of already insufficient trademark--
As one VSE promoter told me many times—everybody loves a public company with good liquidity.
(Bloc numbers in this ROBBINS poll should be considered with a slight hint of skepticism owing in light to their generally poorer polling performances between elections--- while Elizabeth May and Greens are being absorbed to a significant extent by the federal Liberal Party under Ignatieff).
Prime Minister Harper’s personal leadership support has dropped some-- but is still above (46%) of Decided supporters according to our confidence question (#3). This is affirmed by the same number of respondents who are against a government coalition led by Michael Ignatieff. Undecided respondents from question #3 are slightly more inclined to not support the Prime Minister on his Senate appointments (hypocritical) ----thus giving ROBBINS-- the impression that the aforementioned (46%) is likely high or not solid to that number-more likely in the (42-44%) range.
Since the last federal general election in October 2008-- Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have held their own in public support—and experienced a bump from the first coalition talks, but these numbers have smoothed out—to be more similar to previous elections totals---/ following more recent news///- including the designation of Michael Ignatieff as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and the surprise Senate appointments by Prime Minister Harper.
The Conservatives NOW have to produce a budget which makes sense to Canadians after delaying for some considerable time, AND newly appointed Conservative Senators will be scrutinized for their political opinions on the Senate and Senate Reform.
(News media may want to ask new BC Senator Yonah Martin these questions—(the Canadian Palin interview?) early—she’s a schoolteacher and obvious expert in Canadian history—and she understands our Senate top to bottom---doesn’t she?). There is no credible basis for her appointment to the Senate—particularly in light of the current controversy and rationale for the Prime Minister’s principled reversal—other then the anticip[ated ] shoring up lower mainland support for James Moore (with the departure of grand political master David Emerson), and control of the ethnic (Korean vote) -- plentiful in the region.
(In the past four months—ROBBINS has had 432 Universities, Colleges, Schools, School Boards, Provincial and State Education—ministries/departments visit our site-that’s powerful stuff).
Who will the Conservatives find to replace Yonah Martin to run against NDP stalwart- Dawn Black---given the likelihood that mayoral dyno-guru Joe Trasolini mayor in perpetuity of Port Moody B.C., will want a piece of James Moore in the next general federal election, now that Michael Ignatieff is at the helm?
If Ignatieff can hand James Moore’s head to him---and keep the Conservatives out of Coquitlam-New Westminster---they will keep the Conservatives-- presently thin in the lower mainland of British Columbia from gaining a greater foothold in Greater Vancouver under Stephen Harper//with the ultimate goal of continuing to keep the Conservatives out of the three large urban cities in the country.
I don’t think that’s going to happen if M and M’s are still your favourite candy in B.C.
However it shakes out—ROBBINS will be there to depict the absolute truth of the citizens voting preferences---dead on---“The most accurate public opinion pollster in the World.”
Stephen Harper’s ability to control his-- two chamber-- Conservative Team/-- has been greatly diluted with these new Senate appointments// The numbers of Canadians who are of the opinion that the Prime Minister is being hypocritical is high----and correlate well to those who support a coalition led by Michael Ignatieff. How the newly minted Senators conduct themselves with the press and how the well the press does the job of reporting this---will tell us two things:
First, whether or not the Prime Minister as political hypocrite will have enduring ‘legs’ and Second, whether or not the press will put the squeeze on the Prime Minister’s appointees (as they should) to expose any cracks in this policy decision which leaves some western Conservative supporters a little surprised.
A clear majority of Canadians are of the opinion that “Banks and other lending Institutions” and NOT “Canadian Taxpayers through the Government of Canada” ought to be providing loans to the automobile (and other) industries—the naysayers include (24%) of overall federal Conservative support—including Ontario federal Conservative support which skews this total downward somewhat. The Conservative government appears to be intent on using the opportunities made available to them by the Governor General through proroguing of government (critics would argue democracy delayed) to commence what they would suggest are absolutely necessary economic deals—while others would argue are politically expedient--- deals with industry.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are counting on Alberta and Ontario for an economic-political marriage—hoping to keep the rest of the west at their best---suffer and hope through Quebec—and continue to grind inroads in the Atlantic Provinces.
Canadians are asking “why don’t the banks want to lend money to the automobile industry?”----Their collective answer is slowly emerging diffuse through the population--- ‘because they don’t want to make bad loans?’ Other respondents are saying “the banks are fresh out of risk loans—they have all gone to the sub-primes.”
The full answer- may be-/ that the government can get the troubled industries—cheaper money—we don’t know what recourse taxpayer’s would have—if payments aren’t made, {unless the taxpayer’s are providing a gift}—where is the taxpayer’s leverage? Where are the details? Never mind the screw ball legalese—give us the full story---not another Canadian “Baloney Poll”—,--now there’s a sexy polling company—Canadian Baloney Polls. (CPB).
Why do consumers pay through the nose for everything—while mismanagement and poor planning by the automobile industry is rewarded?
If the banks or other financial institutions don’t want to lend the money—or participate in the bail-outs—don’t scam the public with a quasi-economics argument—or fear mongering—let the business fail. Wanna bet that won’t happen?
Here’s what’s really going on---the Canadian banks have more trouble with bad loans than they are admitting---the Prime Minister knew this---called an election to avoid Parliament—hoping to get a majority—it didn’t happen---now other industries—who long ago knew they were headed for trouble—(forecasting with large industry is conducted with a decade in mind)---are also looking for easy money//holding the Canadian economy and workers hostage---and taxpayers/consumers who have been ground up, squeezed and sometimes looted—while these ‘large employers’ (who in partnership with the Government of Canada deduct taxes, EI and CPP at source for the government) are asked to fix—the situation so CEO’s—who friends lobby government-- can make the big bucks—and wages can be squeezed--------//obviously Canadians are being taken for a ride—and the Conservative government is using the distractions of Christmas and other busyness with Canadians to sneak in the deal for the automobile industry—and whoever else is lined up at the trough behind them.
The question is—what is Michael Ignatieff have to say about this? He represents Toronto-Canada’s largest city in the heart of the Golden Triangle—and the Maple Leafs.
The Prime Minister still (currently) holds ‘shot rock’ but in a ‘House’ that is becoming increasingly agitated against him—with narrowing wiggle room and margin for error. If Ignatieff tries to disengage from the coalition agreement with the federal New Democrats—he might appear opportunistic to New Democrats— and ‘same old-same old’ to Bloc Quebecois supporters--creating an opportunity where he is divided among other signatories to the coalition agreement-- by Stephen Harper’s Conservatives-- particularly among Undecided and swing voters. However, if he pushes for the coalition---he might also draw the Conservative Party support up toward Stephen Harper’s support in the mid-40’s of popular support—certainly majority territory-as the Conservatives will gain support in an essentially ‘two party environment’ against the solidification of your opponents against you. The ‘coalition will always have problems with Canadians so long as they are perceived to be opportunistic. Ignatieff would require at least 57% solid—support for a coalition—in popular support before he could perfect this move. He hasn’t those numbers yet—and may expose too much political capital early in his leadership---just to move these numbers in support of the ‘’Coalition (54-55%) where one presumes to seek control without being democratically elected.
(ROBBINS Readers may recall that during the most recent federal general election the Conservative Party support was (13-15%) below the support for the Prime Minister. The party support has now increased and is becoming more in line with the Prime Minister’s support—which remains slightly higher still).
If the erstwhile ‘Coalition’ fractures and the political announcements made by the Conservative government, in particular as this concerns the budget---- are such that the people find them reasonable (and the ‘coalition does not), PM Harper could go back to Michaelle Jean, Canada’s Governor General—and ask for an election—one which—under this scenario c-ould bring him a majority.
If the Prime Minister and finance minister Flaherty continue to dither and stall, and do not produce a budget acceptable to a majority of Canadians//—then Michael Ignatieff will be better placed to operate-- on one hand with the possible threat of coalition---in the event the Conservative budget is lacking-- while simultaneously permitting Canadians to get a better look at his ample political skills—as he advances his own—and his party popularity through the same process—so long as he never appears absolutely wedded to the Coalition-but at the same time never contemplates a ‘Milk-toastian’ position on NE thing.
Canadians are already fast beginning to form their opinion of Ignatieff--/ with many really liking him and others really not liking him—the former growing in numbers and the latter most unlikely to like him no matter.
As former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm says “if 50% (of the public) like me and 50% don’t like me—I’m in pretty good (political) shape.”
The best scenario in our opinion for Michael Ignatieff is to-- hold off pushing for an election without necessarily agreeing with the Conservative budget---arguing-- to debate in the House of Commons// which will permit his party to reflect its emerging comeback but avoiding—avoiding to vote. On finance bills offered by the Conservatives and advanced under the threat of confidence—Ignatieff can offer his caucus a free vote—with those MP’s of his who would benefit from a ‘suitably baited’ Conservative bill to vote with the Conservative Party—but to a maximum of 7 or 8---not enough for a Conservative majority—and not enough to -- force an election call— and will advance a ‘natural’ sympathy to Ignatieff presenting a good election opportunity for the federal Liberals—now back in the hunt for Sussex.
The Prime Minister needs to avoid this situation by presenting a Budget which some New Democrat—some Bloc Quebecois and many Liberal MP’s cannot ignore—particularly with Jack Layton’s future leadership on the line—in the event of a future ‘blow back’ by voters //as Liberal goodwill rises—he will be hard pressed to move away from his position of possessing a lack of trust in Stephen Harper.
This Harper—Ignatieff thing could be one for the books. I really like what I see—personally—considering how well suited these competitors are to Canadian politics and in particularly their high end ability to communicate to the public. “Harper” as one Ontario supporter indicated “use to scare us and we didn’t like him—now he still scares us a little-- but we like him”.
A young 29 year old male respondent happened to witness Michael Ignatieff’s coming out---indeed a 'quicky' it was. The young respondents ‘crowed’ about Ignatieff---was smitten based on one newscast---as a writer of politics—this type of sudden conversion based on one television viewing—by happenstance, from an otherwise somewhat disinterested (and potentially dubious ‘voter’)-tells me something—it’s the Trudeau factor—and I’ll tell you a secret---the fact that Pierre Trudeau did not win greatest Canadian was ridiculous. No matter his mistakes—he gave a worldwide allure to our country. He is without any question----the most influential political personality—and in my opinion---juiced up our image as intellectually sound and thoughtful people. This is immense—and when you think about what I say you realize that it is true.
As a young man he certainly invigorated me. I remember arguing for him in a bar in downtown Calgary with other construction workers who wanted Joe Clark. Joe Clark was a very smart political personality—he knows the score—and has played the game-
But Trudeau had more than charisma—he had swagger---Dicapprio---De Niro—Pacino-Eastwood, Denzel, Jack Nicolson, Ledger---Pitt—the current best on the planet Daniel Day Lewis—Robert Duvall—Martin Sheen—Baldwin///you need to represent something—even if it changes—whenever people see you in your role—they need to know what you represent—who you are—do you fit in?—and good politics is made better by good political actors.
For the moment---both the Prime Minister Stephen Harper—and the leader of the Opposition Michael Ignatieff could go 40% each—it isn’t out of the question—certainly (37.5%) each is a possibility. Which one of you reporters, columnists has factored that? I’m not being sarcastic—I know you have—but I am curious who else is thinking, talking like this among the many writers and journalists in our country?
The New Democrats have a potential leadership hopeful in Quebec New Democrat MP Thomas Mulcair—--in the event Jack Layton falters. However, Mr. Mulcair is not well known outside of Quebec—and Jack Layton will want to continue to make inroads in this province---at the expense of the other parties. Prime Minister Stephen Harper—cannot have his way in Quebec, and cannot expect Jean Charest to pave the way—so his only alternative is to have the other parties chop each other up—while he enjoys the ballet—one would never begrudge their top leaders being cultured---we simply won’t permit arrogance or aloofness---cumulatively allowing him to keep the seats he currently has while he continue to fight for more seats in Ontario and make push towards Toronto –than we take Berlinnnn--- and maintains a sweet hold on the west particularly-- British Columbia and Manitoba that can become complacent voters if they think you are too Ottawa-centric. Michael Ignatieff needs to ignite this political bombshell under the PM’s central press---and see how it breaks out in the west.
Michael Ignatieff will want to aggressively contest Quebec to move Liberal numbers up there—as residual distrust of the Liberal Party in that province is beginning to wane in that province (24%). His party’s totals in Ontario are up slightly (34%) the Atlantic Provinces continue to support his Liberal party well (42%) and his May convention in BC may help him there. Mr. Ignatieff will also have to hack away at Harper support in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Most importantly however, Mr. Ignatieff wants to ensure Quebec Premier Jean Charest has time to operate his majority government—so that if and when a federal general election is called---and if—Prime Minister Harper fails to get a majority government—or more seats in Parliament---Mr. Charest will have the opportunity to make a move on the Conservative leadership and the job of Prime Minister of Canada which he has always coveted—leaving Ignatieff—even if his party doesn’t win-would have an opportunity to make a move on Progressive Conservatives who given the right timing—will vote for him. Best to think of this vacuum and how to fill it over the mid political term—if Mr. Charest doesn’t respond quickly enough. Make (37.5%) popular support your objective.
The federal Liberals and their leader need to clearly understand that their gains will come from Undecided’s or Conservatives and their approach to making inroads should be based more on incremental perseverance than political hyperbole.
PM Harper has a different set of political priorities. First of all his budget has to be better then good--- to satisfy more Canadians than the numbers who currently support him. It has to satisfy those Canadians over 60 who control the countries assets—and who are looking for news that will ensure they don’t lose these—plus satisfy those Canadians who look for fiscal justice and equity from their government---perceived to be bedfellows of (now) too many dysfunctional or opportunistic businesses preying like jackals on citizen fear.
A Strategic Calling Environment of 1,007 Canadian voters in all provinces including BC, Alberta, Saskatewean, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador--December 18-27, 2008-//but not Canada's territories//with respondent/voters attained commensurate to the relative populations of each province. Previous vote from question #1 is a confirmation of information we generally believed to be true about the respondent--but have not assumed that in the collection of the raw data. Margin of error not based exclusively on statistical calculation predicated exclusively on sample size and not properly factoring the statistical calculations between the polls within the greater poll--or calculation of raw numbers of support within questions--overall range, specific range etc. I determine that if you conducted this poll 19 times out of 20, using competent well paid callers--you would achieve these numbers within a 1.75% margin of error. Again-confidence is the standard relationship to sample size in orthodox statistics--however competency at ROBBINS relates to our overall believe in the convictioin to truth of respondents--something which is not easy to measure in a poll with so few questions.
Glen P. Robbins

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