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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics October 28, 2005
  Oct 28, 2005

A random sample of 414 ‘voters’ in the suburban ridings and the City of Toronto in Ontario and Manitoba between October 21st and 27th 2005. This survey features a margin of error of 4.75%, 18 times out of 20 @ 95% competency. This poll was paid for by a U.S. company related to ROBBINS Sce Research (1998).

Question #1
If an election were held today for which political party would you caste your vote?
Federal New Democrats    21.5 %
Federal Conservative Party    30 %
Federal Liberal Party    38 %
Other    1.5 %
Undecided    09 %
Question #2
Justice Gomery’s initial report relating to the Quebec sponsorship scandal arrives at the beginning of November 2005. In your opinion will this initial report hurt the governing federal Liberals in terms of public support?
Yes    46 %
No    54 %
Question #3
In your opinion will Justice Gomery’s reports relating to the Quebec sponsorship scandal link Prime Minister Paul Martin or any of his close advisors to the scandal?
Yes    41 %
No    55 %
Undecided    03 %
Question #4
In your opinion how likely is it that PM Paul Martin or those close to him are in fact linked to the Quebec sponsorship scandal
Very Likely    21 %
Likely    16 %
Unlikely    29 %
Very Unlikely    34 %
Question #5
To which Canadian political party (if any) do you believe Governor General Michaelle Jean is most closely associated?
Federal Liberal Party    37 %
Federal Conservative Party    00 %
Federal New Democratic Party    11 %
Other Federal Party/Undecided    32 %
No party whatsoever    20 %
Commentary
With Justice John Gomery’s initial report expected out the first week of November 2005, our poll through Ontario and Manitoba, follows the footsteps of newly minted Governor General Michaelle Jean.
It seems that most respondents in Ontario and Manitoba are of the opinion that the attractive new Governor General is most closely associated to the federal Liberals. In fact a significant majority of respondents (65%) (relative to the number who appear aware that the Governor General is not associated with any political party), see her as related to the federal Liberals.
Generally speaking, after adjusting for population, the federal Liberals are down ‘statistically’ by approximately 4% from 2004 election totals in both Ontario and the Manitoba. The Conservatives are down statistically about 1%. The New Democrats have increased modestly. The New Democrats public support is gaining in the City of Toronto sufficient to be ‘cautiously optimistic’.
Respondents do not believe the (initial) Gomery report will do too much damage to the governing Liberals, however there is enough who do, that given the current position the Liberals are in; any loss of public support could be a problem. For any number of reasons a majority of respondents do not think that it is likely that PM Paul Martin or his close friends are linked to the scandal.
This poll suggests Conservative Party support is holding its own in these two Provinces, one the largest in the country and the other the gateway to the west, but its public support is not moving forward. Will Conservatives make gains amongst undecided respondents particularly in suburban Ontario?
Federal New Democrats appear to be the winners. The question for NDP Leader Jack Layton remains: Is his party’s rise in support real or are some Reform Liberals parking their vote? The significant number of undecided (Question #4) who think PM Paul Martin is likely implicated in the Quebec scandal (relative to the overall number of respondents) should be good news for the New Democrats.
This poll of respondents in two provinces who are neighbours (but in many cases over 2,000 kilometres apart) was intended to be about public perceptions of the anticipated initial Gomery report on the Quebec sponsorship scandal and the potential implications for public support that may follow. We also hoped to provide some valuable insight into perceptions about the new Governor General Michaelle Jean as she traveled in the region.
What ROBBINS found out though was something entirely different. Respondents in Central Canada have not forgotten the Quebec sponsorship scandal; it may yet provide some further difficulties for Paul Martin’s minority government. But scandal and over spending (Dingwall) is boring for these Canadians. The people are long past being apathetic or untrusting of government with their money. There is a general acceptance that politicians are really in it for themselves whether financially or for power. Oddly, there is little anger. “What can we do?”
What is happening underneath the surface however is stark and may be a sign of an entirely different type of thinking amongst the citizenry. They are deeply insecure. They are philosophical. The public sentiment isn’t just about terrorists or SARS, or earthquakes, or hurricanes, yet these events have certainly provoked this shift in the public psychology. It is deep, dark, thoughtful and without specific direction. The public has come to ask themselves these questions: What does government do for me, and if my family and I are ever in trouble what will my government do for my family and me? Although we didn’t ask these questions specifically, there is a sense that the answers may be nothing and nothing. The relationship to the questions in the poll may well be that the government and political parties simply play games with one another, while the public is forgotten. Really, it is our government, how dare you be so arrogant!
One respondent said, “The last five years has impacted on our society more than the last fifty and people have a sense they are on their own-the government either won’t or can’t help them.”
It is a little ironic that out of all of this very troubling message a small reserve of Cree in Northern Ontario may serve as the best example yet of what the mainstream public has expressed in this ROBBINS poll-the fear that the government simply doesn’t give a damn about its citizens.

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