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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics October 24, 2006
  Oct 24, 2006

A random sample of 1,018 respondents throughout Canada as follows: Atlantic Canada (98), Quebec (105), Ontario (245), Manitoba (45), Saskatchewan (45), Alberta (105), British Columbia (355) between October 19-23, 2006. This poll features a margin of error lower than the standard for a sampling of this size owing to the data collected from Q#1 and Q#2 or 2.55%, 19 times out of 20 @97% competency/confidence. This poll was funded in part by New Trend Optical of Port Coquitlam BC and Jim Van Rassel proprietor, telephone (604) 942-9300.

Question #1
For which leader and political party did you vote in the last federal general election?
Jack Layton and New Democratic party    16.5 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    10.5 %
Jim Harris and Green party    5.5 %
Paul Martin and Liberal party    30.5 %
Stephen Harper and Conservative party    36.5 %
Question #2
If an election was held tomorrow for which leader and political party would you caste your vote?
Stephen Harper and Conservative party    34 %
Elizabeth May and Green party    12 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    10 %
Jack Layton and New Democratic party    16.5 %
New leader and federal Liberal party    27.5 %
Question #3
Are you currently following the federal Liberal leadership race?
Yes    18 %
No    82 %
Question #4
The Conservative party and Attorney General Vic Toews plans to advance a new law which will put dangerous offenders away for an indeterminate rather than a fixed period of time. In your opinion is this fair?
Yes    77 %
No    23 %
Question #5
The Conservative government under Stephen Harper has tabled a new law known as the Clean Air Act. Do you expect that it will be successful in terms of saving the environment?
Yes    44.5 %
No    55.5 %
Commentary
Both major political parties, the federal Conservatives and Liberals show declining support in this ROBBINS ASK poll. The New Democrats are holding their support while the Bloc has slipped marginally. The most noticeable gains have been made by the Green party.
The Conservatives have their highest support in Saskatchewan and Alberta (54%). Their lowest support is in Quebec with (23%). Both BC and Ontario reflect (36%) support for Stephen Harper and his Conservatives. The federal Liberals are soft all across the country with highest support in the Atlantic Provinces (39%) and lowest in Alberta (22%), Quebec (23%) and BC (26%). Support in Ontario is a lackluster (32%). Tories are supported by women (28%), while (42%) of Canadian men support the party. The federal Liberals are supported by (31%) of women respondents and only (24%) of men.
To many male Canadians the federal Liberal party appears soft on crime, dominated by self-interested lawyers, and given to pandering to special interest groups and any human rights issue that comes into port. The Conservatives appear to be solid or in the alternative competent on foreign policy, tough on crime, and fiscally responsible. Their ‘blind spot’ may continue to be a lack of empathy for social matters. Internationally this shortcoming can be ameliorated with gestures of goodwill towards the African continent, and at home issues such as housing and homelessness are pervasive in all communities, and notwithstanding absolute jurisdiction, the federal Tories could win point as ‘compassionate’ on this account.
The federal New Democrats are considered weak on foreign policy, not all of their potential voting demographic is against the war in Afghanistan. The New Democrats are at least consistent on matter of finance and social policy and this is reflected in their more solid support. Unfortunately for the NDP, it is the Green party which is most dynamic in terms of attracting public support at this moment. The Bloc Quebecois’s political tunes are well known, and to their core of support Gilles Duceppe and his MP’s still strike a passionate cord. This poll suggests that many respondents in Quebec are as mad at the provincial government as they may be at the federal Conservative government or the former Liberal governments, and sovereignty support may not necessarily be unified between federal and provincial partisans.
The Conservative plan to put dangerous offenders away for an indeterminate period of time is resonating widely across the country with overwhelming support. The Atlantic Provinces and Manitoba had the lowest support for this new crime law at (67%), while Ontario and Alberta had the highest (79%).
The Conservative parties new Clean Air Act may not have near the same support as new crime legislation, however slightly less than one half of Canadians still believe it will be successful. Once again Alberta and Ontario are the most confident of success at (48%), while British Columbian are the least confident at (37%). In Quebec (where one out of four people smoke cigarettes) (42%) of respondents are of the opinion the Clean Air Act will be successful. This ROBBINS number suggests less concern among Quebecers over the Conservative environmental agenda than is reflected in other polls.
This ROBBINS ASK poll outcomes differ from all other major polls published in the past week. This poll reflects that although support for the Conservative party is down, support for the federal Liberal party (without a confirmed new leader), and is also lower. There is also very little attention being paid to the federal Liberal leadership contest which ought to be disconcerting given the fact that all of the debates have concluded and the leadership convention is only a month away.
This ROBBINS poll suggests a much smaller number of Canadians are watching than has been suggested by mainstream pollsters. I would seem from comments received in this poll that Liberal MP Belinda Stronach is gaining more (negative) attention for her outside relationships than the party is in its leadership contest. If Peter McKay acted like a cad, it is difficult to (a) penalize someone pointing to a chair, and (b) Ms. Stronach does not sell well as a victim. In essence what many Canadians are saying is ‘the Liberals are more about sizzle and style than substance, and where they also don’t like the Conservatives they are saying a pox on both your houses and supporting Green.’
ROBBINS has identified for some time much evidence that the public believes government is accountable. It follows that the people elected and otherwise who constitute government must to some degree or another be accountable. This exchange of political theatre does little to change that impression, and only serves to make the public ask why taxpayer dollars are spent on second rate ‘dinner theatre’, and not on business.
Although the other major polls suggest rising fortunes for the Green party, this ROBBINS ASK poll suggests the Green party has more momentum than any of the other national parties by a very significant amount. Each of the major parties has lost support (Q#1-Q#2) to the Green party with the Conservatives and Liberals the biggest donors. Whether this is a blip or a trend remains to be seen.
Based on this poll, I believe the case can be made that the Conservatives are well poised to gain significantly if a federal election is called soon. I base this on the fact that the Conservatives appear to have ‘shaken out’ the lose support they may have had, and have established a base of around (34-35%) nationally which is ahead of the support they had this time last year in our ROBBINS polls of around (31%), while virtually all other major polling firms had the party at (28-29%) at this time last year. The Prime Minister may acquire more valuable information on this front from the outcomes of two by-elections recently called.
The Liberals have yet to gain any momentum and remain in limbo with only a month until they choose a new leader (27-28%). At this time last year ROBBINS placed the Liberals at (32-33%) in public support while the mainstream polling firms placed them around (36-38%). Basically, mainstream pollster have both the Conservatives and Liberals where ROBBINS had them at this point this year, while ROBBINS has the Conservatives with a six point lead. However at this time last year the Liberals, NDP and Bloc were not confronted with a rising Green party.
Although the question was not asked, the comments from respondents give us the distinct impression that the Liberals remain ‘weak’ on foreign policy. Human rights values is playing to a much smaller audience or Canadian dollars pandering to immigrants, and those who see this as most important can choose from the NDP or Greens, or the Bloc as well. The same can be said for other social policy within Canadian borders, save for matter of crime and punishment, and fiscal accountability which the Conservatives still ‘own’.
It is difficult to assess whether or not the Conservatives Clean Air Act is actually helping or hurting them, all things considered.
It is also my impression that the mainstream press and contributing public opinion firms are attempting to convince the Conservative leadership into NOT calling an election in order to permit the new Liberal leadership to get traction, which to date has not happened. Moreover, although the Green party support has more than doubled from last year, even if it does not hold up entirely, there is certainly a pattern of increased support which has not been deterred by some negative reception amongst respondents for the Conservatives Clean Air Act which if this manifests will stunt growth of the federal Liberals, New Democrats, and Bloc Quebecois as much or possibly more than it does the Conservative party.
The end result if the pattern evidenced in this poll holds is that (38%) rather than (41%) may be the new national standard for a majority government, and proportional representation does not appear to be on anyone’s radar…yet.

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