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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics April 11, 2007
  Apr 11, 2007

Methodology- A random telephone sample of 2,200 respondents throughout Canada between March 29th and April 10th, 2007 as follows: BC (700) (3.75%), Alberta (200), Saskatchewan (100), Manitoba (100), Ontario (600) (4.5%), Quebec (300) (7.5%), Atlantic Provinces (200). This poll based on National results in the aggregate features a margin of error of (1.75% est.), 19 times out of 20 with competency/confidence 98%, save for Quebec and New Brunswick where it is 95%.

Question #1
Former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien possessed a majority government for over a decade. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has operated a minority government for 14 months now, while Canada has had minority government for nearly three years. Are you ready for a majority government in Canada?
Yes    53 %
No    46 %
50/50 Undecided    02 %
Totally Undecided    06 %
Question #2
There has been widespread speculation of a spring federal general election. Have you accepted this as ‘a likelihood’?
Yes    62 %
No    38 %
Question #3
Has Prime Minister Stephen Harper earned the right to govern a majority of MP’s under his Conservative Party banner?
Yes    50 %
No    50 %
50/50 Undecided    08 %
Totally Undecided    09 %
Question #4
Has Opposition Leader Stephane Dion earned the right to govern a majority of MP’s in the House of Commons under his Liberal Party banner?
Yes    11 %
No    82 %
50/50 Undecided    07 %
Totally Undecided    04 %
Question #5
In your opinion should Ottawa give more, less or the same level of autonomy-independence to the provinces including rights to manage and control natural resources?
More    52 %
Less    06 %
The Same    43 %
Don't Know/Undecided    11 %
Question #6
For which leader and party would you caste your ballot if an election was held today?
Stephen Harper and Conservative Party of Canada    44 %
Stephane Dion and Liberal Party of Canada    31 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    06 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party    06 %
Jack Layton and New Democratic Party    13 %
Undecided    11 %
Commentary
Over one half of Canadians are ready for a majority government. (54%) of respondents in the Province of Ontario and (45%) of Quebec respondents are ready for a majority government.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents have “accepted” the likelihood of a spring general federal election. Ontario is the highest (68%), while Quebec is the lowest (54%).
One out of two Canadians are of the opinion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has earned the right to “govern a majority of MP’s”; while only one out of ten are of the opinion that Stephane Dion has earned that right. (53%) of respondents in Ontario and (40%) in Quebec are of the opinion that Stephen Harper has earned this right.
Ten times as many Canadians are of the opinion that Canada’s Federation should provide more autonomy-independence than less, while just over (40%) are of the opinion it the federal-provincial relationship should stay the same.
Well over (40%) of Canadians are of the opinion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party of Canada are the party they would caste their ballot for.
There are a myriad of conventional polls circulating which attempt to define whether or not Canadians support an election. In our view this is the wrong question to ask. We asked Canadians if they accepted the likelihood of a spring election and a majority (62%) do.
Over one half of Canadians are of the opinion that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has earned the right to a majority government when that spring election has been concluded. A small minority of Canadians are of the opinion that Liberal Opposition leader Stephane Dion has earned the right to a majority government.
Clearly this ROBBINS poll reveals that Canadians want greater autonomy-independence from Ottawa, including the ability to determine their own future with respect to natural resources. British Columbia had the highest number of respondents (52%) who wanted the same relationship with Ottawa as now exists, while –somewhat ironically-(47%) of Quebec respondents want the same relationship with Ottawa. (54%) on Ontario respondents want more autonomy-independence.
The highest support for Stephen Harper’s Conservative government comes from Alberta (54%), followed by Saskatchewan (47%). Ontario supports the Harper government (45%), while Quebec (37%), BC (39%) and Nova Scotia (38%) reflect the lowest regions of support. Newfoundland and Labrador is interesting as (44%) of respondents there selected the PM and his Conservative Party.
The federal Liberal Party under Stephane Dion reflects a modest increase in support to 2006 totals achieved by former Prime Minister Paul Martin. The Atlantic Provinces show the highest support for the Liberal Party averaging over (40%), with lowest support determined in Quebec (26%) and Alberta (23%).
Commentary:
Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party is set to form a majority government. The issue now is the size of that majority. Canadians generally agree that the Prime Minister and his party “have earned” that right to govern in a majority.
Respondents in the two key battlegrounds for the most seats, Ontario and Quebec have embraced the Conservative Party more completely, and in some respects for similar reasons. If the accepted premise is that the Prime Minister will once again form government, and the further accepted premise is that Canadians are prepared to vote a majority government, which based on the numbers in this ROBBINS poll WILL NOT be a Liberal majority, than (at a minimum) both of Canada’s original Provinces appear determined to have a significant role in that government. Seat estimates for these two provinces combined could total 100- 55 short of the majority number required-.
Based on the numbers from the Prairie region, the Conservative total appears to be 140-150 seats before considering the Atlantic Provinces and British Columbia.
This ROBBINS poll departs in a number of ways from a recent SES poll (concluded April 5, 2007) which after factoring leader and party, suggests that Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party are at 37%. This ROBBINS poll reveals that the Prime Minister commands between 40 and 50 per cent of decided respondents, and (40%) of ALL respondents. The number of ‘Undecided’ who are of the opinion that the PM and his Conservative Party have ‘earned’ a majority pushes the number of respondents who appear have either made up their mind ‘today’ to vote Conservative or who are on the cusp of voting for the party closer to (45%), a number significantly higher (21%) than the SES poll just released. Although end dates differ between the two polls (April 5, 2007 (SES) vs. April 10, 2007 (ROBBINS)), which polling firm is likely the more accurate?
There is another significant difference between this ROBBINS poll and SES. SES suggests that one out of five Canadians would vote either Green or Bloc. ROBBINS suggests this number is closer to one in eight.
In this ROBBINS poll undertaken over a longer period of time with a higher sample size than the usual standard of 1,000, it is our current position that Gilles Duceppe (6%) nationally is nearing a crisis point. Pursuant to the recent Quebec Provincial election where the Parti Quebecois scored a dismal third place, the Bloc must now either convince voters in that Province why they remain relevant, or move to reinvent themselves very quickly. It is possible that these numbers could move lower based on Quebecor’s sentiment that they ‘now have a good working arrangement with Ottawa which will remain so particularly if other provinces also receive more autonomy-independence in a reconfigured Confederation’. The inclusion of natural resources in a new autonomy-independence for all provinces will potentially reinforce new equalization relationships which will ultimately permit provinces to better plan for the future without the untoward influence of federal politics, which has heretofore made efficacy (including duplication in government) for provincial governments difficult in the past. These difficulties at the provincial level have ultimately been past down to cities and municipalities which have made their ability to function extremely difficult. In Quebec, ADQ leader Mario Dumont’s apparent desire to include foreign policy as part of the overall devolution of central powers is more likely an attempt to capitalize on a wounded provincial separatist party, rather than serious considerations of real politick as far as federal-provincial relations are concerned.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May must now realize the honeymoon is over, and that a cohesive and comprehensive strategy for a general election must now be implemented to ensure the higher numbers in this ROBBINS poll do not dwindle down to 2006 totals as the mainstream parties cannibalize the Green vote under their own policy platforms. This is an example of ‘be careful what you wish for’, as the national spotlight has been placed on environmental sustainability and Canada’s Clean Air Act, which the Conservatives want to make in their image, while Opposition parties on committee (not including the Greens) want to make in theirs. The Greens have had little impact on the development of the Clean Air Act, even if they have impressed influence on the subject matter. Unfortunately for the Greens, there is likely a greater impetus of coefficients working for those parties, whose imprints are on the legislation than those that have a mere voice in the dialogue of public debate. If the Conservatives believe these ROBBINS numbers than they will not want to take an Opposition constructed/amended Clean Air Act to the people. This is likely where government will find its way to the polls.
Jack Layton is having some difficulty as many NDP supporters in suburban areas are seriously considering or have moved to the Conservative Party. The reason for this is two fold. The first is that Mr. Layton and his fellow MP (Ms. Chow) are from the Toronto area and reflect those values, many of which are Liberal. By articulating a sense of quasi Liberal values, many New Democrats do not find the connection with Mr. Layton that they might another leader, and won’t vote for Liberals, so either sit on the fence, contemplate not voting, or join the Conservative bandwagon.
An investigation is now being undertaken to review contracts for public opinion polling contracts in Canada. This is a good idea as it becomes increasingly apparent that some unfortunate relationships may exist between government, media and polling firms in this country.

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