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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics August 1, 2008
  Aug 01, 2008

A random telephone sample of 1,050 Canadian 'likely voters' between July 21 and July 31, 2008. Strategic calling environments included BC (350), Alberta (50) Saskatchewan (25) Manitoba (25) Ontario (350) Quebec (200) Atlantic Provinces including New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and Newfoundland (Labrador and Newfoundland) 50. This is a net amount with 34 spoiled ballots. Given conventional statistical assessments for margin of error plus the ROBBINS RPM assessment I would assess the accuracy of these numbers to be within 2.0% margin of error, 19 times out of 20 at 97% confidence.
This poll was sponsored by Glen P. Robbins and Associates and features a donation from Jim Van Rassel--of Coquitlam BC--a Conservative Party member and Independent candidate for city council in November 08. Van Rassel can be reached at (604) 328-5398.

Question #1
For which leader and party did you vote---// in the January 2006 general federal election?
Stephen Harper    36 %
Paul Martin and Liberal Party    32 %
Jack Layton and New Democrat    17.5 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    10.5 %
Jim Harris and Green Party    4.0 %
Question #2
If an election were held tomorrow for which party would you support?
Jack Layton and New Democrat    19.5 %
Stephane Dion and Liberal Party    28.0 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc    9.0 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party    6.0 %
Stephen Harper and Conservatives    37.5 %
Undecided    16 %
Question #3
Do you support a Stephane Dion carbon tax and other aggressive government measures to combat global warming?
Yes    32 %
No    52 %
Commentary
Observations:
Question 1-
Conservatives (37.5%)
(34%-British Columbia); (62%-Alberta); (51%-Saskatchewan);(46%-Manitoba); (40%-Ontario); (26%-Quebec); (37%-Atlantic Provinces).
Liberals (28.0%)
(26%-British Columbia); (24%-Alberta); (22%-Saskatchewan); (24%-Manitoba); (34%-Ontario); (17%-Quebec); (37%-Atlantic Provinces).
New Democrat (19.5%)
(30%-British Columbia); (10%-Alberta); (24%-Saskatchewan); (22%-Manitoba); (19%-Ontario); (16%-Quebec); (22%-Atlantic Provinces).
Question 2-
Yes-(32%)-
(27%-BC); (18%-Alberta); (20%-Saskatchewan); (31%-Manitoba); (32%-Ontario); (52%-Quebec); (31%-Atlantic Provinces).
No-(52%)
(62%-BC); (74%-Alberta); (81%-Saskatchewan); (50%-Manitoba); (31%-Quebec); (68%-Atlantic Provinces).
Commentary:
The Conservative Party is short of a majority government in Canada. Their showing in Canada’s most populous province—Ontario-- is impressive given the current economic uncertainty (or perhaps because of..). The Prime Minister has worked his heart out to bring Quebec onside and although he is reasonably positioned-he likely expected better.
Does Conservative support in BC fall when it rises in Ontario?
The Conservative Party is set to compete well in the Atlantic Provinces.
Quite a few new families in formerly Liberal households in southern Ontario are voting Harper.
Stephane Dion- Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada-- has really had his work cut out for him—and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight. To his credit he remains principled and competitive but the edge-/ well and clearly goes to Prime Minister Harper. Stephane Dion is losing to Stephen Harper in Ontario and despite his popular approach to global warming issues, and the attraction this receives in the La Belle Province---specifically carbon tax and other---the Liberals are not grabbing in Quebec-because the Bloc, Greens, and to a certain extent NDP are also on this page---and the population is not prepared to give credit to the Liberals simply because Mssr. Dion wants to make it his centre-piece. Instead the Bloc—though slightly weakened-- remains in charge—with the Conservatives stalking-and the New Democrats choking off Liberal Party gains. Billions have recently been poured into Ontario with an obvious political return on investment for the government. But Quebec wants more money and the Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is now saying the country is short. There are some questions being raised about the integrity (or uncertainty) of Canada’s receivables—which could be evidence that the economy is moving toward slowdown faster than the government chooses to admit. There is plenty of lather for both Stephane Dion and Jack Layton to stroke their beard with—but Ontario is moving Conservative.
No-one hates Stephane Dion and no-one loves him. This situation is okay for Dion because he is aware it isn’t his party’s natural turn into power---he has to finesse his way back into the hearts and minds of Canadians---likely after the Presidential election in November 2008-where he will have to tackle the New Democrats on one side and challenge the Conservatives to the right. There are many who don’t ever see that happening. Should Dion move now and damn the torpedoes?
I am not sure I understand the federal Liberals thinking. They aren’t likely to win the next federal election, so their objective ought to be to match or exceed results from the last federal election while negating gains—or much gain for the Conservatives (particularly). If they deny Harper and hold their own—the spotlight is then on Mr. Harper—who must produce a majority or close to one---or will be blamed for the shortfall.
It is also important to note that 37.5% of ‘undecided’ on the leader and party support question is also ‘undecided’ on the carbon tax question. Considering there is a direct correlation between respondents who support Stephen Harper and the Conservatives---and who DO NOT support carbon tax (aggressive measures)—that nearly 4 out of 10 “Undecided” are less likely to support the Conservatives?
Jack Layton is in good political shape. He needs to provide some public relations muscle behind this result to push his party into a serious battle with the Liberals for second place. If he stops worrying about the Conservatives—and takes care of the easier softer voters unsure about the Liberals---the overall affect may provide an opportunity to carve out rural Conservative vote to his side of the ledger--- later on.
He is weak in Alberta—and pretty good in the other Prairie Provinces. He is quite hot in British Columbia and has one of the hottest prospects anywhere- Michael Byers (Vancouver Centre). Currently, Layton holds in Ontario and may beat the Liberals in Quebec. Over 20% in public support in Quebec would be like striking gold for Jack Layton. Jack Layton needs to watch the movie Gangs of New York—and in particular watch the character William Cutty—Quebec, Ontario and BC---get on the horse and ride.
Gilles Duceppe hasn’t given up much ground in popular opinion despite being down from previous election totals over the past two years. Traditional Quebec is going rock star over Harper’s intimate way, but many Quebecors know a good deal when they see one—and some English speaking Quebecors are rolling their eyes upward.
I always remember some blogger saying he/she didn’t trust polls that showed the Green Party over 10%. Well, we are happy to say that all ROBBINS polls (at least federally) have never depicted Greens over this percentage. The Greens have had the whole environmental script showering over them for three years now—and haven’t made the public relations hay they ought to have. Nevertheless they sit far above their previous totals from 2006.
The Bloc Quebecois ROBBINS support verification totals out of 10 (10 most high support—5 lower support) is highest at around 8.0, while the Conservatives and NDP are around 7.5 and the Liberals are less than 7.0%. The other party, the federal Greens with no seats in Parliament is also around 8.0%
Conclusions-
It appears from this ROBBINS poll that the Conservatives remain short of a majority—but look to add 10-15 seats in Ontario—a few in Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces—for a total of around 140 or so. The federal Liberals are likely in the 90 seat region and the NDP 35 +—//while the Bloc may lose as many as one quarter to a third of their current seat totals.
If an election is called in the early fall, and the Conservatives don’t cross the 145 threshold, and the Liberals hit 90—the country will be looking at two leadership contests.
Prime Minister Harper-- according to previous ROBBINS polls-- could have won runaway majorities two or three times---however he chose to govern with the minority granted to him-and frankly in our opinion-heed very bad advice. The fact that the Liberals deny his government agenda almost totally, but then refuse to show up and vote—makes a mockery of government---the Prime Minister’s government—so as the Liberals lose a little—so does the government. “Mutually inclusive incompetence” as one respondent puts it. It almost makes the government look a little like a bully—dragging Stephane Dion along—while marking time in government—until they need a renewed mandate. This permits the Bloc Quebecois to remain ‘relevant without a rationale’, and for the New Democrats to (appear) to threaten—without being too threatening. The Greens have been around long enough for many supporters to realize that a Green agenda is better served—through the influence power brings. Nevertheless support for the Green Party may bring no seats—but certainly more money to the party coffers to fight another day.
If the Conservatives continue to permit government to stall for another year along these lines—blaming it on the Liberals-it is just as likely they will suffer as the Liberals will---. Either the remaining mainstream parties will benefit from government and/or opposition ineptitude or fewer people will vote. The problem for the Conservatives is the economy is sputtering a bit---usually a time for more reserved decision making----. Frankly, the Prime Minister may have to take his chances now—suggesting that with the Federal liberals experiment on green matters—the country could go into a recession- and giving Stephane Dion the image of the nutty professor.
Mr. Dion on the other hand, can attack the apparent unlikelihood that the Conservatives have any viable plan on the global warming front-arguing that even the United States is getting its act together. Ralph Goodale’s ‘everything’s okay on the Green front’ because we transport our resources by pipe to the United States---has to be seen as sabotage—or gross incompetence—but if it helps Ralph in Saskatchewan—it won’t help Mr. Dion in central Canada or British Columbia.
Jack Layton has been leader of the NDP for a while and is an experienced campaigner. He must step up from light-heavyweight to heavyweight to convince Canadians his party deserves a shot at Opposition. Certainly if the opportunity ever presented itself—it is now. His party needs to target 45-50 seats and go after them as if there is no tomorrow. In this political climate—Jack Layton must be more successful because there are a number of others in his caucus who are probably thinking they can do his job as well or better—if he does not increase seat totals toward the numbers that former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent brought to the party.
If an election is called and the Bloc retain or increase their seat totals—there will likely be three leadership conventions.
Glen P. Robbins

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