Grits, Tories deadlocked in public support: poll
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2007 6:27PM EDT
OTTAWA - Despite their byelection success in Quebec, the federal Conservatives aren't making much progress toward the level of support they need to give them their hoped-for majority.
A new Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey found the Tories deadlocked with the Liberals in public support, with no signs of momentum. But the poll confirmed the Liberals' troubles in Quebec as voters were casting ballots in three ridings there.
Conservatives had 32 per cent support, compared with 29 per cent for the Liberals. That spread is covered by the poll's margin of error, which is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The poll found the NDP had the support of 17 per cent of respondents nationally, while the Green party had 14 per cent and the Bloc Quebecois five per cent.
Results from the last three weeks of polling suggested the Tories and Liberals were tied at 31 per cent, with the NDP at 15 per cent, the Greens at 13 per cent and the Bloc at eight per cent.
Bruce Anderson, president of Harris-Decima, said the data indicate that the strong economy isn't benefiting Stephen Harper and his Conservatives. But Stephane Dion and the Liberals aren't finding much traction either.
For the Tories "finding their way from the low 30s to the low 40s, necessary to their hopes of winning a majority, looks no easier now than it has for months, despite the travails of the Liberals under Mr. Dion.
"For the Liberal party, these numbers reveal an opportunity dropped, at least so far; if voters seem cool to the Conservatives, they are not warming to Mr. Dion.''
The survey, conducted earlier this week through Monday's Quebec byelections, also suggested that the Bloc Quebecois had slumped to 22 per cent in Quebec, compared with 26 per cent for the Conservatives. The Liberals and the NDP were tied at 16 per cent in the province, just a point ahead of the Green party.
The survey results suggested the Liberals lost some ground in Ontario and Quebec recently, while gaining support in Atlantic Canada.
In Quebec, Anderson said, the Tories, NDP and the Greens have all made gains at the expense of both the Bloc and the Liberals.
"Among federalist voters, the Conservatives are becoming more competitive with the Liberals.''
Overall, he said, the Greens seem to be the major beneficiary of voter coolness to the other parties. The Greens are competitive with the Liberals and Tories among voters age 18 to 24 and are giving the NDP a run among female voters.
The poll was part of Harris -Decima's weekly omnibus telephone survey, which interviews just over 1,000 people.