Conservatives, NDP neck-and-neck, new poll suggests
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 8:15AM EDT
The federal Conservatives and New Democrats are in a statistical tie heading into the fall session of Parliament, according to a new poll released Monday, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s personal popularity appears to be on the rise.
The latest poll from Nanos Research shows the Conservatives have the support of 32.5 per cent of Canadians, while the NDP has 30.4.
Trailing in third place are the Liberals, with 24.6 per cent support, then the Bloc Quebecois and Greens in a virtual tie with 5.8 and 5 per cent respectively.
When asked about the key leadership qualities – trust, competence, vision for Canada -- of the various party heads, Harper experienced a 20-point jump from polling conducted two months ago, largely due to a shift in undecided voters.
Harper scored 93.4 per cent on the Nanos leadership index, while NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair followed well behind with a score of 48, followed by Liberal interim leader Bob Rae at 38.1.
However, CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife said the Conservatives’ are likely to see a drop in their poll numbers once the fall session kicks off.
“Stephen Harper may have a bit of a spring in his step but he’s probably got a lot of worry as well because every time the House of Commons comes back he gets pummelled by the opposition parties and by the time Christmas comes along the Tories have usually come back down in the polls,” Fife told CTV’s Canada AM.
When broken down by region, the Nanos poll showed the Conservatives holding a strong lead in the Prairie provinces – with 48.6 per cent support compared to the Liberals’ 22.4 per cent.
The NDP has a strong lead in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, while the Conservative lead in Ontario and B.C. but only by a small margin.
Meanwhile, Canadians appear to be more concerned about the nation’s pocketbook than they were two months ago. In total, 29.6 per cent of those polled said their top issue of concern is jobs and the economy, compared to 23.7 per cent in July.
Healthcare came second, with 18.7 per cent of those polled saying it was their top concern. Compared to polling conducted in July, that represented a drop of about six percentage points.
Fife said Canadians’ apparent rising regard for Harper’s leadership qualities, and for his party in general, is likely based on the fact the Conservatives have focused on the economy and jobs as their top concern in recent years – a focus that is now in line with most Canadians’ priorities.
That will remain the Conservatives’ focus going into the fall session, Fife said, with Harper expected to turn his attention to creating more free trade deals with international partners such as the European Union.