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Canadians not thrilled with Tories or Liberals: poll
OTTAWA - Canadians have little confidence in either the Conservatives or Liberals to manage the economy, balance the books or reflect their values, a new poll suggests.
Indeed, more Canadians picked "None of the above" and "Don't know" than chose any federal party on those key issues, according to The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey.
Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg said the findings are "an indictment" of Canada's political parties and help explain why support remains tepid for both the Conservatives and the Liberals.
The poll put the Conservatives at 32 per cent nationally, with the Liberals close behind at 29 per cent. The NDP stood at 17 per cent and the Greens at 11 per cent.
"Virtually no party has established themselves as having strong credentials on the issues set that matters most to Canadians," Gregg said in an interview.
"If you look at the tremendous number of Canadian voters who say 'None of the above' ... then you have to conclude that the population has looked at the two alternatives as basically the evil of two lessers."
While the survey results provide no joy for any party, Gregg said they are particularly devastating for the Liberals, who appear to be "a party that stands for nothing."
The two main parties have been stuck in a virtual tie -- far short of majority support levels -- for much of the past few years. And the latest poll results suggest that's because neither has been able to convincingly persuade Canadians they share their values or can handle economic turbulence.
Asked which party is best able to balance the budget in five years, half of respondents answered either "Don't know" or "None." Just 26 per cent chose the Tories, while 14 per cent picked the Liberals, six per cent the NDP, and two per cent each chose the Bloc and the Greens.
Asked which party can be trusted to manage the economy, 36 per cent said "Don't know" or "None," while 30 per cent said the Tories, 20 per cent the Liberals, nine per cent the NDP and three per cent each chose the Bloc and the Greens.
As to which party holds values closest to their own, 27 per cent said "Don't know" or "None," while 25 per cent picked the Tories, 20 per cent the Liberals, 15 per cent the NDP, six per cent the Bloc and seven per cent the Greens.
Gregg said the Liberals have dominated federal politics for a century because they've traditionally been seen as the party that best reflected the values of Canadians. That crucial advantage has now shifted to the Tories.
Moreover, the Liberals are seen as less capable economic managers, even though Stephen Harper's Tories have racked up a record $54-billion deficit for this year. Voters appear to have forgotten that Liberal governments balanced the nation's books and presided over an era of unprecedented prosperity from 1993-2004.
"If I were a Liberal, I would be weeping," Gregg said.
He said there's nothing in the poll that should encourage either of the two main parties to angle for an election any time soon.
"Voters view one option with disinterest and the other with indifference."
For the party standings, Harris-Decima conducted a telephone poll of 2,021 voters. It was conducted March 25-April 5 and is considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times in 20.
Just less than half the sample were asked the questions regarding which party can best manage the economy and reflect Canadians's values. That portion of the survey, conducted March 31-April 5, is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.