Duffy trial hurt how most Canadians view the Conservatives: poll
On the same day the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy adjourned until after the Oct. 19 federal election, a new poll suggests the trial has negatively impacted how the majority of Canadians view the Conservatives.
The Nanos Research survey -- conducted for CTV News and The Globe and Mail -- found more than half of the respondents (56%) viewed the Conservatives more negatively after the prime minister’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, took the stand.
Another 36 per cent said their views were unchanged, while six per cent saw the Tories in a more positive light. Three per cent were unsure.
The proportion of those who viewed the Conservatives more negatively after Wright’s testimony differed by region, ranging from 46 per cent in the Prairies to 61 per cent in Atlantic Canada, but was about equal between women and men.
Wright took the stand for six days, ending last Wednesday, at an Ottawa courthouse where Duffy is on trial for 31 criminal charges, including bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
Duffy has pleaded not guilty to all charges, including those stemming from a secret $90,000 payment he received from Wright to cover his questionable Senate expenses in 2013.
Wright testified that he “got that one wrong” when he made the payment using his own funds, stating he “had no concept of the connotations” should the payment become public.
Wright also admitted in court he did not want Duffy to defend his claims publicly by participating in a Senate audit because people would not believe Duffy’s primary residence was in P.E.I. and that fact could hurt the Conservatives.
Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has been repeatedly hammered with questions about the Duffy scandal while on the campaign trail, but maintains that the two people involved – Duffy and Wright – are being held to account.
The research was conducted using online and telephone (landline and cellphones) surveys and was done in the three days after Wright finished his testimony on Aug. 19. A random survey of 1,000 respondents is considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
With files from CTV’s Katie Simpson