Monday, April 13, 2009

Two recent polls - Crossing the Line

Recent polls from Strategic Counsel and Leger appear to represent the crossing of a line for the Harper government. Compared to the 2008 election the two polls report significant opinion movement in Quebec and Ontario.

The Quebec shift is not new - it dates to the time of the attempt to form a coalition in late November/early December 2008 and Harper's angry response, which exploited English Canadian resentment of Quebec separatism to successfully rally opinion outside Quebec against the coalition idea. The coalition period has disappeared from the polls except for lingering resentment directed at Harper in Quebec. His problem there stems from the fact that his rhetoric came to be interpreted as expressing antagonism to Quebec nationalism. Nationalism, whether pro-independence or not, is seen as legitimate in Quebec. Harper therefore came to be seen by many as anti-Quebec. This is not likely to go away.

The Ontario shift is more likely a product of the deepening recession, which is also having a growing impact on Quebec.

Here are the two polls' Quebec/Ontario numbers:


C.P.C. Liberal NDP Green Bloc Other
Quebec 12.0 33.0 10.0 3.0 42.0 1.0
Ontario 35.0 45.0 12.0 8.0 0.0 0.0

Strategic Counsel

C.P.C. Liberal NDP Green Bloc Other
Quebec 15.0 29.0 9.0 6.0 41.0 1.0
Ontario 32.0 45.0 15.0 8.0 0.0 0.0

The seat outcome for both polls is quite similar:

C.P.C. Liberal NDP Bloc Other Total
Leger 105 125 25 52 1 308
Strategic Counsel 107 125 26 49 1 308

TC expects the government's position to deteriorate further. Note that this falls just short of a Liberal/NDP majority after the next election. Nonetheless, that appears to be where we are headed.

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