Conservatives Gain Strength in Ontario, Lose Support in Atlantic

TORONTO, August 13 — The first opinion polls taken after the leaders’ debate suggest a slight improvement of Conservative fortunes outside of the Atlantic provinces. Nationally, the Conservatives command the support of 31.5% of decided voters, compared to 30.8% a week ago. The Liberals have 28.9% of popular support compared to 30% a week ago. The NDP are up slightly at 20.9% and the Greens are steady at 10.3%. Nationally, the Bloc Quebecois have upped their support from 8.1% to 8.5%.

In Quebec, the numbers translated into an increase in Bloc support from 35.7% to 36.1% while the Liberals and the Conservatives held steady at around 22-23%. In Ontario, however, the Conservatives have moved into a statistical tie with the Liberals, taking 34.5% of the popular vote compared to the Liberals’ 34.8%.

“There were no knockout punches during the leaders’ debates, as everyone ran a tight ship,” says pollster Allen Reid. “But this situation favours the government as the incumbent player. Nobody has been given much reason to pick someone else.”

The Conservatives good news was tempered by bad numbers coming out of the Atlantic provinces, where popular support dropped by another percent, from 20.7% last week to 19.3% this week. The Liberals crept ever higher to 49.6%. “The Green numbers are picking up as well,” says Reid, “and you have to wonder where that translates. Perhaps Peter MacKay’s seat is not as safe as he thinks it is after all. And the Conservatives seem to have been hurt by the Atlantic Accord.”

The Liberal fortunes in the Atlantic were counterbalanced by slippage in Alberta, where they now stand in third place at 16%, compared to 50% for the Conservatives and 22.5% for the NDP. The Greens aren’t far behind at 11.5%. “It’s clear that Albertans simply aren’t warming up to Stephane Dion,” says Reid.

The NDP continue to poll strong in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and BC, where they are in the lead or in second place, but their 20% support in Ontario could translate into more seats. “The risk for the Liberals is a two front assault, with the NDP focused on their Toronto stronghold, and the Tories making inroads in the 905 region,” says Reid.

Reid cautions that the percentage of undecideds is still rising. “It’s as high as I’ve ever seen it, pretty consistent at 40% across the country,” says Reid. “If the Undecideds were a party, they’d have they’d have the election in a walk.”

Over 3000 Canadians were polled across the country for the week. The numbers are considered accurate within three percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

     Atlantic  Quebec    Ontario    Man/Sask   Alberta       BC      National     
CON   19.26%   22.45%     34.47%     33.33%     50.00%     29.60%     31.49%
LIB   49.63%   21.76%     34.75%     24.17%     16.00%     26.40%     28.94%
NDP   21.48%   12.50%     20.43%     33.33%     22.50%     28.80%     20.85% 
GRN    9.63%    7.18%     10.35%      9.17%     11.50%     15.20%     10.26%
BLQ    0.00%   36.11%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      0.00%      8.47%                                           
Sample  220      720       1200        200        300        400       3040

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This page contains a single entry by James Bow published on August 13, 2008 10:30 AM.

All Leaders Claim Victory in English Language Debates was the previous entry in this blog.

Party Support Shifts as Regions Polarize is the next entry in this blog.

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