Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Leadership Details from Harris-Decima

Last week, I reported on a Harris-Decima poll that had been released through the media. The details of that poll are now available. A disappointing change in these details is that the information on Alberta, Prairies, and Atlantic results has been left out.

What we do have is more information on people's opinion of Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff. This poll was taken between August 27 to September 6, so while it is one-to-two weeks old, it is still relatively recent.

The poll found that 45% of Canadians have a favourable opinion of Harper, while 47% have an unfavourable opinion. That split was 39% to 41% for Ignatieff. Harper's best number came in Alberta, with 65% of respondents having a favourable opinion. His worst was in Quebec, where 29% had a favourable opinion. Ignatieff's best result was in Atlantic Canada (43%), while his worst was in Alberta (21%).

More interesting is how supporters of other parties see Harper and Ignatieff. About 27% of Liberal supporters have a favourable opinion of the Prime Minister, as do 22% of NDP supporters, 23% of Green supporters, and 19% of Bloc supporters.

Ignatieff, however, has a much higher favourability among supporters of other parties: 47% of NDP supporters, 41% of Bloc supporters, 35% of Green supporters, and 20% of Conservative supporters. That tells me that Ignatieff has a much higher chance of attracting NDP, BQ, and Green voters than Harper does. However, Harper seems to have a slightly better chance of attracting Liberal supporters than Ignatieff does Conservative supporters. But in terms of the amount of supporters from other parties that have favourable opinions of Ignatieff or Harper, Ignatieff comes out on top. His potential growth is 21.1-points compared to Harper's 16. In simple terms, that means Ignatieff has the potential to reach out to about 53% of Canadians, compared to Harper's 49%.

Probably most interesting, however, is the question concerning coalitions. Harris-Decima asked whether, if a minority is re-elected, a coalition should be worked out with another party to lengthen the life of Parliament. 55% of Canadians agreed, while only 35% did not. Perhaps, then, the idea of one of the parties forming a coalition with another is not such a horrid proposition after all. All regions of the country had more people agreeing with a coalition than disagreeing, except in BC where the two opinions were tied. Quebecers (64%) and Atlantic Canadians (62%) find the idea most favourable.

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