Friday, September 18, 2009

Nanos Leadership Poll

Nanos has the results of a leadership poll up on their site. It was taken between September 3 and September 11 and involved 1,002 Canadians.

When asked who would make the best Prime Minister, people said:

Stephen Harper - 36.9%
Michael Ignatieff - 23.9%
Jack Layton - 11.4%
Gilles Duceppe - 5.0%
Elizabeth May - 4.0%

That is a big spread between Harper and Ignatieff, and it really has only been created recently. Compared to the last Nanos poll in August, Harper has gained 7.4 points while Ignatieff has lost 2.3. Layton has also been hit hard, losing 3.8 points.

In British Columbia, Harper is the choice of 44.4% of respondents. Only 21.9% selected Ignatieff and a dismal 8.8% chose Layton.

In Ontario - and this is significant - Harper has jumped 6.6 points and stands at 36%. Ignatieff, who led Harper in the province in that previous poll, dropped 7.3 points and is the choice of 24.0% of Ontarians. Layton, at 8.5%, has also dropped.

In Quebec, Ignatieff has actually seen a gain of 4.6 points and is now the choice of 34.2%. Harper saw a small bump of 2.3 points, and is at 18.5%. Layton is at 18.8% while Duceppe is at 15.5%.

I've updated the "Best PM" track on the right. Ignatieff and Layton remain steady but Harper gains three points.

While Ignatieff seems to have been hit hard, Layton has seen the more uniform drop. Ignatieff is down big in Ontario and the Prairies, but he has gained some ground in British Columbia, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. Layton is down in every region except Quebec, and there it was only by 0.4 points that he gained.

Ignatieff and Layton seem to be riding a tide of disfavour at the moment. While an election this fall is starting to seem unlikely, it could still happen. The wheels are in motion to put the EI reform bill through Parliament and even the Senate relatively quickly (according to Kady O'Malley) and it is possible that it will have become law before the Liberals put forward their motion of non-confidence.

So that gives the opposition about three weeks to rectify the souring of public opinion. To paraphrase the old adage, three weeks is an eternity in politics so we'll have to see where we stand in October.


  1. I don't think we've seen the end of this fall for Iggy and Jack yet.

    Like them or not, the newer attack ads from the CPC are fairly devestating for the opposition (mostly Ignatieff).

    This may not effect very many, but it may well reflect in the next round of leadership polling.

  2. I don't like the Conservative ads as they are extremely misleading and actually provide the voter with misinformation.

    The sorry state of political rhetoric, on all sides, bothers me quite a bit.

  3. I think they step up to the line, but don't cross it.

    Perhaps it would help if I knew the specific misinformation that bothered you.
    I must not have noticed it. (or have not seen that particular commercial)

    I think they are effective, even though their style leaves much to be desired.

  4. The ads consist primarily of taking things Ignatieff has said out of context, or that he said years ago. Running the clip of him saying he'd form a coalition, back in December, is intellectually dishonest, as he has since repudiated that idea and all of us who follow politics know that Ignatieff did that under pressure from his own party.

    Then they have things like saying Jack Layton would be a finance minister or that Gilles Duceppe would have veto over government policy. It's all misdirection. Even in the unlikely situation of a true coalition government, Layton (or Rae) would never be handed the finance portfolio.

    Ignatieff calling the US 'his' country many years ago - are we supposed to believe he's a closet American? Saying it is all about himself - what does that have to do with anything, even if it were true? All political leaders are in it primarily for themselves - the idealists don't last very long.

    Come on. Attack him on policy and platform, not something he said off the cuff a few years ago or something he said within a completely different context. Or provide your own positions for people to decide upon.

    Has any of this helped our political discourse? We're just seeping further and further into the kind of politics we see in the United States, and it worries me.

  5. Eric, it would be hard to attack Ignatieff on policy or platform because quite simply he has not put forward any platform or policy ideas.

    Given the lack of a leadership race he didn't really run on anything.

    And if we go by the standard you've established that past statements and positions are irrelevent because they lack "context" and happened years ago then its almost impossible to know what the guy stands for.

    Carbon tax? National daycare? Kelowna accord? High speed rail from Vancouver to Calgary? Higher taxes?

    For those of us who follow politics its become quite clear that Ignatieff is intentionally holding back on policy and ideas so that he cannot be attacked in the way that Dion was over the green shift.

    And so, lacking policy disagreements, it all becomes about leadership and character.

  6. Why attack at all? This isn't an election campaign. The Tories are in government, they have a record they can boast about. Here's a better ad: "Since we've been elected in 2006, we've done this, this, and this. Ignatieff? (crickets)"

    Simplistic, but at least it is about something other than cheap personal attacks.

  7. The excuse I hear all the time, when something just can't be denied, is "it was taken out of context". In the case of the ads, that simply does not hold water - the video shows him calling the U.S. his country - total context there. The other quotes are properly referenced for people to check out themselves - The problem for Mr. Ignatieff and the Liberals, is the man has no principals - there are many examples of things he said before moving to Canada that are not consistent with what he is saying now that he is in politics. The coalition thing is an excellent example to highlight this problem. He signed his name to it - some say it was under duress/pressure from his party - is that an excuse you are comfortable with? Was he pressured to state, as he did on the video, that he supported the coalition and would lead it? Perhaps he is now against it simply because of the polls - we all remember (Ok, only us old folks) Trudeau's 6&5 promise he quickly broke; we all remember Chretien's promise to get rid of the GST and now we have Ignatieff's promise he won't form a coalition - fool me once, shame on you ... you know the rest. Since day one, he has acted (I rarely listen to politicians' words but watch their actions closely) solely in his own interests - even today, he voted against the budget implementation bill not because it was flawed or something he didn't believe in - he did it as a manouever to advance his own interests - so what if people were going to suffer if it failed - I simply don't want this man in charge of my country - he would sell us out if there was something in it for him.

  8. Luckily, we don't live in a dictatorship where the whim of the Prime Minister becomes law. Both Harper and Ignatieff work with the people around them - the Liberal Party caucus wouldn't let their leader take them places they definitely did not want to go. And, for my part, I think people can change their minds and take on new positions. I don't believe, for example, that Harper still wants to put a 'firewall' around Alberta.

  9. Eric,

    from a strategic standpoint I just don't know how well a positive ad would go over during the worst economic times since WW2. People (or maybe just the media speaking for people) want you to feel their pain and share their doom and gloom attitude. Any sort of positive ad would be met with accusations of being out of touch and wearing rose tinted glasses. After the recession is behind you is the time to give yourself a pat on the back.

    From a moral perspective I see nothing wrong with negative ads per se. Provided they give the electorate more information on which to base their decision they can have a very helpful impact on our politics.

  10. I feel that the coalition line of attack is warrented as it was very close to reality last winter.

    I didn't think that the coalition was respecting the will of the electorate, so anyone who signed it is fair game to be called on it now.

    If you can provide a quote from Iggy saying that the party with the most amount of seats will form government after the next election please link it.

    You yourself have discussed the possibility of a coalition many times, so the Conservatives bringing it up is hardly intellectually dishonest.

    As for Jack being Minister of Finance. You are correct, the Libs said that wouldn't happen.
    (which Conservative ad is this?)

    He WAS being touted as a potential Minister of Industry thou, and that is enough to make many Canadians blood run cold.

    I'm sure the Bloc having a veto was not in the official agreement, (what did the Bloc get?), but it would have been a de-facto reality.

    Iggy calling himself an Americian doesn't bother me like it does some.
    Do you think this would be a legitimate line of attack if it had been a Conservative saying it?

    That is the crux of the matter. The Liberals pummeled Mr.Harper with out of context quotes, past positions, and scary music when he was opposition leader (that firewall quote you mentioned is a good example).
    He learned this lesson well from the Liberals, and now they have to deal with the monster they largely created.

    My main point from the original post was that these ads are effective, and are not likely to blow back on the Tories as they don't really cross the line of unfairness (at best they blur it a little).

    I think your concern that we are becoming more like Americian politics is largly unfounded, but if that is the case, it is not these latest Conservative ads that have brought us there.

    These ads will help us avoid a fall election. So I find them to be worth every penny.

  11. There is one thing that is being left out... It's the "creep" factor.
    In my mind I have the image of the Grinch in the Christmas cartoon "How the Grinch stole Christmas."
    You know, the Grinch standing on top of the mountain, menacingly looking down on Whoville....and that smile...that wicked...wicked smile...

  12. The coalition document has an expiry date of 2011, so until all the signers go on tv and publicly denouce it, and promise to never ever try it again, I think the culprits are trying to distract us. It is still a work in progress, but I doubt the GG would agree to it.


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