Wednesday, May 9, 2012

April 2012 Federal Poll Averages

A month of tremendous change, April saw the New Democrats storming from a distant second to a narrow first. Thomas Mulcair may be in the midst of a honeymoon, but it is quite the honeymoon for the party - particularly in Quebec. Since the monthly federal averages were first calculated in January 2009, the New Democrats in April 2012 put up their best results federally and in British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada.
During the month of April, 15,175 Canadians were surveyed in six national polls and five provincial polls (in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec).

The New Democrats led in April with an average of 33.3% support, a gain of 4.1 points since March. That is their best result on record, surpassing the 32% the party scored in September, shortly after Jack Layton's death.

The Conservatives trailed with 33.2%, down 1.7 points. They hit 33% in February, and were at or below that mark for most of 2011.

The Liberals were down 1.3 points to 20.6%, their lowest result since September, while the Bloc Québécois was down 0.7 points to 6.2% nationally and the Greens 0.1 point to 5.6%.

The most significant shift in support has taken place in Quebec, where Mulcair's leadership win has had the greatest effect. The New Democrats were up a massive 12.8 points (and this in a total sample of 5,651 Quebecers) to 43%, putting them back to where they were in the May 2011 election and in the months just following Layton's passing. It is an incredible rebound for the party.

Every other party has suffered as a result. The Bloc Québécois dropped 6.9 points to 22%, their lowest result since October. This has ended five months of steady increase during the NDP leadership race. The Liberals were down 4.4 points to 15.6%, their lowest result since November, while the Conservatives were down 1.2 points to only 14.3% support, their worst result since June 2009. The Greens were down 0.4 points to 3.5%.

Atlantic Canada also saw a great deal of change, with the New Democrats picking up 7.3 points to reach 40% support, their best result on record (their previous best had been 36% in September). The Liberals trailed with 28.2%, a gain of 1.6 points, but a gap of this size between first and second has not existed in the region since August 2010. The Conservatives were down 6.6 points to 26.7%, their lowest result since that month. The Greens were down 0.5 points to 4.4%.

In Alberta, the Conservatives dropped 1.2 points to 56%, still well ahead of the NDP (up 1.4 points to 20.5%). The Liberals, however, jumped 3.7 points to 16.2%, giving them their best result since March 2011. The Greens were down 0.8 points to 4.7%.

The only Conservative gain since last month took place in Ontario, where the party averaged 38% support, up 0.2 points. The New Democrats surged into second with a gain of 2.2 points, putting them at 29% and their highest result on record. The Liberals dropped to third with a 2.3-point decrease to 25.7%, their worst result since September and their third consecutive month of decline. The Greens were up 0.2 points to 6%.

In British Columbia, the New Democrats have opened up their widest lead on the Conservatives since at least January 2009, picking up two points to hit 38.8% support. The Conservatives, who have been dropping or stagnant for six months now, slipped 1.3 points to 34.2% in the province. The Liberals were down 0.9 points to 16.3% (a third month of decline) while the Greens were unchanged at 8.7%. They have held around that level of support for four months.

Finally, the Prairies were the most stable region, with the Conservatives slipping only 1.1 points to 42.6%. The NDP were up 0.4 points to 34.4%, a third consecutive month of stability at their high of 34%-35%. The Liberals were up a point to 16.9%, while the Greens were down 0.9 points to 4.9%.

Though the New Democrats hold the narrowest of leads federally, they nevertheless trail the Conservatives in the seat projection on these numbers. An April election would have delivered 136 seats to the Conservatives, a drop of eight since March. The New Democrats would have won 120 seats, a huge gain of 42 seats since last month's projection, while the Liberals would be down 11 seats to 47. The Bloc Québécois, projected to be able to win 27 seats in March, wins only four with these numbers, while the Greens hold on to their one.

The Conservatives win 16 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 18 in the Prairies, 61 in Ontario, four in Quebec, nine in Atlantic Canada, and one in the North.

The New Democrats win 16 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, seven in the Prairies, 25 in Ontario, 60 in Quebec, 10 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the North.

The Liberals win three seats in British Columbia, three in the Prairies, 20 in Ontario, seven in Quebec, 13 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the North.

In the expanded 338-seat House, the Conservatives would likely win 154 seats to 129 for the NDP and 50 for the Liberals.

The NDP and Liberals could combine for a majority larger than the one the Tories currently enjoy, and with a combined 53.9% support it would be difficult to question the legitimacy of such an arrangement. But for the New Democrats to come out ahead on their own, they desperately need to close the gap in Ontario. They are doing as well as can be expected in every other region. Ontario is the only hold-out.

The Conservatives have some work to do. British Columbia is slipping away and their grip on Saskatchewan is looking very weak. Add to that a few seat losses in Atlantic Canada and a narrowing (though still comfortable) gap in Ontario, and the Tories are in a difficult position. Of course, this is not unusual early in a majority mandate, but it is worth noting that the Conservatives were holding their support one year after their 2008 election win. Some might say that is due to the minority situation forcing the Conservatives to be in constant seduction mode, but it is difficult to argue that the Tories have toned down their campaigning machine.

And for the Liberals, they are in deep trouble. A new leader might right the ship, but that is the mirage the party has been chasing for almost a decade. They are below 17% support in the West, have fallen to third in Ontario, are 12 points behind in Atlantic Canada, and are only holding on to their Montreal Island seats in Quebec. They might be playing the long game, and 2015 is indeed a long time away, but unless Mulcair really trips up it is hard to imagine a comeback in three years' time.

53 comments:

  1. Who's been polling these days ?

    Where is IR, AR, Forum, Abacus, etc ?

    It seems like only the Quebec pollsters and then EKOS and HD are active.

    They always have lower CPC numbers than the pollsters I mentioned.

    Could we be seeing a false narrative constructed here based on who's doing the polling rather than changes in actual party support ?

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    1. The April averages include polls from Forum (several, actually) and Ipsos-Reid. EKOS did not poll in April.

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  2. Once the center-left is able to form the government the center-right is screwed. the NDP and Liberals forming a govt would result in the passage of a more Representative election system.
    Its really weird that the center-left got around 60% of the vote in the last election but the center-right was given control of the government

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    1. thus the argument for proportional representation.

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    2. The odds on the Liberals agreeing to support proportional representation just went way up:
      http://ideefederale.ca/documents/Dion_ang.pdf

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    3. You're an optimist. Conservatives were also keen on electoral reform, right up until they won their first government. I would be very pleasantly surprised if the NDP remember the electoral reform promises under Prime Minister Muclair.

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    4. If you read Dion's article carefully, he's not arguing for proportional representation. He's moreso arguing for Alternative Vote, which is basically the second prefered candidate of voters in a riding also get elected as an MP.

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  3. "but it is difficult to argue that the Tories have toned down their campaigning machine."

    I don't have any difficulty stating the obvious - that the CPC have put their campaign machine into idle mode.

    Mulcair is a very rich target that the CPC is letting dig a hole on his own without any attack ads. There is no sense of giving the NDP a chance to recover from the destruction of Mulcair's credibility over the next 2 years. In the year before the election people will wonder in disbelief at the positive number Mulcair is now registering.

    They have totally laid off the Rae attack ads after flexing to test the market and see that Rae will be destroyed by half the attack ads that were aimed at Ignatieff and Dion.

    Right now the CPC campaign Machine has identified Bob Rae as the easiest Liberal leader to defeat and are not going to stop his ascension to Liberal leadership. If anything they will help him rise to Liberal power.

    I strongly believe that Harper threw out the NDP not fighting Hitler nugget to make sure that they and their media supporters would be as easily distract by non-issues as were the Liberal opposition.

    Somehow it seems the Left has difficulties focusing on what the Average Canadian sees as issues. They have a tendency to want to make the average Canadian care about their special interest issues... the workings of parliament and release of long term budget quesstimates

    Chretien was the last left of centre politician that knew that the average Canadian was more worried about jobs, jobs, jobs. He did not have policies that created jobs but at least had the good sense to talk about it.

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    1. Well said.

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    2. NS Libertarian09 May, 2012 14:38

      Well said!

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    3. As a Conservative, I'll have to completely disagree with BCVoR. From what he said, it's clear that he's not a "Voice of Reason" at all and has no ideas about our strategies. From what we have heard or talked about in our riding association (Whitby-Oshawa), without revealing everything about our plans, I can say that we aren't attacking Rae a lot right now because we aren't wasting our money on an interim leader, and the electorate knows that he's an interim leader and expects him gone next year. Once a permanent leader comes out, then we wll be going on the all out attack.

      And contrary to BCVoR's opinion, from what we and our central HQ gathered, Rae is a much tougher opponent than Dion or Ignatieff. The latter two simply didn't put up any response to our ads altogether, but Rae has actually put up some smart defenses around him. He's gone meeting a lot of voters in our neighbouring ridings and even utilized social media to solidify his voter base and support. From what the polls suggest, yes the liberals are in third place in Ontario, but we have found out that their voter retention levels are high, compared to the low voter retention levels that Mulcair currently has in Ontario. His base is so solid that I would even say that the Liberals are a bigger threat to us than the NDP in Ontario.

      Also, it was Rae that coined the term "jobs, jobs, jobs", so I'm glad to see that phrase now being used by Conservatives. A massive amount of voters in our riding voted Liberal during the Chretien era, because they know that he created policies that created a lot of jobs in the auto sector in our riding, and decreased unemployment from double digits. What we are doing is basically continuing what Chretien did, that is to create more jobs in the auto sector. I would admit that it's a challenge to equal our job-creation record to that Chretien had.

      Oh, and about Mulcair, we have released an attack website called www.mulcairsndp.ca. The reason that we aren't releasing a lot of attack ads is because due to recent changes in media, tv ads are not as effective as online ads anymore. Hardly anyone sees our tv ads, while a lot (both in Canada and abroad) sees our online ads. We will be utilizing more online media in the next election.

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  4. Thomas Mulcair and the NDP are indeed enjoying a honeymoon.
    Will it last? I don't know.
    However, the main reason for their surprising success in Quebec may prove to be what brings them back to their traditional third party level in a hurry.
    Why? The answer is simple: the strategic promise made by Jack Layton to Quebec separatists during the May 2011 electoral campaign is the main reason for the NDP's success in this province.
    Obviously willing to do anything to pry votes away from the Bloc Québécois at that time, Layton basically said that separation would be OK with the support of 50% plus 1 of the votes, even to an ambiguous question. In other words, with an NDP government our country could be slit apart even if Quebeckers were fooled into voting yes by a tricky question on this vital issue.
    So, in my view, it is just a question of time before the media and Canadians start pressuring Thomas Mulcair to come clean and state where the NDP stands on this. Canadians, including millions of Quebeckers, will not tolerate a wishy-washy answer on this vital issue.
    And that's where the trouble starts for Mulcair and the NDP.
    If he agrees with Jack and Jacques (Parizeau, of course) that separation can be achieved even if people don't really know what they are voting for, Mulcair won't be trusted anymore and federalists in Quebec and in other provinces will certainly think twice before supporting the NDP.
    On the other hand, if Mulcair flip-flops, overturns Jack Layton's promise, and decides to stand by the Clarity Act, while his credibility takes a hit nationally, he will loose his separatist support in Quebec. On top of that, he will probably make many unconditional Layton supporters angry and create division within his own party.
    In addition, suddenly aware of the recklessness and opportunism of Layton's promise to separatists, voters will have a hard time to swallow the NDP's claim that it is conducting politics differently ("faire de la politique autrement" is the slogan used in French).
    So, if this comes up, the honeymoon could be short and followed by a divorce before the first child is conceived.
    Stay tuned!

    Pierre Béchard
    Chelsea, Qc

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    1. "The answer is simple: the strategic promise made by Jack Layton to Quebec separatists during the May 2011 electoral campaign is the main reason for the NDP's success in this province."

      Here is your misreading, you still think that Québécois vote on a one dimension axis: Federalism vs Independence. Jack Laynton was an overly popular individual in Quebec province and the great result his party got can be attribute to that. About 95% of the voters ignored totally the positions of the NPD on most of the issues.

      Mulcair is well known and a lot of people consider that he will keep the best interest of Canada, and Québec too, at mind. The honeymoon might last or not for various reason. But as long as he avoid to say something rash, like a clear majority is need for a referendum (à la Dion), the Québécois won't mind.

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  5. Ok, Pierre, you keep telling yourself that. I guess we get to see what you Libs are planning to do to run against the NDP in 2015. Thanks for sharing your tactices with us.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

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  6. The Liberals are in real trouble. They once maintain their inflated levels of support by asking Canadians to vote "strategically" (read not for the NDP) if they wanted to oppose Harper and not waste their vote. Now this policy will work against them. If you really want to get rid of the Conservatives, you will need to vote NDP and not liberal. The Liberals will have no other alternatives but to start to offer new ideas and policies to Canadians, fancy that!

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  7. "Unless Mulcair really trips up it is hard to imagine a comeback in three years' time."

    This sentence is completely true, and it remains for me the biggest obstacle to Liberal successes: at the moment, the NDP's new-found strength is pretty soft, and a slip-up by Mulcair will definitely send people (back) to the Liberals. Which puts the Liberals in the uncomfortable position of 'standing around waiting'.

    But the Liberals ought to be able take from both sides. If Harper trips up, the Liberals ought also to benefit. But the Liberals have made little effort, as far as I can tell, to bridge that red/blue divide. With Tory numbers sinking as NDP numbers shore up, it ought to be a no-brainer for the Liberals to start speaking a centre-right language. But they're not.

    Nature, and historically the Liberal Party of Canada, are said to abhor a vacuum. But the 'gap' between the CPC and the LPC seems to be growing to vacuum size. Why aren't the LPC taking advantage?

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    1. "With Tory numbers sinking as NDP numbers shore up, it ought to be a no-brainer for the Liberals to start speaking a centre-right language."

      No kidding, you're 100% right. Or you would be if the facts weren't mixed up.

      The problem is that the Cons aren't bleeding centre-right voters - they're bleeding centrist voters. And centrist voters see a more palatable option in the NDP that is seemingly able to match Con numbers in a way that the Liberals aren't right now.

      Had the Opposition numbers stayed where they were during Turmel's stint, you'd probably see the Liberals in a more consistent second by now. But unfortunately, Mulcair is just too appealing for now.

      Now, when the Cons do start losing centre-right voters in greater numbers, the Liberals will definitely need to play up their business-friendly credentials. Right now the Cons aren't weak enough for them to do that, and they're retaining most of those "blue Liberals" that were stolen from us over the years, and the NDP are taking the centrists. Until one of those sides falls, the Liberals will remain in the 20% range.

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    2. That's a really good question. Why aren't they ??

      And NO I don't think the "leadership" contest has anything to do with the current situation.

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    3. good points Jerry.

      The problem is that based on his track record of solid honest government with not a realistic hint of corruption, Harper is allowed to have a few slip ups.

      Mulcair will only be allowed one.... and he has taken that with his attack on the West and Canadian resource based economy.

      Rae already has exceeded his quota for slip ups as Premier of Ontario

      If the Liberals can talk a moderate and relatively unknown person -- Dominic LeBlanc to be leader they will best be able to take advantage of Mulcair's mistakes.

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    4. Canadians have given up on the Liberals. Have you forgotten the Nanos survey of April 28th where 18.4% described them as bad/incompetent; 16.2 % as untrustworthy ...not very endearing. However, I'm fine with a three party system!!!

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    5. Solid, honest, government, BCVoR? Really? This government has had scandal after scandal, they just haven't stuck before now. Harper has been lucky to be made of Teflon. But that something doesn't stick doesn't mean it didn't happen.

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    6. "The problem is that based on his track record of solid honest government with not a realistic hint of corruption..."

      ... yeah, okay...

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    7. Anonymous 13:24,

      Canadians haven't given up on the Liberals. Those that described them as incompetent or untrustworthy are in a minority. The majority still trusts the Liberals. That's why they are going to form the government (junior coalition partner) in 2015.

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  8. As soon as Ontario wakes up to the fact that this Tory govt's policies have been and continue to be bad for their provincial economy, the ndp will have the numbers to oust this shady regime..

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  9. I am a bit surprised Horwath's surge in popularity hasn't translated federally...

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    1. It pretty much has. Most Ontario polling has the ONDP at or around 30%, pretty much the same as what the poll average is saying for the FNDP in Ontario.

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    2. Er, I don't know why you guys are attributing it to Horwath. Ontario provincial politics and Ontario federal politics rarely follow the same trend, even if it seems like they are. If they had, the 2011 election would've been very different.

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    3. Sorry, should have made it clear that I don't necessarily agree that the FNDP strength is attributable to Horwath. I just meant that ONDP support seems to have translated to FNDP support.

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  10. Actually Eric I think the Liberals can take some solace in these numbers. With the NDP at what I think could be a temporary leadership honeymoon, the Liberals are still holding onto the numbers (pathetic though they are) they had after the last election. What's actually happening here is as the NDP take voters from the left side of the Liberals, the CPC is leaking support to the Libs from their left. What the Libs need to do is elect a leader who is obviously center-rightish. And that won't be Rae. As the scandals build up, and the CPC shows its true hard right stance, the former Liberals and PCs who once supported them are getting turned off. The most likely place for them to jump is the Liberals, the NDP being too far left, even with Mulcair, for their liking. The Liberals are correct to bide their time for now. They have three years to the next election and that's plenty of time.

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    1. Canadians don't like or trust the Liberals. They've had enough of them!

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    2. So tired of this line. How many of the Libs that you don't like or trust are still around? I'm to young to care about what Pierre Trudeau did to make you mad 30-40 years ago. I like them and trust them. We need 3 parties in Canada. More choice is good. Look how bad the 2 party system is in the USA. The Libs aren't going anywhere. Look at how many people still talk about them. The NDP was at 20% for a very long time and look where they are now. Time can change all things in politics.

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    3. The NDP has been polling at the same general level of support since the election, only going as low as 28 percent in the monthly averages.
      Begging the anonymous' pardon, but calling it a bump is rather difficult when it lasts a year. Pretty sure that can't actually be called a bump anymore, and even the 33% the NDP is at this month is only just a bit beyond what would be a normal poll's margin of error.

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    4. To Anonymous 22:17 -- You may be tired of hearing it, but the polls bear it out! AND, Bob Rae has many leadership qualities, but he is past his due date. He's become a grumpy old man.

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    5. We know he's past his due date. That's why Liberals are choosing a new leader in 2013.

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  11. Volkov:

    I think that if the federal Liberals had a leader like Mark Carney and rolled out some certrist and slightly right of center policies they would definitely over take the NDP.

    Harper is vulnerable because people don't like him, but they like his economic strategy. Give the Liberals a decent leader and policies and they would be competitive again.

    I don't believe Canadians are ready to turn the government over to the NDP. Particularly if the NDP runs on a bunch fairy tale ideas that would destroy the economy as they did in 2011. The NDP came second because of Quebec. NDP support in the rest of Canada was only up a couple of points in 2011. So Jack Layton was the reason the NDP finished second along with the hapless Iggy.

    Harper is low hanging fruit if the Liberals can find a leader and stop proposing the the same policies that date back to the original red book used in 1993.

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    1. In fairness, Earl, the NDP came in a pretty fair second in the ROC at 26.4%, and the Liberals didn't do much better than their national numbers, only 20.6%. The NDP definitely got up to the point of being in second place because of Quebec, but they still placed second no matter what, and by a large enough margin to put us Liberals to shame.

      But you're right otherwise. The Liberals need a leader that can appeal less to what the NDP is trying to appeal to, and more to what Harper is. The "why" is pretty basic: aside from not having Quebec, Harper's electoral coalition is essentially what Liberals used to do, by winning over that ideological range of moderates, being business-friendly, and appealing to the suburbs and boboized downtown cores.

      The biggest obstacle to Liberal success is our reliance on the idea that, somehow, the cozy situation we had in the 1990's will happen again. And it won't. Liberals now need to be competitive in the ideological marketplace, and while our "weathervane" politics does have a certain appeal, staking our ground as a business-friendly but socially liberal alternative is the best way to go.

      So when people ask, "what do Liberals believe," we have an answer: we believe that businesses, and people, must be allowed to grow in this country if we're to be successful.

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    2. Outside of Quebec the NDP had 43 seats, which would have made them the second party and official opposition.

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    3. Volkov, just read your post here. I agree wholeheartedly. This is the best I've seen it put yet. And I don't think it is a surprise to Liberals. They have a terrific opportunity here. Now they just have to take advantage of it. "We believe that businesses, and people, must be allowed to grow in this country if we're to be successful." Brilliant.

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    4. Unfortunately some Liberals don't agree with that. If Liberals use that mantra then they would alienate more voters to the NDP. Then they will stay in the wilderness for another century.

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  12. When Canadians realize that Orange Crush is fuelled by unions (and indebted to them) and those who are not union sympathetic are faced with a dilemma, they will need to turn to another alternative.
    The Cons will be fully exposed by then as the Western (read Alberta ans Sask) Separatists and unfortunately for them, since the country learned how much trouble a separatist party is from the Bloc, they will go looking for other options.
    Unfortunately for the Liberals, the Green Party has as much a chance of coming on the scene for the next election. 3 years is a long time!

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    1. The "orange crush" was fuelled by people deciding that they would give the NDP a chance, since the Liberals were still floundering.

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  13. Bob Rae is the only liberal suited to hold the reigns of the party.. The notion that they need someone that's unknown to the electorate and not a household name for 20 years and politically significant for 35 years is delusional hogwash.. Overlook his downside and you discount the fact that he has won major elections before and the reason why is that he is eloquent and clever, a superior linguist and a tried and true Canadian.. Bob should have beaten dion and he should have beaten iggy too.. Name a liberal with better name recognition or qualifications to send into a campaign and I'll buy you a grow op in fort macmurray..

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    1. See, name recognition is good when people recognize your name and associate it with something positive... Bob Rae's name is not.

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    2. The Liberals need generational renewal and they need a leader on the centre-right if they are going to avoid being squashed between the NDP and the Conservatives.

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    3. That's exactly what the Liberals in Britain did. But look at them right now, polling in single digit support. The exact same thing is going to happen to the Liberals in Canada if they did that.

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  14. CTV Website

    "The Canadian Press Harris Decima survey indicates that the NDP have 34 per cent of popular support, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives.

    With a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points, support for the two parties could be equally split.

    Still, the poll indicates that the New Democrats have become competitive in traditional Tory areas."

    The Tory slide continues ???

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  15. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20120510/tories-poll-NDP-120510/

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  16. HD's two week samples are out: NDP 34, CPC 30, LPC 20, GPC 8, BQ 7. The Globe is reporting some interesting cross-tabs that don't appear to be in HD's press release: among rural Canadians, CPC only has a 4 point lead over the NDP (35-31), among urban and suburban men, the NDP leads the CPC (36-29).

    Big thing in this poll though is that Ontario is a tight three-way race with CPC 32, NDP 31 and LPC 28. With those kinds of numbers, the CPC will lose substantial numbers of seats to the LPC.

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  17. I agree with TS and Volkov here. I like Rae and think he's done a great job as interim leader, however, it would be best if the Libs picked someone with less baggage in the trunk and more tread left on their tires. And as I stated above, with the CPC weakening and the NDP strengthening, their best opportunity is to pick a leader who's on the slight right side of center. Still threeish years to go, but I think this is the beginning of the end for the CPC.

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  18. Seeing that the lpc already endorsed cannabis legalization it's sorta hard to imagine a right of centre leader being chosen by the rank and file let alone wanting the job...

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    1. Centre-right as in business-oriented. Liberals will not endorse a social conservative, not unless we are REALLY desperate. And there's plenty of business-friendly social libertarians out there.

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    2. As a Liberal, I would not want us to go to the centre-right. Look at the BC Liberals, and where they are now. If we move to the centre-right, we would look no different than the Conservatives, which we have fought for almost a decade. Besides, every time there's a business friendly Liberal leading us, we have lost elections. Look at John Turner, and Paul Martin. They've both produced defeat and our worst of the worst showings. It's time to form a coalition with the NDP and reclaim our Liberal roots. It's time to form the Social and Liberal Democrat Party of Canada.

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