If election were held today... A Tory majority: polls
And Probe Research poll shows their support is even higher in Manitoba
Sat Mar 24 2007
By Norma Greenaway
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have surged to 40 per cent in popular opinion and entered majority government territory, a new poll says. The poll, conducted exclusively by Ipsos-Reid for CanWest News Service and Global Television after the Harper government delivered its new budget, says the Tories have opened up an 11-point lead nationally over Stephane Dion's Liberals.
"The big news is they hit the big four-oh," Pollster Darrell Bricker said of the Conservatives' numbers. "They've hit the magic number. When you get to 40 (per cent) you can start talking about forming a majority government."
It's the first time Ipsos-Reid reported the Conservatives, which scored a minority victory 14 months ago, could win a majority.
Grit support plunged to 29 per cent from 34 per cent in a survey conducted a week earlier.
Moreover, the poll said the Conservatives have opened up a 10-point lead (43 to 33 per cent) over the Grits in Ontario, the crown jewel of Canadian politics with 106 seats. They also are locked in a virtual tie with them in Quebec, 26-25 for the Liberals. Vote-rich Quebec has 75 federal seats.
"The compelling part of this is that they have actually tied the Grits in Quebec, and they've got a 10-point lead on them in Ontario. With that 10-point lead, they can clean up." Bricker said. The poll put the NDP support at 14 per cent, up two points from the last poll.
The Bloc Quebecois held at nine per cent, and the Green party slipped one point to seven per cent.
The healthy Tory numbers, which show them leading in every region of the country except Quebec, are bound to add fuel to already rampant election speculation.
Meanwhile, the federal Tories, Liberals and Greens are all making gains at the expense of the NDP in Manitoba, a Free Press/Probe Research Inc. poll has found.
The survey of the party horse-race within the province shows that falling NDP fortunes have left the Conservatives, Liberals and Greens with higher levels of support than they enjoyed on voting day in January 2006.
The shift in party support is not dramatic, but enough to open the door to seat changes within the province as talk of a possible spring federal election continues to have MPs on edge.
Probe's polls shows NDP support in Manitoba has fallen six points in the past year, while Harper's Tories have risen three points. Dion's Liberals are up one point while Elizabeth May's Greens have seen their support jump by two points -- both within the poll's margin of error.
"The NDP are the ones down the most conspicuously and the national polls are showing the same trend," said Scott MacKay, president of Probe Research. All parties have said they don't want an election this spring, but many opposition MPs say they are convinced the election-ready Conservatives are looking for a reason to pull the plug on this Parliament.
And the Tories are doing little to discourage election talk.
The party sent out a new fundraising e-mail Friday to supporters who had not responded to a recent appeal for election funds. It warned the party could still face an "unwanted" election if it is defeated on any of the pending budget votes.
Bricker said the budget played a role in the Conservatives jump to 40 per cent in national support from 36 per cent in Ipsos-Reid's previous poll.
The Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,000 adults, conducted Tuesday through Thursday, found Canadians are twice as likely to give the budget "two thumbs up" than "two thumbs down." The split was 24-12. Half of those surveyed said it was neither good nor bad and opted to "symbolically shrug their shoulders."
The survey is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error is larger within subgroups.
Probe was just wrapping up asking Manitobans who they would vote for in a federal election as Winnipeg Centre NDP MP Pat Martin made headlines by musing that tough times for his party could lead to possible merger talks with the Liberals.
MacKay said Martin's comments may have shaken things up a bit as his firm finished the poll of 1,000 Manitobans.
"Martin may have been onto something there, as things have not gotten better for the NDP," MacKay said. Across the province, the Tories are well out in front with 46 per cent support. The Liberals are a distant second with 27 per cent support. Jack Layton's New Democrats are further back at 19 per cent.
But within Winnipeg, which represents eight of the province's 14 seats, the race is much tighter. The Winnipeg numbers show the Tories at 39 per cent, the Liberals at 29 per cent, and the NDP at 24 per cent. Outside Winnipeg, the Tories are at 57 per cent, the Liberals have 23 per cent support and the NDP 11 per cent.
MacKay said the rise in Tory support could help Harper hold Rod Bruinooge's Winnipeg South seat, which he narrowly stole from Liberal Reg Alcock. It could also potentially put Anita Neville's Liberal seat of Winnipeg South Centre in the Conservatives' sights.
While May has created plenty of buzz since taking over the Green leadership, MacKay said it is too early to tell if the party's support in Manitoba is a sign that the party will be a factor come next election.
This is a different poll, this was done by Canwest Newspapers and Global TV.
40% nationwide for Harper and in my home home province 46% support in Manitoba.
Harper is in majority numbers and Canadians are loving him!!!!
Oh god I hope there is an election soon!
Sorry good news for the Tories always makes me giddy!