Are “Attack Ads” Effective?

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Liberal Leader Michael IgnatieffTHUNDER BAY – The critics of the federal Conservative Party say that their “attack ads” are not effective. One of the ads that the Conservative Party is running suggests that the Liberals would enter into a coalition with other parties. Current polling numbers suggest that if Canadians go to the polls this spring, there’s a good chance that not much would change afterwards, and that Canada would still be facing a minority government situation. A new Ipsos Reid poll has revealed that if the Conservatives have the most seats following the next election, Canadians would prefer a Conservative minority government to a ruling accord of the opposition parties.

Thinking about a few possible outcomes from an election if it were to occur, one possibility could be a minority situation where the Conservatives might continue to govern, or, if the Liberals and the NDP had enough seats, they could form a ruling coalition together. If this scenario were to occur, a majority (55%) of Canadians would prefer to see a Conservative minority government in power, while a minority (45%) would prefer to see a ruling accord led by the Liberals and supported by the NDP.

In a minority situation, though, the Liberals and NDP might not have enough seats to form a government themselves, which would necessitate the addition of the Bloc to their ruling accord. Canadians are less supportive of this option however: six in ten (61%) would prefer to see the Conservatives govern under this scenario, while four in ten (39%) would prefer a ruling accord led by the Liberals and supported by the NDP and the Bloc.

Canadians’ preference for the Conservatives over a ruling accord or coalition could be a result of the fact that nearly one half (48%) of Canadians believe that Stephen Harper would make the best Prime Minister of Canada, up 5 points since October, while Michael Ignatieff is chosen as the best Prime Minister by just 16% of Canadians (down 8 points). Jack Layton’s lustre continues to shine as 35% now believe he would make the best Prime Minister of Canada (up 2 points), placing him 13 points behind Stephen Harper, but 19 points ahead of Michael Ignatieff.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between January 24 to 27, 2011, on behalf of Postmedia News and Global Television. For this survey, a sample of 1,006 adults from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults who drive and have a car in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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