THUNDER BAY – Toronto appears a town divided. Mayor Rob Ford has come out in support of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, while the Toronto Star has come out endorsing Jack Layton and the New Democrats. The Globe and Mail and National Post have also endorsed the Conservatives.
The voters are, in the Toronto Star’s endorsement also told to vote strategically for the progressive candidate.
The flurry of endorsements come as the latest polls are showing that the Liberals are continuing their slide downward.
Canadians head to the final weekend of the federal campaign on the verge of a monumental shift in the country’s political history, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with the Toronto Star and La Presse has found. In the online survey of a representative national sample, 37 per cent of absolutely certain voters (+2 since earlier this week) would support the governing Conservative Party in the May 2 federal election.
The New Democratic Party (NDP) continues to gain momentum and now has the support of a third of voters (33%, +3), followed by the Liberal Party with 19 per cent (-3), the Bloc Québécois with six per cent (-1), and the Green Party with four per cent (-1).
The Conservatives are roughly at the same level of support they had in the 2008 federal race, with the NDP poised to improve its standing by 15 points. The Liberals, the Bloc and the Greens are all behind their 2008 totals.
A gender gap appears to be developing among the top two parties, with the Tories holding the upper hand among male voters (39% to 31%) and the New Democrats becoming the preferred choice for female voters (37% to 34%).
The NDP has expanded its support among decided voters aged 18-to-34 (41%), while two-in-five ofg those aged 35-to-54 (39%) and over the age of 55 (41%) would cast a ballot for the Tories.
The Conservatives continue to post an impressive retention rate, keeping 82 per cent of their voters in the 2008 federal election. The proportion of electors who are sticking by the New Democrats has increased to 85 per cent. The Bloc holds a lower retention rate at 62 per cent. The Liberal Party is currently holding on to slightly more than half of the voters who supported the Stéphane Dion-led party in 2008 (57%).
The NDP has increased its proportion of committed voters to 75 per cent, putting it in tune with the Liberals (74%). Higher proportion of Canadians who have decided which party to support say they will not change their mind about voting for the Conservatives (83%) and the Bloc (86%).