Federal Conservatives Sputtering – Ipsos Reid

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Parliament Hill

The Liberals have mounted a seven point lead over the Conservatives
The Liberals have mounted a seven point lead over the Conservatives

Seven Point Lead for Liberals Over Conservatives

TORONTO – POLITICS – Toronto, ON – It was once said, a week is a long time in politics. In the Spring of 2014, it looked as though the Harper Conservatives had re-fuelled their tanks and were making up some ground on Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, but with a little more than a year to go until the start of the fixed election date campaign scheduled for the fall of 2015, it appears that the Tories are sputtering while the Grits are cruising.

A new Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Global News has revealed that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would receive 38% support among decided voters, up 5 points since April. By comparison, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would receive 31% of the vote, down 2 points. Thomas Mulcair and the NDP sit unchanged at 24%, while the Bloc under Mario Beaulieu would receive 3% of the vote (15% in Quebec), down 3 points. Elizabeth May and the Green party would also receive 3% of the vote nationally, down 1 point, while 15% don’t know who they would vote for at this early juncture.

Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals are climbing in the polls
Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

The Tories have had a difficult year trying to gain traction with voters, while at same time the Liberals – who have their sights set on a majority government in the next election – are continuing an upward trajectory that began two years ago, despite the odd blunder or misstep from the rookie-leader Trudeau.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces the launch of the National Research Council (NRC) Arctic Program.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper

This is how a 7-point national lead for the Liberals translates in some of the more populous regions of Canada:

  • In Ontario, the Liberals (40%) hold an 8-point lead over the Tories (32%), who lead the NDP (24%)
  • In Quebec, the Liberals (38%) have a comfortable lead over the NDP (29%), while the Tories (17%) and Bloc (15%) are on shaky ground in la belle province
  • In British Columbia, the Tories (40%) have a tenuous 4-point lead over the Liberals (36%), who are well ahead of the NDP (19%)

Half of Canadians Agree Government Must Provide Key Social Programs, Even if it means More Taxes…

Fully one half (50%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (13% strongly/36% somewhat) that ‘government must provide key social programs even if that means increasing taxes’, up 7 points since last asked in 2011. Conversely, four in ten (42%) ‘disagree’ (14% strongly/28% somewhat) with this position, down 7 points, while 8% are unsure (unchanged).

That is a dangerous position for the federal Conservatives who have maintained cutting taxes is key to keeping Canada strong.

Canadians appear to be warming to the idea of taxing to maintain or enhance social programs, which is in contrast to the Conservative mantra of cutting taxes and limiting spending. This could at least partly explain some of the shift in support away from the Tories and towards the Liberals over the past two years.

Finding the right budgeting mix can be a difficult job for governments, particularly when many Canadians are mixed or contradictory in their opinions. While 50% say they supported increased taxation to fund social programs, two in three (64%) ‘agree’ (27% strongly/37% somewhat) that ‘governments must spend within their means even if that requires cutting some programs and services’, down 1 point since 2011. Conversely, one in three (32%, up 4 points) ‘disagrees’ (8% strongly/24% somewhat) that budgets must be balanced, while 8% don’t know (up 1 point).Moreover, most (66%, up 2 points) ‘agree’ (33% strongly/33% somewhat) that they’d ‘rather get a tax break than a new government program’, while just one in four (23%, down 3 points) ‘disagree’ (5% strongly/18% somewhat) and 10% don’t know (up 3 points).