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November 27, 2005
Have The Tories Surpassed The Liberals?

Election polling by the Canadian media has shown a consistent lag of six to ten points between the Liberals and the Conservatives over the past several months. Many CQ readers and I have noted the small sample sizes used in these polls and some other independent efforts that have cast some doubt on those results. Now CQ reader Mark C. in Canada has found a substantial polling effort by Robbins Research, on behalf of a "US Corporation", that shows the Tories pulling into a dead heat with the Grits on one of the largest sample sizes used in political polling:

A representative sample of 18,443 Canadians between November 11th and 16th, 2005. This survey features a margin of error of 2.15%, 19 times out of 20 @ 98% competency. This poll was paid for by a U.S. company doing business in Canada.

Question #1

At this moment which of the following federal political leaders and their parties are you supporting?

Jack Layton and NDP..................22.30 %
Paul Martin and Liberals.............32.10 %
Stephen Harper and Conservatives.....32.21 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc..............13.33 %

Among other findings, Robbins discovered that two-thirds of Canadians think that the timing of the election was unimportant, belying the Liberal argument on avoiding holiday elections. It also shows that 68% of Canadians want to see the Conservatives form the next government, if the choice comes down to the Tories or the Grits. It finds Conservative/BQ party support to be solid, while determining much more fluidity between Liberals and NDP. Amusingly, it also says that the Maritimes "may be the only part of the country where the Liberals are still held in reasonably high esteem."

Robbins predicts that the Conservatives will take as many as 113 seats and BQ 64, easily giving them the ability to form a new government. They expect the Liberals to win no more than 108 seats in the new Parliament. The Bloc could ally with the Liberals, of course, but Robbins' research shows that the BQ's gains come on an anti-Martin emphasis -- meaning that the Liberals would need to dump their current leadership to even hope for an alliance with BQ. Given the Liberal rhetoric from last Thursday about the unpatriotic nature of BQ, that hardly seems likely now.

Given the large sample size and the independence of the polling, it looks like the Canadian media has hidden yet another political story from its readership -- this time not because of an artifical gag order imposed on them, but perhaps out of an unwillingness to recognize the damage done to the Liberal cause by its own leadership.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 27, 2005 10:11 AM

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