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January 20, 2006
G&M Playing With Polls?

Today's Globe & Mail reports that Stephen Harper has suddenly lost ground in polling this week as the Monday election draws near -- but then puts the Tory lead at the same nine-point margin that has been the consensus for over two weeks:

The Conservative Party's lead in the polls has narrowed to nine percentage points as voters in Ontario and Quebec have second thoughts about a Stephen Harper government.

The latest poll for The Globe and Mail and CTV by the Strategic Counsel shows national support for the Conservatives has dropped to 37 per cent from 41 per cent, while support for the Liberals has risen to 28 per cent from 25 per cent. Backing for the New Democratic Party dipped one percentage point to 16 per cent.

The race has tightened in the face of a Liberal advertising attack on Mr. Harper and an anti-Tory offensive in Quebec by the Bloc Québécois and Liberals, which have warned of the front-running party's social-conservative leanings, said Allan Gregg, chairman of the Strategic Counsel.

I do not recall a report of a sixteen-point lead over the Liberals at the national level. Had I read that, I would have considered such a report an outlier, as other polling indicated a fairly stead nine-to-ten point lead, about what the G&M shows now. Arguing that Harper has somehow strayed from the "script" appears to be a cover for getting the G&M polling back into line with what other polling services have reported all along.

That lead still could get a majority government, but as CQ has noted all along, it's a long shot. It likely will result in an overwhelming plurality, and along with BQ's partnership should allow for a good basis for a thorough housecleaning in Canadian government. That's what truly scares the Liberals about Harper.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 20, 2006 7:03 AM

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