In the Canadian elections, I have mostly followed the Ipsos polling numbers as I believe them to be more reliable and closer to reality than others. I do often see poll data from SES Research, which has shown a consistent Liberal national lead from six to nine points since the passage of the no-confidence motion. Based on other research, that gap seems too wide for a true look at Canadian political fortunes at the moment.
However, SES has shown an interesting change today. Since the Goodale insider-trading scandal pushed the RCMP to open a criminal investigation, even SES shows that the Liberal gap has disappeared, almost literally overnight. SES now reports that their tracking has the Liberals in a virtual tie with the Tories:
The announcement of a RCMP criminal investigation of a possible tax leak from Finance Minister Ralph Goodale’s office has initially had an impact on the political environment. CPAC-SES tracking has the Liberals and the Conservatives statistically tied for the first time in the campaign. Nationally, the Liberals have 35%, the Conservatives 34%, the NDP 14%, the BQ 13% and the Green Party 5%. Overnight, the CPAC-SES one day measure on trust and vision for Canada has realized a noticeable drop for Paul Martin. Outside of Quebec, the Conservatives lead the Liberals by 5 points.
The most interesting part of this change is that SES show the Tories gaining five points, while the Liberals only lost two. That appears to demonstrate a positive momentum for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, even at the onset of this latest scandal — and it shows that the Liberals have plenty of room to fall further behind on their own. In fact, SES has the Tories at 42% nationwide outside of Quebec, numbers that hint at a possible majority government for Harper if the Tories can maintain that momentum.
Right now, it looks like Paul Martin is fading fast. If he cannot quickly recover from the Adscam and income-trust financial scandals, the Liberals may need to rethink their leadership quickly.