Each Major Political Party Faces Hurdles to Grow Support

A new poll from Ottawa-based Abacus Data finds that each major faces hurdles to expanding its support in the remaining days of the campaign.

Respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree with a number of statements related to the main political parties.

The Conservative Party

Canadians we interviewed were split about whether a Harper majority government would govern the same way it has over the last five years.  Sixty-one percent (61%) agreed that they would govern the same way while 31% disagreed.

Supporters of the Conservative Party overwhelming agreed with the statement.  However, supporters of other parties were less agreeable.

“Despite the Liberal attack ads on the Conservatives, a large majority of Canadians believe that a Harper majority government will govern the same way they have for the past five years,” said Abacus Data CEO David Coletto.  “Any notion of a hidden agenda does not seem to have taken root.  For most Canadians, what you see of Stephen Harper is what you get.”

The Liberal Party

Many voters in Canada are still not ready to forgive the Liberal Party for its past scandals.  Over four in ten respondents (46%) agreed that they still had not forgiven the Liberal Party for its past scandals while 35% disagreed.

“The scandals that hurt the Liberals under Paul Martin’s government still hang over the Liberal Party like a dark shadow,” said Coletto.  “Although the Conservatives have had their own share of alleged ethical lapses, the Liberals have not been able to take full advantage because their record is not squeaky clean either.”

The New Democratic Party

Credibility and the ability to form a government has always been challenge for the NDP when trying to grow its support across the country.  Our survey found that the issue remains a hurdle, despite the NDP’s rising poll numbers in recent days.

Forty-one percent of respondents (41%) agreed that the NDP can’t form government so there’s no use voting for it while 41% disagreed.  Most worrying for the NDP is the fact that only 39% of Liberal Party supporters disagreed.  However, 52% of BQ voters in Quebec disagreed indicating potential for further growth in Quebec.

“The NDP has a tough road to hoe,” said Coletto. “They have a popular leader, issues that are in line with many Canadians. But there remains a sense that they can’t form government.  So voters looking for change look to the Liberal Party as the only way to defeat Stephen Harper.  If that sense changes, the NDP could see its support grow.”

The Bloc Quebecois

The Bloc Quebecois argues that it is the best voice for Quebec in Parliament.  When asked, 45% of Quebecers agreed while 43% disagreed.  Women were more likely than men to agree with the statement while younger Quebecers were more likely to agree than older voters in the province.

“The Bloc’s reason for being, apart from sovereignty, is to be a strong voice in Quebec,” said Coletto.  “Despite declining poll numbers for the BQ, a large portion of Quebec still believes the party is a strong voice for the province.  If this number goes down, then the BQ should begin to worry.”

Download the report

Between April 11 and 15, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,005 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 75,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 3.2%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, immigrant status, and education using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2008 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

For more information about the survey findings, please contact Dr. David Coletto, CEO Abacus Data Inc. at (613) 884-4730 or david@abacusdata.ca

Throughout the campaign, Abacus Data will be releasing national survey results on a wide range of issues.  Visit the Abacus Data website regularly for all the latest results.