When I say Conservative Party, what comes to mind?

A new Abacus Data National Poll finds that relatively speaking, the Conservative and NDP brands are in a better position heading into a possible spring federal election than the Liberal brand.

Respondents were asked to identify what first came to their minds when they think about each major national party.  The results are displayed in word clouds found below or in the detailed report found here.

“Stephen Harper and Jack Layton dominate their respective brands,” said Abacus Data CEO, Dr. David Coletto.  “The popularity of each party is heavily influenced by how Canadians view the Conservative and NDP leaders.”

While high recognition rates can be a positive factor, dominance by a single leader can also produce problems.

“The good news for the Conservative Party is that many Canadians associate the party with the economic recovery and low taxes,” said Coletto.  “Despite the fact that Canadians continue to worry about the economy and their jobs, the opposition has not been able to dislodge the Conservative advantage on the economy.”

The opposition Liberal Party had the bleakest results.  Very few Canadians mentioned anything positive about the party, with most comments describing the party as lacking good leadership, being corrupt or dishonest.

“Canadians seem to still identify the Liberal party by its past wrongs, perhaps as a result of a lack of direction, internal division, and weaker leadership over the past few years,” said Coletto.  “Weak leadership and internal division is the Liberal brand as they enter 2011.”

Finally, the NDP continues to be a conflicted brand.  The NDP and its leader Jack Layton are well regarded by Canadians but only one in five said would vote for it in Abacus Data’s poll released in early December.

“The NDP is very much a function of Jack Layton,” said Coletto.  “The NDP is seen by Canadians as a caring party that defends the interests of working people but its policies are considered unrealistic my many.”

Between December 3rd and 6th, 2010, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,361 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 100,000 Canadians. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is comparable to +/- 2.7%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, and language 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. More interviews were completed in Atlantic Canada and so the weighted total of interviews does not add up to 1,361.

What is a word cloud?

Using wordle.net, we  input all the phrases mentioned by respondents for each party.  Words that appear larger were mentioned more frequently by respondents.  Commonly used words such as “the” or “and” are removed and about the top 50 words are displayed in the clouds.  All French responses were translated into English.

Conservative Party Word Cloud

Liberal Party Word Cloud

NDP Word Cloud