A few interesting polls have come out over the past few days that deserve attention. First off is bad news for the Liberals from SES:
LIB - 38% (-3)
CP - 29% (+3)
NDP -17% (0)
BQ - 11% (0)
GP - 5% (-1)
*12% were undecided (-2)
In short, nothing at all has changed since the last election. Yawn. But regionally, since the last poll, the Liberals are down 10 points in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. Why?
Well, perhaps the reason can be attributed to this poll in the Toronto Star. It shows that Canadians favour same sex marriage by a razor thin 42-40 margin. Interestingly, Ontario is right behind Alberta in the intolerance field with a shocking 48% opposing equal marriage, and only 35% in favour. Given that the Tories are up in Ontario, it seems pretty self-evident to me that the rural Ontario vote is sliding towards Harper on the Same Sex issue.
Everyone in the media has been slamming Harper’s stance on SSM. But consider a few things:
1. The country is fairly split on the issue
2. Bloc and NDP voters overwhelmingly support equal marriage
3. The Conservatives are the only party opposed to it
4. There are more Liberals than Conservatives out there
Do the math in your head and it becomes clear that Harper stands to gain a lot more votes than he’ll lose on this issue. The Globe & Mail yesterday mentions an internal Conservative poll that said the party could gain 6 percentage points from the Liberals on the issue and only lose 2 percentage points. Given the Liberals only won by 7% last June, that’s quite significant. It won’t help Harper break Quebec or the GTA but those seats in rural Ontario and the Maritimes are ripe for the taking.
Also in the news is missile defense. More and more Canadians are strongly opposing the idea which is going to put both Martin and Harper in difficult situations. I’m not sure how this will play out, but nuclear missiles brought down Diefenbaker so it’s not surprising that this is turning into a major issue. Much like equalization, this is an issue Martin has brought upon himself. By dithering on this, it's turned from a non-issue into an explosive one.
Sunday, February 13, 2005