This Race is Wide Open

In a poll released this week by the fair pollsters at Ipsos-Reid, the Liberals appear to be stuck in minority territory since the last poll released. However, the other parties moved slightly (albeit within the margin of error). The Conservatives are up 1% to 27%, NDP down 2% to 15%, Bloc Quebecois down 2% to 10% and the Green Party up 1% to 5%.

In Summary:
Liberals: 38% (+/-0)
Conservatives: 27% (+1)
NDP: 15% (-2)
Bloc: 10% (-2)
Green 5% (+1)

The recent events of the past week have been the Conservative Leadership Convention and the Liberal Budget. The Budget should have provided a boost in support to the Liberals but it provided little for either social spending on one hand or tax cuts/job creation on the other. The election of a new Conservative leader should have also provided a boost in the polls for the Conservative party as stability should be perceived in the new party. However, Mr. Harper was the leader of the official conservative opposition before the merger and now he’s the leader again. The Conservative team will accentuating Mr. Harper’s image as a moderate and as a logical and safe choice for the replacement of the Chrétien/Martin Liberals.

Most interesting, however, is a report today by the National Post which states that in another poll, 53% of Canadians would be undecided voters (or could change their minds) in the next federal election. I don’t remember seeing the undecided numbers so high in recent history. It appears that Canadian confidence in the Liberals has finally been shaken and now Canadians will have to consider other options. In the end, it may come down to a two horse race between the Liberals and the Conservatives as many Liberals see a valid 2nd choice in the Conservative Party. Indeed, a conservative party has always been the choice of Canadians when they’ve been ready to remove the governing Liberals from office.

Further, during election campaigns the Liberals have always lost popular support while the Conservatives have gained it; every election campaign in recent history has been the Liberal’s to lose.

These numbers should be very troubling to Mr. Martin and I’d be surprised and astounded if he thinks that he can bank on apathy this time around as his predecessor, Mr. Chrétien did in 2000.

Canadian democracy appears as if it is starting to come back to life. A competitive democracy is in everyone’s interest after all, for only then is a mandate received a mandate earned.